The results of the referendum that marked the United Kingdom’s exit from the European Union, termed “Brexit”, shocked the country and the rest of the world, with several calling it a historic blunder. The causes of the “Leave” vote winning lie not in the fact that most voters genuinely believed that exiting the EU was the right thing to do or to even were-informed about it – as Google search results in Britain after the referendum showed that most people did not realize the implications of leaving the EU.

The real cause was that ordinary people were hurting economically, with budget cuts on the NHS, disinvestment and housing prices. To this was added the ingredient of xenophobia (something always on the simmer), exaggerated beyond recognition in the wake of the Syrian refugee crisis. These socioeconomic and racial woes were further fuelled by the far right and wrongly blamed on British membership of the EU. The socioeconomic problems are not solved and perhaps will be further aggravated by the departure – it is really a wonder how all that anti-establishment sentiment was channeled into a fantasy shortcut. Young Briton will not so easily get jobs in Europe and the question of trade tariffs also arises. Worst of all, the purchasing power of the ordinary Briton is at an all-time low, which, coupled with inflation, doesn’t bode well for protectionist reindustrialization. Higher education in the EU would possibly be more expensive for British students. Yes, perhaps they will successfully bar the immigrants till the people realize hatred doesn’t feed their children’s stomachs. That is just about all.

Underneath the details of the referendum lie a number of interesting insights. The age breakup of the Brexit vote was stark – the young overwhelmingly voted for “Remain” and the old voted similarly to “Leave”. It is worth noting that the objective conditions for a left-wave were absolutely present and were far more solid than the conditions in the United States of America that abetted the rise of Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump. Namely, a rigged economy, unlimited money in politics, rising educational and healthcare costs, and most of all a genuine anti-establishment polarization.

The youth were progressive – they had fuelled Corbyn’s rise and had voted “Remain” disproportionately as did Scotland, Northern Ireland and London. The elderly were hurting, hence their discontent, especially in rural England, and could have been tapped into the way Bernie Sanders has done in the US. Both sides reject neoliberalism in their own way. And because the Labour Party is not really left-wing, the responsibility for failing to tap into that lies solely with Jeremy Corbyn. The Brexit vote is really, hard as it is to say, a personal failing of Corbyn.

In the USA, the youth are with Sanders whole-heartedly; the anti-establishment white elderly people are with Trump; and the pro-establishment white, Latino and African American elders are with Hillary Clinton. In the Brexit vote, there WAS no Hillary Clinton parallel – most of the people who turned out came to send a message to the respective establishments they sought to see replaced – in essence, a Trump or a Sanders vote.

Corbyn had the most overwhelming mandate in Labour history – fuelled by massive youth turnout. This sort of grassroots candidacy could only be possible under the Labour party. Under Tory rule, for an individual to become leader of the Conservatives, he/she is required to win the votes of a majority of MPs alone -- a task impossible for an anti-establishment candidate. However, under Labour Party rules, not only the MPs but the rank-and-file members and union affiliates vote as well. Voting patterns among these groups have shown a rightward shift over the decades on the part of the MPs. The time before, Ed Miliband had narrowly defeated his Blairite brother David Miliband in the leadership election in the overall vote, though the latter had won the majority of the MP vote. Hence, in recent years, there has been a polarization in political stances between the Labour leadership and the base at large.

The persistently Tory-lite agenda of the Labour Party was absolutely responsible for lower turnout among Labour supporters in the last general election. The UKIP won areas that the Tories couldn’t. It was nothing short of utter decimation – a stark contrast to the unbelievably high turnout in the subsequent Labour leadership election that Corbyn won.

One can argue that Corbyn’s hands were tied, with his MPs fresh out of the general election when he came to power. He could hardly dismiss them or trigger bye-elections – and if he tried, his MPs could have attempted a no-confidence motion (the rules here are roughly the same as the Tories) – which they have in any case done now.

In Parliament and the top party machinery, the Corbyn clique is small even by British standards, consisting of Corbyn, Ken Livingstone, John McDonnell, Seymour Milne and Diane Abbott – leaders consistently maligned by not only the Conservatives and the mainstream media, but by most prominent Labour MPs as well.

A snap survey by The Guardian shows that Jeremy Corbyn still enjoys nearly the same level of support as he did when he was elected.

Almost 90% of those who responded voted remain in the referendum in line with Labour’s position.

Of the respondents, 81% voted for Corbyn last year. Of those who voted for him last year, 95% continue to support him as party leader and said they were intending to vote for him again.

It appears that the objective conditions for a second Corbyn leadership victory are still in place, if he acts fast - a trait rarely displayed by him. For most of his leadership tenure, he behaved like a man whose moment was yet to come. His heart is in the right place on the main political and socio-economic issues but he’s not a terribly good politician. It is tough to imagine him out maneuvering a pigeon. His career has been marked by his role as a dissenter, not a constructor. He has been on the right side of history on every count. However, beyond debating and protesting – as a governor, or organiser or legislator or an alliance-former, he doesn’t appear to have the requisite skills at the moment. A Blairite coup is no real alternative.

The Lib Dems, the Conservatives, the UKIPers and the Labour chaps – their MPs are all bedfellows in social background: Oxford or Cambridge-educated. It is genuinely difficult for any of them to differ in any significant way. Britain's a small place to run a small club and the bigger club won. Not to say that Corbyn is a master politician by any standards - just about the opposite. Perhaps he should have let heads roll way before the Brexit vote.

The Scottish National Party (SNP) has been doing better than Labour since the last election, and have a lot more integrity and are better organised. They don’t have a vague ideological base and have fewer right wingers than Labour unless Corbyn manages a miracle. Currently, the SNP also hold the only trump card that can block the Brexit – control of the Scottish Parliament that can declare Brexit a violation of Scotland’s relations with EU, as well as term it beyond the authority of the British Parliament to solely decide on matters of grave importance to the entire UK. The PMQs are certainly not the best way to rally the people or to tackle the incumbent regime – the Labour leader should know that by now. However the regional nature of the SNP prevents it from becoming the main left force in the UK – other than perhaps pushing Labour a bit to the left in a coalition government. Unless a progressive party emerges, the buck remains in the hands of Labour.

Most of Corbyn's erstwhile shadow cabinet didn't deserve to be in politics anyway – they represent various corporate interests: the military-industrial complex, the US State Department, the fossil fuel lobby, the pharmaceutical lobby and the banks and real estate sharks. Under no circumstances should Corbyn resign - if he does, he should run for the leader's position again and crush the Blairite MPs under his heel – after all it is the era under their charge that turned Britain into the economic scavenger zone that is it currently. The era of centrism is over- look what happened to Labour and the Liberal Democrats in the last election. It is only a matter of when the combined citizenry realizes that the right wing agenda is simply empty promises, crony capitalism and xenophobia.

(The author is a research scholar at Centre for Historical Studies, Jawaharlal Nehru University).