This John Harris article, Brexit is a class betrayal. So why is Labour colluding in it?, is a persuasive argument about Labour strategy and why it should support a #PeoplesVote. But it doesn’t do much to support its headline claim – that Brexit is a class issue. (I know, the headlines are written by the editors, not the commentators.)
I think the claim is right: Brexit is a class issue. I’ll try to explain why.
The spectacle of millionaire toffs and spivs inciting popular hatred against “elites” – which Harris mentions but doesn’t analyse – is an obvious example of misdirection from the ruling class.
The Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP), a sinister trade deal currently being negotiated in secret between the EU and the US, is finally starting to get some wider press and recognition.
Last week, a rebel group of Conservative MPs threatened to derail the Queen’s Speech if the government didn’t include a promise to introduce legislation to protect the NHS from the consequences of TTIP; Labour joined in, the government acquiesced, and the amendment was included.
Aside from making you wonder just how rapaciously capitalist a trade deal has to be for a group of Tory backbenchers to oppose it, the NHS-TTIP protection bill should raise two big questions in anyone’s mind:
- If the NHS will only be protected by special legislation, what other institutions of value aren’t going to be protected, and what will happen to them?
- If TTIP is such a threat that we need to have laws protecting us from it, why are we considering the deal at all?
The aim of the deal is to reduce regulation to the lowest common denominator – between Europe and the USA – and give companies the unaccountable legal power to dictate national policies. Whether you’re a Brexiter or not, if you’re concerned about the loss of sovereignty, TTIP should be starting to worry you now.