……This is why you shouldn’t take the left appeals to ‘reforming the EU from within’ seriously. Not only because Cameron’s paltry renegotiation revealed an EU incapable of making even minor concessions. Not only because the only salient proposal Varoufakis’s Democracy In Europe Movement has managed to come up with is livestreaming council meetings. But because the cowardice of the left in the face of Brexit is bred of the very same fear of an unshackled demos that forged the European Union in the first place. Whether it was the fear of the German public following reunification or the loathing of indignant Eastern European states today, the EU has always legitimised itself using the spectre of what an unleashed demos might do – or who it might elect – given half the chance. That same fear grips the left today.
From freedom of speech to economic growth, the left has already jettisoned many of its founding principles. But the Brexit retreat is, in many ways, a more stark betrayal. The modern left’s detachment from the masses, its sneering distaste for our habits and desires, has fostered a profound fear of change itself. Their paranoia about where unleashed public passions might flow has led them to cling to the status quo for dear life. These are progressives terrified of change – and terrified of us. Faced with the opportunity to demolish an anti-democratic order, they are standing athwart, yelling Stop. History will not be kind to them.
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