Socialist Worker

Angry at society? Let’s fight for a better one

Issue No. 2525

Years of austerity have created deep bitterness in society

Years of austerity have created deep bitterness in society (Pic: Guy Smallman)


There is a deep bitterness in British society. Every serious analysis of the vote for Britain to exit the European Union (EU) concedes that the Leave vote was fuelled, at least partially, by anger.

Anger against inequality and contempt for the political establishment.

But a survey released last weekend by the New Economics Foundation shows there is also hostility to the present set-up among Remain voters.

The survey found Remain voters “say the world is run by a few powerful people (62 percent)”.

They think that “big business and corporate elites have too much power (55 percent),” and that “the economy is headed in the wrong direction (55 percent).”

Such views put them in the same camp as millions of those who voted Leave.

However people voted on 23 June, they know that something is seriously wrong with Britain.

As the charity Oxfam noted recently, “The UK is one of the most unequal developed countries in the world.

“Three decades of high-level inequality have had a profound impact, leading many people to believe that they have little stake in society”.

Potential

Such a reality explains why hundreds of thousands of people have joined the Labour Party recently to vote for Jeremy Corbyn. But the potential for resistance is much greater.

A huge majority of British society wants the railways taken back from parasites like the bosses of Southern rail.

More than 80 percent of people want the rights of EU nationals living here to be fully guaranteed after Brexit. That’s a demand which Tory ministers still refuse to guarantee.

Millions want to tax the super-rich and the bankers, act effectively on climate change, combat racism and stop the erosion of workplace and civil rights.

That means we must have a left Brexit. Not one decided by either the racists around Theresa May or the free market demands of sections of big business and the banks.

It’s also why trade union leaders should stop lamenting the Leave vote and start fighting.

If the fall in the pound means higher prices in the shops we need real pay campaigns and a £10 an hour minimum wage for all.

We need proper workplace rights, action against racism, serious defence of the NHS and other key services—and much more.

When Southern rail managers tried to turn passengers against the strikers they soon discovered that workers are far more popular than fat cat bosses.

That is the mood that buoys Corbyn—it must be turned into action.


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