Brexit rocks politics and unleashes multiple crises

EDITORIAL by Ken Ferguson • The victory for Brexit in the European referendum has unleashed a multiplicity of crises which poses the greatest threat to Westminster system since the Second World War. In the space of a week, Prime Minister Cameron has gone, Chancellor Osborne has forgone leadership ambitions and the UK government moves inexorably into the hands of the hard right, irrespective of who heads it up.

‘WITHOUT A SHOT BEING FIRED’: Farage’s racist poster was unveiled hours before Labour MP Jo Cox was gunned down by a man with links to far-right organisations

On the Labour benches, the anti-Corbyn majority of Labour MPs never accepted his leadership and are now in open and potentially suicidal revolt.

Osborne has already warned that even more severe austerity will inevitably follow in the wake of the new Prime Minister as billions are committed to reassure the financiers, prop up the banks and deal with fall out of the crisis engineered by the very forces set to take over in Downing Street.

During the campaign much was made of the vicious “blue on blue” attacks which saw leading Tories savage each other and much ink spilt on how this would destroy the Tory party as a serious contender for power.

Sadly this is—like much such speculation—based on Westminster rumour and a rather shallow reading of recent history.

Older Voice readers will have first hand experience of the Thatcher era while all will no doubt be aware of the historic, brutal politics that she and her era represent. For Tories of the time and indeed for many now she was and remains a figure of near mythical status.

Yet despite having defeated the Argentinians in the Falklands and the miners at home when the Poll Tax crisis hit the Tories removed her in a ten-day coup in November 1990 sparking that famous picture of her leaving Downing Street weeping in her limousine.

That a Tory Colossus could be toppled underlines the truth that the Tories are one of the oldest, most experienced and ruthless ruling class forces on the planet with remarkable powers of recovery and unity in defence of their class. Two years after Thatcher’s downfall and amidst bitter splits on Europe led by the insipid John Major, they won the election.

Now we face the prospect of the installation of a hard right led Tory administration in September with leading candidates distancing themselves from ideas of an early election raising the prospect of years of further austerity, attacks on living standards and sweeping cuts.

What might have been a golden opportunity for Labour to put an alternative offer to voters has instead proved a trigger to justify the long anticipated coup by what are essentially right wing and centrist MPs who always refused to accept the result of Corbyn’s victory.

Now, like turkeys voting for an early Christmas, they have plunged Labour into a vortex of chaos which may result not just in the destruction of both sides in Westminster but could reduce Labour to a rump across England and Wales.

That this means a further rightward dominance of Westminster politics based—as was the Thatcher counter revolution—on an electoral system which delivers unfettered power on a minority of voters once again poses the central question of Scottish politics that of democracy and the national question.

While the EU and Scotland’s relationship with it is the question dominating the headlines today the consequence of that hard right government on jobs, living standards, the NHS and many other questions will increasingly play into the debate in the run up to any Indyref2.

The Voice and the SSP have consistently argued that for democracy, social progress and a Scotland putting people and planet first independence is essential and in that context a second Indyref is to be welcomed but it will require a broader base and greater vision than simply defence of the EU if it to be won.

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