David Cameron announces his resignation as Prime Minister in the wake of the UK vote on EU membership.24 June 2016. Wikicommons/ Tom Evans. Some rights reserved.
As part of our Looking at Lexit series, we’ll be asking left-wing Brexit voters about their reasons for voting Leave. Our second “Everyday Lexiter” is Niall, a 50 year-old Glaswegian running a social enterprise.
1. Describe your political outlook/background/loyalties.
Traditional celtic lefty with a strong belief in ‘from each according to their means to each according to their needs’ with an emphasis that everyone, no matter their needs is expected to also make a contribution. My socialism considers public sector mandarins to be on the same side as the capitalist elite and that genuine accountability needs to be as local as possible.
1.2 Describe, in two or three sentences, your political utopia: what would your ideal community look like, and how would it function?
Everyone should make a valued contribution to their community in accordance with their abilities and everyone should be supported by their community in accordance with their real needs. Accountability is held at as local a level as possible. People are entitled to use their talents and effort to gain advancement and wealth but must be regulated to avoid exploitation. Society should value fairness and appreciate tax as a means of creating happiness. The class that a person inherits should not be the defining factor in their capacity to accumulate wealth and power.
2. What was your main reason for voting for Brexit? Do you remain happy with your decision?
I experience the EU’s primary objective as the facilitation of global capitalism. The labour laws, regulation and social ‘development’ policies of the EU, while on the face of it progressive, were shown to be a façade by the EU response to Greece, Ireland, Portugal and Spain when the financial crash happened. Essentially I feel that wealth, power and influence were increasingly being concentrated in the hands of big business, big finance, big politics and big bureaucracy.
3. Were you influenced by any politicians? Friends, family, colleagues?
Definitely not, I found the politicians on both sides of the argument nothing short of disgusting and the framing of the debate as appalling. Family and friends were universally remainers, largely in reaction to the racism and Brit nationalism of the Brexit campaign. They all felt uneasy about my arguments and while they could agree with many of my criticisms of the EU they felt obliged to vote remain.
4. How do you feel a Labour-led Brexit would differ from a Tory one?
Not sure, I no longer trust the Labour party as a result of the fact that, when in power, they sided with the rich and powerful and were apparently content for everyone else to get by on credit and welfare. No matter who is leading Brexit, I think that we need to expect and prepare for any deal with the EU to be difficult as the EU elites have a huge investment in Brexit being a failure. We should therefore anticipate fiscal contraction and use it as an opportunity to empower communities to take more responsibility for their wealth, welfare and well-being.
5. How do you see the UK in five years’ time? How do you see Europe?
I hope and expect that the UK will be more federal, if there has not been Scottish independence. I expect that its international status will have declined and that we can use our strengths and talents to serve our communities rather than being obsessed with projecting power.
I don’t believe that the EU is sustainable in the long term but do expect it to be resilient in the short and medium terms. Without fundamental, cataclysmic change then the imbalance between the rich north and poor south will continue to grow, leading to increasing resentment.
6. On that note – how did you vote in the Scottish independence referendum?
I was an initial no voter as I despise nationalism, however I became a yes voter as the indyref campaign went on. The independence vision being put forward was politically progressive and fundamentally civic rather than tribal. I would definitely support a much more federal structure with as much power being devolved as possible.
7. What would have to change about the EU, or the UK’s relationship with the EU, for you to support continued or renewed membership?
Whatever I say to this question would be unrealistic and sound naïve. It is in the nature of organisations that power becomes concentrated in the hands of a few and they are unlikely to agree to reforms which would make subsidiarity genuinely meaningful as evidenced by the contradictions within the Maastricht treaty; reasserting the rights of member states while creating economic and monetary union. How did that work out for the Greeks?