Tendance Coatesy

Left Socialist Blog

Labour Vote on Brexit as anti-Remainers Factionalise and Moblise Unions against Party Members.

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Image result for another europe is possible demonstration

“Using union bloc votes to defeat the overwhelming majority of members may well not work, and would look awful.”

The Labour Party Conference will debate Brexit today.


In a statement last night Michael Chessum, national organiser of Another Europe is Possible, which has been mobilising support for the ‘back remain now’ motion, said that it would “look awful” if Corbyn won today just as a result of the union bloc vote. He said:

Ninety percent of motions to this conference are anti Brexit, reflecting a membership which is overwhelmingly pro remain. We are taking a remain position to conference flor, where we are expecting a close vote. Using union bloc votes to defeat the overwhelming majority of members may well not work, and would look awful.

There will be an attempt to turn this into a loyalty test. But those proposing these motions are by and large people, like me, who have spent years fighting for the left inside Labour and backing Corbyn. We want a radical Labour government, and Corbyn in Number 10. The best way of getting there is with clarity on Brexit and a clear message to our members and voters that we are on their side.

Few people aware of the factionalists pushing for Labour to back the Leader’s Position have any objective other than to pursue Brexit.

This is Corbyn’s formal stand,

The party’s draft plan for its Brexit policy, put forward by Mr Corbyn, suggests that, if Labour wins power in a general election, it would remain neutral while negotiating a new deal with the EU within three months.

It would then hold a referendum within six months, and the party would decide which side to back ahead of that at a special conference.

What kind of ‘new deal’ would emerge?

The Morning Star publishes an article by Laura Smith M.P arguing that total luxury communism will follow a Labour run Britain  and the need to understand those who back Brexit (that is the Morning Star).

The crucial point is that the MP for Crewe and Nantwich argues that ‘renegotiating’  any deal with the EU should be the work of “people who are committed to campaigning to leave the EU.

Building a new Britain outside the EU

To this day, I believe it is vital that the Labour Party has a serious offer for those who wish to leave the EU at the next election.

That general election campaign should focus on building a new Britain, one with full employment, a real living wage and advanced workers’ rights. Public ownership and progressive taxation would be just a couple of tools used to distribute both wealth and power fairly.

New technology would be embraced for the common good. High-wage, high-productivity jobs would be made available in transformed workplaces where a four-day week and true industrial democracy had become the norm. Full collective bargaining coverage would ensure that no workplace or community was left behind.

The renewal of our democracy at every level, with meaningful devolution through radical federalism, would make our government both more responsive and more accountable to the people. Well-funded public services would be run in the public interest and not for profit.

Racism and fascism would be decimated, not least by stamping out the conditions in which they thrive. This new Britain would not follow the US blindly on imperialist crusades in the Middle East or anywhere else in the world.

I am certain that this vision would have the support of the Labour Party membership and the vast majority of the public, too.

In a Westminster Hall debate last year, I set out the reasons why I believe we must leave the EU to realise this vision. Many others believe that “Remain and reform” is the route we should take.

Despite this difference, we can all agree with what Jeremy said in his Coventry speech: “We cannot be held back, inside or outside the EU, from taking the steps we need to support cutting-edge industries and local business, stop the tide of privatisation and outsourcing or from preventing employers being able to import cheap agency labour to undercut existing pay and conditions.”

The Labour Party might feel it needs a second vote to settle the debate over whether membership of the EU helps or hinders (or even prevents) this vision being realised.

If this is the case, it is vitally important that Labour’s negotiating team is made up of people who understand the arguments that have long been made by left-wing Eurosceptics.

Perhaps even more importantly, that team should consist of people who are committed to campaigning to leave the EU in any subsequent public vote.

The ‘we can all agree’, is immediately cancelled out by the claim that any attempt at a new deal is lead by only one side of Labour.

People may recall Laura Smith’s last initiative,

A Labour MP has called for a general strike to “topple” Theresa May’s government, prompting criticism from senior colleagues.

Laura Smith, the Crewe and Nantwich MP, backed mass industrial action if Jeremy Corbyn is unable to force a general election, when she spoke at a fringe meeting at the Liverpool conference.

“Comrades, we must topple this cruel and callous Tory government as soon as we can,” she said to loud applause.

“And if we can’t get a general election we should organise our brothers in the trade unions to bring an end

Labour MP calls for general strike to ‘topple cruel and callous Tory government’. 2018.

The atmosphere is being poisoned by the Lexit supporters, clinging like limpets to Corbyn, and the refusal to back Remain.

Here are some of the latest examples (see Andrew Fisher’s comments yesterday),

Taking a broader view, as Paul Mason points out,

To win the election, face the facts!

What we need, coming out of conference is a three point promise:

  • We will force any deal done by Boris Johnson to a second referendum.
  • If we win the election we will hold a second referendum within six months without any further substantial negotiations.
  • In that referendum the party apparatus will back Remain – because we know the shape of the deal on offer. It is already “credible” – it’s just that it’s crap

But, if the Corbyn composite wins,

..the optics of it are terrible. On the doorstep it looks like the whole party has no position, and if the CWU/Unite unions got their way that’s what would have happened. And that’s a problem because of Fact #6.

Fact #6: Jeremy Corbyn is popular among climate strikers but unpopular on the doorsteps of two kinds of voters: socially conservative working class people and passionate Remainers. Unfortunately these are exactly the people we need to convince to win an election.

Two thirds of this problem is created by the billionaire-owned media, the talk radio shows and slanders by our political enemies. One third of it is created by dithering over Brexit, and inept party management described by Andrew Fisher in his resignation memo.

Now, no matter how principled it looks to us, Jeremy’s neutral line on Brexit looks weird to ordinary voters – and on current evidence is not easy to defend in TV interviews.

This, nevertheless looks unlikely, to say the least,

The way to deal with this problem is obvious: in the coming election we advance a collegiate leadership, just as Blair-Brown did, with major shadow cabinet figures leading the line on policy.

The following is less improbable, but as remarked above, the atmosphere is at risk of being drenched with acid.

We cannot win anything unless the Labour Party is an alliance of the left and the centre. An enlarged centrist party is in formation, because the British business elite has lost control of the Tories and needs a new mouthpiece. We already lost 9 MPs to this centrist project and I don’t want to lose any more.

That’s why, though I disagree with Watson on policy, it was madness to use a bureaucratic manoeuvre to remove him as deputy leader.

We need to come out of this conference with a clear message: a radical Green New Deal offer, massive investment in local services, health and education, and the offer of a second referendum: May’s deal versus Remain, in which Labour institutions, from South to the Welsh and Scottish parties to CLPs and branches, can affiliate to the Remain campaign and spend party resources on that campaign.

Here is the outline of the split in which we certainly not ‘all agree’.


Another Europe is Possible.


This Brexit composite will go to a vote on Monday afternoon. (There may be a couple of minor typographical errors).

It is proposed by more than 50 CLPs. Another Composite, which is backed by just eight CLPs, will be also be voted on – it praises the leadership but does not put forward any particular position on Brexit.

For press inquiries please ring 07964791663


The real division in society is not between those who voted Leave and Remain, but between the many and the few. Brexit is poisoning politics and stopping us from addressing the issues that matter to people. We need a general election to deliver a radical Labour government.

The Conservative Party and the Brexit Party are determined to rip the UK out of the EU on October 31, deal or no deal. Their agenda is part of a right-wing nationalist exploitation of global economic and social crisis.

Investment in the UK has plummeted. Manufacturing orders are down to their lowest since the financial crisis a decade ago. The cost of living is already higher than in 2016. Public services are threatened. Working people are already paying the price for the Tories’ Brexit failure.

The Tories want to undermine our rights and living standards. They are desperate to create a low tax, low regulation, low rights economy which will benefit the richest 1%.

The Tories’ plans for Brexit threaten jobs, workers’ rights, migrants, the NHS, public services and the environment, and would make it harder for us to deliver a radical manifesto.

If Britain leaves the EU, Brexit does not end. We face years more of negotiations and neoliberal trade deals.

All economic assessments show that the best deal we have is our current deal as a member of the EU.

If we were to leave, the so-called backstop is a vital insurance policy ensuring no hard border in Ireland unless and until the principles of the Good Friday Agreement are provided for in any future UK-EU relationship.

The only way to resolve Brexit is through a confirmatory referendum with an option to Remain in the EU against a credible Leave option, and calls upon the PLP to propose or support any motion in parliament for this.

Labour must reflect the overwhelming view of its members and votes, who want to stay in the EU. Labour will therefore campaign energetically for a public vote and to stay in the EU in that referendum, while recognising the rights of those members who want to argue another view.

Labour will show solidarity with the people of Northern Ireland and protect the Good Friday Agreement by opposing any Brexit deal and make campaigning to remain in EU manifesto commitment

In government, Labour will address the reasons people voted Leave. We will attack poverty, insecurity and inequality; rebuild communities with public investment and ownership; boost wages and union rights; and combat the climate crisis. We will defend free movement and extend migrants’ rights.

Labour will build cross-border alliances to transform Europe with socialist policies, starting with a Green New Deal, levelling up of wages and rights, and ending Fortress Europe. Labour will convene an international conference of left parties, unions and social movements to coordinate this struggle.

Let’s remember this:

Example: the leader of Trade Unionists Against the EU and anti-cosmopolitan campaign tweets.

One can imagine that Embery’s mates at Spiked would agree…

12 Responses

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  1. Andrew Coates

    September 23, 2019 at 11:02 am

  2. Lucky for Labour that the Brexit debate coincided with the collapse of ThomasCook (condolences to the people who have lost their jobs and the people who have lost their long anticipated holiday that they had saved all year for). Labour’s studied ‘neutrality’ or ‘ambiguity’ reminds me of the contortions round the miners’ strike. I thought Boffy put forward a very good line, but the problem is who is going to put it into effect and time is getting short.

    Sue r

    September 23, 2019 at 1:11 pm

  3. Boffy

    September 23, 2019 at 6:38 pm

  4. The video of Labour’s vote, which showed a strong majority of actual human beings voting in support of the NEC statement and then breaking out in chants of “oh Jeremy Corbyn” rather undermines your suggestion that the leadership would use union block votes to steam roller it’s position.
    Does this mean that Stalinism is now the dominant ideology of Labour’s conference delegates?
    Or is your Cold War mindset the sign of irredeemable sectarianism?

    Nick Wright

    September 24, 2019 at 6:59 am

  5. “a strong majority of actual human beings voting in support of the NEC statement”! So, why did it look to many of us that there was a majority of human beings voting for Composite 13? Why, indeed did it look that way to the Chair, who called it in favour of Composite 13, before being told by jenny Formby to reverse that call.

    The Stalinists no doubt did originally think given that 90% of the party back Remain, that they would have to rely on the union block vote which they thought would unthinkingly fall in behind Corbyn. However, on he day, the biggest union UNISON said it would back Composite 13, so it became apparent that on a card vote Composite 13 would be carried. That is why they had to deny a card vote, and why as he camera panned towards him, McCluskey looked shit scared that the chair was going to concede a card vote, which as its recorded would have showed that there was majority for 13.

    But, the Staliists have got their way. They wanted a No Deal WTO Brexit, and the only way to get it was to ensure that Labour could not defeat Johnson. This is just an extension of the Morning Star’s call for voters to abstain in the elections earlier in the year. They will get the no Deal brexit via a majority Boris Johnson government so their masters in Moscow and Washington will be happy. As on so many times in the past Stalinists have shown their willingness to sabotage he working-class to satisfy the requirements of their masters, and on this occasion they will have done so by also destroying the labour party.


    September 24, 2019 at 7:48 am

  6. Nauseating to see the Unite leadership all voting, in effect, for Brexit. This is against established Unite policy (eg at the 2018 policy conference) and against the interests of its members, especially in automotive, logistics and manufacturing.

    Jim Denham

    September 24, 2019 at 9:18 am

  7. Bough is now pushing the idea of a “Stalinist Alliance” to promote Brexit which includes Corbyn, Vladimir Putin, Nicolas Maduro, Boris Johnson and Donald Trump!
    (Not sure why he didn’t include Xi Jinping in his list.)

    This sounds just like Emily Thornberry’s dreadful speech yesterday.
    How on earth can anyone suggest that Corbyn & Johson; Trump and Maduro are on the same side?


    btw. the composite looked like it was clearly lost to me.
    Chairing was awful though.
    No problem with having a card vote, but it would have confirmed the hand vote anyway.
    Right decision.

    Amelia Trout

    September 24, 2019 at 11:13 am

  8. The BBC didn’t show a clear image of the voting on Composite 13, so I have no opinion on whether it was more or less that Composite 14, but, I would have thought that as a matter of principle the only thing to do would be to hold a card vote on such a vital issue. I’m a bit unclear as to why the Russians would want on no deal Brexit, America I can understand. Is it because they want to undermine the political, economic and military strength of Europe?

    Sue R

    September 24, 2019 at 11:23 am

  9. Most objective commentators seem to agree that Composite 13 seemed to be narrowly defeated … BUT the Chair initially declared it carried (until spoken to by Jennie Fornbey) and it is considered good practice to hold a card vote when the show of hands is close and/or contentious – as this certainly was. So why no card vote? Maybe because the leadership didn’t want it known that the vast majority of constituency delegates supported Composite 13 and that it was only defeated because of GMB and Unite. And then there was all the undemocratic shenanigans around the email to the NEC beforehand.

    It was a classic Blair-era stitch-up and surely marks the end of “Corbynism”.

    As for Sue R’s question, “why the Russians would want on no deal Brexit, America I can understand. Is it because they want to undermine the political, economic and military strength of Europe?” Sue R: I think you just answered your own question.

    Jim Denham

    September 24, 2019 at 11:36 am

  10. “Bough is now pushing the idea of a “Stalinist Alliance” to promote Brexit which includes Corbyn, Vladimir Putin, Nicolas Maduro, Boris Johnson and Donald Trump!”

    I’m not pushing a Stalinist Alliance, the Morning Star and McCluskey are the ones doing that. The Morning Star has made no secret about wanting a No Deal/WTO Brexit. Putin has made clear he wants to break up the EU entirely, because he sees it as in the interests of Russia for its strategic imperialist aims in Europe. Putin has supported and financed ultra nationalist groups across Europe to that end, including feting farage and his envoys. Putins cronies come to play tennis with Boris Johnson, and have funelled tens of thousands of pounds into Tory Brexit funds.

    Trump’s hostility to the EU is well known, as he mirrors the interests of his chum Putin, and their intermediaries Bannon/Farage et al.

    The conference Chair initially said that Composite 13 was clearly carried, and that was how it looked to me. Then she was lent on by McCluskey’s appartchik Jenny Formby to reverse that call. Even as they debated this the Chair repeated that in her opinion it had been clearly carried, but she was brow-beaten to declare it lost. When a card vote was requested she declined ridiculously then saying that the vote had not been that close – having only just said it had been clearly carried.

    I have never known in mor than 40 years for their not to be a card vote in such situations, yet it was denied, despite there being card votes the previous day on less important issues. As it looked like the Chair might decide to hold a card vote, the pictures of McCluskey showed him looking shit scared, because with UNISON, TSSA and USDAW amongst others saying they would vote for composite 13, and with a recorded vote meaning that CLP votes would also be recorded, so that CLP’s would be able to see how their delegates actually voted, the likelihood is that Composite 13 would have been shown to be clearly carried.

    But, we have to move on. Its necessary now for the rank and file to build the Socialist Campaign for Europe and a Labour Victory I have been calling for. It should start from the need to scrap the current irrational stances on holding another referendum and instead come out clearly for revoke. We should select candidates who will stand on that basis. We should get CLPs and candidates to stand on the SCELV platform. We need appropriate election material produced, so that we can begin campaigning on that basis now, going around the Stalinist official campaign. Mcdonnell, Thornberry, Starmer et al nailed their colours to the mast, and got kicked in the buts by the Stalinists. If they don’t want to continue getting kicked by their abusers, then they should indeed follow McCluskeys suggestion and resign. If they have an ounce of dignity, self-respect and principle they and the rest of the Shadow cabinet would isolate themselves from Corbyn and his Stalinist enclave, by resigning and lending their support to a Socialist Campaign for Europe and a Labour Victory.


    September 24, 2019 at 11:59 am

  11. The end of ‘Corbynism’ as some sort of idealistic, ultra-democratic “new politics”. This blatant stitch-up is like the worst of Blairism.

    Jim Denham

    September 24, 2019 at 12:04 pm

  12. “The Labour Party has just decided, in advance of the general election that cannot be far off, that it won’t tell those who might think of voting for it whether, on the big issue of our time, it is in favour of Brexit or against it. It wants instead to unite the nation around the belief that this is so unimportant that you don’t really need to know.

    According to its leader Brexit might, or might not, be better than Remain, although if you believe what he says about his ability to strike a ‘credible’ deal, that might indicate to you that your support for Labour will result in support for Brexit.

    Or, if Johnson decides to go for a deal that the EU will accept, it might well mean that Labour will support that deal instead. Perhaps by allowing it to pass through parliament so it can then be opposed by way of referendum, if it gets one? Not very consistent and not very principled, but since when have these qualities ever contaminated Labour’s position on Brexit since the referendum?

    The Party says it ‘respects’ the 2016 referendum result. Any deal would undoubtedly involve a transition period within which future arrangements would be determined, so that the Labour Party could perhaps claim to have another opportunity to negotiate its own Brexit final arrangements.”

    Andrew Coates

    September 24, 2019 at 1:17 pm

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