The experts never had a chance against the threat of the immigrant in the room.
It truly didn’t matter how much the experts told Middle England the economy would tank if Britain left the EU. All Middle England heard was that leaving would stop those bloody immigrants and that’s what mattered.
Yes, they can allow London to be a melting pot. But Middle England doesn’t want immigrants messing up its vision of English life in the provinces.
The immigrant in the room is OK as long as the immigrant is in someone else’s room.
How can you counter that when the free movement of people is a fundamental pillar of the EU?
With hindsight, the architects of the EU might agree that the idea of the free movement of people is flawed.
They might recognise that giving people the right to work anywhere in the EU doesn’t take account of the fact that people are not just workers, they are people.
With hindsight they might see that people are not nomads floating like specks of dust to the nearest work hotspot.
In fact, say the Left, that was the idea. Corporations want to treat workers as faceless, replaceable units.
Jeremy Corbyn thinks the EU is a creature of corporations who use it to outflank collective bargaining.
When a workforce isn’t playing ball, both sides know that threatening to move production to Poland is a hollow threat but importing Polish workers who will work for less pay is a real threat.
Game, set, and match.
Corbyn Got What He Wanted
That’s why Corbyn made such an obvious dog’s breakfast of saying the opposite.
It was patently obvious during the lead up to the referendum that he was at war with his own Cabinet.
First he tried hiding in small venues up and down the country. Then he came out and delivered his message with such reluctance that anyone wondering where he stood could see he had a gun to his back.
Corbyn was sly by winking to his audience to tell them he was being forced to take a line he didn’t agree with.
The risk he ran, and the race he still has to run is whether he came across as muddled at best and disingenuous at worst – or whether with the old cadre gone he can forge a new face for Labour.
Personally I don’t like what he did. By all means be disingenuous with your political opponents. But don’t do it to your audience.
Nigel Farage sensed the zeitgeist; he knew what bigotry there was in the heartland of England. He knew he could swing enough votes to make a difference. He just didn’t imagine it would be enough to swing the decision.
So when Corbyn’s tactic coincided with the Middle England anti-immigrant voice, it created a storm that took the Leave campaign over the finish line – to everyone’s surprise.
Corbyn got what he wanted – and we are out of the EU. He was very quick to say there was no backtracking from that.
So where are we now?
Corbyn thought the overwhelmingly important issues for the populace were fair working conditions and a fair society.
It turns out that immigration of the ‘because they’re different’ kind was the most important decider for a lot of voters.
The elephant in the room after the referendum is still the question of immigration.
So now we have Corbyn’s version of the Left against Farage’s version of the Right. It’s a contest that Europe has seen before.
Strangely, the marginalised group are the moderate Conservatives.
Things are moving so rapidly that by the time I hit Publish, Corbyn may be either undisputed leader or out of the race entirely.