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Corbyn Plans “Bringing the Country Together” Behind His Brexit.

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Image result for alice in wonderland lion and unicorn I always thought Unicorns were fabulous monsters, too! ...

Alice Meets Corbyn’s Brexit, “I always thought Unicorns were fabulous monsters, too.”

The pro-Brexit Morning Star (Editorial today) summarises Corbyn’s move:

Labour’s five proposals are a compromise. They do not represent what Labour would negotiate if it had the opportunity: this is no doubt why the list is far less ambitious than the Brexit vision outlined by Corbyn in Coventry nearly a year ago, when he pledged to “negotiate protections, clarifications or exemptions … in relation to privatisation and public service competition directives, state aid and procurement rules” and vowed that “we cannot be held back inside or outside the EU from taking the steps we need to support cutting-edge industries and local business [and] stop the tide of privatisation and outsourcing.”

Until a general election changes the game, Brexit is not Labour’s to negotiate. On the other hand, articulating a positive and ambitious vision of our future outside the EU, and how Labour would approach that differently from the Conservatives, is essential both to general election success and to transforming an economy broken by neoliberalism and auster

Here is Corbyn’s letter to Labour members:

I have written to the Prime Minister laying out Labour’s alternative plan so we can move beyond the mess the Tories have made of Brexit.

The Tory failure has left the country deeply divided and facing the threat of a disastrous No Deal outcome. Labour can and must take a lead in bringing our country together.

We are convinced that our sensible alternative, set out in the five demands in my letter, could both win the support of parliament and bring together those who voted Leave and Remain.                                           

More than any other party, Labour represents the hopes and ambitions of millions of people across all parts of our country. 

Whether people live in Tottenham or Mansfield, they face the same problems of austerity, the injustice of Universal Credit and insecure work. The real divide in our country is not between Leave and Remain, but between the many and the few.

I believe our alternative plan – which includes a permanent customs union, staying close to the single market, and full guarantees on workers’ rights, consumer standards and environmental protections – can help move us beyond divisions over Brexit and lay the ground for the transformation of our country that only a Labour government can deliver.

Theresa May is unable to reach a sensible deal because it would split the Tories – and we will never vote for a bad Tory deal.

If Parliament is deadlocked, then the best outcome would be a general election. Without it, we will keep all options on the table, as agreed in our party conference motion, including the option of a public vote.

Thank you,

Jeremy Corbyn
Leader of the Labour Party

This all looks, as some have commented, a strategy for either negotiating some agreement with Theresa May, or for many, many years, of future negotiating should Labour win an election.

The Guardian has commented that, “It is far from clear whether Labour’s five demands for UK withdrawal are achievable”.

The Guardian lists the 5 points and looks at them.

  • A permanent and comprehensive UK-wide customs union, an agreement on commercial policy that includes a UK say on future EU trade deals.

The problem here is  that on present evidence, “The British government would have no say over new trade deals if it was in a customs union with the European Union, a former head of the World Trade Organisation has said. ” (Guardian 21st of January 2018). Nor is obvious how a sudden lurch back into a Customs Union is going to be re-worked out from scratch.

  • Close alignment with the single market, underpinned by shared institutions and obligations, with clear arrangements for dispute resolution.

The Guardian notes on this, “This part of the proposal sounds strikingly similar to May’s Chequers plan, but the EU rejected that as “cherry-picking” parts of the indivisible four freedoms. If Labour decides it wishes to be fully in the single market, the EU will insist it signs up to EU state-aid rules. “Corbyn will have to come out of the closet and say we accept single market rules,” says one senior EU official. If Labour wants to be in the single market, it will also have to accept continued freedom of movement, though senior Labour figures have sounded more warm towards that prospect in recent weeks.

This could equally be described as a pious intention, open to Labour to ‘negotiate’ as it sees fit. As noted on Labour List, (Sienna Rodgers)”“single market alignment” doesn’t amount to the “full participation” prescribed by the composite motion. (of the Labour Party Conference).

It is also open to the Morning Star Brexiteers and the “4 Ms” to “negotiate protections, clarifications or exemptions. That is, a merry game over many years, until they decide to break away completely and try for the WTO rule based trade. It is a recipe for endless rows, dramatic turnarounds, and a continuous diversion from any Labour government’s legislative programme.

  • Dynamic alignment on rights and protections so that UK standards keep pace with evolving standards across Europe as a minimum, allowing the UK to lead the way.

The word  “dynamic” cannot hide that this is always open to a Tory government to renege on. One of the obvious attractions of common European standards is that they were made in common not “aligned” with.

  • Clear commitments on participation in EU agencies and funding programmes, including in areas such as the environment, education, and industrial regulation.

A commitment – no more. And, the Guardian states, “The political declaration – the non-binding part of the Brexit deal that May has proposed – already states that the EU and the UK will “explore the possibility of cooperation” involving agencies such as the European Medicines Agency, the European Chemicals Agency and the European Aviation Safety Agency.

  • Unambiguous agreements on the detail of future security arrangements, including access to the European arrest warrant and vital shared databases.

Something that remains open. The Guardian says, “Brussels has said it is difficult for the UK to have the same access to EU police organisations and databases without being a member state, including taking on EU data-protection rules and accepting the remit of the European court of justice. It is unclear if Labour would be prepared to accept this.”

On Labour List Sienna Rogers also observes:

 Corbyn’s list makes no mention of the backstop or of free movement.

It remains that Corbyn and his inner circle want Labour Party members to accept Brexit.

The present strategy may well involve a compromise to bring “our country together” – for yet more, and yet more, negotiations.

Corbyn allies in the influential groupuscule Counterfire do not relish such a consensus.

John Rees writes,

Marxism and the Brexit crisis

But now the entirety of the British political establishment, and the mass media, are pushing the Labour leadership to “save the nation” by joining in a Tory-inspired unity campaign aimed at achieving the seemingly politically impossible task of passing Theresa May’s Brexit deal.

He, like the Morning Star, backs Brexit.

Brexit, in this compromise form is still Brexit.

Many people in the Labour Party simply do not accept Brexit in the first place.

Shiraz describes the move as  “Corbyn’s Brexit betrayal.”

Socialist Resistance writes on the forces, hostile to left-wing internationalism, who are driving the Corbyn stategy.

The British Road to Brexit

Milne and Murray haven’t changed their minds on that in forty-five years. That’s fine. The EU is a bosses’ club. What’s different now is that the push for Brexit is coming from the right of British politics and has galvanised every racist in the country. The 2016 referendum result wasn’t a rejection of a bosses’ club, it was a rejection of freedom of movement within the EU. Milne and Murray are in the Labour Party now and they are very definitely in a minority on this issue. The most recent evidence for that is the report commissioned by Transport Salaried Staffs’ Association which says:

“Labour would especially lose the support of people below the age of 35, which could make this issue comparable to the impact the tuition fees and involvement in the coalition had on Lib Dem support….

… “If there is an election in 2019, Labour will get a lower share of the vote in every seat in the country if it has a pro-Brexit policy than if it has an anti-Brexit position.”

Corbyn knows this already and yet he is risking electoral defeat. His letter to Theresa May setting out the terms under which Labour would support a Brexit deal makes no reference to the party’s conference vote calling for a new referendum. It doesn’t even mention delaying the exit date until a deal which meets his conditions for a soft Brexit are negotiated.

This is a big victory for those of his advisors who want Brexit to happen because they think it might set Labour on a road to socialism in one country. And it’s not just Milne and Murrary. Len McCluskey of Unite is dead set against a new referendum and so is Karie Murphy, Corbyn’s chief of staff who accompanied Corbyn and Milne to the recent meeting with Theresa May.

The only people this will give comfort to are those Tories who back May’s plan to run down the clock to a hard Brexit and the DUP. It will not win over a single Brexit supporting voter and it will demoralise the hundreds of thousands of Labour members the party will need to win the next general election.

As we learned a couple of weeks ago during the immigration debate, the Corbyn leadership is responsive to pressure from its left. Anti-Brexit members need to be kicking up a fuss about this capitulation to the idea of socialism in a single country across social media and in their wards, GCs and CLPs. And if you haven’t already done so get this resolution supporting a new referendum through your local party and affiliated unions.

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One Response

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  1. Things were simpler in 1945. After the Red Army occupied Vienna, Austria suddenly became excited about getting out of the Anschluss. Is this what International Socialism is planning for London and the UK?

    oiltranslator

    February 9, 2019 at 5:43 pm


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