THE class elites who orchestrated Brexit are preparing to exult and so the rest of us must brace for an orgy of Britishness. Post-Brexit England will not be a kind place. The veneration of Agincourt and the Union Jack will get under way next month and Nigel Farage will soon be restored to the place of honour reserved for him on Question Time.

At the same time another bacchanal – just as unedifying – will be in spate, fuelled by the piety of the self-righteous. They will lecture us on the dark forces that impelled Brexit and portray those who supported it as semi-literate yokels who, in their ignorance, were incapable of comprehending the issues. On my travels throughout England’s northern regions following the 2016 referendum, it became clear that this was a smear every bit as contrived as the fiction of taking back control.

Rather, many of them had felt the chill of the European Union’s neo-liberal, free market instincts in their own communities. The EU, at its heart, is a corporate Xanadu where the writ of capitalism is given licence to roam. We’ve known this for many years.

In a 2007 paper published by New York’s Cornell University the academics Nathan Lillie and Ian Greer shone a torch on the iniquities at the heart of the EU’s industrial plan. “Construction employers, with the aid of the Commission of the EU, and acquiescence of national governments, have made it an integral part of their strategy to access opportunities outside the national state framework. In each of our country cases, construction employers are using migrant labour to push the industry toward a ‘low-road’ model of weaker collective bargaining and worker representation.”

This, they argued, enabled employers “to protect themselves from legal liability, while isolating migrants from the economic and social norms of the host society.” Put more plainly, the EU creates feeding grounds for capitalists to squeeze local workers and exploit foreign labour.

Remainers who posed as liberal and progressive also chose to overlook the EU’s bullying of Greece as it sought to make it a vassal state. In this they were spurred on by German banks who have made more than €3 billion in interest payments on Greek bonds since 2010. Membership of the EU confers advantages but most of them accrue to those who already possess a disproportionate share of the world’s bounty.

The Nobel-prizewinning economist Paul Krugman also dismantled the moonbeams and unicorn narrative. “I fairly often encounter assertions to the effect that Greece didn’t carry through on its promises; that it failed to deliver the promised spending cuts,” he wrote. “Nothing could be further from the truth. In reality, Greece imposed savage cuts in public services, wages of government workers and social benefits.” He added: “European discourse is still dominated by ideas the continent’s elite would like to be true, but aren’t. And Europe is paying a terrible price for this monstrous self-indulgence.”

In effect, a capitalist troika – the IMF, European Central Bank and European Commission – was making ordinary Greeks pay not only for the greed of their own business elites but also for the irresponsible lending of German banks looking to make a quick buck.

Working-class communities in Fife and the Western Isles have recently had a taste of what lies ahead if an independent Scotland opts to climb on board the EU capitalist express. The Scottish Government was able to retreat behind the old state aid contrivance as it abandoned workers at the BiFab fabrication yards to the whims of global corporatism.

Having made future membership a cornerstone of its independence offering, the SNP is thus keen to appear a supine acolyte of the EU, despite it being highly unlikely that Scotland will become a member any time soon. Its dealings with the Bifab workers were both dishonest and craven. Across the rest of Europe there has always been room for manoeuvre and negotiation within the EU’s state aid regulations. The SNP though, ever eager to assist the global, neo-liberal procession, chose to disavow Scottish workers.

The SNP knows that its stated future direction of economic travel will require an abrupt detour if it’s serious about EU membership in the short-term. Thus it chooses not to highlight the obstacles. Not the least of these is the "sterlingisation" currency proposal contained in its Growth Commission report, a document now proving so brittle it may soon require to be housed in an air-tight chamber. A singular requirement of supplicant EU members is that their “economic and monetary policy contains specific rules requiring the independence of central banks”.

The SNP has also hitched our future economy to the EU’s Growth and Stability Pact, a concordat which one prominent trade unionist described to me as “peak neo-liberalism representing a massive danger to democracy”. This is because it caps government deficits at three per cent of GDP and debt at 50% of GDP. Yet, as in its state-aid regulations, there is no absolute requirement to implement this.

By following this an independent Scotland faced with trade deficits and lacking spending autonomy under sterlingisation leaves its citizens vulnerable to the predations of the credit jackals. A grown-up conversation needs to take place about these if the SNP is genuinely serious about throwing Scotland into the arms of the EU. But the only pro-independence bodies advocating such are scorned by party lickspittles as “those Common Weal types”.

Six years after the last independence referendum the SNP is no further forward in saying how it will secure a second one. Does anyone really believe that an In/Out EU referendum will happen soon after independence is gained?

Authentic self-determination offers a one-time-only opportunity to develop a different type of economy. In the dismal argot of the Holyrood managerial class we can dare to alter the paradigm and change the conversation: to have an option for the poor and to unlock the full economic potential of working class communities.

Independence gives Scotland a chance for popular democratic control over the economy and the state, but not if the EU has anything to do with it.

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