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Before Corbyn-Johnson Debate Len McCluskey rejects “labels people seek to put on us, of being Leavers or Remainers”.

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“We must get beyond Brexit”

‘When Labour wins we all win’

Writing in the Morning Star, which has nothing to do with the Communist Party of Britain but is run by the Co-Op, the leader of Unite, Len McCluskey says,

Labour is the only party trying to bring the country together on Brexit. Our party’s policy is honourable and principled and doesn’t just speak to half of the electorate, while dismissing the other half, in stark contrast to the Tories and Lib Dems.

But this election is not the Brexit election. It’s about what kind of Britain we want to be and what kind of society we want to live in.

To have that debate we must get beyond Brexit, and for me that means rejecting the labels people seek to put on us, of being Leavers or Remainers.

Because whether we’re in or out of the EU, it is the class questions that matter. Social justice doesn’t recognise Leavers or Remainers, it only recognises working people and the capitalist elite.

Not only an elite, but a capitalist one!

Today the UNITE Chief, with the rib-tickling humour for which he is famous, compared Boris Johnson to Del Boy.

“A senior union leader has described Boris Johnson as “Eton’s answer to Del Boy”.

Speaking of Brexit McCluskey repeated:

“We need to stop a no-deal Brexit , which only a Labour government is pledged to do.

“Labour is the only party trying to bring the country together on Brexit. Not just half of it, while dismissing the other half, as the Tories and the Liberal Democrats are doing.

“Our big task now is to ensure that the Labour vote holds. In striving to do that, never has the need been greater to take the debate beyond Brexit, to start dealing with the issues that affect the lives of ordinary people every day.”

Unite’s Len McCluskey mocks Boris Johnson as ‘Eton’s answer to Del Boy’

Alas, not is all well in McCluskey land.

Old friend John Rees, of the People’s Assembly Against Austerity, the Stop the War Coalition and Counterfire, to cite a few hats,  remarks in his widely influential column on the Counterfire site,

The unwarranted and unprincipled intervention of Unite’s Len McCluskey may succeed in watering down Labour’s conference decision to widen its defence of free movement for migrants.

But when all is said and done, Labour will be presenting to the electorate one of, if not the most, radical manifesto that any major political party has ever produced.

Labour, the manifesto, and the rationalist error

To which the Giant of the Labour Movement replies today in an article-interview whose headline should give encouragement to all Labour supporters:

Len McCluskey: Jeremy Corbyn should not rush to resign in event of Labour defeat

New Statesman.

On immigration, Labour has also agreed a compromise position that falls short of its conference commitment to “maintain and expand free movement”. McCluskey had said in advance of Saturday’s Clause V meeting that the conference policy was not a “sensible approach”.

Asked to respond to claims that union interventions had resulted in a less radical policy programme than the party’s grassroots would like, McCluskey told the NS: “I don’t think that’s true at all… I think that people will see that it is a radical programme, certainly in relation to climate change. Labour is the only party that is seriously engaging in a way to bring about real change in the climate.

The UNITE leader showed a sincere concern for the rights of migrants, remarking that it was not their fault that labour needed to be protected against them

On migration, he added: “I’m certainly not opposed to the free movement of labour, but obviously what we are saying is that that labour, wherever it’s coming from, has to be protected against the ravages of greedy, greedy bosses.

“They see migrant labour as vulnerable workers who they can abuse, and Labour is the only party that will step in with labour market regulations to protect them, and in that way, any concerns about undercutting of wages are dealt with. It’s only Labour that will do that. Hopefully, people will see that as a very radical step.

They should be regulated away using the most humanitarian measures possible.

“I certainly see it as a correct and principled and humane way of dealing with the issues that are currently being talked about. This idea that somehow against migrant labour, or against free movement is completely and utterly wrong. It’s the opposite. It’s protecting migrant labour from being abused.”

McCluskey argues that this is particularly needed because many leave voters are upset about the presence of foreigners,

People voted to Leave for maybe two main reasons,” he said. “One: the forgotten towns and cities being deindustrialised. But it’s only Labour that has policies to do something about that. The second reason was the issue and concerns about migrant labour in particular.

Now that Labour could deal with their dislike of immigrants there was no reason for them for Tories and the Brexit Party – load of phonies that they are!

John Rees, a revolutionary socialist, offers some words of advice to trade unions and the Labour Party that come what may, and whatever the election result,

The class power to deliver on Labour’s promises does not lie only, or mainly, in the electoral field. It lies in the mass power of protest, demonstration, and strike action. Every working person with any familiarity of labour history knows this to be a fact.

Policy without power is just so much hot air. And power is not, for the most part, founded in elections or in parliament.

Labour strategists need to concentrate less on the grid of policy announcement and more on the landscape of class struggle if they are ever to have a chance of implementing the policies that they have so carefully crafted.

Back to left wing folk politics!

A more robust look at UNITE’s policies on Brexit and migrant labour is given by Shiraz: McCluskey damages Labour and misrepresents Unite policy

Unite leader Len McCluskey is increasingly coming out as a pro-Brexit force within the Labour party. His stance is, in reality, a misrepresentation of the policy passed by the union he leads. His latest and most reactionary intervention on the subject – opposing free movement of workers – is (at best) a highly creative interpretation of an executive statement passed at Unite’s most recent policy conference. It has also served to expose damaging differences within Labour and open the party up to vicious attack from the right wing press.

Even Rees’ old Party, the SWP and Socialist Worker has got in on the act,

Labour set to bow to McCluskey demand to drop free movement from its manifesto

by Nick Clark

The Labour Party looked almost certain to ignore party members’ demands to include defending freedom of movement in its manifesto, set for publication this week.

Delegates at Labour’s conference in September voted to maintain and extend free movement rights.

Freedom of movement allows people from European Union (EU) countries to live and work in Britain.

Yet in an interview on Sunday, Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn refused to say that freedom of movement will feature as one of the party’s election promises.

Written by Andrew Coates

November 19, 2019 at 6:08 pm

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