Brexit

Brexit: break Labour's silence

As the threats posed by the Tories’ Brexit policy become more serious and more imminent, the labour movement is not speaking up but saying even less. In the first half of the year, supporters of Keir Starmer argued his refusal to call for a delay to Brexit, despite the chaos caused by Covid-19, was savvy tactics. “Keir” would speak out at an appropriate time. Now, with the end of the Brexit transition ten weeks away, and a No Deal Brexit a strong and growing possibility, Labour is pretty much silent. If you dig a bit you can find this or that low-profile statement. All of it is pro-Brexit. On...

More Brexit means more US-type capitalism

New UK-EU talks on Brexit are due to run through the week starting 5 October, and prime minister Boris Johnson says he wants a deal outlined by 15 October. That looks unlikely. The EU has already started suing Britain for legislating to break the Withdrawal Agreement previously signed with the EU. Big gaps remain between the UK and the EU on Northern Ireland, on state-aid rules, and on fishing. The Tories say that they are happy with a “no deal” Brexit as fallback — meaning, in fact, a period of chaos following by a scramble for new trade deals, especially with the USA. Their basic drive is to...

Brexit shows... no point defending the BBC

The Cummings-Johnson-Gove clique have made no secret of their contempt for the BBC and desire to bring it to heel. They believe the result of the EU referendum and the 2019 election give them an opportunity to mount a “culture war” on the supposedly “liberal” and “metropolitan” BBC. Their approach so far, has been to follow Trump’s “fake news” strategy — in which politicians aim to escape accountability by convincing enough supporters that all criticism is based on the lies of a biased “liberal” media. But now there is clear evidence of a plan to fundamentally undermine the independence of the...

Brexit: "a bit of crazy"

The Tories have moved fractionally on their Internal Market bill, which, by their own account, breaches the Withdrawal Agreement treaty they signed with the EU (on economic checks between Northern Ireland and Britain). As shadow Attorney-General Charlie Falconer puts it, it's "no climbdown... only a doubling-down". The shift says only that each breach of the Withdrawal Agreement will need parliamentary assent. Dissident Tory MPs are placated, but the EU isn't. The Tories are also hyping up conflict with the EU about "state aid" to industry. The Morning Star and others see this as a left-wing...

Forward to Comrade Johnson's Five Year Plan!

Let’s be clear: when it comes to Brexit, the Morning Star and its masters, the Communist Party of Britain, essentially support Boris Johnson and wish him well. They even (as we shall see) harbour hopes that he may introduce some sort of planned economy (no, seriously! See below). This has been obvious for a long while: over a year ago (29 Aug 2019), the paper blamed anti-Brexit MPs for Johnson’s illegal prorogation of parliament: “It comes in circumstances that have been created by anti-Brexit MPs and the House of Commons. They have had three years to agree a way to honour the people’s vote to...

Brexit, the Tories, Labour: what sort of “State Aid”?

In the propaganda the government is putting out about their conflict with the EU over a Brexit Trade deal the Tories are making much of “State Aid” being a point of contention. The EU’s State Aid rules are often a crux of Lexiter arguments for Brexit. They argue that State Aid rules will be used to stifle attempts to nationalise industries or intervene actively in the economy. Another Europe Is Possible and socialist remainers like John McDonnell argued that the existing State Aid rules need to be reformed or scrapped as part of the “reform” programme of “Reform and remain”. But as of now is...

Johnson heads for disaster Brexit

Brexit is destructive. It means higher borders between countries, and a drive by the British government to slip down from EU-agreed social standards to what will suit getting a trade deal with the USA. That’s true for any Brexit, and even more true for the “no deal” Brexit the Tories are edging towards. Also, the moment of Brexit is bound to bring turmoil and dislocation. Even if you think that will be passing, and worth it in the long run, those will be complications which should be avoided when trying to devise virus-control policies in the depths of winter. Since the Tories have a large...

Left politics without the activists

Gabriel Pogrund’s and Patrick Maguire’s book Left Out: The Inside Story of Labour Under Corbyn is not really about the politics of the Corbyn Labour Party leadership, but about the “politics” in the sense of corridor chat, text-message exchanges, and WhatsApp groups at the top of the party hierarchy. Tellingly, it doesn’t mention the failure of the Labour Party in that period to promote any real ongoing political campaigns outside the general elections of 2017 and 2019. Either the authors take it as obvious that political parties won’t do political campaigning, or they picked up no argument or...

Tories lurch towards No Deal

Boris Johnson, according to the Financial Times on 7 September, is planning legislation (to be published 9 September) which will contradict the Withdrawal Agreement already signed with the European Union on state aid to industrial bosses and on trade checks between Britain and Northern Ireland. And Johnson said on 6 September that if he doesn’t get an outline deal on free trade post-Brexit with the EU by 15 October, then he will “move on”. In other words, to a “no-deal” Brexit. We can’t judge how much Johnson is bluffing to try to spook the EU into last-minute concessions, and how much he...

Stop slide to No Deal!

The Tories are tobogganing towards a “no deal” Brexit. Maybe they hope to scare the EU into last-minute concessions, but, on the scale of such things, four months is very short for that. The Tories may think that with everyone distracted by the pandemic and other issues, they can get away with “no deal”, and use the resulting turmoil to push through “disaster capitalism” shock policies. The social and economic effects of the resulting higher barriers between Britain and Europe, disrupting 50 years of economic knitting-together, and of the shock policies, will hit workers hardest. Yet Labour...

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