WHAT people should wake up and realise is that Brexit is the logical extension of Margaret Thatcher’s economic and social revolution to impose American free-market capitalism on the UK. I have never believed that even Thatcher was stupid enough to believe her own much-repeated mantra that there is no such thing as society. However, in pursuit of her personal crusade she promoted the concept that would have profound repercussions for everyone in the UK, supported by endlessly repeated propaganda that there was no alternative.

Her denial of the existence of a real and meaningful social world was necessary in her determination to attack and discredit the nation’s social structures and institutions, and convince people that they are dispensable and can be substituted by other arrangements that will perform their functions better and more efficiently. If they can be portrayed as somehow sitting outside of society and unrelated to daily life, then they are indeed dispensable.

The whole of the Thatcher project was based on promoting the free-market agenda of deregulation, privatisation, and contracting out the services and functions of the major institutions that compose society such as health, education and welfare, taking them out of the public sector and locating them within the private. By attacking, discrediting them, and denying their integral social centrality you can then justify their removal as a public service and utilise their necessary functions for profit. It involved a transfer of wealth and power upwards to a voracious and immoral elite whilst reducing the standard of living of working people as far as possible in order to enhance that same elite with levels of wealth that could never be justified or spent.

To achieve this, Thatcher and her disciples in all parties had to demonise and discredit Britain’s traditional culture and ethical framework. That was the great task Thatcher set herself, and she was particularly successful as Britain progressively embraced individualism, greed, a hatred of the state, a hatred of trades unions, a hatred of the poor, the disabled, the disadvantaged and the unemployed, and the dismantling and destruction of the public sector in order to completely turn the entire economic structure of the United Kingdom over to private enterprise and profit.

The ultimate goal of free-marketeers is the complete privatisation of all economic activity and the removal of any and all restraints and fetters such as regulations, taxation, and trades union activity. It also set itself the goal of minimising all human costs on its activities as far as possible such as wages, benefits for the unemployed, the sick and the disabled, health costs, pensions and all such benefits built up over many years by a collectivist and welfare-minded British public.

Brexit is the logical extension of the Thatcher agenda. As the financial crash starkly highlighted the failures of the free market, and support for the NHS in particular began to thwart the Tories vision of a privatised society, Brexit gave them renewed hope and opportunity. The Brexiteers know full well that Brexit will be a catastrophe and that is exactly what they want. The economic and social disruption that will inevitably follow Brexit will allow the Tories to implement what Naomi Klein called The Shock Doctrine, and the triumph of what she termed, disaster capitalism; the exploitation of national disruption and crisis. This is the methodology whereby free marketeers utilise national crises to impose previously unacceptable economic and social policies on a nation reeling from national shock, more deregulation of the financial system, privatisation of the NHS, further cuts to public services and ever deepening austerity. It must not be allowed.

Peter Kerr