With the news that the Leave organisation has raised more than three times as much as Remain during the period between April 22 and May 12, it is becoming clear that a powerful group of wealthy individuals are keen to drag Britain into an uncertain future outside Europe.
Both camps have wealthy supporters of course, but these latest figures speak for themselves. Leave received a single donation from International Motors that came close to equalling the total raised by Remain (£850,000). The company is chaired by Lord Edmiston, a millionaire many times over who is also an evangelical Christian.
Such donors as Edmiston and the banker Peter Cruddas, the mail order millionaire John Mills and gambling tycoon Stuart Wheeler, who is UKIP’s treasurer, will not suffer in what is predicted to be a disastrous period of withdrawal if the UK votes to leave. The G7 suggest Brexit is a serious threat to world growth, the Institute for Fiscal Studies predicts two more years of austerity and the IMF assesses the economic impact as from “pretty bad to very, very bad.”
Against a slew of negative predictions, the Leave campaign has not much to offer except the grand illusion of enhanced sovereignty, which they say is worth every hardship that will come our way. As the economist Thomas Piketty has pointed out, the One Per Cent – IE the rich that are propelling us to the exit – were hardly affected by the recession that followed the 2008 crash. In these time of widening inequality, income from capital is much more robust than earned income, a lesson no doubt the leftist John Mills could give you, though not without blushing.
Demographics are hard to pin down in the run up to the referendum, but it is clear that individualistic capitalists who incline towards a passionate nationalistic intensity have formed a kind of alliance with the least well off people in British society, who share the nationalist and xenophobic emotions, but who stand to lose most from leaving the EU and will start doing so from a very early stage in the process.
In a recent YouGov survey, it was found that Leave had a lead of ten points or more in groups such as those with only GCSE qualifications or lower (68%), C2 social Class (60%), DE social Class (63%), and readers of the Sun (71%), Mail (73%) and Express (77%).
It is true that Leave will draw from all classes and income groups on June 23, but interlaced in the complex detail of the vote is the old story of established money seeking to influence the poor, no matter what impact it has on those people being used.