The remarkable identity politics of the People's Vote

In my book I wrote quite a bit on how efforts to keep the United Kingdom in the European Union have mobilised what I call 'the system of diversity', by aligning to a view of the world in which certain identity groups like women, gay and non-white-skinned people appear as victims of unfavoured groups like men, white-skinned people and the ethnic English.

Seemingly every day brings more remarkable evidence of this.

Via Twitter, James Mendelsohn has kindly sent one of the best, most concise examples I have seen so far - a video by a campaign group called Our People, Our Choice which calls itself, 'A group of young people campaigning for a #PeoplesVote on the Brexit deal!'

In its two minutes, the video evades any discussion about the EU, the Four Freedoms and the relative merits of national democracy against this legalistic rules-based pan-national regime. Instead it concentrates on how the 'we' of young people are against "this fucking mess" of Brexit because their futures are being put at risk by it, how it is apparently going to increase inequality and also reduce social mobility. Quite how this is going to happen we are not told. Rather we must trust the authority of the writer Antonia Cundy and those who dictate this 'poem' (more a series of slogans) to us.

It also associates their anti-Brexit cause explicitly with favoured identity groups, as victims of unfavoured groups. Towards the end we read and hear the lines:

“We stood outside for Grenfell,
We stood outside cos Black Lives Matter,
We chanted for Me Too
We chanted for gay pride”

Grenfell no doubt appears because of the explicit politicisation of the Grenfell Tower disaster as one in which a predominantly poor, non-white, immigrant population died and suffered as a result of the neglect of a predominantly male, white, non-immigrant governing class. The Black Lives Matter and Me Too campaigns respectively show off black-skinned people and women as victims of white-skinned people and men (both originated in the United States, with its identity wars on a much higher pitch than over here, albeit we're clearly catching up). To round it off, we have a tick-box nod towards LGBT politics.

Quite what it all has to do with Brexit is not explained. But it all appears as a continuity - as part of the same messaging, presenting a younger generation that is apparently immersed in these forms of identity group favouritism and victimhood and associates them explicitly with Brexit.

There is an historicist, authoritarian element to it too, for the video ends with a slogan, ‘Be on the right side of history. Join the movement for a People’s Vote.'

History here appears as something that we need to be on the right side of, like a kind of entity which judges and whose judgements are unquestionable and absolute - so like a God in other words. In this way the People's Vote campaign appears as a movement that has privileged knowledge of these judgements of history, being able to see into the future and relay history's judgements back to the rest of us.

This is not entirely remarkable given that the People's Vote organisation is dominated by progressives of various stripes, and notably New Labour types, for whom this authoritarian historicism is a staple part of their politics. The video gives this sort of a messaging an assertive, radical, youth-driven edge, but it's basically the same old thing.

People's Vote has a record with this sort of thing.

Launching Women for a People's Vote in September, the feminist campaigner Caroline Criado-Perez laid down a similar authoritarian message, saying, “Women no longer want to leave the European Union. The failure to listen to their voices is a national scandal and it stops now.” The LGBT for a People's Vote group's strapline is that “Brexit is a threat to the LGBT+ community”.

Last week I spoke on this subject at a well-attended event at the Spread Eagle pub in Camden, North London. As I said then, identity politics has been a core part of Remain campaigning - and it is certainly not going away.

Thanks for James Heartfield for the photographs, taken at the Spread Eagle on 17th January 2019.

'The Tribe: the liberal-left and the system of diversity' is available at a discount via for £12 (RRP £14.95) with free postage to UK addresses. Use coupon TRIBE. It is also available via online retailers. For Amazon reviews, see here.


  1. That poem offers no exposition of ideas or arguments.
    It reminds me of that slogan "Love is Love", which offers no discussion of ethics or morality. It's just an advertising slogan, using up the bandwidth that rational argument ought to occupy.

  2. It really does take some front for immigrants to lecture natives on issues of profound national importance. I've lived in China for 18 months and I cannot conceive of telling them that they should, for example, accept mass immigration. Indeed, I think one would have to despise a people in order to inflict upon them the kind of demographic change that Britain's globalist elite has imposed us.

    Anyway, good article as ever.

    Continuing with the identity theme but from a different angle, I thought I'd share this article about the consequences for national identity which flow from a post-national world:

    A few stand out paragraphs:

    ''This means that patriotism has no role in the democratic empire. Loyalty to your country only works if you actually have a country. The residue of patriotism will last for a while, as people will still think of their neighbors and friends as their countrymen, but in time, as those people are replaced by strangers, patriotism will disappear. In a transactional world populated by stranglers, your primary loyalty cannot be to the state, as it is just as much a stranger to you as the new neighbors, who just moved in from over the horizon.

    The sterile transactionalism is already evident. Consider the change in relationship between employers and their workers. Everywhere in America, employment is at-will, which means an employee can be dismissed by an employer for any reason. Further, local business is atrophying as global enterprise monopolizes the marketplace. It used to be local business was a part of every community, sponsoring little leagues and charity drives. You’ll never see your kid’s little league sponsored by Google or Amazon.

    Of course, this will have unforeseen consequences. For example, the military will no longer be able to rely on patriotism for recruitment. Since no one is a citizen in the old sense, the military stops being a citizen military. Instead, it takes on the characteristics of a mercenary army. The decision to join is no different than the decision to take one job over another. This will also apply to the police. The cops will no longer be citizens protecting and serving their community. They become free range prison guards.

    Humans are social animals so the loss of national and regional identity means something will replace it. In a transactional world where everyone is a civic stranger, the old fashioned loyalties will become more important. Family, community, and tribe will be the only identities that have meaning. Again, we see the beginnings of this with the administrative layer of the managerial class. Those FBI agents plotting to overturn the 2016 elections were motivated by the emerging new identity politics.

    That’s the thing that gets overstated in discussion of identity politics. The old identities will surely play a role, like race, ethnicity, and religion. New tribes resulting from the post-national relationships will emerge. The managerial state will begin to fracture and balkanize, as the rival power centers begin to jockey for power. Again, this can be seen in the obstruction of the Trump agenda by career bureaucrats in the government. They have become their own tribe and they have become class aware.

    This paradise comes with a cost. Nations hold together for the same reason communities hold together. The social capital, those invisible bonds between people, breathe life into the organizing structure. Patriotism and civic duty are what animate the republic. Duty to king and the people is what animates a monarchy. This social capital is what binds the rulers to the ruled. In a highly transactional world, where social capital has been monetized or pushed to the margins, something else must animate the system.''

  3. The video also comes with the now cuatomary plea for open borders, meaning no 'liberal' box remains unticked. Great observations!

  4. Irish writer John Waters talked on a You Tube conversation today with Stefan Molyneux about “imperialism via victimhood, colonialism using vulnerable people or the people who have suffered in history. So what you basically do is you take these victims and you push them out in front of you as human shields and you conquer your own people and other peoples using those people as stooges in your imperial adventure”.


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