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The Brexit Collection

New Book by Kenneth Bell

Two of the three pamphlets that make up the Brexit Collection were written in considerable haste in May 2016, with the final one emerging in the June of that year. None of them were planned; they seemed to demand that I write them to fill an obvious, yawning gap in the Brexit information library.

I suspect that I am not the only old Labour man who is irritated by the way in which withdrawal from the EU has become an issue dominated by the right. Labour is still the only major party that has ever had withdrawal from the EU in one of its General Election manifestos, and I have never changed the view that I came to when I joined the party in 1981 that the European Union is yet another weapon in the capitalist armoury to keep the management up and the working class down.

Unfortunately, those arguments which were once common currency on the left are now only to be found on the pages of the Morning Star. The Leave arguments that were being put forward by many Brexiteers seemed to be aimed only at the political right, and ignored completely the reasons why working people would want to oppose the whole European nightmare.

Given that nobody seemed to want to speak for traditional Labour people, I decided one evening that I had better do it myself, which is why Brexit: For a New Country came to be written during the frenetic weekend which followed that brainwave.

The chapter that elicited the most comments was the one dealing with immigration, but as I explained the issue is neither immigration nor xenophobia. Indeed, whenever I think about my three large, thuggish sons, I remember that they all speak Spanish as their first language, and I have it as my second.

What we object to is scab labour, which benefits only the employer. More particularly, it is opposition to those Eastern Europeans who had everything that we want to have for ourselves in the form of guaranteed employment, workers' rights and housing guarantees. The fact that those rights were given at the point of a Soviet bayonet helps explain why the people of Eastern Europe wanted the Russians out of their countries, but they also threw out the baby with the bathwater.

To make matters worse, they then wandered into the UK to dance to the employers' non-union tunes, leaving us with a lifetime of underemployment.

The response to Brexit: For a New Country was surprisingly positive, and more than one Scot commented that there was nothing available that dealt specifically with Scotland, so I set out to write Why Scotland Should Leave the EU.

As with the first pamphlet, this one looked at the matter from a working class perspective, and dealt with jobs and workers' rights, but all in the context of devolved Scotland, and the positive things that the country can expect after the UK has left the European Union.

Two short pamphlets written in one month struck me as more than enough, but in the days following the vote, the increasing whining from the other side became insufferable, especially since so few of them had even bothered to vote. The sheer class hatred from the readers of newspaper such as the Guardian and Independent was entertaining at first, but then became irritating, so I decided that a response was needed to that insufferable insolence.

Hence on the 23 June 2016, exactly a month after Independence Day, I published One Man's Brexit. This was mainly a collection of essays that had already appeared in my blog in the days following our victory, with some extra material written to add to the mix, and all written with the aim of twisting the knife and sticking the boot into people for whom it was impossible to have any respect at all.

So we come to The Brexit Collection, which consists of those three pamphlets, topped and tailed with a new introduction and an afterword which took the debate up to the end of 2016. That afterword looks at the standard complaints that the defeated come up with to explain why ordinary people ignored them, and was yet another gloating pleasure to write.

Unlike the three original pamphlets which are only available as e-books, The Brexit Collection can be bought as both a paperback and an e-book. With suitable modesty, I think it will look nice on your bookshelf and will annoy all the right people if they pick it up and open it.

Kenneth Bell's writings are available from Amazon, and the paperback versions can also be ordered via your favourite bookshop. Signed copies of The Brexit Collection can be had from the author, so please click this link to drop him a line. He blogs at www.kenbell.info, when the mood takes him.


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