Tendance Coatesy

Left Socialist Blog

Brexit ‘Left’ Reaches Delusional Stage and Talks of ‘Commonwealth’.

with 18 comments

Lexit: Desperate last-minute Flailing.

As the left and the labour Movement, from the trade unions, the Party to the majority of radical groups,  stand increasingly united behind a Remain Vote the Brexit ‘left’ is desperate.

They are scrambling round for self-justification.

From whingeing about the ‘absence of a working class voice” in the referendum,  Socialist Worker has been reduced to asserting that, “A socialist Europe is not on the ballot paper and there is no method for reforming the EU.”

Oddly this a Referendum about membership of the EU, and it does not include an option to vote for the SWP either.

Nor does saying three times that the EU cannot be changed make the claim true.

John McDonnell says,

Labour is pushing for an ambitious programme of reforms that will make the EU work for the best interests of working people here and across Europe.

For example, all the EU member states have a share in the European Investment Bank (EIB). The UK’s share is 16 per cent, equivalent to its size inside the EU. But the Tories have failed to make the most of it, with the UK only receiving 11 per cent of funding. If we took our fair share of the extra funding that the EIB has offered, that would be £35bn of additional investment. That’s more than double the entire UK public investment spend for a year.

The SWP’s position would have us not even try to get this ideas on the practical agenda.

This argument in today’s The Socialist, plumbs the depths of delusion.

voters – particularly working class voters – are increasingly seeing the referendum as a chance to protest both against Cameron and everything they have suffered in recent years: low pay, zero-hour contracts, benefit cuts, the lack of affordable housing, and public services cut to the bone. One poll shows that 60% of ‘blue collar’ workers intend to vote for exit.

What is the basis of this ‘blue collar’ (not a Marxist category) support for Brexit?

There is no mention in this article of something too obvious, er, to mention.

Socialist Party ‘aligned’ Trade Unionists Against the EU leaders Enrico Tortolano and Ragesh Khakhria (both part of the PCS which officially has a neutral stand during the referendum) get to grips with the issue of what motives this support in the Morning Star.

They observe, in arguing for something now called a ‘People’s Brexit‘  that,

….millions of working-class voters are unrepresented by the mainstream political parties and large chunks of the trade union movement.

The stance and position of those who are supposed to represent labour is at odds with the experience of the working class in Britain as well as the rest of the EU.

Working-class people are experiencing unemployment or insecure jobs, low pay, no pension with little prospect of owning their own home, or living in secure council housing.

It’s nonsense to pretend that the movement of more people into these communities is having no impact on their lives.

Rich Tories have already cut schools and hospitals they use to the bone.

For the metropolitan liberal elite, far removed from such concerns, the prospect of a people’s Brexit simply violates their sense of entitlement and jeopardises the prospect of middle-class benefits that the working class will never see.

So ‘movement of more people’ – free movement of labour in the European Union – is a problem which has created support for Brexit. Only the ‘metropolitan liberal elite’ –  do not see this reality.

This is clearly at odds with Socialist Worker’s charges against “Fortress Europe”. They charge the EU with putting up barriers to refugees and migrants from outside the Continent. SW notes that the Official Remain campaign is led by those who want to “regain control” of Britain’s borders.

Does the Socialist Party and Trade Unionists Against the EU want to regain “control” over UK frontiers, stop the flow of “cheap labour” that is having an “impact” on “communities”?

If so, how?

And if the SWP opposes such moves, why are they backing a vote for those whose entire project in recent weeks has been centred on a hate campaign against migrant workers

Perhaps we should consider not just migrants and refugees on the frontiers of Europe but   “people” in “movement” who have come to Britian. Khakhria and  Tortolano, whose own forebears were no doubt in “movement” have no answer to this issue.

The pair note, no doubt wistfully, that,

Historically, the labour movement and Labour leaders such as Clement Attlee and Hugh Gaitskell felt a much greater affinity with the Commonwealth countries than they did to the capitalist Common Market.

Yes, New Zealand Lamb and butter, that’s the best reply to the ‘capitalist’ EU.



18 Responses

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  1. What a delusional campaign by Lexit. Now, if only Remain won, we could focus on realistic strategies like trying to simultaneously elect 28 left-wing governments in the EU and reform it from inside while trying to not impose cuts while governing (with no monetary sovereignty in most EU countries and the SG pact suffocating us). lol


    June 22, 2016 at 11:21 am

  2. Delusional, as opposed to getting revolutionary socialist sects into power in the UK you mean?

    Andrew Coates

    June 22, 2016 at 11:28 am

  3. The trouble with the above two comments is snarky whingeing. I have to take my British/American dictionary to translate it. Call it what it is. Right Wing Populism is spreading. That’s the news since before last year.
    If you don’t like American’s lack of comedic irony (Trump aside.) Maybe you would do better returning your idle banter to your pubs where it belongs.
    (T.C. :Thank you for the post.)


    June 22, 2016 at 12:25 pm

  4. After Buffy I’d say the US does irony pretty well.

    Buffy and the Scooby gang incidentally are campaigning for Another Europe/Universe is Possible.

    This is how they reacted when I told them that Johnson and Farage might run the UK:

    Andrew Coates

    June 22, 2016 at 12:29 pm

  5. Be careful not to upset Commandant McDonnell of the Muammar Gadafi Cumann or he’ll send the “brave volunteers” around to rearrange your kneecaps

    Billy Corr

    June 22, 2016 at 12:53 pm

  6. The ‘Trade Unionists Against The EU’ article in the Morning Star surely represents a new low in terms of reactionary politics combined with dishonesty and sheer fantasy. Take this excerpt, for instance:

    “The scenario frightening metropolitan liberals that a Leave victory will deliver power to the racist right is a gross miscalculation.

    “If Leave win, David Cameron — who helped prop up the old Afrikaner regime in South Africa, let’s not forget — will be ousted and Johnson or Michael Gove will secure the keys to 10 Downing Street.

    “It will fast turn into their biggest nightmare. The resource intensity of having to seriously engage in detailed negotiations with vexed EU technocrats for months on end over Britain’s exit route, while running a country entirely opposed to any more austerity or cuts alongside a Parliament beyond their control will paralyse the lot of them.

    “At the same time, powerful campaigning unions like Aslef, BFAWU and the RMT will be relentless in defence of their members and wider society.

    “That’s why there’s no need for the Alice in Wonderland politics emanating from both the Another Europe is Possible camp and some trade union officials.”

    Where to start? How about the strange co-incidence that the only unions mentioned just happen to be the (only) three that support Brexit? The rest (and vast majority) of the TU movement is written off as “some trade union officials”!

    But underlying it is the Third Period Stalinist view that bringing the hard-right openly racist wing of the Tory Party (quite possibly backed by Ukip) to power will somehow benefit the left and the workers’ movement.

    That bizarre scenario is spelled out even more clearly towards the end of the piece:

    “there is a blind refusal to see that a people’s Brexit provides a genuine opportunity for workers to gain confidence, challenge a weak and divided Tory government and elect a left-wing Labour government empowered to see through its socialist commitments”

    And these la-la land fantasists describe Another Europe is possible (and “some trade union officials”) as advocating “Alice in Wonderland politics”!

    Jim Denham

    June 22, 2016 at 12:59 pm

  7. We could also begin with the “metropolitan elite” cack, which like “blue collar” sounds like some 1970s US Nixon speech.

    Here in very non-elite Ipswich we find, ” remain was ahead in Ipswich, Felixstowe and Framlingham.”

    In chocolate box Suffolk, “Beccles, Bury St Edmunds, Sudbury and Stowmarket” it is Leave ahead.

    Lowestoft which is depressed since the (pre-joining EU) decline of the fishing industry, is Leave.


    But as you say Jim, the unions are overwhelmingly Remain, with some exceptions, including union leaders like Steve Hedley of the RMT who appears to be a close ally of the French POID (Parti ouvrier indépendant démocratique) micro-party from the ‘Lambertist’ Trotskyist tradition.

    POID has a leading figure, Gérard Schivardi, the Mayor of the tiny commune, Mailhac.

    This individual, full of home-spun wisdom that verges on the extreme chauvinist, not only thinks that France has a special mission in the world (he created the ” Comité National pour la République Une et Indivisible” ) but has accused Marine Le Pen of ‘stealing his ideas” (Elle se régale à piquer toutes mes idées de 2007 http://www.lefigaro.fr/politique/le-scan/insolites/2015/08/10/25007-20150810ARTFIG00210-gerard-schivardi-reve-d-un-duel-face-a-marine-le-pen-en-2017.php)

    More on this unsavoury character:


    Andrew Coates

    June 22, 2016 at 3:54 pm

  8. Andrew Coates

    June 22, 2016 at 5:36 pm

  9. Good comment, Jim Denham. Thank you.


    June 22, 2016 at 8:45 pm

  10. Thank you for the link to Marie Le Pen, Andrew Coates.


    June 22, 2016 at 8:50 pm

  11. Andrew Coates, I miswrote, about the link to Gérard Schivardi, thank you. I’m more interested in
    Marie Le Pen. Irony aside, the majority of the USA has no idea what has been happening with world politics’ rise of right wing populism. To paraphrase John Steinbeck: Socialism never took root in America because the poor see themselves not as an exploited proletariat, but as temporarily embarrassed millionaires.


    June 22, 2016 at 9:02 pm

  12. *Marine Le Pen ….. there are a few others that give me anxiety. However this link is bad news for young women in the USA. It was still is bad news for young men too. Selective Service: Conscription by Coercion


    June 22, 2016 at 9:55 pm

  13. You’re right: Britain must stay in the EU where, if any delusional fantasies happen to become true, like propping up a grouping of socialist sects like Syriza was, it will promptly be squashed by the Commission.


    June 22, 2016 at 11:31 pm

  14. The choice is between “remain on the basis of the status quo” or “leave on terms to be bargained between Eurocrats and politicians from the Tory right”. Given that choice, “remain” may be preferable. But – let’s get real – neither the idea of a “left exit” nor the idea of “another Europe” are on the table or remotely plausible in the foreseeable future. The spectacle of leftists presenting one or another of the choices actually on offer as if they were a matter of socialist principle is just weird.


    June 23, 2016 at 12:01 am

  15. I agree the choices are weird. The fear mongering is corollary to the Syrian refugee crisis. I hope the UK stays in the EU. Is it really split down the middle between the youth under 40 and the over 40 crowd? I speculate the UK will stay in the EU if only because the USA needs the UK to do so. There is international pressure to keep the most Right Wing Government of Israel peaceful. These efforts to delay a war, hopefully prevent it are extrapolated from news there and news here. The UK will remain in the EU and Sen. Hillary Clinton will be the U.S. president. Sorry for the off topic speculation. I just have a feeling to see the forest for the trees. And of course, #muslimlivesmatter… that’s what this vote on Thursday is all about. I believe you already know. Thanks.


    June 23, 2016 at 3:04 am

  16. Why I’m in: Pushing for Lexit won’t help migrants or the working class

    When the UK has to trade in workers’ rights for a new trade deal, migrant workers will be the hardest hit

    “Voting for leave will exclude migrant workers, and normalise restrictions on their rights and not encourage their participation in the political process of creating a viable left wing alternative. Lexit only resonates with those who have access to employment, language and immigration status advantages. If you support migrant and workers’ rights, there really is only one option – vote remain.”


    Andrew Coates

    June 23, 2016 at 11:02 am

  17. Andrew Coates

    June 23, 2016 at 11:31 am

  18. Andrew, I like the lemmings better than Scooby Doo and Buffy. In Vermont, my home state, we have the history of 1st socialist: mayor, governor, U.S. Representative (VT has 1) , senator. He’s Bernie Sanders. It’s gotten to be such a palpable turmoil in my own city (Bernie’s Campaign Headquarters) because of his run for the Democratic Nomination for U.S. President. It’s really a good example of wanting your dearest wish to come true that you can’t look. Sanders announced he probably wouldn’t be the Nominee yesterday and many Democrats are housing a “sit-in” yesterday/today for a modicum of advance for gun control. Do you find it at all suspicious that these events are happening simultaneous with yours? Specifically the past 48 hours. I’m not interested in conspiracy theory, I don’t understand it from a political angle. Nothing is getting done over here in the USA, because the people we elected to represent us are all waiting for the next President. The way people interrelate is echo chamber, meaning mostly all of my FB newsfeed … everyone wants Sanders. Of course, I do too. But it’s embarrassing the other to candidates. H. Clinton is a M. Thatcher for the easiest comparison and Trump … well there is Marine Le Pen, as it were.


    June 23, 2016 at 8:28 pm

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