“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.