When it comes to discussing what might happen if Britain votes to exit the European Union (EU), there are nearly endless conjectures to be made. There are a nearly infinite number of "what if's" to consider when it comes to predicting all of the possible outcomes of a vote for UK independence from the EU.
That's because the way in which Britain has meshed with the EU since the concept was first bandied about in the early 1950s are nearly endless. There are a nearly endless succession of connections, legislations, legalities and reciprocities to consider when talking about what might and might not happen if the two bodies separate.
But, whatever will happen will be decided by who is in power now, and that is a right-wing government. To me, this is the one and only important point.
Sure, I've read a lot of arguments that explain how the left-wing or centre-left could benefit from a Brexit. But no one seems to be talking about the fact that the left and centre-left are not in power. The left and centre-left are not deciding this issue. The Tories and UKIP are.
So what the left and centre-left people want for a Brexit makes little difference, at the end of the day.
And what do the left / centre-left people of England want from the Brexit, exactly? After reading endless articles on the subject, I'm still none the wiser. There are plenty of airy-fairy statements being bandied about but no solid suggestions have been made, yet.
Here's a typical sample of a pro-Brexit article by John King at the lefty New Statesman website:
"The [EU] mission? To create a centralised superstate. It is a tool for multinationals, another part of the globalisation process. The feelings of the wider society are ignored."
Good points, all. The only problem is that all of those statements are equally true of what is wrong with democracy in the UK, too. Perhaps it's all the Evil EU's fault that the UK's government is screwed up, but what's the solution then? If the pudding's already gone bad, then how's burning the bakery down going to help?
I suggest that it won't help at all. A new recipe is needed, that's true, but none seems to be forthcoming from the British left-wing or center-left scene. But by staying connected to the wider, left-wing scene in Europe, those people do stand a chance of coming up with something new together, something big enough to tackle the wider problems that people in all the member states face. That won't happen so easily once UKIP's new border rules are being enforced. More on those below...
The speech in New Statesman is sadly typical of the "left-wing" Brexit arguments. No specifics are given, no enemies are named, no facts are cited... and worst of all, no tangible strategy is suggested for fighting back.
Instead, the writer seems to assume that by leaving the EU, all of the UK's problems will be solved.
And it's the same all across the board. Just about everyone who has something to say about this seems to be blindly assuming that the Brexit will work out just the way that THEY want, without any strategy or planning whatsoever.
There's a term for that, and it's not "democracy" or "activism" - it's called "fantasizing out loud."
King suggests that Brexit will be good for activism because, "one leader is a lot easier to deal with than many." Sure, but when fighting one leader means fighting without an easy connection to your fellow freedom-fighters in France, Germany, Belgium, Spain, and so on... well then, it's all relative, isn't it? The arena's only gotten smaller, not better... and that's assuming that it stays the same. Which it probably won't.
Even the "Lexit" pioneer Owen Jones admits that his left-wing resentment of the EU needs a practical campaign to back it up.
"If indeed much of the left decides on Lexit," he writes, "it must run its own separate campaign and try and win ownership of the issue."
The left totally hasn't done that. So as things stand right now, there's only one possibility for a Brexit strategy and that's a right-wing one. The Tories are too busy arguing with David Cameron about it to create a platform, which leaves UKIP in the driver's seat with the only actual Brexit manifesto. But even the prevailing Tory sentiment sides with UKIP's view that immigration has gone too far.
King himself seems to agree with that when he states that,
"UKIP has done so well because it tells the truth about the EU, even if some of its tactics and emphases put people off."
Those "tactics", by the way, include a pledge to hire 6,000 more police, prison guards and Border Agency patrols, and eliminate most of the CO2 reduction policies that the British government created.
So, yeah: they're the people whose ideas are leading the "yes" vote in this referendum, and they're as far from left-wing as you can get.
If the left-wing has a better counter-proposal for what to do after the Brexit, now is the time to say so. The fact that they haven't said so makes me think that they are just as totally unprepared for this as everyone else seems to be. Everyone except for UKIP - who have the manifesto - and the Tories, who have all the connections.
"Russian property developers, a Greek shipping tycoon, an Iranian investment banker, a Slovenian private equity magnate, Bermudan and Dubai-based financiers mingling with a medley of their British counterparts..."
That's a description of some of the people who were in attendance at a 2013 fundraising party hosted by the Tories. With friends like those they've got nothing to lose whether Brexit turns out to be good or bad for Britain. With people like that in charge of an "indepedent" Britain, how free of a country will it really be?