Lexit refers to the supposed left wing case for the UK leaving the EU. It is based on misunderstandings and outright falsehoods about the role of the EU and what the UK is and isn’t allowed to do as an EU member. Proponents of it typically view the EU as capitalist/neoliberal construct and when confronted with evidence to contradict their statements, resort to “whataboutery” or finely honed versions of their original falsehood. For example in regards to nationalisation (especially of the railways, which the Lexiters typically claim is forbidden by EU law), when it is pointed out that many European countries have state-owned railway networks, they will claim a difference between existing nationalised systems and the proposed renationalisation they desire to see enacted in the UK. When it is pointed out that the UK has already renationalised railway franchises (most notably the East Coast Main Line franchise, twice) they claim that this doesn’t count because it was only (intended to be) temporary and that the EU forced the re-privatisation of the operation.
The full report embedded below (link to original), authored by a number of left wing figures, sets out the numerous reasons why Lexit is simply a misreading of EU law and practice. Lexit also suffers from other delusions:
- That “socialism in one country” is possible. This is a critique of Brexit in general as well as Lexit, both of which assume that the UK can operate as a completely self-contained independent entity when this is just not possible in the connected world we inhabit today.
- That the UK electorate would choose a socialist government in a general election. The control over Scotland by the SNP and the vagaries of first past the post as an electoral system suggest strongly that this would be, to put it mildly, an uphill struggle.
- It ignores the fact that the UK has exerted substantial control over the EU and its institutions up until the Brexit referendum result. The EU does have something of a right wing neoliberal bent it is true, but the EU is democratically controlled by its member states. So if you want a left wing EU, elect left wing politicians to positions of power in the EU. The proportional representation system used for the EU Parliament elections makes this much easier than in the UK! Left wing politicians were responsible for embedding in EU law protections for workers such as health and safety at work, guaranteed annual leave entitlements and maternity leave.