Don’t trust the Liberal Democrats, they are not Pro-NHS

Don’t trust the LibDems. Now they claim to be Anti-Tory warriors but let’s be honest, when the right time comes, they will jump into another coalition with the Tories and like they did in the Nick Clegg years and support the Privatisation of our National Health Service.

Over the last few years we have seen the continued sale of chunks of the NHS to private companies like Virgin Care. The Liberal Democrats may now act innocent, claiming they are no longer in government so this has nothing to do with them, however NHS privatisation is direct result of their actions in the Coalition Government.

The current NHS privatisation is mostly due to the 2012 Health & Social Care Act, which greatly accelerated the sale of NHS assets. Prior to 2012, NHS privatisation did occur and can even traced back to the John Major years. However, it was only after the 2012 Health & Social Care act that NHS privatisation has become so dominant.

The Liberal Democrat’s leadership backed this act all the way. In fairness, there was some resistance from Liberal Democrat rank-and-file members, but this resistance was easily defeated and the party ended up helping this act pass which has since delivered a heavy blow for the NHS.

This act did not privatise the NHS overnight, however what it did do is open the door to NHS privatisation. It set out a range of measures which meant private companies could now come in like never before and buy up parts of the health service.

The Liberal Democrats now make a number of excuses for their actions during the coalition days, yet if they really were Pro-NHS then why are they not doing anything to stop the continued privatisation of the service now?

If this was all in the past and they had no choice to back the Health and Social Care Act, then why are they not fighting NHS privatisation in 2019? Why are they not joining with Labour, the Greens and NHS campaigners to fight what is going on?

The reason is that they, and especially their new leader Jo Swinson, do not believe in the NHS. They are not Socialists, and will never fight for the NHS and, if it politically suits them, will vote to fully privatise it and turn it into a US-style insurance based system.

Back when the #EUref was taking place & now during the Brexit debate the NHS has been used as a political football, where all sides claim to love it and state that if voters support their side then the NHS will be protected.

This is the same with the Liberal Democrats. They may tweet here and there, giving the impression they love the NHS, but in reality they care little for it and cannot be trusted to protect it.

At the moment, Brexit is obviously dominating the debate and as a result the Liberal Democrats have had a bit of a boost with their hard Pro-EU line, however this may fool a great number of people into believing the Liberal Democrats care for the NHS.

With this, a great danger is brought, in which the total destruction of the NHS becomes a real possibility and with the Liberal Democrats having a record of voting for NHS privatisation, people who truly love the NHS could end up voting for a party that leads to its destruction.

 

 

The Grey Clouds and Cold Winds of Tory Britain

There is no denying at all that Brexit has become such a polarising issue that it has torn the fabric of our parliamentary politics. While the Labour Party is beginning to feel the true pressure of the issue, with many voters turning away from the party and voting for anti-Brexit parties (such as the Liberal Democrats and the Green Party). There have been fiery meetings where many are urging Jeremy Corbyn to back a second referendum, and the political fabric of The Conservative Party has been completely torn into shreds with Theresa May resigning, firing the gunshot which has begun a leadership race. With the leadership bid being narrowed down to a standoff between Boris Johnson and Jeremy Hunt, our country’s future seems bleaker and more dystopian.

The most worrying candidate is unfortunately leaping ahead in terms of popularity with MPs. Boris Johnson, the former Foreign Secretary and the former Mayor of London has gained a reputation for being impulsive and uncompromising in many aspects. Johnson has promised that the country will leave the European Union on “31st of October, come what may” and is willing to “show that we are serious about leaving with no deal”.

In other words, if the U.K and the E.U cannot come to a new agreement, Boris Johnson wouldn’t mind taking up the option of crashing out of the European Union without a deal. While he has stressed that he doesn’t want a “No Deal” Brexit, the fact that it is on the cards should be worrying. Brussels have emphasised that the deal which Theresa May has negotiated is “not up for re-negotiation“, regardless of who makes it into Downing Street. This makes it likely that Boris Johnson will be unable to re-negotiate a new deal, therefore making the risk of a “No Deal” Brexit much higher. According to The Bank of England, leaving without a deal would cause the biggest economic plummet in modern history, with the possibility of the British economy dwindling by nearly 8%. Unemployment rates will nearly double and inflation will reach 6.5%. According to the Bank, this could increase interest rates up to 5.5%.

Another reason a Boris-led government will be catastrophic is the many diplomatic errors he has committed, as well as his dog-whistle racism. In December 2015, he described Russian President, Vladimir Putin as “a bit like Dobby the House Elf” in a column for The Telegraph. In March 2016, he wrote a crude poem about Turkish president, Recep Tayyip Erdogan in which he wrote, “There was a young fellow from Ankara, Who was a terrific wankerer/Till he sowed his wild oats, With the help of a goat, But he didn’t even stop to thankera“. It is worth noting that the remark about having sex with a goat is a discriminatory slur used towards Muslims (particularly Middle-Eastern Muslims). Given that President Erdogan is a Turkish Muslim, this can be seen as Islamophobic. This was all said while Boris Johnson was the Mayor of London. If he cannot even run a city without embarrassing it, how can we expect him to run a country?

The former Mayor of London also referred to the people of the African continent as “picaninnies” and particularly the people of Congo as having “watermelon smiles” in 2002, both of which are very derogatory towards Black people. With this racist remark, Johnson has normalised the racism, which people all over the world have been suffering for centuries. Most recently, Johnson received a lot of backlash for describing women who wear burqas as looking like “letterboxes” and “bank robbers“, which caused a spike in hate crimes towards women who wear the niqab, according to the Charity Tell Mama. If he can do this as an MP, imagine the effect his words would have when he holds the highest position in government.

The candidate standing off against Boris Johnson is former Health Secretary and current Foreign Secretary, Jeremy Hunt. Just like Johnson, Hunt wants a “No Deal” to be on the table. Jeremy Hunt’s plan is to form a new negotiating team with Brussels which will be “credible” so “they have confidence it can get through Parliament”. However, this presents the same dilemma that Boris will most likely have. The E.U does not want to negotiate a new deal regardless of who takes Theresa May’s place as Prime Minister. This increases the chance of a “No Deal” Brexit which means that the catastrophic aftermaths (mentioned before) are more likely to happen.

Jeremy Hunt’s legacy as Health Secretary has been plagued with insufficient funds to the National Health Service (NHS); a lack of budget which has led to a lack of staff and equipment for the health care system to function properly. He pledged 5,000 more GPs and 25% more places for trainee nurses and doctors which he believed would make the NHS “self-sufficient”, however NHS workforce figures showed that there were more than 100,000 unfilled posts in the system. The NHS under Jeremy Hunt secured a £350 million budget for the winter of 2017 which clearly was insufficient since the winter of 2017 came to be known as the worst winter for the NHS in its history. A March 2018 analysis from The Labour Party found that the number of people waiting for more than 4 hours in A&E increased by 842% due to Hunt’s underfunding of the NHS. Between 2017 and 2018, the number of patients who had to wait for more than 2 weeks for urgent cancer treatment increased to 113,373. To add insult to injury, the U.K’s cancer survival rate plummeted to being one of the worst in Europe at 28th place out of 40 countries, which is lower than two-thirds of Europe in 2018. This is unacceptable since the NHS is renowned for its high quality, easy access and free healthcare. Jeremy Hunt’s feud with junior doctors after a reform to contracts which meant a potential pay cut and more hours once again is a sign of the incompetence he demonstrated in running the NHS, as is him running away from a junior doctor questioning him about the imposition of contracts. Jeremy Hunt has even realised that his budget cuts went “too far” after seeing a woman who had been cutting herself. If Jeremy Hunt is able to play a huge part in the Conservative’s plans of drying out the NHS before allowing it to be sold to private shareholders, imagine the wider privatisation plans he will play a huge role in when it comes to our other social services?

While the decision is ultimately up to the 160,000 members of The Conservative Party, the options left by the MPs of the party are not relieving for the public. We have an option between two candidate who will renegotiate a new deal with Brussels with a “No Deal” option on the table, the only difference being is that one candidate has said that he’ll leave the EU without a deal on 31st October if a deal isn’t negotiated, and the other candidate is not so keen. Our next Prime Minister could either be an impulsive, Trump-like character who seems to forget that he is emblematic in U.K politics, and a character who has caused embarrassment for London when he was a mayor and further embarrassment for the country with his racist and undiplomatic remarks about minorities and other world leaders; or a politician who was responsible for bleeding the NHS dry by throwing pennies at it, reformed junior doctor contracts for the worse and couldn’t face the people who it affected, and didn’t realise the extent of the damage he caused until he met a suffering woman. Grey clouds and cold winds will engulf Britain in the next two or so years, and I’m not talking about the weather.

Mrs May’s Legacy… or lack of it.

Philip May

Countless pieces have now been written on May and her premiership, some deeply critical and unforgiving, others approaching with deep cynicism.

None that I have seen so far analyse her legacy in its true form, that is Brexit and the normalisation of no-deal. This is peculiar, as time again commentators have warned about the effects of attacks on immigrants, for example, since the EU referendum, hate crime has risen sharply.

The EU referendum campaign was deeply divisive, on sovereignty, democracy and immigration, little was said in the leave campaign about how and on what terms we would leave. Correctly so, for the best strategists know that this would have created more fear and less chance of victory. Rather focus on the issues at hand.

Perhaps the remain campaign could have brought this to the table, pressed on whether no deal was a viable solution. Of course the official campaigns denied all such probability. In stepped May as Conservative party leader and prime minister of the United Kingdom.

Shivering with fright about the stance that the EU had taken and the knives that the ERG held, May introduced language such as No Deal is better than a bad deal. Unsurprisingly, she did not believe in this slogan, and later had to retract.

Crucially though, this normalised the idea of no deal, it was given a podium on national television. Frequently ERG members spouted utter nonsense about its economic benefits. Which is the defining lesson, once again those in high public office have neglected the power they hold, the power to normalise absurd ideas. Austerity was politically unsellable once broken down, who would vote for a lower standard of living, but as soon as you engage in the idea that it is for the public interest, and that we are all in it together it becomes mainstream, normalised.

The power of narrative should not be underestimated, yet it consistently is. It will be to catastrophic effects too, where in years subsequent the left will blame Farage et al. for his role in this mess, we will unlikely focus on Theresa May, for she is in the large part complicit, and some would argue the architect.

I take no pleasure in saying that we will not learn, nor do I want to preach that we should be more careful, because it falls on deaf ears. The country needs evaluation and reflection, it needs its institutions to be reformed, instead our main political parties are for better or worse imploding. May will go down as one of the worst PM’s in British history, correctly so, perhaps though, for the incorrect reasons.

Why the Eurovision Song Contest will never be apolitical

 

It’s that time of year again where Europe comes together for the Eurovision Song Contest, an annual singing competition which pits the majority of Europe (and Australia) against each other for the title.

Eurovision is supposed to be a non-political event. Under European Broadcasting Union (EBU) broadcasting rules, the Eurovision Song Contest ‘shall in no case be politicized and/or instrumentalized’. European broadcasters have to ensure that ‘No messages promoting any organization, institution, political cause’ can occur throughout the entire competition. Otherwise, the country faces disqualification.

But how realistic is this? Can Eurovision remain apolitical (or, perhaps, has it ever actually been apolitical?).

As you may or may not know, this year’s Eurovision Song Contest has come under close scrutiny. After Israeli artist Netta won the competition in 2018, many have used the event to voice their outrage against the Israeli government and its treatment of Palestinians.

In January, a number of British figures signed a letter which called for the BBC to cancel the coverage of this year’s contest. Signatories included Vivienne Westwood, Maxine Peake and the band Wolf Alice. In response, Stephen Fry and Sharon Osbourne were two figures to respond, signing a letter which reminded that Eurovision was about the “spirit of togetherness” and stressed that a cultural boycott was “not the answer”.

From this, one must question why there is such a fuss over the coverage of a singing competition.

To begin with, the song contest is a staple European event which has run for over 60 years. Whilst its importance in the UK has deteriorated over the years, its popularity with other European countries has continued to grow, and on average, at least one-quarter of Sweden’s population watch the final each year. With great popularity comes great attention – this is an event which has the eyes of millions across not only Europe, but the world.

But most importantly, whilst the show attempts to avoid any mention of party politics, the show itself is a political statement.

Firstly, this is a show which aims to bring countries together. The competition was established to bring together war-torn Europe in the 1950s – this message of ‘togetherness’ features heavily in each annual theme. That, in itself, contradicts EBU rulings because it is a political statement.

The message of ‘togetherness’ has also engulfed not only nationality, but gender, sexuality and race, which is here we see why Israel has come under criticism. Whilst some argue that Israel is the only country in the Middle East to accept homosexuality, others question how it can be an active member of the EBU when it disregards the recognition of Palestinians.

Acceptance of gender and sexuality has also been at the pinnacle of the show’s history. In 1998, Dana International became the first transgender winner, whilst in 2014, Conchita Wurst became the first drag queen to win the competition. Winning the competition usually comprises of a substantial amount of positive press coverage, a song with an inspiring message, and millions of voters – both emulated the political acceptance of the fluidity of gender and sexuality.

But this does not mean that everyone’s at the same stage of the political spectrum. This year, the semi-finals have already seen controversy for the Belarusian broadcasters. During the vote counting of first semi-final, Dana International performed a cover of Bruno Mars’ ‘Just The Way You Are’, which was accompanied by a kiss-cam that featured members of the crowd. There were a number of gay couples featured kissing in the number, to which the Belarusian presenter went on to hope that the number would “finally find some cool couples”.

Of course, to love is something that we should all have a right to across the world. Yet there are many out there who still politically declare that they are against such values.

Secondly, performances do not mention party politics, but they do make political statements. Armenia entered a song in 2015 named “Face the Shadow”. It featured the lyrics “Don’t deny/Ever don’t deny/Listen don’t deny” in reference to the massacre of 1.5 million Armenians to mark its centenary.

This was followed by Ukraine’s winning entry by Jamala in 2016. Named 1944, it was based on the deportation of the Crimean Tartars by Stalin in the 1940s. In fact, Jamala even told The Guardian that the song reminded her of present day Crimea (which was annexed by Russia in 2014). However, the EBU ruled that the song contained no “political speech”.

And last year, winner Netta described her song as “the awakening of female power and social justice”, whilst the French entry emoted the story of a Nigerian refugee as she went into labour on board a rescue ship.

It seems that entries are starting to become more and more explicit with their messaging. It isn’t known if this will mean the EBU will imply stricter rules based on how influential and how impactful Eurovision entries will get, and as populism increases in many parts of Europe, the urge for entries to send counter-protest songs seems ever more likely.

The Eurovision Song Contest is a fantastic spectacle, bringing people of all walks of life together. But, it will never be possible to ensure that the contest is apolitical. With the show’s openly pro-European stance, alongside the increasing number of discrete, subliminal protest entries, it’s hard to see a future edition of Eurovision which doesn’t feature a political controversy.

Deliver Brexit or stop it- Labour needs to do one and fast

Its safe to say the local elections did not go well for anyone who is even partly involved in delivering Brexit. The Tories at time of writing have lost nearly 1000 councillors while Labour and UKIP both also suffered losses. The winner were the Remain parties. The Liberal Democrats have gained 500 councillors and 10 councils with results still coming in, the Greens had a similarly successful night.

Many party members may want to spin this as a loss for the Tories and not for Labour but its a view that lacks governing ambition. We have made losses on our performance in 2015. In short the party has gone backwards from an election that occurred at the same time that the Tories delivered a majority. This is not the result a so called ‘government in waiting’ should be achieving. Labour need to rethink their strategy and fast. In the European elections they could face further losses.

A party simply should not be losing seats when in opposition. Brexit is plaguing Labour and they need to get it done and dusted so they can get back to their primary message of social justice.

The party has two options: Get a deal sorted with Theresa May and put this mess behind them, or go for a proper 2nd referendum approach. Should they do the latter they can be safe in the European elections, but longer term electoral consequences are more difficult to predict.

However, McDonnell and Corbyn have hinted they may rush to get a soft Brexit deal sorted now, and a Brexit that will not have disastrous economic consequences that they can be held accountable for later down the line. This could end the Brexit debate and get Labour back onto home turf, whether this deal would be their customs union approach or perhaps a softer Brexit resembling the Norway model. The latter model I once believed would be unacceptable to leavers but recently I have discovered this might not be the case.

Labour supporters have been hoping Brexit would destroy the Tories but they should be careful that Labour isn’t collateral damage.

There is some reason to be optimistic. Turnout was very low, which will hinder Labour who rely on younger, poorer voters who are less likely to vote but there is no guarantee voter apathy will decline for future European or general elections.

The EU Referendum: Corruption on a Machiavellian scale

“Everyone sees what you appear to be, few experience what you really are”

Niccolo Machiavelli – ‘The Prince’

Famine, flood, fire, disease, conquer, and other tribulations are found to be among the fortunes that weaken or destroy a nation. Yet, none of these is as great a threat to maintaining an enduring state as corruption.

Albeit, a less often used concept; corruption appears in many different forms, but always as a foil to virtue and aid to fortune. Certainly, there is a form of unparalleled similarity between the “illegal practices” of the Vote Leave campaign and the Machiavellian thought.

It is fitting to think of the most recent revelations from the Electoral Commission’s investigation into campaigning as characterising Brexit as a force that ignited man’s propensity to vice or perversion.

“Whosoever desires constant success must change his conduct with the times”

Niccolo Machiavelli – ‘Republic’

“If politicians think they can walk all over us, then we’re going to march back and tell them they can’t”. This was the rallying cry of Nigel Farage as he signalled the beginning of the ‘Brexit Betrayal March’ in which Leave voters marched close to 300 miles to protest against the government’s failure to deliver Brexit. Yet, in what is undoubtedly a far greater ‘betrayal’ Farage announced that he would not actually be participating in the march.

The sense of false hope evoked by this shock announcement is a fitting metaphor for the lies and deceit that accompanied the referendum campaign: false promises, deception and the ironic dereliction of democracy in an exercise that was supposed to enhance it- allegedly.

But it is not just Farage- the self-appointed phoney ‘representative of the people’ that is at fault. Our own government are complicit in the erosion of UK democracy as we know it. Indeed, underlying the principal issue of the referendum today is not about who ‘won’. Rather, it is the disturbing reality of having to question whether or not a lawful, free and fair vote still remains one of the constitutional requirements of the UK; and whether the end really does justify the means.

The UK’s constitutional requirements include well-established principles which value and seek to preserve the integrity of democracy, including the voting process, as well as lawful decision-making. The right to vote is a fundamental constitutional right. The integrity of the democratic process is one of the common law’s fundamental values which underlie the UK’s constitutional requirements in this case. The principle of legality is a relevant constitutional requirement, in this case, protecting democratic values recognised by the common law and applying principles of constitutionality.

But, facts recently revealed since the Prime Minister exercised her power under Section 1 of the European Union (Notification of Withdrawal) Act 2017 to notify the EU of the UK’s intention to leave show that the 2016 referendum was significantly vitiated by unlawful misconduct. Of particular concern, the Electoral Commission recently found (to the criminal standard of proof) that offences were committed in breach of the legal framework established by Parliament for the referendum.

Vote Leave, the official designated campaign, was found on a standard of beyond reasonable doubt to have committed serious offences, including joint working between the lead campaigner, Vote Leave and another campaign group BeLeave. BeLeave was found to have spent £675,315.18 with Aggregate IQ under a common plan with Vote Leave. This spending should have been declared by Vote Leave. It means Vote Leave exceeded its legal spending limit of £7 million by £449,079, around 6%.

Leave.EU, a registered participant, failed to include at least £77,380 in its spending return, thereby exceeding its spending limit by more than 10%, being fees paid to the company Better for the Country Limited as its campaign organiser.

There is no reasonable doubt then, in logic or reason, that the illegality perpetrated by various ‘Leave’ campaigns disproportionately influenced the outcome of the referendum. In what was heralded by the then Conservative prime minister, David Cameron, as an opportunity to allow the ‘people to have their say on European Union members, the referendum was tainted by significant breaches, amounting to corrupt and illegal practices in electoral law

With the burden of proof having been sufficiently met, one has to ask: why does the prime minister insist on ‘respecting the result of the referendum’. How can the electorate, who are entitled to vote in a free and fair democratic exercise, be expected to respect an outcome that undermines the rule of law?

The term ‘Machiavellian’ is in common usage today, and is usually applied pejoratively in reference politicians. Such reluctance to give attention to the veracity of said illegalities is troubling. That a prime minister, who is now aware that the referendum result was procured by criminal conduct, still proceeds confidently on the basis that 51% of those who voted and 34% of the electorate were in favour of the UK leaving the EU is objectionable. Indeed, Theresa May has placed herself firmly into a Machiavellian dimension: how Brexit was achieved has been overlooked because the focus has been shifted to what has been achieved, namely, that ‘will of the people’ has prevailed- something she urges should be ‘respected’.

Even though Machiavelli acknowledged that appearances are arguably more important than actions, because “everyone sees what you appear to be,” “few experience what you really are,” in the end “the common people are always impressed by appearances and results”. May’s wilful neglect of evidence of illegality in the Referendum will matter more than any posturing before or after it.

By reason of this conduct, and if we are to hold out any hope of salvaging democracy, it must be recognised that it is wrong for the Prime Minister to treat as binding the result of a referendum which, had it been binding, would be void, the result of which may have been affected thereby. Furthermore, to do so is not lawful or in accordance with the UK’s constitutional requirements. Parliament should not be taken to have disapplied principles of legality and constitutionality in conferring the said power on the Prime Minister.

We might consider, then, how often the losers of war are found to be morally questionable, while the victors are seen as above reproach- the notion that history is written by the victors. Ultimately, Brexit leads us to examine the extent to which we are prepared to overlook the dubious machinations of our politicians if the outcome works in our favour.

Bring out your time machines – We’re talking about coal mining.

Cumbria County Council’s ‘Climate Catastrophe’.

In an age when we’re so aware of the threat that climate change poses to our very existence, we continue to make self-defeating decisions regarding our future. Take, for example, Cumbria’s county council unanimously approving the construction of a new deep coal mine. Blinking twice, I realised this wasn’t a dream; this wasn’t a headline from notable satirists such as the Onion. Indeed, I hadn’t hopped through a time vortex to the mid-2050s on my way home. This proposal is an all too real headline, in an era when we are supposed to be reducing our emissions.

The county council, headed by the chair of the meeting, Liberal Democrat councillor Geoffrey Cook, concluded that a short term boost to jobs in the area held greater importance than the adverse effects that this may have on the climate. That’s right, a short-term gain that, ultimately, the long-term loss our planet faces.

But sure. No big deal. It’s not as if the literal fate of our planet hangs in the balance. Why not open more coal mines. Hack down every tree in Cumbria to sell for timber while you’re at it! As long as it doesn’t affect those in power, why bother trying to kerb the processes which are harming the environment?

Why have they approved the plan and what should they have done?

On a serious note, this is an extremely disappointing development. As a Cumbrian myself, I’m disenchanted but not surprised to see the council approve this.

While there is no doubt that Copeland and the surrounding area are in dire need of extra jobs, there are surely more environmentally friendly methods than coal mining? While it is, arguably, positive that the coal generated in the mines won’t be going to burn in factories – rather fund the UK’s dying embers of the steel industry – there is no denying that the council could have considered a more progressive, greener alternative. Indeed, it was calculated by Living Witness that the mine would generate 1.24Mt Co2e, an unholy amount of pollution.

A wind farm, for example, could generate green energy for the surrounding area whilst also generating employment for the local economy. Seeing as how badly Cumbria has been recently plagued by natural disasters (namely floods) you’d think the council would have seen sense and voted against a mine that will undoubtedly exacerbate the issue. But asking a politician to actually put the interests of the people and the environment on which they depend seems a tall order.

What can be done to prevent other such proposals going ahead?

The infuriating blindness of politicians has fuelled the Youth Strikes for Climate and explains why they are gaining momentum. Our world leaders are acting like children, while our world’s children are acting like leaders.

The next “strike” falls in the Easter holidays, so more a protest than a strike, but an important message none the less. Indeed, the actions of Extinction Rebellion reaffirm the urgency required by our leaders to address the climate crisis.

Climate change won’t just, as defence minister Gavin Williamson once remarked about Russia “shut up and go away”, it is a very real threat, and we most definitely have the great minds and the technology to fight back, but, most of all, we just need the right people in power to help us achieve this.

Farage, Mogg and Johnson: The Phoney Defenders of the Working Class

“If politicians think they can walk all over us, then we’re going to march back and tell them they can’t”. These were the invigorating words of Nigel Farage, delivered to the participants of the ‘Brexit Betrayal March’ in which 50 emboldened Leave voters marched 280 miles through wind and rain to protest against our politician’s failure to deliver Brexit. However, in what could be perceived as a much greater betrayal, Farage went on to reveal that he would not actually be joining the march himself; much to the amusement of many on social media.

The image of those 50 protesters labouring on without any recognised leader was a fitting metaphor for one of the greatest lies at the heart of the Brexit process: the belief that Farage, Johnson and Mogg are natural defenders of the working-class.

In supporting a No Deal departure from the EU, they claim to have the best interests of the working class at heart, promising greater sovereignty and economic prosperity; appealing to the patriotic undertones of the British people “going it alone” and delivering the Brexit the people had apparently voted for in the first place.

However, they no doubt have ulterior motives in supporting a No Deal Brexit. For those on the right – ardent supporters of big business and global capitalism – a No Deal Brexit creates the opportunity to convert the UK into a low tax haven in what Paul Butters calls a “bargain basement for business”. It is for this reason they are licking their lips at the possibility of a No Deal; with the prospect of lower corporation tax and less government regulation.

No politician who supports crashing out of the EU can seriously consider themselves a protector of the lower classes when so much evidence has shown a No Deal Brexit will hit the poorest in society hardest. While the likes of Johnson and Farage will evidently be cushioned from increased prices and shortages, the same cannot be said for the millions they claim to be representing. 

Just a quick glance at the voting record of these charlatans tells us all we need to know about their relationship with the working-class. Boris Johnson, an ardent support of grammar schools of which he and many other right-wing politicians were privileged enough to attend, has voted for the bedroom tax, to cut universal credit benefits for people in paid work and has constantly voted to reduce corporation tax for his business chums. As supporters of austerity politics; these politicians have inflicted years of damage on working class communities and fuelled ugly, hate-filled populism.

Having continually voted for policies detrimental to the poorest in society, the fact that Johnson and co. believe they have the moral authority to claim to represent the “ordinary” citizen is absurd. They are very much a part of the establishment they claim to detest:  the image of an embarrassed Farage admitting he did not know how much his private jet to France cost sticks in the mind.

These charlatans know no shame. They will side with the working class so long as it suits their elitist agenda. Brexit has granted them a golden opportunity to appeal to voters who their economic policies would have otherwise alienated. They’ve seen a chance and they’ve taken it. However, it is only a matter of time before there is yet another “betrayal of the people”; as their plot begins to unravel and the gap between the rich and the poor grows ever wider.