Tendance Coatesy

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After Theresa May’s Defeat on EU, Labour still stuck in ‘Negotiations’ for a Better Brexit.

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May’s Deal Defeated: Back the Left Bloc for a People’s Vote!

Jeremy Corbyn MP, Leader of the Labour Party, speaking in the House of Commons after Theresa May’s Brexit deal was defeated by 149 votes.

“The government has been defeated again by an enormous majority and it must accept its deal is clearly dead and does not have the support of this House.

“No Deal must be taken off the table. We’ve said that before and we’ll say that again.

“The House has got to come together with a proposal that could be negotiated. The Labour Party will put forward that proposal again.

“The Prime Minister is threatening us all with the danger of No Deal, knowing full well the damage it will do to the British economy.

“The Prime Minister has run down the clock and the clock has been run out on her. It’s time that we have a General Election and the people can choose who their government should be.”

Corbyn’s lack of support for a Referendum, and the absence of any other possibility than future – endless – “negotiations” – is deeply disappointing.

Corby, his inner circle, and their supporters, lack any positive perspective on Europe.

At first sight they might as well be spouting this strategy, aimed at fuelling Labour Party internal fighting:

Nothing but a general election can change this. Either extending Article 50 or holding another referendum only gives the Tories more time to govern without governing. The Tories are facing an existential crisis – but that can only be exploited through a general election. A general election would give Labour the possibility of winning a majority to put forward its vision for Brexit, but also to immediately put an end to austerity.

It’s a disgrace, but unsurprising, that at this time when there is the best-ever possibility of getting rid of this failing Tory government, Tom Watson and his Blairite cabal are intent on wrecking Corbyn’s leadership. The left inside and outside the Labour Party must unite to defend Corbyn and push for a general election now.

Counterfire.  Shabbir Lakha. May’s Brexit deal is dead: we need a general election now

“In the Guardian Michael Chessum unravells today the details of Labour’s Strategy, which is not just a call for an election but is, he argues, entangled in a plan for a Common Market 2.0.” which is if anything, even more of a dead end.

Why Labour must not fall for the charms of a Norway-style deal

For the group of shadow cabinet ministers and prominent union leaders who have spent months pushing back against the idea of a fresh public vote in spite of party policy, there are sharper, more factional benefits. Soft Brexit would deny their opponents on all wings of the party, and in the grassroots, a victory.

But it would be a profound mistake for Labour to go down this path. Soft Brexit is the least popular policy with the public. It would oblige the UK to take all of the rules and regulations – including the state aid rules so often cited as problematic by pro-Brexit figures on the Labour left – while abandoning a seat at the decision-making table. The only people who think that this outcome would “deliver the result of the referendum” are remain voters desperately attempting to triangulate out of the situation.

The common market 2.0 position has been sculpted carefully by a cross-party group of former grandees from both main parties. It is not backed by anything like a grassroots movement. Unlike the movement against Brexit, it has organised no massive marches, no campaign of motions through party branches, no stalls and door-knocking in the rain. If a Norway-style Brexit deal does eventually win out, it will be because it commands the support of the Westminster bubble. It will neither solve the material problems that caused the Brexit vote, nor satiate anyone who voted for it.

Pause.

Some of the strongest supporters of the present Labour line, are in favour of Brexit, pure and simple.

Their “vision of Brexit” is, like Counterfire’s a “People’s Brexit”. Free from being a “colony” of the EU rivers of gold will flow,  austerity will be ended and Britian will become a socialist beacon for the rest of the world.

The Communist Party of Britain, which Corbyn adviser on Brexit, Andrew Murray supported until a couple of years ago, even backs the hardest of Brexits.

‘Britain should leave the EU on WTO terms’, Communists propose.

cpb brexit sticker

But what of Common Market 2.0?

At first sight it appears a reasonable strategy – setting aside the issue of why go to the trouble of leaving the EU only to remake the old Common Market.

On second sight there is this to get over, not least for the loyal supporters of Corbyn:

Image result for common market 2.0

Here is the summary:

The UK needs a Plan B.

One that can be negotiated quickly.

One that both Leavers and Remainers can back.

One that delivers on the referendum result.

That plan is Common Market 2.0

known as ‘Norway Plus’ by Michel Barnier.

It’s the only alternative plan that the EU might sign up to at this late stage

It’s the only alternative plan which might win a Parliamentary majority

It’s the only alternative plan that would protect jobs and preserve the Union of the UK

The plan has numerous critics.

The most obvious is the following,

Critics of the plan – including People’s Vote campaigners – said “this ship sailed some time ago”.

Labour MP Peter Kyle said: “Some people believe the Norway model is as simple as signing up to Netflix, it isn’t. Negotiations would be as complex as the last two years and result in the same challenges. Norway shadows the ECJ, it pays more fees into EU countries as part of its settlement per capita than Britain currently does for full membership, and Norway is very honest about the downside of taking rules whilst having little influence over their making.”

He added: “It’s now clear there is no form of Brexit, including this one, that can fulfil all the promises made for it. And there is no Brexit deal, even this one, that is as good as the deal we’ve got inside the EU.”

‘They think it’s like signing up to Netflix’ – Plan for Norway-style Brexit alternative criticised

Michael Chessum continues,

There is now a mass movement against Brexit. October’s People’s Vote march was the biggest demonstration in Britain since the Iraq war, and it could be eclipsed by a much larger one on 23 March. An army of campaigners, many of them new to politics and instinctively on the left, are leafleting, running stalls and knocking doors all over the country. This is a movement whose demands are supported by the overwhelming majority of Labour’s members, including those on the left – despite the prominence of establishment politicians within the official People’s Vote campaign.

On paper, a Norway-style deal might not look like the worst outcome. Many remainers would be relieved to have close ties to Europe and to retain free movement. But for Labour, delivering a Brexit of any kind will be ruinous. It would demoralise the Labour membership, and hand a stack of ammunition to Jeremy Corbyn’s opponents on the right of the party and in the Independent Group. It would fail the test of delivering the referendum for anyone who voted leave.

For Labour, there is now only one option: to join the mass movement and fight for the big ideas, not the Westminster fudge.

As Left Unity have pointed out, the only way forward is with our comrades on the European left, to “remain and transform” the EU.

The EU is as much a terrain of struggle for socialists as the individual capitalist states which comprise it.  The radical left in Britain needs to build on the emerging struggles by Europeanising and internationalising the fightback.

Socialists should still oppose Brexit: Remain and Transform!

 

 

 

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3 Responses

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  1. Andrew Coates

    March 13, 2019 at 1:08 pm

  2. Andrew Coates

    March 13, 2019 at 1:25 pm

  3. The reality is that any potential solution in the few remaining days depends upon our wise and benevolent MPs finding a majority for a solution. I hope that this is for a Peoples’ Vote, but I doubt that it is likely. Maybe Norway plus might get through. Who knows? But if that were the result, then I would not shout treachery; although some of the left are itching to do that.

    Badger

    March 14, 2019 at 11:55 am


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