….Because, once the UK drops out of the EU and it becomes apparent that the world is still spinning, and the country hasn’t sunk into the ocean, it might help us break us free of the TINA (there is no alternative) spell which most of us on the Left have been under for decades. Underpinning the Left’s rejection of Brexit is, in fact, the notion that nation-states have essentially been rendered powerless by globalization, and thus that it makes no sense to initiate a political fight at the national level. The claim is that the internationalization of finance and the growing importance of transnational corporations have eroded the ability of individual nation-states to autonomously pursue social and economic policies – especially of the progressive/redistributive kind. Markets – and particularly financial markets – rule supreme, it is said, and these will punish governments that pursue policies, not by the profit ambitions of global capital through capital flight, delocalisations, etc. The conclusion is that ‘Keynesianism-in-one-country’ is a thing of the past, and that change, today, can only be realized at the supranational (and ideally global) level. This is particularly evident in the European debate, which is not surprising considering that the European Left – and Labour, in particular, I’m sorry to say (James Callaghan, anyone?) – played a crucial role in cementing this ideological shift towards a ‘post-national’ (and post-sovereign) view of the world……
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