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Both right and left should fear the justified rage of Remainers

3 111 0
01.06.2019

The old parties are failing because they do not understand the driving forces of modern Britain: identity, authenticity and runaway disgust. For much of Westminster and the media, the only identity that matters is the identity of the working-class Leave voter. He is usually male and always white – for the ethnic minority working class has been forgotten. His authentic disgust will make the nation tremble if we do not bow to his wishes and give him the hardest Brexit imaginable.

Forget that most of the Tory shires voted Leave or that young, working-class voters supported Remain or that the greatest predictor of attitudes to the EU is education, not class, or that the only solid promise the Leave campaign made was to keep us in the European free trade zone. The story of the angry white working class is set and everyone is sticking to it.

Rather than arguing, look instead at the new pro-European identity. Despite the “citizens of anywhere” jibe invented by David Goodhart and coarsened by Theresa May into “citizens of nowhere”, it is a patriotic identity. Pro-Europeans hoped Britain could be a moral leader and example to the world. Now it has become such a joke that even continental far-right parties have dropped their opposition to EU membership for fear of meeting Britain’s fate. Every account of immigrants being taunted on the streets threatens pro-Europeans’ sense of who they are and what their country is. I admit there is a British exceptionalism among pro-Europeans as powerful as among the Little Englanders. Few realise that, in a world dominated by China, the US and India, British “leadership” won’t........

© The Guardian