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Here is a link to my memoirs which, if you are a glutton for punishment, you can purchase online at
Men fight and lose the battle, and the thing that they fought for comes about in spite of their defeat, and when it comes turns out not to be what they meant, and other men have to fight for what they meant under another name. (William Morris - A Dream of John Ball)

Saturday, July 02, 2016

Those who campaigned for Brexit are no comrades of mine

The narrow vote to leave the European Union (EU) was, primarily, an expression of reactionary (and often xenophobic) nationalism, but it was close enough that the misguided campaigning of those seeking the mythical “left exit” (or Lexit) could have made a difference.

All those who campaigned to leave the EU can therefore congratulate themselves on the subsequent spike in racial hatred, since the referendum result legitimated the prejudice of so many of those who voted with them. This is their responsibility whether or not they sought it.

Thus far they haven’t quite got the existential crisis in the Conservative Party for which they were hoping, but they have given an excuse to Blairite traitors in the Labour Party to do what they were going to do anyway. (For that, at least, the “Lexiteers” cannot be held responsible).

The demand for an immediate General Election is, though, spectacularly politically illiterate given that, in an early election, sitting Labour Parliamentarians will be Labour candidates (and other candidates of the left will stand no chance whatsoever). The sooner the imminent General Election comes the fewer socialist candidates will be in place with a chance of victory.

It’s hardly a shock that such stupidity should come from those on the left who campaigned to leave the EU. This was a campaign supported by all the least intelligent elements of the left; those on the Labour Left who failed to notice that the world had changed since the 80s together with some of the flotsam, jetsam and other relics of twentieth century Leninism.

The deplorable result of the referendum has happened now. We should not rule out a popular campaign to reverse this anti-working class outcome, but we can hardly expect that Labour’s leadership can call for this right now whilst aspiring to Government. The fight against nationalism, and those on the left who have accommodated to it, is a battle for the long term.

Our immediate priority must be to defend the socialist leadership of Jeremy Corbyn, whatever our position was on the referendum (albeit that none of those who are members of a political party with the word “socialist” or “communist” in its name can play any useful role in the defence of Corbyn – and are more likely than not to be counterproductive in anything they do).

I am an ally to all those who would defend the best Labour Leader in the history of our Party. But, if you campaigned to leave the European Union please never presume to call me comrade again.


Anonymous said...

You can't handle democracy can you? You have just written off most of the north and everywhere outside London in one fell swoop, good trade unionists that fought for our rights will be spinning in their graves you absolute prick. Side with Cameron, he's history now. Hopefully wankers like you will be as well and we can get some proper union reps that stand up for what's best for their members without condemning them and seeing racism everywhere.

Brian Smith said...

I can't make up my mind if that contribution is from the SWP or UKIP.

Ray McHale said...

It is disappointing, but people have their views. Perhaps if we stay in the Single Market we can reverse this in a few years time. It is not worth falling out with people on the Left - inside or outside the Party. We need unity to defend Jeremy.

Anonymous said...

Wow.Always voted for you in the past,Jon. And encouraged my workmates to do likewise.As I'm no comrade of yours,you can shove it in future.


Skimmed through the OP and can't believe why anyone with an inkling of socialism in their blood would want to remain in the greatest neoliberal cabal on earth.

It is racist to the core, it sets worker against worker, it's an endless supply of cheap labour for international multinational, and corporations.

The only thing that's not racist about it is, it expliots workers of all races equally. It has done sweetheart deals with Turkey to keep refugees fleeing capitalist wars from reaching the EU,and has given Turkey to carry it out "by any means necessary" including shooting the fleeing refugees on the borders of the countries they are trying to flee.

It works on the mafia principle (see Greece) it will not tolerate disobedience from member states. It is a vile capitalist fraternity that anyone claiming to be leftwing should recoil from in horror. Look at those whi support's the ICEMAN !!

newsfromnowhere said...

There is no evidence whatsoever that there would not have been a spike in racial abuse even if the remainers had won. In fact it is surely highly likely there would have been an even bigger spike. So dont go blaming racial abuse on comrades who, as you well know, are in the front line of combating racist behaviour and racist politics.

The vote reflected an enormous unsettled difficult and dangerous approach to immigration issues in the vast heartlands of labour. We have already been wiped out in Scotland and if your attitudes prevail we will be wiped out in the North.

Brian Smith said...

Here's the perfect riposte to the SWP/UKIP line:

Unknown said...

The leave campaign used the language of nationalism and xenophobia. They were certainly not all racists. However, leave created a climate that nurtured the growth and legitimacy of prejudice and discrimination under the umbrella of British nationalism. Had the leave campaign not fanned the flames of racism we would not be where we are now. QED: Had there been no referendum there would have been less hate crime. This referendum brought to the fore two types of British nationalism. One outward looking. Embracing Europe and the world on a cultural and economic level. The other inward looking and and ethnically (not racially) exclusive. I certainly know which side I have been on for most of my lifetime and why a leave vote was a vote for division and disharmony.

Anonymous said...

Neither, it's from an Orgreave veteran who knows what real trade union comrades are. As long as Jon keeps condemning people who see through the neo-con capitalist club that's the European Union then I'm pleased that he and his Unison exec gravy train liberal elite do not consider themselves comrades of a huge chunk of the northern working class. Cue the blind accusations of racism that's Jon's default setting.