Support for Brexit is no longer a minority viewpoint on the British left

man-hands-reading-boyIn recent years, Euroscepticism has frequently been associated with the right of the political spectrum in the UK, but a number of figures on the left have also voiced their support for the country leaving the EU. Imke Henkel writes that while criticism of the EU’s handling of the Eurozone and migration crises is understandable, such problems should be used as the basis for stronger engagement from the British left at the European level.

Among the British press, which overall shows a bias for leaving the EU, the Guardian is seen as one of the few papers with a friendly attitude towards remaining. However, there are pro-Brexit voices within the Guardian, too. On 20 May, Larry Elliott, the paper’s Economic Editor, made his argument for Britain to leave the EU: “Brexit may be the best answer to a dying Eurozone”. The piece culminated in the provocative conclusion that the EU was “the USSR without the gulag”.

The article sparked a strong response from the Guardian’s former Director of Digital Strategy, Wolfgang Blau. The German born journalist had moved to the Guardian only in 2013 from his previous role as editor in chief at the German digital publication Zeit Online. He left after just two and a half years in December 2015 to become the Chief Digital Officer at Condé Nast International. In February 2015, Blau had been one of four candidates in the internal hustings to succeed the outgoing Guardian-editor Alan Rusbridger. With just 29 votes out of 964 Blau came last by a wide margin. Still, his early departure from the Guardian surprised many in the industry. Continue reading