Why We Are Backing Leave

The popular vote whether to remain within or leave the European Union has been contested with unusual passion for the British in both old and social media.

Longstanding friendships are fraying and we have had one political murder along the way.

And yet, apart from the rare poster, some rather forlorn looking vigil sites created by local Labour Party activists and the odd case of balloons set off in a local park, most areas have seen little action and no battle bus. Discussion has been limited to only a very few local public events, pubs, homes and the internet.

Given the unreliability of polling, it is extremely hard to guage what will happen on what is expected to be a very wet and unpleasant day. Anecdotally, the bulk of the working class and the men in white vans seem disenchanted with the EU and the political class.

This disenchantment may be offset by the almost existential and often aggressive engagement of the professional and service middle classes at what they take as a personal affront to their values and economic well-being. Alleged racism has easily been matched by an all-too-obvious snobbery from Remain.

The EU is the lightning rod for a more general critique of elites who claim to rule by right of superior education and unquestioned values ... The system is now self-evidently failing ... [and] needs a major shock.

We have produced a much longer analysis of what is at stake on LinkedIn. Space limitations on this blog cannot do justice to the complexity of the vote, This goes far beyond relatively simple positions on the type of economic deregulation or social regulation we think we want, or the rather flaccid values of Remain liberals or the posturing patriotism of some right-wing Remainers. What we are seeing is a form of class war of a very unusual nature. We summarised the working class perspective in another LinkedIn paper yesterday.

In one corner we have a managerial and administrative class that has locked itself into its own ideology of rationality, but faces mounting crises in which the crooked timber of humanity resolutely refuses to accept rule by intellectuals who appear to have failed to solve any of the problems that most concern the ordinary voter. There is an internal contradiction between the claims of experts to be experts and their track record of solving problems. The EU is the lightning rod for a more general critique of elites who claim to rule by right of superior education and unquestioned values.

In the other corner are those who see mounting problems, distrust the experts but who have no clear solution or coherent ideology but they want change. They need something to be done. The language they use can be brutal or ignorant but it does not necessarily mean that they are wrong in their analysis. The system is now self-evidently failing. An intensification of current methods - the 'one more heave' school of thought - contrasts with the polite suggestion that 'when you are in an 'ole, you should stop digging'.

As we argue in more detail in our LinkedIn piece, we back Leave precisely because the total system needs a major shock. The 'expert' class needs to be put in a position where it has to stop engaging in group think and start critiquing its own use and misuse of power. Globalisation requires not a reversal but the temporary imposition of national and policy 'fire breaks' to allow populations to adjust and build the infrastructure that is needed to cope with change. We back Leave because it is the initial requirement for our existential survival in a time of crisis.