Tendance Coatesy

Left Socialist Blog

Some Left Responses to Labour Refusal to Have a Policy on Brexit.

with 5 comments

Image result for workers hammer

Key pro-Brexit Constituency Labour has to Worry About.

The Morning Star reports,

A statement by the party’s governing national executive committee (NEC) said: “The NEC believes it is right that the party shall only decide how to campaign in [a referendum on Brexit] — through a one-day special conference, following the election of a Labour government.”

The statement was also reinforced by composite motion 14, that said Jeremy Corbyn’s position on Brexit was “abundantly clear”, which was voted through.

Moments earlier, delegates narrowly rejected composite 13, that called on the party to “campaign energetically for a public vote and to stay in the EU.”

Quoting, exclusively, from the anti-composite 13 side of the debate the Party that calls itself Corbyn’s best friend notes,

Urging delegates to reject composite 13, Sheffield Hallam delegate Sophie Wilson said: “I represent a proud, northern ex-mining community of committed Labour voters and people who share our vision of a country that works for the many.

“Like so many of our heartlands, they also voted overwhelmingly to leave the EU.

“We cannot disregard the 2016 referendum, or attempt to leave behind our heartlands in the same way the Tories have done.

“I urge people to support composite 14 for the good of our people, to unite our electorate, and to ensure that we win a general election and deliver the radical Labour policies so desperately needed.”

Batley and Spen delegate Cath Pinder said: “Since the referendum the Tories have deliberately tried to widen the divide. Theresa May shut out all the 48 per cent who voted Remain as though they did not matter.

“Now Boris Johnson wants to make out it is the public against Parliament when it comes to Brexit.

“Labour will give the people the final say on any Brexit deal — unlike the Tories and the Lib Dems who won’t.”

In a parallel  Editorial today the Morning Star defended its claims to internationalism,

…. support for the EU on “internationalist” terms is contradictory. The EU is a driving force for imposition of unequal trading terms on poorer countries: its subsidised agricultural exports have had devastating effects on African farming. It is a key architect of treaties aimed at prioritising the rights of corporations over the rights of elected governments.

As then commissioner Cecilia Malmstroem told John Hilary, then of War on Want, in 2015, when he pointed to the evidence that a big majority of Europeans were opposed to the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership being negotiated with the US, “I do not take my mandate from the European peoples.”

In the end it was Donald Trump, not the EU, that ditched TTIP.

Vote for comrade Trump as the way to get rid of TTIP?

Well, apparently it’s the EU at fault all the way.

If socialists are serious about transforming our economy, challenging the power of capital and planning a sustainable future, we cannot simultaneously act as cheerleaders for one of the most powerful enforcers of the global economic status quo.

…..more serious still is the debilitating effect on our movement when “internationalism” comes to mean support for institutions of the ruling class. A revolutionary socialist movement must know its enemies.

The Communist Party of Britain believes in a Brexit on WTO rules: dump the capitalist WTO?

Fake News site Skwawkbox  also goes folk politics,


Unite deputy general secretary describes Thornberry’s full-remain position as a ‘car crash’ and brings house down with speech backing Corbyn on Brexit

The Unite deputy, Howard Beckett,

 …..brought the house down with a speech in which he demanded Labour’s conference support Jeremy Corbyn’s position on Brexit – saying that to do otherwise would be to tie Corbyn’s hands in a nonsensical way and describing Emily Thornberry’s attempt to defend her full-remain position on a recent Question Time episode as a ‘car crash’.

No doubt we should all trust leaders, of the stamp of Corbyn, just like that, without indication of what his stand on the key British political issue of Brexit is.

Socialist Worker says,

Labour needs a general election campaign not based on what’s good for business and the EU—but a Brexit which can unite working class people and a fight against austerity and racism, and for action on climate change.

The Morning Star seems to suggest that Britain, free from the EU, without ‘cheerleaders’ for the capitalists, will be ready to become an internationalist state.

That’s ‘revolutionary socialism’ – though perhaps they could indicate what exactly that revolution means with a capitalist British state and capitalist class still in place.

But back to the electoral fall out.

Here is a different angle: Sráid Marx

An Irish Marxist Blog (Extracts)

Corbyn wins and condemns himself to defeat

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.

The Labour leadership wants its members and supporters to continue to play the role of mushrooms and to forget that with this policy it received less than 15% of the vote in the European elections. It wants everyone to forget about being out-polled by the Liberal Democrats for the first time since 1910, a party on the way out just before; forget that it failed to win a majority in 2017 with 40% of the vote but has only around two-thirds of that support now in one opinion poll after another.

So, it doesn’t matter because Labour will go into the election with a dishonest position, that makes no sense even on its own terms; that has proved a failure in the European and local elections; that is opposed by the vast majority of its members and big majority of its supporters, and that will most certainly lead to defeat.

Michael Chessum says,



On Labour List,

Michael Chessum, national organiser of the Another Europe is Possible campaign group that backed the defeated pro-Remain motion, commented: “Labour members, 90% of whom want to stay in the EU, will be deeply disappointed with this decision.

”It is possible that the Remain motion had a majority in the CLPs, but because there was no card vote we will never know.

“Brexit is a project of the Tory hard right. It is about attacking workers, downgrading migrants rights and shifting politics to the nationalist right. Labour beating the Tories is the only path to stopping this project, and it is not to late for Labour to make clear that that it opposes Brexit outright.

“Though it is not the policy we supported, the calling of a special conference to democratically decide Labour’s Brexit policy was a concession which we won. But a fudge is not a unity position. It is deeply divisive among members, and risks losing a large chunk of our voter base.

This vote was set up as a loyalty test, but those grassroots activists who ran the campaign – Momentum activists, people who have fought for the left in Labour for years, know this is a nonsense. We have come so far in pushing Labour’s position towards a public vote, and while we might all be disappointed by this outcome, we must now prepare for the election. If Labour loses, the consequences will be dire.”

Boffy has this line on those running Labour,

I would say that the sour atmosphere created around the  way the victory of the Corbynista loyalist ultras was secured will not go away.

This, from reliable sources, looks an accurate account of yesterday’s Labour vote:

How Jeremy Corbyn stitched up Labour’s Brexit vote, writes Robert Peston


Labour’s leadership may have failed in the “drive by shooting” of Tom Watson (using his colourful words) but they have totally stitched up NEC and conference Brexit votes – by making sure their supporters were largely in the room, and keeping out those pesky Remainers.

None of this should come as a surprise. But it was still awe-inspiring to watch in action.

The point is that for the past 24 hours, all the attention has been on which way the big unions would vote.

And when Unison turned against Corbyn’s Brexit neutrality it looked as if the Remainers might just squeak a victory. But in the end the unions’ position was irrelevant.

Because the conference votes were done by a show of hands. And guess what? There just weren’t many Remainers on the conference floor.

I wonder how that happened?

It’s a bit like how two crucial 8am NEC meetings were cancelled and requests for emailed submissions on the Brexit policy were made at around midnight on the prior evenings, making it almost impossible for Corbyn’s critics to get their act together.

The Brexit position of the trade unions was always a red herring, what magicians call misdirection. What mattered was who was in the hall.

And that was sorted weeks ago though the choice of delegates.

For spectators like me – who spent 15 years observing the tactics of China’s leaders – all this is quite familiar.

For passionate Labour Remainers, it’s infuriating.

  • Update 20.05:

Just to explain in more detail the preceding points, a senior member of the shadow cabinet told me days ago that constituency Labour Party delegate selection had been organised to favour Corbyn loyalists.

About half those present were trade union delegates, who were thought to narrowly favour Corbyn’s Brexit ambivalence.

And immediately before the vote a delegate made a point of order from the platform alleging there were many in the conference room not entitled to vote – which was a suggestion she thought the vote was not being conducted in a robustly fair way.

Also there were lots of shouts at the end for a card vote, to verify the result via a formal counting process – which showed not everyone present thought the results accurately captured the view of Labour members.

All that said, Jeremy Corbyn won handsomely, which his allies told me he would over the preceding hours.

You can admire or criticise the professionalism of the operation to secure the win.

And of course I regret and apologise for my comparison with China which I thought was a joke but has caused unnecessary offence.

It is of course the case that the Labour leadership in the past would often simply exclude any motion they disliked that looked as if it might win from  getting on the agenda at all.

But they were not supporters of the Theory of Conference Sovereignty and Democracy.

Though the “populist left” where it has any strength (think France, think Spain) has evolved its own methods of excluding and ignoring dissent.

There remain some straws to clutch on:

Now to add to all the fun, there is this:



5 Responses

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  1. The court decision against Johnson now throws up some fascinating results, as I’ve set out in my blog.

    Johnson will not resign over it. It plays int his hands as martyr. The Opposition are demanding he does, but if he doesn’t that means they should put down a No Confidence Motion. As I set out, assume that is passed. Johnson is then free of the Benn Act, which does not require him to ask for an extension until 19th October. Having passed a NCM, parliament must come up with an alternative PM. Johnson no longer has to ask the Queen to invite Corbyn to the palace. Labour will correctly insist on Corbyn, but Corbyn doesn’t have a majority.

    No labour MP could back Clarke or Harman without Labour splitting. That;s a possibility because Corbyn only has the support of 20 Labour MP’s. Its reported the PLP were ready to split at the weekend had Watson been sacked, and to set up a new party behind him. If labour splits on anything like that proportion, it leaves corbyn leading a meaningless rump in parliament, and Labour in tatters. But its unliely that even this split plus the Liberals et al would command a majority especially as the Liberals are inveterate sectarians out for themselves and would fight like rats in a sack with the rest.

    So, if by 9th October no alternative PM is agreed on, parliament is dissolved and there is an election. There will have been no one willing or with authority to ask for an extension during this period, whilst Johnson will have technically remained PM. Under existing law, a minimum of five weeks is required to an election from when its called. That takes us to 13th November. As parliament would have been dissolved from 9th October there is no one able to ask for an extension. By the time the election is held, Brexit would already have happened two weeks earlier on 31st October, because that is what the law currently requires.

    So, it looks like Johnson would have been right all along that Brexit would go ahead on 31st October, and the opposition parties would have helped him achieve it. It looks like Cummings and Johnson stitched them up like a kipper, as they were engrossed in parliamentary cretinism playing parliamentary games trying to trap Johnson, rather than simply pursuing a principled anti-Brexit, revoke Article 50 stance.


    September 24, 2019 at 3:57 pm

  2. Andrew Coates

    September 24, 2019 at 5:00 pm

  3. Delightful flinging of ordure. I always tell voters to listen carefully to what the non-libertarians say about each other before voting. But I did not understand that part about terrorism. If objecting to terrorism is racial collectivism, what, then, does welcoming terrorism constitute?


    September 24, 2019 at 11:05 pm

  4. @ oiltranslator, could you speak in plain English rather in riddles? Are you saying that Komrade Koates is a barmy Marxist or are you advocating the the pro-immigration, open-minded, internationalist approach of Boris Johnson?


    September 25, 2019 at 10:23 am

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