After Adonis: Never mind the naysayers – we can still stop Brexit

This Writer was alarmed to read posts on Twitter by Owen Jones, attacking Lord Adonis’s comments on Theresa May’s Brexit because Lord Adonis is one of the most privileged citizens of the United Kingdom.

Brexit will affect us all, of course. Some of the most privileged citizens of the UK will benefit hugely; most of the least privileged will suffer terribly.

From my point of view, as a member of the privileged class, it was honourable of Lord Adonis to take a stand against Brexit.

Mr Jones’s argument, that Lord Adonis was unlikely to sway the opinion of the majority because he does not represent them in his social position or lifestyle, won’t wash with me because it’s not about that. It’s about the effect on all of us.

That being said, it would be an easy label for Brextremists to apply, in order to sway the gullible. And we know that ‘Leave’ won by influencing the gullible.

So how do we move forward?

Mr Jones seems determined that the Remain cause needs a figurehead. He’s right that Lord Adonis isn’t it – but for the wrong reasons. For one, Lord Adonis hasn’t asked to be one.

Looking at the article Mr Jones has written on the subject, he names several other high-profile people who have spoken up in the Remain cause, and dismissed them for varying reasons.

Tony Blair is “one of the most unpopular individuals — let alone politicians — in Britain, partly because of the small matter of a war sold on a false pretext which ended up an even worse calamity that many of those who opposed it predicted, and who then got paid millions to work for murdering torturing dictators”.

Nick Clegg, “by undermining faith in democracy and implementing austerity, helped pave the way to Brexit… The messenger does matter in politics, whether you like that fact or not, and no, Clegg is not going to achieve anything other than reinforce the negative image the Remain cause has”. That would be a negative image among Leave supporters, one supposes.

Mr Jones neglects the most important reason of all, despite it being the main pillar of his opposition to Lord Adonis: They represent the 1% – not the vast majority of the people.

Because of that, none of the politicians who might be candidates to lead a revived Remain campaign can possibly hold our trust. Brexit will benefit the few, not the many, and they are members of the few.

Look at all the prominent Brexiters: Nigel Farage, Boris Johnson, Michael Gove, Theresa May, those three Tory MPs who head up the 1922 committee, and any of the Labour MPs who want out of the EU – one per centers, all of them, This Writer is willing to bet. It’s in their job description.

Gina Miller, the woman who challenged the government over Brexit in the courts, is out for the same reason. She is a member of the moneyed class, not a woman of the people.

For a Remain argument to be persuasive – by Mr Jones’s own criteria – it needs a spokesperson who represents us. And there’s a real problem with that.

If there is such a person to be found among the working people, or even the unemployed, of the United Kingdom, then they simply cannot spare the time to go off campaigning. Their employer wouldn’t let them go; the DWP would sanction them.

Any serious campaign to stop Brexit would need to find such a person and then provide an incentive for them to hit the road, campaigning – a financial incentive. And that opens them up to criticisms about doing it for mercenary reasons. To be convincing to a Brextremist, such a person would have to starve for their belief.

If an answer can be found to this, we can move on to some of Mr Jones’s ideas that are actually worth repeating:

“I would tour Leave areas as part of a new grassroots national campaign, emphasising my background, that I know what hardship and insecurity is like from my own lived experience, and directly appeal to Leave supporters.”

To that, I would add an admission that both the Leave and Remain campaign told untruths. The referendum was intended to be advisory, but the leaflet put out by the Conservative government promised flat that the result would be honoured. It perverted the intention. That was wrong.

Obviously, Leave campaigners splattered a lie about the UK giving £350 million a week to the EU all over the side of a bus and persuaded far too many people that this nonexistent money could be given to the National Health Service instead, if only they voted ‘Leave’.

There was a huge campaign to pretend that “unelected bureaucrats” in the EU force their laws on the UK; in fact, all EU laws must be ratified by the governments of member states. That’s why there has been such a huge battle between the UK and the EU over whether prisoners should have the vote. Remember that?

The list is probably very long; any competent Remain campaign would have to address everything on it, to explain why Remain failed in the first place.

And of course there is the issue of illegal interference in the referendum, that should – in This Writer’s opinion – render that vote null and void.

So, come on. It’s not right to run down Lord Adonis for doing what he could to point out that Brexit is wrong for the United Kingdom – not without having something better to offer instead.

It’s time for Remain to offer something better. Let’s have it, before Brexit becomes irreversible (and no, Brextremists, that hasn’t happened yet).

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  1. joanna December 31, 2017 at 11:48 pm - Reply

    It is all about power!! Poor people don’t have power to sway anyone, even if you did something extraordinary and then made a huge amount of money, you are seen as not being the person you were because security would mean much more because of fear of poor people, which is kind of ironic!!!

    All the rich people are doing now is giving false hope because there is nothing that can be done about leaving, even if the leave vote was overturned, what would that do to what Little democracy we actually have left? What would that teach children?

    • Mike Sivier January 2, 2018 at 2:57 pm - Reply

      There’s plenty that can be done about leaving. Have a little faith and watch developments this year.

      • joanna January 4, 2018 at 1:08 am - Reply

        I’m Sorry Mike but the last 17 years have beaten what little faith I ever had out of me!!

  2. Masmit January 1, 2018 at 7:25 am - Reply

    After reading this you sound like a privileged hysterical remainer. High up on your perch look down at the gullible.
    I’m sorry MIke but I think being democratic is excepting the referendum, seeing what’s on offer, then getting hysterical or not.
    In a previous post I mentioned people’s and country’s decline, to witch you completely ignored.
    These people don’t watch or do politics, so the privileged few telling them they are gullible will only get the finger sign back at them.

    • Mike Sivier January 1, 2018 at 1:47 pm - Reply

      You should be sorry. There’s nothing privileged about This Writer. And to be described as “hysterical” after the reasoned article I published says more about you than me.
      Yes, I am a Remained. After the referendum result I was willing to give Brexit a chance, and I did. But my patience has run out. The referendum was not about democracy but deception. As an expression of popular will it is not valid at all.
      The previous post you mention is probably still awaiting moderation; I’m very busy, you know.
      Your comment about the privileged few echoes my own sentiments, so you defeat your own claim about me. Clearly you agree that a member of the wider public would get a more receptive response.

      • Masmit January 2, 2018 at 6:04 am - Reply

        (From my point of view, as a member of the privileged class), it was honourable of Lord Adonis to take a stand against Brexit.

        Sorry Mike I read the above, early morning wrongly.
        As for article I believe its this call for Corbyn to stay in and he would gain voters to win a election to be totally wrong.
        Do you honestly think the economy would be doing better if we voted remain, because I don’t.
        All the time we have been in the EU, we have seen a neoliberal agenda which has brought us to where we are now.
        Tories gave us austerity and then the brexit vote, so it’s Tory double down neoliberal economics creating stagnant wage growth, zero hours, bogus self employment, low wage no secure jobs, not brexit. Until we no what the deal is, how can we know what the damage is going to be.
        So in my eyes going along with the were doomed and need to stay in only card is wrong.
        Let the Tories do self harm, and hopefully we get another election, giving Corbyn and labour the chance to offer us a better option.
        Attack Corbyn’s position now is only going to help the Tories.

        • Mike Sivier January 2, 2018 at 2:42 pm - Reply

          Yes, the economy would be doing better if one or two per cent more people had voted Remain. Don’t forget that Leave won by only the tiniest of majorities, by the way.
          The neoliberal agenda you mention was forced on us by successive domestic governments after 1979 – you say as much yourself in your comment here.
          But the choice isn’t between Tories in the UK and Brexit – they are both harmful to the well-being of the UK’s people. You rightly accuse the Tories of “stagnant wage growth, zero hours, bogus self employment, low wage no secure jobs”. Brexit gives us a plummeting pound, ever-higher prices, no trade deals, international isolation, loss of rights that were cemented into EU laws, and more drawbacks that have undoubtedly slipped my mind.
          We don’t know what the exit deal is because the Conservative government is so hopelessly useless at negotiating among its own members that it doesn’t have any demands for the EU and wouldn’t have a hope of achieving any aims.
          One more thing:
          I’m not attacking Mr Corbyn’s position. Please do not try to distort my own.

      • joanna January 4, 2018 at 1:19 am - Reply

        Personnally I think there should be another referendum, based on all the Lies that have been fed to the public. Cameron saying he wanted to remain was also , I think, A reason why people voted the opposite.

    • Carol Fraser January 2, 2018 at 8:50 am - Reply

      I am delighted you want to ‘except’ the referendum. I agree throw it out. You’re right the country is in decline, down two places in global ranking since the referendum, just 18 months. Put on your tin hat, it’s getting steadily worse.

  3. Rupert Mitchell January 1, 2018 at 8:48 am - Reply

    Happy 2018 to you Mike and thank you for all your great work in 2017.

    Whilst I am not an advocate of titles for doing just what people should; i.e., normal decent good work, I do admire Lord Adonis for his straight forward decent comments in his resignation letter and I only wish there were more MPs around with his integrity.

    Let us hope for more useful MPs with honour and integrity in 2018.



  4. Barry Davies January 1, 2018 at 11:01 am - Reply

    Hadn’t read jones’ posts, but he seems to have a thoughtful view on the matter.

  5. Ann Wilkinson January 1, 2018 at 12:21 pm - Reply

    #BrexitWrecks it #exitbrexit

  6. Tom Mapfumo January 1, 2018 at 1:07 pm - Reply

    I think that you miss the point entirely about Brexit. Many working class people have had it to the back teeth with Neoliberalism and want to attack the elites that got us where we are today. We still refuse to take this on board and resort to ever more sophisticated arguments as to why they are wrong. They don’t care!!!

    • Mike Sivier January 1, 2018 at 1:38 pm - Reply

      So they wanted to attack these “elites” by giving them exactly what they want. Neat plan!
      I hope the same people are never asked how to avert nuclear war.

      • Ultraviolet January 1, 2018 at 10:25 pm - Reply

        No Mike. To Brexiters, Adonis, a New Labour stalwart up until now working for the Tory Government, represents exactly what they were fighting against. Him saying he is against Brexit not only won’t convince them, it will actually just reinforce their beliefs.

        And no, it doesn’t make sense given that there are elites on both sides of the argument. But it is what it is.

        I am glad he said what he did. He is right. But any hope that this might trigger a tipping point where the mood of the country swings against Brexit is just wishful thinking.

        • Mike Sivier January 2, 2018 at 2:49 pm - Reply

          If Brexiters feel Lord Adonis’s resignation only reinforces their beliefs, that will reinforce everybody else’s understanding that Brexiters don’t listen to arguments but are basing their choices on a simple knee-jerk reaction against Johnny Foreigner interfering in John Bull’s affairs.
          You misunderstand my comment about “elites” being on both sides of the argument. It is perfectly possible for an “elite” to support remaining in the EU, for all the right reasons. It’s just that an argument between people in the upper echelons of society is unlikely to engage the sympathies of the rest of us.
          I think you’re right that Lord Adonis’s resignation isn’t the necessary tipping point. The mood of most of the nation is already against Brexit – but a far more significant majority is needed to convince the pro-Brexit press (to quote just one example). So we would be better-advised to use his resignation as an indication of what pro-Remain people need to do.

  7. rotzeichen January 1, 2018 at 9:40 pm - Reply

    May I say that I voted remain to avoid all this diversionary nonsense from either side of the debate, whether in Europe or out of it the priority is to get rid of these vile Neo-Liberal governments.

    Europe is not our saviour, the rules and regulations are drafted to serve business interests, just because they have some rules that benefit us such as social legislation, that does not mean that can’t change in the future, meaning look at how the EU treated Greece, it was not the fault of the Greek people that the EU chose to make them pay for the Bankers crash, and the Germans dominate economic Neo-Liberal thinking.

    This chart from the EU shows our trading position within and outside the EU, note our record of massive deficits and how will that alter with our continued membership?

    Germany has total surpluses whilst we have total deficits.

    To cut to the quick here, Britain’s future lies outside the EU because we have retained our own currency and in short so long as we trade within our own country we can spend into our own economy, unlike the Greeks that were forced by the EU to accept the doctrines of the ECB. (European Central Bank)

    Pro EU supporters talk as though the Tories will remain in power for ever, the liklihood is that the Tories will be ousted in the near future, and could happen this year, with that in play we have a totally different scenario, we can preserve good relations with Europe and negotiate arrangements that benefit both of us. That will be the difference.

    We are not like Europe we have our own currency, that is a totally different situation to those within the single currency, they have to abide by the rules set out the ECB, that means unlike us, they are just like a household and can only spend what their country earns in Euros, Britain through the Bank of England creates money out of thin air. That is how money gets into the economy here, the private Banks create new money every time they make a loan, and our government does not have to borrow its own money. The national debt is money borrowed by the government from its own people, i.e. the government issues bonds to savers who get interest on them, when the bonds mature the government puts numbers into their account plus the amount of interest promised, the government does not raise cash to pay for it, and just prints numbers into an account.

    This video explains how that takes place, and international experts all agree, even the ECB can never go broke because like the Bank of England it is a Central Bank and the creator of all European money, but it chooses to treat all Euro countries as though they were households:

    Professor Bill Mitchell is the main speaker, noting Richard Murphy tearing up a ten pound note, to demonstrate how money is destroyed when taxed not going to pay for public services. Taxation takes money out of the economy, not as we are told to pay for public services.

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