No-deal Brexit and ‘acting as if’


I’m sure someone like Zizek would have something of interest to say about the government’s almost certainly ill-fated pretence that they are serious about leaving the EU without a deal. It may go something like this: the purported audience for the no-deal charade is the EU leadership. (I think threatening them to renegotiate might be what linguists call the illocutionary force.) However, as John Harris has reported here, the actual (unintended) audience for the no-deal rhetoric is lots of angry people across the UK who voted to leave but who no longer trust anything the liberal media tells them*. (That’s the perlocutionary effect.) They now believe that no-deal is not just a plausible but a desirable option, and are immune to any appeal based on pointing out that their desire to get Brexit over with so we can all get on with our lives will make it impossible to get on with our lives. Major companies are also putting contingency plans together, including, one can only assume, sacking all their UK staff, despite Philip Hapless Hammond having phoned them up last week to tell them it was all a big massive jape. This plays straight into the hands of the full-on ideological psychopaths who never actually wanted Brexit to ‘work’, but who see it as an excellent means to create chaos, seize power and implement their Pol Pot-esque Shock Doctrine agenda: Farage, Raab, Cummings, Rees-Mogg and so on. (You could also add to that list certain power-crazed sociopaths who genuinely do not give a fuck what happens as long as they stand a chance of becoming PM – no need to name names on that score.)

In recovery fellowships they talk about ‘acting as if’: pretend that you’re an emotionally healthy person who doesn’t need a drink to get out of bed, and eventually, one day at a time, you will be. In various other fables, the wind suddenly backfires and the wolf mask you only ever donned for a lark is stuck to your face for good, and so on. Or, in the more deftly-chosen words of Kurt Vonnegut, “we are what we pretend to be, so we must be careful about what we pretend to be”. Ultimately, once the government has stopped absolutely wasting everyone’s fucking time, the country will end up doing whatever suits the interests and prejudices of Rupert Murdoch and his friend Steve Bannon, although in this case it will, bizarrely, be the SWP and the Morning Star wot believe they won it. The question of whether Prime Minister Rees-Mogg will end austerity overnight and appoint George Galloway Minister for Catsuits first thing in the morning is, at this point, moot. (I’d imagine he’ll probably enjoy a leisurely breakfast of duck-eggs-on-soldiers served up by “nanny”, surveying his legoland country estate, as the rest of the country starts to riot and starve to death.) But the pro-Brexit Left certainly deserves some sort of reward, because if it hadn’t been for the feinted left hook that was the ‘Lexit’ campaign, the hard right wouldn’t have been nearly as successful as it has been in implementing what is basically a slow-motion coup au visage de la démocratie, the eventual outcome of which will lie somewhere between Pinochet 1973 and Johnson 2005.

As for Corbyn, his party’s manoeuvres to stave off a nightmare Brexit are welcome, but if Labour had started much earlier on demolishing the case against a no-deal outcome, it might have stood much more of a chance of success. Right now he’s going against the tide – starting today’s PMQs by mentioning Holocaust Memorial Day is bound to be greeted in some quarters with fears that he might, heaven forfend, upset the far-right….

*Although of course they’re happy to take as gospel any old shit Russia Today posts on their Facebook feeds, and as for The Sun, well it’s the Sun innit.



Although this site has been going for over a year, I’ve never made a single penny, cent or centesimo out of it. It contains no advertising and never will. That doesn’t mean I haven’t tried to take advantage of the merchandising opportunities its partial success has afforded, but sadly no one went for the mugs.

No matter. Onwards and upwards. Undaunted by business failure, unwilling to accept defeat in the face of commercial indifference, I reckon I’ve spotted another massive gap in the market, and here it is: it’s undeniable that those of us on the left who opposed it have been proven wrong about the Brexit/Lexit project. The negative projections of the so-called experts were way off the mark, and the negotiations with the EU are going swimmingly, particularly around the question of the Irish border. The planning and preparation conducted by our elected representatives has been exemplary, and revelation after revelation has confirmed to those of us who were cynical and/or naive to suspect otherwise that the referendum itself was carried out under conditions of utmost reputability, free of manipulation by foreign powers or nefarious private interests. As for the issue of EU citizens in the UK, those who are still here are regularly reported to be delighted with the transparency and above-boardedness of the whole enterprise.

What’s more, we owe a profound apology to those comrades who predicted, much to our unwarranted frustration and scorn, that a vote to leave the EU would inevitably lead us up to the sunny uphills of socialism, rather like Julie Andrews in the Sound of Music, our lungs bursting with song and with pride as we looked down into the valleys and saw the pillars of neoliberalism tumble one after another, or something (I’m paraphrasing). The last seventeen months or so have been a joy to behold to anyone who remains true to egalitarian values, as our cause has stormed bastion after bastion of entrenched privilege, just like in the glorious soviet revolution of a century before. By March 2019 we will be living in a verdant utopia, enjoying a abundant common wealth of public provision, and all because the British people stood up and threw off the shackles of hidebound deference to our so-called betters (paraphrasing again). There is not a person alive now whose heart is not bursting with optimism at what lies ahead. Capitalism, autocracy and oligarchy are dead and buried, and fascism, racism and nationalism are confined for once and for all to the fetid dustbins of history. Bliss was it in that dawn to be alive.

Under such circumstances, then, I feel that the time is right to launch a garmet which millions will sport with pride, wearing their now-vindicated convictions on their chests rightly inflated with a renewed sense of self-respect. It will make an excellent Christmas gift for all the family, especially for those who, though they were at the time momentarily blinded to the promise of freedom, have now seen the light.

The t-shirt retails at $99, with a special bumper package including a framed commemorative ‘WE ARE FREE!!!’ edition of Socialist Worker (signed by Nigel Farage) available for only $250. We are not responsible for any ridicule, abuse and/or violence the wearer of the item may suffer. It is recommended that any of our clients finding him or herself subject to such unsavoury treatment defend him or herself by shouting out some utter fucking nonsense about ‘neoliberalism’ followed by some even more specious horseshit about the Irish border. FFFS.

‘Lexit’ supporters welcome new round of austerity

Supporters of the ‘Lexit’ faction in last June’s EU referendum have proclaimed themselves “satisfied” with Chancellor Philip Hammond’s explanation that Brexit will necessitate a new round of austerity for the public sector.

Jane Blobb, from Sheffield, said she was “not in the least bit surprised” that Britain’s leaving the EU will now serve as a pretext for even more cuts to services essential to the running of society. “It’s just what I expected”, she said. “I mean, Remain voters did warn me that this is exactly what would happen, that they would use it as an excuse, another ‘shock doctrine’ if you will, but I’m not in the least bit bothered that they are indeed doing so, because…er…the EU is a…capitalist club. For…neoliberals”.

Fellow Lexit enthusiast, SWP member John “Johnny” Johnson of Hemel Hempstead, agreed. “It’s a price worth paying”, he said. “We’ll almost certainly see the end of the NHS now, and I helped make that happen. As a lifelong socialist, I’m proud of the decision I made. The EU is a bosses’ club. A neoliberal one.”

Hammond also warned that their calls for wage hikes for teachers, nurses and others may have to mean tax rises for millions and further ‘savage’ cuts to social welfare benefits.

“Well that’s fine,” said Billy Bonehead as he folded and unfolded a three-day-old edition of the Morning Star while waiting for the off-license to open. “I haven’t worked since 2013, and I’ve been sanctioned six times for the pettiest reasons you can imagine. I’ve been staying on a friend’s sofa for the last three months and it’s getting to be a real strain. But if Mr Hammond says that we need to tighten our belts even further, I can respect that. People like him have got a difficult job on their hands managing public finances, and at least it’s not the EU calling the shots this time. They’re neoliberals, you know.”

Hammond, one of the ministers battling for a “soft” UK exit from the EU, defended the 1% pay cap for public sector workers, declaring the Government “must hold our nerve”. He also said that any attempts to address the climate crisis would now have to “take a back seat” to efforts to promote economic growth at any cost, and that any responsibility the UK has to help tackle the global refugee crisis were “not now a priority”. He added that the Government is looking seriously at abolishing corporation tax, bringing in a ‘fasttrack’ fracking compulsory purchase order system, erasing all health and safety legislation from the statute books, tripling VAT and replacing the progressive tax regime with a flat tax, in addition to reintroducing conscription, setting up a network of Victorian-style workhouses, decriminalising child labour and introducing on-the-spot execution of dissidents. This was all necessary because of Brexit, or “whatever you choose to call it”, he added.

“Fair enough,” said another Lexit supporter, Sadiq Eejit of Birmingham. “That’s more or less what I voted for. As long as it doesn’t affect my political principles, I’ll put up with it. God knows what sort of world my kids will live in. It defies thinking about. But as long as we do whatever Mr Hammond and Mrs May think is necessary, we’ll get through this. We’re all British, after all. I’m sure after a few more decades or possibly centuries of entirely necessary austerity and corporate looting, we’ll be back on our feet again, and then there’ll probably be a revolution, or something. Did you know that the EU is run by neoliberals? It said so on The Canary.”

Additional reporting courtesy of The Huffington Post.