- Brexit is largely a right wing creation.
- It has some left wing supporters (whose arguments for it completely contradict the right wing arguments!)
The (extreme) right wing advocates of Brexit refer to “Brussels red tape” and unnecessary rules without specifying exactly which ones they mean.
- They want to eliminate health and safety, environmental protection and workers’ rights laws because they regard all of these as restrictions on their business profits.
- Their campaign was funded by the likes of vulture capitalists and others who profit from chaos.
- All of these people are already extremely wealthy and Brexit will allow them to make even more money at the expense of ordinary people.
- Many of them have their wealth hidden away from the UK and European tax authorities and see Brexit as a way of keeping things that way.
- See www.badboysofbrexit.com for a fuller list of who funded Brexit, who supports it and why. The people involved ARE the very “global elite” who they claim to be fighting for Brexit to strike back against on behalf of ordinary people.
- Brexit will only benefit the ultra rich - it will not benefit ordinary people.
Brexit is largely, but not exclusively, a creature of the Tory right wing. The Tory Right believes in the “small state” - that the government should not interfere in markets or other sectors of the country and that government-run operations should be farmed out to private contractors or outright privatised as much as possible. The May government is comprised largely of very right wing politicians and this is why Theresa May is so determined to press ahead with Brexit despite the overwhelming evidence that it is a bad idea. The “small state” ideology of the right wing politicians currently in power is behind much of the drive for Brexit - the Tory Right hates the EU because the EU regulates (in fields such as workers’ rights and environmental protections) and they believe that governments should not intervene in these areas - partly because the Right considers this an impediment to making money and business profit. This mantra that “regulation is bad, deregulation is good, the EU regulates therefore the EU is bad” is why the Right continually complains about “Brussels red tape” and “EU bureaucracy” - a similar phenomenon was what sowed the seeds of the Grenfell Tower fire disaster in that the Right continually pushed for slacker safety standards and sprinkler systems weren’t fitted to the building because the cost was “too high”. Right wing politicians like to talk about “bonfires of red tape once we leave the EU” but when questioned they never specify exactly what they mean. This is because the “red tape” they want to cut is what gives us, as members of the EU, good clean beaches, the highest food safety standards in the world, the right to a minimum of four weeks’ paid annual leave from work and other protections. Domestic UK legislation may currently exceed these levels (six weeks’ annual leave for example) but the key point is that EU law provides a floor below which member states may not sink rather than a ceiling above which they may not rise. Given recent refusals by MPs to incorporate basic protections such as the sentience of animals or the fundamental charter of human rights into UK law, we should fully expect the Right to push for removal of these other protections if we leave the EU.
The main political impetus for Brexit comes from the Right, however there are a small number of those on the (far) Left of UK politics who advocate leaving - these are the Lexiters (left wing Brexiters). They mainly (and incorrectly) perceive the EU as a tool for corporations to exploit workers and their arguments are throughly deconstructed in a recent paper by leading Labour figures. [Link to recent paper on Lexit]. It’s worth noting that the Lexiter reasons for leaving the EU directly contradict the “conventional” reasons (i.e. those of the Right) and both sides literally cannot be correct. But then logic and rational assessment of the evidence were and continue to be somewhat peripheral to the case for leaving the EU.
Other political figures supporting Brexit are even more extreme. Nigel Farage was too right wing even for the Tory party and was reported by his former school for alleged fascist tendencies. Farage has links to extreme right wing figures in US circles including Steve Bannon, the former editor of the “alt right” website Breitbart. As a former city metals trader and attendee of a private school, Farage is the epitome of the “liberal metropolitan elite” that he claims to despise and be fighting against to secure Brexit “for the little guy”. His actual motivations are a more extreme form of small-stateism coupled with a distinct whiff of corruption (he was forced to pay back a portion of his salary by the European Parliament after it was found he wrongly claimed expenses) and Russian influence.
Mixed with these unsavoury political characters who in their very mildest incarnations regard health and safety legislation and the like as an unnecessary impediment to profit, are a motley crew of climate change deniers and ultra-rich “vulture capitalists”. All of these share a common dislike of the EU: the EU champions global action on climate change, the EU intends clamping down on “tax havens” where the ultra wealthy hide their millions or launder wealth through mazes of opaque offshore companies. The vulture capitalists made their wealth by speculating against businesses and countries in trouble and swooping in to hoover up the assets of these distressed entities on the cheap - with the aim usually of stripping them and selling the pieces on at a profit with little thought for the employees and the human stories created by their actions.
It is this distasteful combination of actors, all with the common goal of enriching themselves at the expense of others, who have successfully persuaded a slim majority of the British electorate to vote for the proposition of leaving the EU even though that act has caused and will continue to cause that same electorate considerable harm. Molly Scott Cato MEP has written an informative website which details the motivations of the unsavoury band of people who came together to persuade the British electorate to vote for the damaging act of Brexit.