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Armley Café Politique debates ‘The left, race and the Referendum’

Want to get to grips with the big issues in politics? Armley Café Politique could be up your street. Richard Honey has all the details…

About the Café Politique:

In our rapidly changing world, politics and old certainties are in crisis. New ideas and movements, globalisation, climate change, and the rise of the populist right all present challenges to the old ways of doing things.

Armley Café Politique is a chance to get to grips with some of the big issues we face – and how they affect us all, world-wide and in our local communities – in a friendly informal discussion forum open to all who love ideas.

About the event:

Caught in the Headlights: The left, race and the Referendum

Introduced by Amina Lone, former National Communities Lead for Britain Stronger in Europe, Co-Director of the Social Action and Research Foundation and Labour councillor for Hulme in Manchester.
Tuesday 14 March 2017 7.30pm
At: Armley Junk-tion
1 Chapel Lane, Leeds LS12 2DJ
Seating limited so please arrive on time!

armley junktion
Venue: Armley Junktion

During the 2016 EU referendum, many on the left assumed that Black and Ethic Minority (BME) communities would oppose the anti-immigrant rhetoric of the Leave campaign. Yet it is estimated up to a million BME people voted to leave, many themselves immigrants to the UK.

BME communities do not fit in to a single mono-culture of non-whiteness and are no longer tribally loyal to Labour. Yet the referendum result has also revealed a racism that has always been lurking in the shadows, with a forty-six per cent increase in hate crimes.

What are the lessons for the left as it struggles to respond to the concerns of both the BME and majority communities?

For more info read Amina’s article in Renewal.


  1. I apologise that I will be unable to attend this meeting, but in any case, I can see little mileage in a post mortem of the failed campaign when the more fundamental issue is the failure by parliament to apply any intelligence to their consideration of the result.

    It was a binary question, but it was not a binary answer. It was, I think, the best answer that a coherently thinking electorate could give, assuming that is that parliament was not mostly peopled by spineless idiots.

    My reasoning is thus:
    Excepting for the ignorant, there is no question that the referendum was advisory: parliament discussed several amendments intended as a safety net and they were deemed unnecessary *because* the referendum was advisory.
    Thus we had a reasonable expectation that the government would give proper consideration to all of the relevant factors before proceeding.

    The only argument against this is that the Prime Minister promised that the result would be acted on, and that he would invoke Article 50 right away. He promised faithfully that he would see it through.
    He did not do that, he upped and ran away. Whatever argument there is that that is what we voted for is now void because that option is irrevocably gone.
    If we did vote for Brexit, we voted for the kind of Brexit we thought Cameron would deliver.
    If the referendum was a message from us to them, then what message would a remain vote have sent?
    Or more significantly, what message would have been received?

    Without doubt, they would have taken it to mean that everything is rosy; Cameron would have taken it to say that we think he is wonderful.
    Who in the country would want to send that message?
    Furthermore, the nature of the government’s campaign was very much a “we know best” attidude: how can we accept such hubris?

    No, we had no reasonable choice but to vote leave, and trust to the competence of parliament, or failing that, the robustness of the upper house to take a proper course of action.
    It seems that that trust was misplaced.

    I move that we (the electorate) hold a vote of no confidence in the administration, and I ask that you put that question to the floor for a show of hands.


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