Home | About | Donate

Brexit and the Diseased


Brexit and the Diseased

Jonathan Cook

The enraged liberal reaction to the Brexit vote is in full flood. The anger is pathological – and helps to shed light on why a majority of Britons voted for leaving the European Union, just as earlier a majority of Labour party members voted for Jeremy Corbyn as leader.


"We want to believe we are free but the truth is that we have long been in a prison called neoliberalism. The Conservative and Labour parties are tied umbilically to this neoliberal order. The EU is one key institution in a transnational neoliberal club. Our economy is structured to enforce neoliberalism whoever ostensibly runs the country."

Bingo! Furthermore the economic dictum of the EU, especially with regard to the euro (which would ultimately swallow the pound without the Brexit), is in no manner accountable to the people. Just ask the Greeks, Irish, ...


It is getting stranger and stranger. I think one of the points in the discussion below is correct and the old political order is breaking up.




Obama traveling around the UK campaigning against brexit in April was a good example of global neoliberalism in action.


I would have to group this analysis with the others that this writer condemns. Let's look at the assumptions they are all making regarding the vote.



The power elite will not go away easily, they will fight with all weapons they have both politically and when that doesn't work................?


"A few years ago the American writer Chris Hedges wrote a book he titled the Death of the Liberal Class. His argument was not so much that liberals had disappeared, but that they had become so coopted by the right wing and its goals – from the subversion of progressive economic and social ideals by neoliberalism, to the enthusiastic embrace of neoconservative doctrine in prosecuting aggressive and expansionist wars overseas in the guise of “humanitarian intervention” – that liberalism had been hollowed out of all substance."

I agree with most of this article, but as a liberal, I resent being with lumped in with neoliberals and neocons.


Brilliant article and exactly right!


That was a fascinating discussion. What struck me, among other points, was the notion that Brexit fractured the left, I saw that here on these pages. It was almost verbotten to speak in favor of Brexit here, while at the same time CNN is interviewing Jamie Dimon on how horrible it was to contemplate a EU without a UK. It will be a cold day in hell when Jamie Dimon and yours truly will be on the same side of anythng. I think the EU's original intent, noble as it was, was an attempt at a true international political and economic union, not the elite Club of neoliberals wrecking havoc on its poorer members that it has become.


Hear, hear, Mr. Cook!


One way of controlling immigration would be to refrain from bombing neighboring countries.


John Pilger weighs in with some similar thoughts at



Yes, it still isn't a bad idea to have some form of transnational government especially for the issue of climate change. The idea of the EU was sound enough but what it became is the sad and shameful story which of course was just governance for the protection of the bond holders like Deutsche Bank (remember Greece) and high paid jobs for the disconnected EU commissioners. Unfortunately a lot of lefties can't seem to understand that the issue here ultimately is bad governance, that is the governance by the 1%. Yes there is racism in the UK (just as in the US) but I believe a lot of working class people there knew that they had been given a bad deal for a long time.
I wish Joe Bageant were here; he would have had some harsh words for the neo-liberal "left".



How very Trump-esque?

And this "control" you advocate... would it happen to also be predicated on the CONTROL of military and trade policies that essentially CAUSE the immigration of millions of persons that you would rather just build a wall to keep out?

In other words, first comes CAUSE; then comes EFFECT. Cause must be treated...


Well, it's much easier to enforce restrictive trade policies (TPP & TIPP) when there's a central authority its advocates can directly deal with. When so many countries each DARE to weigh in with the mandates reflective of their particular citizenry, too much Democracy just might break out.


On a hunch the morning the Brexit vote was announced I went to Wikipedia to refresh myself on Prof. Francis Fukuyama's thesis The End Of History. In a nutshell the good prof's theory was/is (he still defends it) that liberal democracy is the penultimate end of socio/political evolution because, of all forms of governance, it delivers the most good to the most. Period. Therefor, it shall/has gained permanent ascendancy, and hence in his telling is the end of history. Since he stated his thesis one denouement after another has been pointed out to indicate the end of The End Of History. Though Brexit wasn't the final nail in the coffin of that corpse, it does indicate that only a few more spaces are left in the wood for driving those final nails home.

Don't know if I'd characterize the professor's ideas as products of a diseased mind, but amazingly he seems to have ignored the fact, as old as the idea of democracy itself, that most democracies invariably are captured by wealth and the working of the will of the wealthy. In this year of 2016, that truth now appears universal; all democratic institutions have been captured by extreme wealth and it is their will that is set to law.

Not just democracies though. On this morning's installment of consent manufacturing (otherwise known as "the news") I read on the crawler that the Chinese Premier is calling for a worldwide effort to stabilize the world economy and restore confidence.


In the Crosstalk video that Po posted, one of the panelists cites Chris Hayes responding to the Brexit vote. i have not verified the wording Hayes used, but the speaker cites it as:

"i don’t want a future in which politics is primarily a battle between cosmopolitan finance capitalism, and ethno-nationalist backlash."

In terms of the historical liberal project, which of the two groups Hayes cites are the liberals?
- Cosmopolitan finance capitalism
- Ethno-nationalist backlash

To insist that only some false tribe called "neoliberals" supports the forced opening of national economies to the predation of transnational capital, it to bluntly ignore that such "opening" has always been a core liberal doctrine and practice. "Cosmopolitan finance capital" IS the fruit of the historical liberal project. War has ALWAYS been the ultimate backing for the predation of transnational capital.

i understand that you have a personal revulsion at the actual history of liberalism. You could always re-identify as a radical.


The great John Pilger weighs in:


You need help


Thanks for your civil reply. As a liberal i take offense when we are blamed for the atrocities done by Republican, conservative and neoliberal Democrats. Old meanings change and it is counterproductive to perhaps purposely interject divisive arguments over this. But herding liberals is like herding cats...