Exit Stage Left



From top: British Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn; Dan Boyle

If Britain leaves the EU you can blame the dilettente left.

Dan Boyle writes:

While the Brexit referendum has for the most part been a squalid squabble for the future of the Tory party (egged on by the Sun never sets on the Empire/Little Englanders of UKIP), a sub plot among the religious left has also been unraveling.

The British satirical magazine Private Eye (still miles ahead of its Irish copyist The Phoenix) has a regular character, Dave Spart, an irredentist anarchist/socialist who counter argues every issue, ridiculously, to conform to his obtuse orthodoxy.

I’m reminded of this character when I read the arguments of those in Britain, who position themselves on the left, and who argue for Brexit.

Except, as the contrarians that most of them are, that can’t even say the word Brexit lest they admit who their ideological bedfellows are. To overcome this difficulty they have come up with the term Lexit to maintain ideological purity.

Most involved are the usual suspects – the now cartoon-like George Galloway, the SWP in its People Before Profit incarnation, or Militant Labour/Socialist Party in whatever its current title is.

Add to that the tendency of the debating society left to constantly spilt, amoeba like, and you have all the elements needed for high farce.

I have read arguments from a group styling itself the Socialist Equality Party (is fascist equality possible?). The thrust of its arguments is that Brexit must happen to allow the conditions to exist to bring about a United Socialist States of Europe!

Even among Greens the temptation towards ridiculous argument exists. Its offshoot, no more than 5% of its membership, styles itself Green Leaves. Whether they eat and shoot is a moot question.

The most impenetrable character in this soap opera has been Jeremy Corbyn. I understand how he became Labour Party leader. The need to bury Blairite mendacity and blandness was necessary in that party. Had I been a member I probably would have voted for him.

The problem is he seems to have been voted for because of what he wasn’t rather than what he is. What he is is certainly decent. He is consistent in what he believes, even if much of what he believes should have been left in another era.

What he seems to lack is any degree of passion.Or maybe this is his Machiavellian trait, a half paced half whispered approach to conceal his true intentions.

If that is the case it seems to be working. Most people in Britain don’t believe that he does oppose Brexit. At the very least his style has been laconic. Many of his statements have been open to alternative interpretations.

I feel it has more to do with his accidental leader status. Whatever about his sincerity, or his philosophical consistency, he lacks a gravitas that may end up being the ultimate barrier to his ever being British Prime Minister.

If this referendum is close, and if Brexit succeeds, this dilettante left will have had a lot to do with that.

Dan Boyle is a former Green Party TD and Senator. Follow Dan on Twitter: @sendboyle

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44 thoughts on “Exit Stage Left

  1. Water Boy

    Bang on the money Dan, it looks like Remain will prevail but it has been the group that were pigeon holed into the ‘Labour rebels’ post Corbyn’s election that have done the heavy lifting from that party.

    What this referendum has exposed badly is the cargo politics element of large parties, riven by a real issue, very clear in the UK and in Northern Ireland too where the count in DUP is 2 in and 8 out and Sinn Fein where it is 6 in and 2 out.

    Given the stakes involve almost certain disintegration of the centre ground in European politics it is sad that the campaign has been so divisive.

  2. Liam

    Corbyn is an interesting character; he ran for leader not expecting or even wanting to win. Most of the other veteran Labour lefties had already had a run at the leadership, so it was his turn. I’d say nobody was more surprised that he won than Corbyn himself.

    He seems a decent guy, but he has no record of leading anything, has never held any position of significant responsibility and is therefore not really used to the compromises involved. Also he’s leading a party where the majority of elected officials don’t support him and don’t share his views on a lot of topics . Difficult situation for him and the party;

    1. Rob_G

      He seems like a nice guy, but disastrous for the British Labour party; 10 more years of Tory govts awaits.

  3. john

    Hmmm, I can’t say I really buy the idea that a Brexit will be Jeremy Corbyn’s fault if it happens.

    Looks more to me like an upper-class section of the Tory Party using Europe as a way to get rid of Cameron and install Boris Johnson as prime minister, cheered on by large parts of the British gutter press.

    Seems weird to home in on Corbyn when the real heart of the matter has pretty much shag all to do with him.

    1. DubLoony

      Agreed, this was a problem for the Eurosceptics in the Tory party so they decided to settle it with a referendum.

    2. classter

      It has a lot to do with him.

      If it passes, it’ll be because huge sections of the (normally Labour-supporting) working-classes will have voted Leave, having accepted that immigration and/or the EU is primarily responsible for their problems.

      Corbyn left it too late to get stuck in & point out that a host of other issues are more important – UK govt policy concentration on London, automation, competition from India/China, Thatcherism, etc.

    3. Rainy Day

      “Looks more to me like an upper-class section of the Tory Party using Europe as a way to get rid of Cameron and install Boris Johnson as prime minister, cheered on by large parts of the British gutter press”….
      This is exactly what it is, it is a play for power by a certain group of the old English ruling class…the Tory party was around long before the EU and I’m guessing it will be around for a long while after the EU as well…whoever controls the Tory party controls Britain. This referendum, despite what people think they are voting on, has little to do with Europe, it is about control and power.

    1. Andyourpointiswhatexactly?

      True. I know how to spell it as I had to look it up to find out what it means and now know it is that which I am.

  4. bisted

    ‘…Had I been a member I probably would have voted for him’…you seem to have lots of opinions about the British Labour Party and I can’t believe a minor detail like not being a member would stop you voting…

  5. Mysterybeat

    Dan, you need a good editor. All your pieces seem to ramble between a half-dozen points.
    This one is particularly nebulous in it’s intent, except for the clear “Look at those fools with their ‘ideology’ and principles’. They’d never make the kind of ludicrous compromises I’m happy to make in order to get my seat on the government benches!”

      1. Mysterybeat

        a) I’m not sure what your point is about “it’s intent”.
        b) I don’t claim to be an editor
        c) I assume your response is ad hominem. Engage with the point, not the man.

        1. Dan Boyle

          A riposte. Thought it funny that a post on editing misused an apostrophe. Not intended as slur on character.

          1. Nigel

            Why do people assume these things are a result of a poor standard of education rather than simply typos? Especially if it’s in the context of an otherwise perfectly grammatical and correctly spelled piece?

  6. Cot

    The Great Dan Boyle giving us his great wisdom. It’s a pity he won’t give us taxpayers back the pension he owes us.

  7. some old queen

    I think why some on the left have not fully backed Remain on this referendum is because they are not willing to support the EU project anymore.

    The EU was traditionally seen as a means of ensuing workers rights but now it has become the exact opposite. It is driven by economic rather than social considerations. The answer to the high unemployment in some countries appears to be as Norman Tebbit said for people to ‘get on their bike’. That is fundamentally right wing and the free flow of labour is exploitative by its nature.

  8. jimmy russell

    I jusr mugged a remain voter, I took 350 from his wallet, but he didnt seem to mind. I felt sorry for him so I gave him half of it back, under the condition that he spend it on things I want and that everything he buys with it should have a sign saying that it was actually bought by me with my money, he thought it was the best idea ever! When passers by tried to stop me mugging him he angrily lashed out at them and called them racists. We’re meeting again tomorrow to do the same thing, he’s absolutely committed to it now and says he cant see how he could ever survive without me.

    1. Jaden

      This statement really Rustles my Jimmies, but I think it was supposed to.

      Looks like /b night be leaking. Lord save us all.

    1. mildred st. meadowlark

      Mick. I think a pointed illustration on the definition of fascism may be in order.

  9. DubLoony

    Corbyn has been anit-EU for most of his life, he couldn’t really take a high profile on it now. It would have made him unpricipled. Which is more important to him that the reality of a Brexit, that EU has brought peace to a warring europe and other minor matters.

  10. Tish Mahorey

    “If Britain leaves the EU you can blame the dilettente left.”

    Brexit appears to me to be driven entirely by the right.

    1. Water Boy

      Plenty of Lexit loonies doing the rounds, if they believe the UK will be more socialist out of what succeeds Cameron they need their heads examined even more.

    2. some old queen

      Possibly but being anti Federal Europe does not make you right wing. Just today the French and Italians have been calling for their own referendums. The very fact that so many people feel powerless in preventing this EU monster means they not it are democrats.

      Either way result, the fuse has been lit.

  11. nellyb

    Dan, could you please, kindly, drop being snide with broadsheet posters, whichever way they express themselves? Some respect is due to people for giving time to read your thoughts.
    It’s uncomfortable calling it out to a mature politician, but it had to be said, since you’re ceaseless in this behavior. It undermines your arguments a great deal.

    1. Dan Boyle

      Haven’t been aware of being snide with anyone. People who throw negative comment towards me I respond to. A handful seem to want to leave comments only to be snide.

  12. Mulder

    Yeah, exit stage left be a term of the stage and as with actors, while they may exit stage left, they are out of sight but have not gone away.
    Thus, i fear it be with brexit, whatever the result, it will not go away.

  13. Andy

    Crobyn is not a viable alternative for a Prime Minister, nor any minister I’d expect.

    However, if Brexit wins it will be fault of the right not Corbyn and his cronies.

    Cameron has been appalling and this was his baby. He decided on holding the vote.

    1. some old queen

      Just read what you said there Andy. Cameron is appalling for holding a vote. What is democracy if not about people been asked to vote on important issues like this?

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