The earth has heaved and the landscape can never return to its previous contours. Maps must be redrawn and a new language for navigation established following the seismic results of the European elections. Today the world looks different across the continent, not just in Britain.
The stunning success of the Brexit Party here in the UK is clearly driven by a deep seated resentment at the shameless shenanigans of our political class over the last three years. However, this uniquely British problem alone does not explain the triumph of Le Pen’s National Rally, Salvini’s Lega or Kaczyński’s Law and Justice party to name but a few.
There can be no denying it any longer. National identity, Euroscepticism and populism are on the rise across the continent in a way that transcends language, custom and cultural differences. Whilst Farage’s Brexit Party shares some similarities with other Eurosceptic movements, there are also many differences between them. What binds them together in opposition to the centrist dominance of past decades is what Marxists would recognise as a growing sense of class consciousness.
It’s so much bigger than just Brexit. Here in Britain, what began as a poorly defined sense of alienation has developed into a clear realisation that a large percentage of the population are viewed as little more than dangerously ignorant tax fodder by the established political class. As a result of this realisation, the Brexiteers’ trust in political and cultural institutions has collapsed, to be replaced by an understanding that organisation and confrontation are the only viable methods to achieve their broader political and cultural goals.
In other words, Brexiteers are emerging as a self-aware and self-interested group, coalescing around meta-narratives concerning democracy, nation, culture and self determination. This new confrontational confidence was on display during Nigel Farage’s comments following the European election results. He made it very clear that he would be wary of a political alliance with the Conservatives because even their Brexiteer front runners had supported Theresa May’s disastrous and thoroughly dishonest Withdrawal Agreement at the third reading.
Such is the complete breakdown of trust in our existing institutions.
In the months and years to come, many books will be written about the emergence of this new, powerful and self-aware political movement and its counterparts across the continent. I wonder if those books will embrace or ignore the obvious fact that with just a little humility, the establishment could’ve short-circuited the emergence of what will now become the dominant political narrative in Europe. However, the implacable refusal of established institutions to consent to reform has created the very monster that will ultimately destroy them.
Marx was right when he said that class consciousness emerges as a result of pressure on a disadvantaged and systematically disempowered group. You’d think that our so-called educated elite might’ve learned that at Oxbridge.