I have just had the Brexit Party leaflet for the EU elections on 23 May. It is Fascist.
What would “honouring the referendum result” mean, exactly? It would mean listening to what campaigners for Leave said in 2016- such as greatly increasing the funding for the NHS, or seeking membership of the EEA (the “Norway Option”) as Nigel Farage does in this video. None were calling for “No Deal”. It would mean recognising the small majority for Leave, and not simply ignoring the desires of 16.1m voters.
Why is it fascist? Because of the Leader-worship. Only Farage gets more than two sentences in it. There is a large photo of the man, looking more like a frog than usual.
It is full of lies. “The Brexit Party will restore trust in politics.” No, the Brexit party has no MPs and is set up to be no more than an angry protest group. The only thing it stands for is leaving the EU, on “WTO rules” which would mean tariffs charged on goods traded between the UK and the EU, and an end to our “Just-in-time” manufacturing. To restore trust in politics, we need politicians who tell the truth and act in the interests of the people, by producing good quality public services. Farage’s mixture of bluster and fantasy can deliver nothing.
Though Farage has no policies beyond that, he has airy promises: “Let’s put the principles of Trust, Honesty and Integrity at the heart of our democracy”. That would involve silencing Farage. He wants the principles of Hate, Anger and Fear at the heart of our politics. What does he say? “Betrayed… humiliated… failing MPs have defied 17.4m of us… Politics is broken. Enough is enough.” What does the rest of the leaflet say? “Betrayed… Taking ‘No Deal’ off the table is bonkers… Failed… Damaged trust in our democracy… our country humiliated…”
The stab in the back myth. Though it is good to see his sister attack Jacob Rees-Mogg: “The Conservative Party has failed… and damaged trust in our democracy”. May’s deal failed generally because of his posturing, and that of his “European Research Group”. These hard right campaigners hate each other almost as much as they hate the people who vote for them.
The UKIP leaflet is quite as evil as Mr Farage’s, but with an added dollop of fuckwittery. Brexit has been betrayed, they scream. Conservative, Labour, Lib Dem, Green & SNP MPs betrayed you. I don’t know if they forgot Plaid, but that is rabble-rousing. Caroline Lucas is one of the most intelligent, principled and energetic MPs we have. Trying to foment resentment in this transparent manner is wicked. It too has a picture of the Leader, but I needed to google him to make sure. Openly and repellently racist, this wotsisname has a poor selfie in front of a sign reading AXE LADY HAW HAW.
I shall vote Labour, even though they are not yet opposing Brexit. At the last election in the East Midlands, UKIP (the far right) got two seats, and the Conservatives (the hard right) got two: 40% of the seats on 26% of the votes. Labour got one. Greens and Lib-Dems had 127,839 votes between them- their votes combined would not have entitled them to a seat, but being in the centre or left, had their votes gone to Labour there would have been two Labour MEPs and only one Tory. Splitting the Left vote only helps the hard-Right.
There are two sites which purport to advise who to vote for, as a tactical vote to Remain. I searched for tactical vote remain and remainvoter.com came up first, with Remain United nowhere. Remainvoter’s recommendation in the East Midlands is highly suspicious. It recommends voting Green, who came fifth last time. They say this will get one LibDem and one Green Remainer MEPs, one Labour and two Brexit. I don’t believe them. Remain United recommends voting LibDem, for one LibDem remainer MP. Your Green vote would be wasted. I am sorry to sound paranoid, but who is behind remainvoter?
The Labour position makes sense. It is possible to honour the referendum with a deal with Europe in the interests of the British people, rather than a few shadowy billionaires. Their headline is Vote Labour to bring our country back together, as an antidote to the hate and fear spewed by Farage and his ilk. Labour would keep a close relationship with the EU that protects workers’ rights and environmental standards. If we can’t get changes to their bad deal or a general election, Labour backs the option of a public vote. This is because the Hayekist Tories have done a deal to decimate public services, which left-leaning Leave voters would not want. We cannot just ignore that Leave won the referendum. However, we would not vandalise the British economy. I am grateful for Keir Starmer’s insistence on a confirmatory referendum before supporting any Brexit deal, in the talks which are now defunct.
We need international co-operation to end the climate crisis, the death of our oceans, and the current mass extinction. A Tory bonfire of regulations and taxes in the interests of the hyper-rich could just kill the planet. With Tory leadership contenders also talking of “Betrayal” and “Humiliation”, we need trust and hope. Only Labour can provide it.