When a dramatic event or trauma occurs to a person that fundamentally changes their life or life course, friends and often psychologists will immediately look to what was happening in the person’s life that may have provoked this major change. That’s called looking for context. Over the past 2.5 years, I’ve listened to, read, and watched many pundits and politicians expound on the topic of Brexit, what it means and the reason it came about. Yet not once did I hear any of these ‘experts’ mention the most important aspect of ‘Brexit’: the context in which it came about.
The result of Brexit – supposedly a simple vote on whether the UK should leave the EU – has become the farce it is today for one simple reason: the call for the referendum and the vote itself had, essentially, nothing to do with the UK’s membership of the EU. Instead, the referendum was called by British politicians as a direct result of British political maneuvering, with the incumbent (then and now) Conservative party attempting to consolidate its grip on power in the face of an increasingly popular ‘far right’ UK independence movement that was founded on anti-immigrant sentiment and a desire to leave the EU (primarily to control immigration). The vote itself by the British people hinged on that same issue: immigration, or more specifically, immigration to the UK from Muslim countries, understood as being facilitated (or mandated) by the EU.
But why was immigration a sufficiently hot topic in the UK to provoke such a political calamity?
The 2011 NATO bombing and destruction of Libya and the Western-backed jihadist war in Syria aimed at overthrowing the Syrian government for clear geopolitical reasons, produced a spike in the number of refugees arriving in Europe over the following years. This was on top of an existing exodus of refugees from Afghanistan and Iraq, two countries that the USA had been bombing and occupying since 2002/3.
By the time the Brexit vote was held in 2016, the US/Western-led ‘war on terror’ was in its 15th year. This is a war that the vast majority of people in Western nations understand as a war on ‘Muslim terror’, for obvious reasons (the 9/11 attacks were carried out by Muslims). During those 15 years, multiple major ‘Muslim terror attacks’ on European and US soil served to confirm to many people in Western nations that radical Islamists were indeed intent on attacking and killing as many ‘Westerners’ as possible. This perception was dramatically strengthened after 2013/4 when ‘ISIS’ appeared on the public radar with high quality videos of ‘infidels’ being beheaded, burned alive, drowned or thrown off buildings.
The Western press, ever dutiful to its job of spooking informing the public, enthusiastically reported on ISIS’ horrific exploits. By the end of 2015, the same press was widely reporting that ISIS was smuggling its members among refugees arriving in Europe. As if to prove the truth of this claim, 2015 saw more horrific ‘Muslim terror attacks’ in France, the UK and the USA, with many more high profile ‘terror plots’ foiled in many countries. In addition, almost daily reports streamed in describing ISIS’ ongoing rampage across Syria and Iraq and their plan to establish a ‘caliphate’ that would stretch into Western Europe.
So the Western imperialist designs on Middle Eastern and North African countries (including support for the very terrorists the West claimed to be at war with) helped to create both the terror armies that have been carrying out attacks on European soil and the refugee flows that the Western public understands as being used by terror armies to gain access to European countries to carry out the attacks. Strangely enough however, when many people in Western nations responded to this situation with the rational (based on the information they had) demand that immigration be controlled, they were, and are, accused of being Islamophobes, fascists and Nazis. A better and more pernicious example of gaslighting would be hard to find.
In the midst of this mayhem and crass manipulation of the public mind, at the May 2012 NATO summit meeting, then UK Prime Minister David Cameron, Foreign Secretary William Hague and Chief of Staff Ed Llewellyn discussed the idea of using a European Union referendum to prevent the growing ‘Eurosceptic’ wing of the Conservative Party from ‘defecting’ to the anti-immigration UK Independence Party (UKIP). In January 2013 Cameron promised that if the Conservatives were to win a parliamentary majority at the 2015 general election, the British government would negotiate more favourable arrangements for continuing British membership of the EU, and then hold a referendum on whether the UK should remain in or leave the EU. Cameron’s fears that UKIP could eventually eclipse the Conservative party if he did not pander to growing anti-immigrant (and therefore anti-EU) sentiment in the UK were well-founded. At the 2014 European Parliament election, UKIP secured more votes and more seats than any other party, the first time a party other than the Conservatives or Labour had topped a nationwide poll in 108 years, leaving the Conservatives in third place.
Cameron’s promise of an EU referendum had the desired effect with the Conservatives winning the 2015 general election decisively and enjoying a majority government, after which Cameron reiterated his commitment to holding the referendum before the end of 2017, but only after “negotiating a new settlement for Britain in the EU”. Over the next 12 months however, Cameron was unable to significantly renegotiate the UK’s relationship with the EU (specifically on the topic of controlling immigration of course) and the ‘Brexit’ referendum was held on June 23rd 2016.
Cameron (who had campaigned to remain in the EU) was apparently so confident that the British people would not vote to leave the EU that he offered to resign if a ‘yes’ vote prevailed. When the ‘yes’ vote won, and after his resignation, Cameron claimed that “he could have avoided Brexit had European leaders let him control migration“. Her majesty, the queen of the EU, Angela Merkel, said however that if the UK wished to have free access to the single market then “you have to accept the fundamental European rights as well as obligations that come from it.”
Interestingly, one week before the referendum was held, a memorable ‘terror attack’ occurred that introduced a new (if latent) element to the horribly confused civil discourse. Thomas Mair, a 52-year-old white nationalist, shot and stabbed the MP Jo Cox outside a surgery in Birstall, West Yorkshire, and severely wounded a passerby who came to her aid. The attack was treated as an act of terrorism, and in sentencing Mair the judge said, “There is no doubt that this murder was done for the purpose of advancing a political, racial and ideological cause namely that of violent white supremacism and exclusive nationalism most associated with Nazism and its modern forms“.
Throughout this same year of 2016, ‘Islamic’ terror attacks reached new heights with Germany, for one example, experiencing seven attacks that left 22 people dead.
After Cameron resigned, Theresa May was voted in as Conservative Party leader and became Prime Minister. While a supporter of the ‘remain’ campaign herself, she nevertheless took up the Brexit mantle declaring that there would be no second referendum: “the campaign was fought… and the public gave their verdict. There must be no attempts to remain inside the EU, no attempts to rejoin it through the back door… Brexit means Brexit”.
Less than a year after assuming office, May believed that she needed to “strengthen her hand” for the Brexit negotiations and called a snap general election in June 2017. This proved to be a very bad idea, because even with the ‘galvanizing effect’ of the Westminster Islamic terror attack on March 22nd where a 52-year-old Islamist drove a car into pedestrians on Westminster Bridge, killing four and injuring almost fifty and then fatally stabbing a police officer, and the Muslim terror bombing at the Ariana Grande concert in Manchester just two weeks before the election – which killed 23 people and injured 169 others, half of them children – May’s Conservative party lost 13 seats, mostly to the Labour Party (which gained 30 seats). This result had more to do with a high overall turnout (the highest since 1997) among ‘remain’ voters and the popularity of the Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn than a reduction in overall support for Brexit. Interestingly, the anti-immigrant party UKIP saw its support wiped out. Job done for the Conservatives.
In the 18 months since the general election, the fact that it is economically impossible for the UK to just ‘leave’ the EU has slowly been made clear to many of those who voted to leave on the basis of stopping immigration and the terror attacks that immigration supposedly facilitates. The EU is, after all, not just a single market of people but of goods, services and capital, and the British economy is far more dependent on the goods, services and capital part than it is on the people part. This, and the fact that no EU state can cherry-pick the conditions of its membership is, apparently, only now dawning on the great British public. Of course, this was well known to the political elite when Cameron proposed the Brexit referendum and when it took place. But as noted, the decision to offer a vote on “stay or leave” to the British people was about political maneuvering rather than a genuine desire to allow the people to decide on a fundamental aspect of the British state (heaven forbid!). But when it came to the vote, the British people, in all their wisdom, voted in line with the propaganda to which they had been subject for the previous 16 years: ‘Muslims are terrorists and are killing us. Muslims have free access to the UK as a result of our EU membership. Let’s leave the EU. Economics? What economics?’
Some might think it a strange twist of fate that British authorities that were complicit in creating the ‘Muslim terror threat’ but in no way wanted the UK to leave the EU were hoisted on their own petard when the British people voted to leave the EU largely because of the ‘Muslim terror threat’. To me, it sounds more like fecklessness and wishful thinking on the part of an increasingly delusional and ‘off the leash’ political elite.
This is, in essence, the reason why Brexit is such a farce and why British politicians have spent the last 2.5 years attempting to find a way to convince the British people that they are getting a ‘Brexit’ while keeping the UK in the EU. From the very beginning it was based on both the emotional manipulation of the British public and the personal power interests of British politicians. Naturally, no one wants to mention this glaring truth.
Currently, British politicians are united on at least one thing: a ‘no deal’ Brexit is NOT an option. Ironically, this is essentially what the majority of British people, in their ignorance and insecurity, thought they could have, and voted for: just ‘leaving’ the EU. Theresa May has a ‘draft withdrawal agreement’ with the EU that does not deliver what a majority of the British people voted for in the referendum: control over immigration. May’s agreement is, in essence, Brexit in name only. Nevertheless, May is planning to bring the agreement to Parliament next month for a vote. If it is voted down, May warns that this would lead to a ‘no deal’ Brexit (the UK simply ‘leaving’ the EU and the likely collapse of the UK economy). But today, May’s work and pensions secretary, Amber Rudd, dared to speak the truth and said that if the agreement is voted down, ‘no Brexit’ at all is more likely. Ironically (or idiotically), this is what the British establishment has been seeking all along.
As an example of the extent to which the British establishment is willing to go to ensure that their ‘phony Brexit’ agreement is approved, an article in this week’s Sunday Times, claimed that “Ministers” have discussed a plan to force Parliament’s hand: “No 10’s plan is to encourage a crash in financial markets after losing a first vote in the hope this stampedes MPs into voting for it second time“.
Did I mention that ‘Brexit’ is a farce?