Lexit – what ill could come of so much hope?

Today Sarah Brown came across the Islington Labour Councillor Michael O’Sullivan, who runs the Labour Leave blog, reposting* the work of former UKIP candidate and subsequent UKIP disgrace, Ken Bell. She posted for the record. Here are the parts which disqualify Bell’s post as belonging to the left,

“Today, encouraged by the EU, we live in a world of hire and fire where management can arrange with an Eastern European gangmaster to bring an army of genuine scab labourers to Britain to keep the wages down.

I can describe them as genuine scab labourers because they come from countries which had the type of economic system that we want for ourselves.”

Here immigrants are presented by definition as greedy right wing enemies rather than people failed by their economies. Come to my London borough, see the Eastern European men forced by London prices to hot-bed and socialise in the street, and think again.


“It is not just about wages because the scab influx has allowed management to pick and choose workers, instead of taking what they can get and liking it. That is doubly important the further down the line you go until you reach the fairly loathsome ranks of the lower middle class, where the attitude of petty management has gone from one of minding their manners, knowing their place and keeping their mouths shut around working people, to one of insufferable insolence.”

Fairly UKIPpy but it was inspired by Corbyn, who this week dismayed the mug protesters and cheered the anti-immigrant contingent by saying,

“What there wouldn’t be is the wholesale importation of underpaid workers from central Europe in order to destroy conditions, particularly in the construction industry.”

I would have thought a Labour movement would be focused on changing those conditions and making sure the going rate could not be pushed downwards, rather than implicating the workforce. Macron’s nationalisation of a French shipyard to protect jobs demonstrates the kinds of pro-worker government decisions which are possible within the EU.

Some time today Michael O’Sullivan deleted the post without communicating his reasons either for posting initially or for deleting. I found myself thinking of the political manoeuvre known as motte and bailey. The metaphor is about mediaeval fortifications – the motte (tower on a mound) represents the easily defended ideas while the bailey (wall round the tower) is the frontier ideas which are not currently accepted but may become so. It’s a well-trodden path for a political outrider with connections to the establishment to take the temperature of an unpalatable idea by linking it to a more accepted idea, monitor responses, and then retreat back to the accepted idea if the responses aren’t favourable. This Labour Leave post may be more like hyenas approaching a downed elephant (the parliamentary party, or indeed parliament itself) to find out if it has the strength to fight them off, else they will eat it alive.

The Labour Leave post came a day after Scaramucci, the new Communications Officer Trump selected, referred to his colleague Bannon as sucking his own cock, comments which should have immediately prompted Whitehouse Human Resources intervention, but which the Pussy Grabber elect reportedly “loved”.

I speculate O’Sullivan and Labour Leave have become desensitised. Then again. Unfortunately, politically they have a lot in common with powerful people in the UK Labour Party. Being wealthy individuals on the radical left, Corbyn, Milne, McDonnell, Murray, etc, etc come from a tradition which rejects gradual left wing developments because those can only sustain capitalism. I assume this is why they often reveal that they welcome Brexit. They see it as a possibility which, if sufficiently hard and sharp, will stun us into discontinuing capitalism. The ensuing disorientation will allow socialism to be established, because socialism will seem to be the only alternative as capital drains from the country and with it our livelihoods. I may favour socialism over capitalism, but it’s obvious that socialism requires a huge amount of cultural groundwork. All sharing societies require immense individual discipline, awareness, considerate behaviour, patience, philanthropy and forgiveness. Without these individual qualities, socialism quickly becomes totalitarian and can only be sustained through authoritarian force. This is why the freedom-loving parts of the left, from the liberals to the anarchists, see left wing Brexit and cry Stalin, or the Terreur, or lately, Putin.

I expect if Corbyn’s part of the Labour party prevails, they will soon be making excuses for constructing enemies of the people and removing our rights. They will make common cause with Putinism which is sustained by the same approaches. I hope we have defenses against this kind of populism but I’m as worried as Bonnie Greer – and Bonnie Greer predicted Trump.

Most newer members who joined because Corbyn inspired them mildly refute theories like mine because they heard Corbyn’s Glastonbury message of hope with their own ears. Some will say that the reason the Labour Leave post was published was that in Corbyn’s Labour all voices are welcome, but I’d respond that this is neither true nor desirable.

* Update – around 8.30pm Labour Leave tweeted an apology, blaming an unauthorised volunteer. I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve heard this excuse from those responsible for blogs. Plausible deniability in action.  I downloaded a PDF of the post. It was posted from O’Sullivan’s account. He is an experienced webby with a reputation to maintain. I’d be more surprised he didn’t give the volunteer their own account than that he posted that piece. 

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