BREXIT: John Pilger Explains why the British said No to Europe

The majority vote by Britons to leave the European Union was an act of raw democracy. Millions of ordinary people refused to be bullied, intimidated and dismissed with open contempt by their presumed betters in the major parties, the leaders of the business and banking oligarchy and the media.

This was, in great part, a vote by those angered and demoralised by the sheer arrogance of the apologists for the “remain” campaign and the dismemberment of a socially just civil life in Britain. The last bastion of the historic reforms of 1945, the National Health Service, has been so subverted by Tory and Labour-supported privateers it is fighting for its life.

A forewarning came when the Treasurer, George Osborne, the embodiment of both Britain’s ancient regime and the banking mafia in Europe, threatened to cut £30 billion from public services if people voted the wrong way; it was blackmail on a shocking scale.

Immigration was exploited in the campaign with consummate cynicism, not only by populist politicians from the lunar right, but by Labour politicians drawing on their own venerable tradition of promoting and nurturing racism, a symptom of corruption not at the bottom but at the top. The reason millions of refugees have fled the Middle East – first Iraq, now Syria – are the invasions and imperial mayhem of Britain, the United States, France, the European Union and Nato. Before that, there was the wilful destruction of Yugoslavia. Before that, there was the theft of Palestine and the imposition of Israel.

The pith helmets may have long gone, but the blood has never dried. A nineteenth century contempt for countries and peoples, depending on their degree of colonial usefulness, remains a centrepiece of modern “globalisation“, with its perverse socialism for the rich and capitalism for the poor: its freedom for capital and denial of freedom to labour; its perfidious politicians and politicised civil servants.

All this has now come home to Europe, enriching the likes of Tony Blair and impoverishing and disempowering millions. On 23 June, the British said no more.

The most effective propagandists of the “European ideal” have not been the far right, but an insufferably patrician class for whom metropolitan London is the United Kingdom. Its leading members see themselves as liberal, enlightened, cultivated tribunes of the 21st century zeitgeist, even “cool”. What they really are is a bourgeoisie with insatiable consumerist tastes and ancient instincts of their own superiority. In their house paper, the Guardian, they have gloated, day after day, at those who would even consider the EU profoundly undemocratic, a source of social injustice and a virulent extremism known as “neoliberalism“.

The aim of this extremism is to install a permanent, capitalist theocracy that ensures a two-thirds society, with the majority divided and indebted, managed by a corporate class, and a permanent working poor. In Britain today, 63 per cent of poor children grow up in families where one member is working. For them, the trap has closed. More than 600,000 residents of Britain’s second city, Greater Manchester, are, reports a study, “experiencing the effects of extreme poverty” and 1.6 million are slipping into penury.

Little of this social catastrophe is acknowledged in the bourgeois controlled media, notably the Oxbridge dominated BBC. During the referendum campaign, almost no insightful analysis was allowed to intrude upon the clichéd hysteria about “leaving Europe“, as if Britain was about to be towed in hostile currents somewhere north of Iceland.

On the morning after the vote, a BBC radio reporter welcomed politicians to his studio as old chums. “Well,” he said to “Lord” Peter Mandelson, the disgraced architect of Blairism, “why do these people want it so badly?” The “these people” are the majority of Britons.

The wealthy war criminal Tony Blair remains a hero of the Mandelson “European” class, though few will say so these days. The Guardian once described Blair as “mystical” and has been true to his “project” of rapacious war.  The day after the vote, the columnist Martin Kettle offered a Brechtian solution to the misuse of democracy by the masses. “Now surely we can agree referendums are bad for Britain“, said the headline over his full-page piece. The “we” was unexplained but understood – just as “these people” is understood.

The referendum has conferred less legitimacy on politics, not more,” wrote Kettle. ” … the verdict on referendums should be a ruthless one. Never again.”

The kind of ruthlessness Kettle longs for is found in Greece, a country now airbrushed. There, they had a referendum and the result was ignored.  Like the Labour Party in Britain, the leaders of the Syriza government in Athens are the products of an affluent, highly privileged, educated middle class, groomed in the fakery and political treachery of post-modernism. The Greek people courageously used the referendum to demand their government sought “better terms” with a venal status quo in Brussels that was crushing the life out of their country. They were betrayed, as the British would have been betrayed.

On Friday, the Labour Party leader, Jeremy Corbyn, was asked by the BBC if he would pay tribute to the departed Cameron, his comrade in the “remain” campaign. Corbyn fulsomely praised Cameron’s “dignity” and noted his backing for gay marriage and his apology to the Irish families of the dead of Bloody Sunday.

He said nothing about Cameron’s divisiveness, his brutal austerity policies, his lies about “protecting” the Health Service. Neither did he remind people of the war mongering of the Cameron government: the dispatch of British special forces to Libya and British bomb aimers to Saudi Arabia and, above all, the beckoning of world war three.

In the week of the referendum vote, no British politician and, to my knowledge, no journalist referred to Vladimir Putin’s speech in St. Petersburg commemorating the seventy-fifth anniversary of Nazi Germany’s invasion of the Soviet Union on 22 June, 1941. The Soviet victory – at a cost of 27 million Soviet lives and the majority of all German forces – won the Second World War.

Putin likened the current frenzied build up of Nato troops and war material on Russia’s western borders to the Third Reich’s Operation Barbarossa. Nato’s exercises in Poland were the biggest since the Nazi invasion; Operation Anaconda had simulated an attack on Russia, presumably with nuclear weapons. On the eve of the referendum, the quisling secretary-general of Nato, Jens Stoltenberg, warned Britons they would be endangering “peace and security” if they voted to leave the EU.

The millions who ignored him and Cameron, Osborne, Corbyn, Obama and the man who runs the Bank of England may, just may, have struck a blow for real peace and democracy in Europe.

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Originally published (johnpilger.com)

5 Comments

  1. As I have said previously, John Pilger, although one of our best investigative journalists is way off the mark in this article. Brexiters won the vote by a combination of lies, halve truths, and racist, jingoistic flag waving.

    This video gives a good example of just one of the ‘low information’ Brexit voters and how they fell for the spin of Farage. I have spoken to many Brexiters who instead of finding out the facts for themselves had their prejudices reinforced by the Brexit lies.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E8Rlub0N2Zk

  2. “The economics is clear: there is no need to be a member of the EU to thrive economically, and exiting does not have to impact UK economic growth at all. The UK can remain in the European Economic Area, as Norway has done, or simply agree on a trade deal, as Switzerland did, and enjoy free trade – the main intention of European agreements in the eyes of the public. The politics is also clear: the European superstate that has already been formed is not democratic. The so-called ‚European Parliament‘, unique among parliaments, cannot propose any legislation at all – laws are all formulated and proposed by the unelected European Commission! As a Russian observer has commented, the European Parliament is a rubber-stamping sham, just like the Soviet parliament during the days of the Soviet Union, while the unelected government is the European Commission – the Politibureau replete with its Commissars.” ~ Professor Richard A. Werner

    • Mike, you obviously do not understand the procedures of the EU and it is those right wing views you expressed, often dressed up as views of the left, which persuaded the gullible to vote out. You only need to look at those who were the main ‘out’ protagonists – Farage, Fox, EDL et al to realise who were calling the shots!

      • Jack is it not true that the European Parliament (the only EU institution with elected representatives) cannot propose legislation? That’s not what I understand democracy to be. And which parts of the quoted text do you consider right wing?

  3. It is not the function of the EU Parliament to propose legislation, that is the job of the Commission which is composed of 28 commissioners, one representing and appointed by each member State, so they are not ‘unelected bureaucrats’ as you imply, they are appointed in exactly the same way we appoint the heads of the NHS or the Bank of England. Even then, they only propose legislation in line with the policy priorities decided by the Heads of State in the EU Council who ARE elected in their own countries. When legislation has been drafted it then has to be agreed by both the EU Parliament of ELECTED members AND the Council of Ministers which consists of twenty eight ministers specialising in the subject at hand, sent there by their respective Governments. Before legislation finally becomes law it has to pass extremely close scrutiny, which is why it often takes so long. It is democratic from start to finish as opposed to our Referendum where information was deliberately lied about, obscured, or twisted so that many of those who voted hadn’t a clue what they were voting for, they just took a punt.

    Our leaving the EU WILL make a difference economically because Gove and others have said we will leave the Single Market. They often quote trade deals done by Switzerland etc as an example of how we could proceed but what they don’t say is the deal Switzerland did with China took years and China gets immediate access to Swiss markets whereas Switzerland has to wait 15 years for full access to Chinese markets. Even the EU had to give South Korea access to its markets immediately but doesn’t get full access to SK’s markets for 20 years! Trade deals take a long time and are not easy.

    Finally, you have expressed similar views to those on the right when you said “leaving the EU does not have to impact on UK economic growth at all”. This is the line spouted by Farage and the others. No matter what ‘deal’ we get it cannot be as good as the deal we have now and is certain to have a detrimental effect upon our economy.

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