British Brexit opponents interviewed


This 21 March 2019 musical parody video from Britain is called The Wheatles – A May in the Life. It is a parody of the Beatles song A Day in the Life. ‘Wheatles’ is an allusion to British Conservative Prime Minister Theresa May answering the question of what was the naughtiest thing she had ever done with: I ran through wheat fields.

The video says about itself:

A May in the Life

You love her wacky antics, but what is it like to actually *be* Theresa May?

Find out on The Wheatles’ epic new single “A May in the Life”, a descent into madness par Brexcellence.

LYRICS:

I read the news today, oh boy
The House of Commons voted down my deal
Although the news was rather sad
I had to try again
Let’s say best out of ten
They shot my deal down in a vote
They hadn’t noticed my red lines had changed
(Because they hadn’t)
A crowd of people stood and stared
They’d seen that face before
The one I made when Michael Crick was grilling me on Channel 4

I saw a film today, oh boy
The English army had just won the war
A million British people died
But it was basically fine
As it will be this time
I’d love to power down

Switched on, got out of bed
Ate some normal human bread
Got [her husband] Philip to do the washing up
And looking up, I noticed I was late
Found my coat and grabbed my script
Had the speech memory-chipped
Found my way onset and blamed MPs
Got it done without a single cough or wheeze

I read the news today, oh boy
Four thousand holes in Blackburn, Lancashire
An inevitable consequence of poor road maintenance
From local council cuts
And general neglect from having to deal with Brexit all the time
I’d love to power down

From the World Socialist Web Site in England:

Reporters for the World Socialist Web Site spoke to demonstrators at Saturday’s anti-Brexit protest in London. They explained the social and political concerns that brought them to support the demand for a second referendum.

Officially, the demonstration was not against Brexit. Organisers said that pro-Brexit voters were also disgusted by the way Theresa May’s Conservative government mishandled Brexit. They might want another referendum and were welcome at the protest.

However, suppose that in a second referendum, Leave would win again? That would be a gift to hardline Conservative politicians like Boris Johnson.

And, suppose that in a second referendum, Remain would win with a small margin: would pro-Remain politicians like Tony Blair then be willing to have a third referendum? Or would they want a third referendum only if the second referendum would have been a Leave victory again?

The record of the European Union in respecting referendum results is not that democratic. In 2005, the electorates of both France and the Netherlands voted, not on whether or not European Union membership, but on a draft European Union constitution. The draft, written by controversial right-wing French ex-President Giscard d’Estaing, made capitalism and militarism sacrosanct (eg, the constitution of the USA does neither). The referendum in the Netherlands had been called by establishment pro-European Union forces, who were very surprised when two thirds of the electorate voted otherwise. The European Union reacted to the referendum defeats by replacing the draft constitution with the Lisbon Treaty, with basically the same content.

There was a referendum on the Lisbon Treaty only in Ireland, where it was mandatory. Irish voters voted No. Then, under the establishment’s slogan, ‘Keep them voting until they vote our way‘, there came another referendum about the same Lisbon treaty (changed microscopically). A majority then voted Yes, as the establishment desired. A third referendum never came.

In 2016, there was a referendum for the second time ever in the Netherlands. Again, not on whether or not European Union membership. It was about the draft economic and military treaty between the European Union and the right-wing Ukrainian government. The referendum was the initiative of a committee which said they were neither pro- nor anti-treaty, they only wanted a people’s vote on it. Again, two-thirds of the Dutch electorate voted NO, to the anger of the government and the establishment. The government made sure the people’s vote did not have a practical effect.

In 2018, the new right-wing Dutch government decided they had enough of defeats in referendums. They decided to abolish referendums. Just before that plan became law, they suffered a third defeat. Progressive university students had collected enough signatures for a referendum on plans to give secret services more power for Big Brother spying on all people. The referendum electorate said No to the Big Brother plan. But the government still made it law.

The London article continues:

Haleh, a school teacher from Kent, said, “Brexit is a shambles. It will affect so many people in many ways. The economy is going down. House prices have already dropped and that is a big indicator of something very serious.

“Of course, Europe is not perfect, but before we had a say.

That is, the Conservative governments of Cameron and May had a say.

Now we are in a weaker position. Now we have parties of the far right trying to steal our futures. I am British but what is happening is that this is being hijacked by such as the British National Party and [former UK Independence Party leader] Nigel Farage. They are xenophobes. Immigrants are not leeches on society. They all work hard and are the reason why society ticks. It is a Nazi type of ideology. …

“It will affect education a lot. There are lots of schools who have European students who are now in limbo. I’ve got colleagues from Europe who are waiting to see what to do with their passports. It is heart-breaking.

“[Tory MP and leading Brexiteer] Boris Johnson doesn’t give a damn about the rest of us. He comes from a very elite background. He doesn’t have any understanding of reality of what people’s lives are like. He has never done a day’s hard work in his life. How can he relate to a factory worker who tomorrow won’t have bread and butter on the table?

“If we don’t stop it, I’m worried about my children. I came from Iran after the revolution [in 1979]. I have taught thousands of children here. What right has the BNP and the far right to scapegoat me?

“Look at who wants Brexit. The first one to support Brexit was [US President Donald] Trump. Trump’s interest is zero sum, that means my gain, your loss. He wants everyone else destroyed. …

“I feel completely lost [politically]. I normally support Labour but I have voted Green.” …

Susana came to the demonstration with friends Bethany, Rachel and Pixie. “My parents are Portuguese. They have created a life here, they could be deported”, she said.

Pixie said, “I’m half French and still want to be part of Europe.”

Her girlfriend Bethany said, “A lot of people didn’t vote in the 2016 referendum. … Brexit was a protest vote. … The governments bomb other countries and wonder why people are fleeing to Europe. I don’t support the wars.”

Susana, Bethany, Rachel and Pixie

Speaking about the rise of the far right, Rachel said, “We’re going back in time. Look what happened in New Zealand [with 51 dead after the rampage by a fascist in Christchurch]. Look at America.”

Connor said, “The government is a shambles, we’re a worldwide laughing-stock now. The rest of the world can’t possibly contemplate how badly we’re dealing with the Brexit fallout.

Sally said, “I am here because I’ve got a Greek husband. I’ve spent 10 years working abroad and some of my pension is in France and Greece. …

I am surprised that Greece is still in the European Union after what has happened … My mother-in-law moved her money from Greece into England, thinking it was a safer place. But that was a bad move. …

“For me, when I was brought up, the idea of joining the EU and being able to work all over Europe freely was a good one. But I was mis-sold on it, in that I was given to imagine that if I paid my social security anywhere in Europe, I would then be able to draw it when I left for the full amount of years that I had worked.

“But that isn’t how it’s worked out. You can draw your pension, but only what you’ve built up in Britain. I worked for five years in the French Alps and five years on the Greek islands. I’ve got pension credits built up in different countries. If we leave the EU all that money that I have paid in will be lost.”

Ali, a young man in his 30s of British-Pakistan origin, is unemployed. He said that being Asian, he was worried about Operation Yellowhammer being implemented and further surveillance of the population by the government.

The rise of far-right ideology is making Islamophobia and racism more acceptable, he feared. … “It’s become global, it’s frightening. Unfortunately, they are using Islam and anti-immigration as a bogeyman. They are using fake stories to besmirch the good name of refugees.

“I’m a big fan of the Greens. The wealthy elite are contributing to the damage being done, because of capitalism and climate change. I’ve noticed a lot of younger people coming out to vote, against climate change. …

On Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, Ali said, “He hasn’t pushed enough. … A lot of Labour are Blairites, proud to be corporate. They’re going to shift people to the right.”

This 13 March 2019 musical video from Britain, a parody of the Weezer song Buddy Holly, says about itself:

Theweezer May – Bloody Folly (lyric video)

Theresa May’s Weezer tribute band respond to her deal losing a second vote.

LYRICS:

What’s with these MPs dissing my deal?
Why do they gotta front?
What did I ever do to these guys
To make them so disobedient?

EU! Please no single market
EU! Customs union? Fuck it
EU! These are my red lines

Oo-ee-oo, turns out that was bloody folly
Oh-oh, now there’s no deal any more
Could it be this is the end of Theresa May
And what the hell is GATT?

By Robert Stevens in Britain, 25 March 2019:

That there has been a shift to support for staying in the EU is hardly surprising, given that the whole process of leaving the bloc has been an unmitigated disaster since the June 2016 referendum vote.

Saturday’s rally was held just six days before the UK was scheduled to leave the EU. However, due to the May government being unable to get support in Parliament for the deal she finalised with the EU in November, EU leaders were forced to grant May more time—allowing her a delay of Brexit to May 22, but on the proviso that she passes her deal in Parliament this week. If not, May has only until April 12 to propose a solution.

Brexit is favoured by the faction of the bourgeoise that sees Britain’s geostrategic interests best served by becoming a free-trading, deregulated powerhouse allied to the United States … .

In response, a central feature of the pro-Remain campaign is its cultivation of an “EU patriotism” and insistence that the UK’s own national interest is bound up with being part of the world’s largest trade bloc, under conditions of growing inter-imperialist trade and military antagonisms.

This has had its impact, with many in the demonstration coming with their faces painted in blue with EU stars and wearing EU flags as capes. However, the vast majority came on the basis of a broad range of concerns, often of a progressive character, including opposition to anti-migrant policies and the growth of the far right.

Millions are fearful of Brexit’s impact on the economy and their jobs and the dwindling opportunities for the next generation—particularly due to the ending of the free movement of labour that comes with Brexit, on which many youth rely for employment.

These sentiments have been exploited to the hilt by the political reactionaries leading the Remain coalition …

Among the Tories speaking were Dominic Grieve and Michael Heseltine, the Thatcherite wheeled in to perform the role of “elder statesman.” Anna Soubry, who defected from the Tories last month along with two other Tory MPs to join seven Blairites in setting up a new parliamentary faction, The Independent Group, also spoke. Addressing the crowd were Blairites, including … Jess Phillips

A featured speaker in Parliament Square was Tom Watson, Labour’s deputy leader, who utilised the occasion to launch a de facto leadership bid. Watson broke ranks with the decision by party leader Jeremy Corbyn for Labour not to officially back the demonstration and support, at this stage, the call for an immediate second referendum. …

Watson did not go far enough, however, and was booed by sections of the crowd for stating rhetorically to May, “I’ll support your deal through Parliament, or a tweaked deal if you’ll work with my party. But I will only let a deal through if you let the people vote on it too.”

Earlier in the day, pseudo-left groups organised in the Another Europe is Possible campaign assembled in a sub-demonstration. They made a collective feint of opposition to the worst “excesses” of the EU—its imposition of poverty and misery on millions by inflicting savage austerity measures and the murder of thousands of refugees by transforming the continent into a “Fortress Europe”. But all this amounted to was the amorphous slogan, “Remain and Transform”. Nowhere did they explain what the capitalist EU and its Fortress Europe was to be transformed into and by whom.

Faced with the reality of the pro-EU movement led by some of the most right-wing political forces in Britain, Socialist Resistance, the British section of the Pabloite United Secretariat of the Fourth International, proclaimed, “It’s irrelevant that many of its main organisers are Labour and Tory sworn enemies of the Corbyn leadership. When hundreds of thousands of people take to the streets, events run beyond the control of schemers like [Tony Blair’s former advisers] Peter Mandelson and Alistair Campbell.” …

Such is the existential crisis facing British imperialism that over the next days and weeks, any number of further destabilising events could transpire—including the removal of May, crashing out of the EU in a hard Brexit, the suspension of Article 50, a second referendum and possibly even a second snap general election. But without the working class being able to intervene under a leadership and based upon a programme that articulates its independent interests, right-wing forces on both sides of the Brexit divide will continue to dictate political events. …

The Socialist Equality Party was the only political party at the rally advancing a perspective for the political independence of the working class. Its statement, Answer Brexit with the struggle for socialism throughout Europe!, warned:

“The greatest political danger is that Brexit is being deliberately used by the ruling class and its media to drive a wedge deep into the working class, subordinating workers to contending right-wing capitalist factions and preventing the necessary unified struggle against the common class enemy.

“The Socialist Equality Party (SEP) calls for a conscious political rejection of such well-practiced attempts to divide-and-conquer. But this can only be done by repudiating any and all perspectives based upon capitalism and taking up the struggle for socialism.”

1 thought on “British Brexit opponents interviewed

  1. Pingback: Theresa May gone, other British Conservatives should follow | Dear Kitty. Some blog

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