‘We discourage centralisation all we can’, announces old Hammond in chapter X of News from Nowhere; and I therefore voted for leaving the European Union yesterday, and am celebrating the Brexit victory in the referendum today, on what I regard as impeccably Morrisian because decentralising grounds. We all saw what the EU did to a genuine possibility for socialism in Greece last year – i.e., totally destroyed it – and that, if nothing else, should have been sufficient evidence to the Left of the degree to which the EU is nothing more than a neo-liberal project of aggressive capitalist globalisation. Add to that working-class anger at the economic consequences of uncontrolled mass immigration into this country – driving down wages and taking away jobs, phenomena which even the metropolitan Left seems incapable of comprehending - and you have a strong socialist case for Brexit.
Of course there will now be various kinds of cultural, political and economic turmoil for some while to come. The Labour Party, so many of whose leading figures including Sadiq Khan and Harriet Harman lined cheerfully up with David Cameron to sing the praises of the EU, will pay a high price in terms of working-class votes lost to UKIP; and even Jeremy Corbyn with his approval during the campaign of current levels of immigration does not come out with much credit either. The political incoherence of the Green Party, in its capitulation to the neo-liberalist and globalising agenda as it championed Remain, will not be forgiven for a very long time to come. But the great and heartening thing from all this, from a Morrisian-socialist viewpoint, is that after months in which the British, European and global elite threw absolutely everything in the way of threat and propaganda at the British people, working-class communities up and down the country have very loudly said to them and their Labour and Green Party allies ‘No more’.