The Full Brexit – For Popular Sovereignty, Democracy and Economic Renewal, is the title of a new appeall, which we document here.
Brexit offers a historic opportunity for democratic and economic renewal. This opportunity is being squandered by Britain’s political class. The Full Brexit will set out radical arguments for a clean break with the European Union. Instead of the conservative nostalgia of the Eurosceptics, our arguments will put the interests of working people – the majority of citizens – at the centre of the case for a democratic Brexit.
In the EU referendum, British voters seized the opportunity to protest against a politics that offers no real alternatives and an economic model that leaves many behind. The Leave campaign’s slogan, “take back control”, resonated with millions of people whose interests are no longer represented in British politics. For this revolt, Leave voters have been slandered as dupes and racists. The Full Brexit stands up for and with the majority of British people: not just Leavers, but also Remain voters who believe the decision must be respected, and for everyone hungry for meaningful political and economic change.
Eurosceptics rightly complain that powerful elite Remainers are conspiring to sabotage Brexit. But this is not the main reason Brexit is adrift. The real cause is that the entire political class lacks any compelling vision of Britain’s future, leaving most British citizens without effective political representation.
Having lost touch with ordinary people, political parties have retreated into European Union policymaking networks. After decades of integration, few politicians, civil servants or academic experts can now imagine any kind of future outside of the EU. Yet Leave campaigners on the right also lack any positive vision. Nostalgic bluster about “Global Britain” has led only to the sterile argument about free trade agreements versus the Single Market and the Customs Union. This wrangling about trade fails to address the problems that led people to reject the EU.
The problems of low investment, stagnant wages and ageing infrastructure that blight our towns and cities require a much more fundamental reconsideration of Britain’s economic and political model. Lacking ideas about how to tackle the deeper problems, politicians on all sides are defaulting to conservative positions, seeking to minimise change, whether through full single market membership or “regulatory alignment”, mostly to defend vested interests like the City of London.
This lack of vision threatens to neutralise Brexit’s potential to renew our political and economic life. EU rules are not neutral: they lock in a set of neoliberal policies that tightly constrain governments’ capacity to innovate, experiment, and tackle voters’ concerns. By preventing practical redress of voters’ grievances, this corrodes representative democracy. Brexit offers a precious opportunity to change this. If this opportunity is squandered, the public will rightly conclude that voting changes nothing. Disengagement and cynicism will intensify and populism – rampant elsewhere in the EU – will surge, threatening what is left of our parliamentary democracy.
A challenge to the logic that “There is No Alternative” is urgently needed, and this must come from the left. The Full Brexit is not a political party. We do not all agree about each and every policy or document on this website. But we do agree, first, that the left’s proper role is to be the architect of a better, more democratic future and, second, that a clean break with the EU is needed to realise that potential.
To this end, we will provide analysis of the present political situation and proposals for the future. We will engage with the public, politicians and anyone who shares our democratic ethos. And we will conduct our work in solidarity with those on the left in other European countries to develop a genuinely internationalist and democratic politics of national sovereignty.
Brexit offers an unprecedented opportunity to reshape Britain for the better. Please join us in that mission.
Dr Christopher Bickerton, University of Cambridge
Dr Philip Cunliffe, University of Kent
Paul Embery, Trade Unionists Against the EU
Thomas Fazi, Author and Journalist
Lord Maurice Glasman, House of Lords
David Goodhart, Author and Journalist
Prof Matthew Goodwin, University of Kent
Pauline Hadaway, University of Manchester
Dr James Heartfield, Author and Journalist
Dr Kevin Hickson, University of Liverpool
Dr Lee Jones, Queen Mary University of London
Prof Costas Lapavitsas, School of Oriental and African Studies
Prof Martin Loughlin, London School of Economics
Dr Tara McCormack, University of Leicester
Dr Jasper Miles, Goldsmiths College, University of London
Prof Peter Ramsay, London School of Economics
Prof Richard Tuck, Harvard University
Bruno Waterfield, Journalist
Prof Philip B Whyman, University of Central Lancashire
Dr Suke Wolton, Regents Park College, University of Oxford