Brexit is already contributing heavily to economic chaos. That contribution may get bigger.
In UK-EU negotiations over trade arrangements between Britain and Northern Ireland, the EU has now offered sweeping removal of checks on animal and plant products entering NI. The UK’s negotiator David Frost has told them to get lost.
The Tories are letting talk circulate that they will kick over the table and unilaterally suspend the Northern Ireland protocol, the deal they themselves signed less than two years ago to avoid a hard border within Ireland.
EU states including France, Germany, Spain and Italy are reported to be pushing for options which range from tariffs on UK imports to termination of the entire trade and cooperation deal.
We are not advocates for the EU governments and bureaucracy, obviously. But socialists must emphatically condemn both the UK government’s recklessness and its whole policy here. We are against a hard border in Ireland.
The labour movement must break out of its self-imposed silence on Brexit, loudly condemn the Tories’ policy and fight for an alternative. As a basic step, the left needs to fight to reopen the discussion. For ourselves, we support the UK rejoining the EU. But as a first step to remove the hard border threat the labour movement should support what a motion to last month’s Labour conference from Neath’s local Labour Party proposed — rejoining the European single market and customs union, which entails also restoring free movement between the UK and the EU27.