Brexit: The lure of the Neoliberal Thought Collective

Authors: Holscher, J. and Howard-Jones, P.

Start date: 4 October 2018

Journal: BAFES Working Papers

Issue: 26

Publisher: Bournemouth University

The neoliberal agenda has polarised societies and in consequence, the choices facing the UK electorate range from neoliberalism to left wing socialism. Empirical evidence already exists on the measurable effect of the increasing dominance of the neoliberal wing of the Conservative party, indicating the continuation of laissez faire, migration control, increasing inequality, a low tax low wage economy, stagnating income and deteriorating public services. The competing ideology will result in the nationalisation of the utilities and the railway system, the regulation of capital, necessitating some element of control to prevent flight, the deregulation of labour, increased taxation, particularly on corporations to repair the damage to infrastructure and public services, and provisions enacted to improve wealth distribution. Both these alternatives should be unappealing to the majority of the electorate. However, allied to the “first past the post†electoral system, in a post Brexit world, what has become the tribal nature of UK society will oscillate between two competing ideologies to the detriment of national welfare. The rationale for this phenomenon is little understood or accepted by the political elite. A plausible explanation is the cultural shift in progressive values towards a post industrial, technological, socially inclusive, multicultural society, built on increasing opportunities for tertiary education, which has threatened the perceived superiority of privilege enjoyed by the older post war generation of primarily white men.

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