Tendance Coatesy

Left Socialist Blog

Brexit Britain: Government Confirms Employment Rights “Under Review.”

with 13 comments

In 2012, five newly-elected Conservative MPs co-authored a pamphlet, Britannia Unchained, which denounced the UK’s “bloated state, high taxes and excessive regulation” and British workers as “among the worst idlers in the world”. Four of it authors – Dominic Raab, Priti Patel, Liz Truss and Kwasi Kwarteng – are now among the leading lights of Boris Johnson’s Cabinet.

Their judgement of the UK workforce was severe.

“We work among the lowest hours, we retire early and our productivity is poor,” they wrote. “Whereas Indian children aspire to be doctors or businessmen, the British are more interested in football and pop music.”

The UK, they declared, should “stop indulging in irrelevant debates about sharing the pie between manufacturing and services, the north and the south, women and men”.

Their prescription was that, instead of learning from Germany and the Nordic states, as social democrats advocate, that Britain should copy Australia, Canada and the Asian ‘tiger economies’ of Hong Kong, Singapore and South Korea – by slashing regulation and taxes.

For libertarians like them, the promise of a hard Brexit was that it would allow the deregulation they dreamed of. “If we could halve the burdens of the EU social and employment legislation we could deliver a £4.3 billion boost to our economy and 60,000 new jobs,’ said Priti Patel in 2016. What burdens she was speaking of aren’t clear, but the legislation she was referring to contains such onerous measures as paid holidays, safety at work and maternity leave – not something that most employers, never mind employees, would want to be without.

Patel and her colleagues now have a Brexit deal that allows this deregulatory bonfire – at the price of huge, costly, and for many unworkable new barriers to trade. But the UK is, on paper, free from the obligation to stay aligned with EU standards.
This lot, the real force behind Brexit, enabled by the Lexit campaigners to vote with them to Leave,  are now putting their project  in motion.

Update, Border Maniac Wolfgang Streek is unrepentant,


Writing from the sovereigntist Brexit ultras of  New Left Review he writes today,


Ins and Outs

For several years now, a serious effort has been under way in Brussels to learn nothing from Brexit, and the way things are it may well be successful. What could have been learned? Nothing less than how to shake off the late-twentieth century technocratic, anti-democratic, elitist chimera of a centralized European neoliberal empire and turn the European Union instead into a group of friendly sovereign neighbour states, connected through a web of non-hierarchical, voluntary, egalitarian relationships of mutual cooperation.

As to the United Kingdom, for the Lexiters Parliament rules again, unconstrained by ‘the Treaties’ and the European Court, and British citizens finally have only their own government to blame if something goes wrong: no responsibility without responsiveness.

Written by Andrew Coates

January 19, 2021 at 6:00 pm

13 Responses

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  1. Those who believed that ordinary people would be better off and adequately protected as a result of Brexit must be completely deluded. It was patently obvious that the likes of Boris Johnson, Jacob Rees Mogg, Iain Duncan Smith, Nigel Farrage et al do NOT have the interests of the Working Class at heart! Employment Rights, Human Rights, Environmental protection, Animal Rights, and just about every type of hard-won Rights and Protections were going to be at risk of being undermined without the safety of the EU. There’s still the UN but these people are not likely to take any notice of them, which has already been demonstrated. It’s absurdly naive to have thought so. We’re up against the sort of people who would gladly bring back child labour if they thought they could get away with it, and now they might!


    January 19, 2021 at 6:44 pm

  2. And as I said earlier here, on such matters, Skwawkbox never fails. They recently had miners champion and King across the water, Ian Lavery feted for taking on Kwarteng on his comments – but, oddly, the words EU and Brexit and Lavery’s own previous stance never appeared. I did mention this BTL there only to get abuse heaped on . See https://skwawkbox.org/2021/01/17/kwarteng-wants-to-slash-holidays-and-worker-protections-heres-how-ian-lavery-dismantled-him-for-calling-uk-workers-lazy/

    david walsh

    January 19, 2021 at 6:58 pm

  3. Trev’s mention of animal rights makes me wonder how short our memories are. Have we really forgotten the demonstrations in our ports in the 1990s against live animal exports, a trade the EU still encourages and enables?

    R P Dutt

    January 19, 2021 at 7:33 pm

    • I stand corrected.

      “•We have been unable to pursue this policy in the past because of the EU trading rules on the movement of animals. Leaving the EU has enabled us to pursue this policy on ending live exports for slaughter and fattening.”


      Good old compassionate Conservatism, who ‘d have thought?

      I don’t think crabs and lobsters are fairing quite so well.


      January 19, 2021 at 7:49 pm

      • Somebody who calls himself R P Palme Dutt,

        “Dutt was a loyal supporter of Joseph Stalin in his attempts to purge the followers of Leon Trotsky in the Soviet Union. In the Daily Worker on 12th March, 1936, Harry Pollitt, the General Secretary of the CPGB, argued that the proposed trial of Lev Kamenev, Gregory Zinoviev, Ivan Smirnov and thirteen other party members who had been critical of Stalin represented “a new triumph in the history of progress”. Later that year all sixteen men were found guilty and executed.

        Dutt used the The Labour Monthly and the Daily Worker to defend the Great Purge. As Duncan Hallas pointed out: “He repeated every vile slander against Trotsky and his followers and against the old Bolsheviks murdered by Stalin through the 1930s, praising the obscene parodies of trials that condemned them as Soviet justice”.


        Andrew Coates

        January 19, 2021 at 8:36 pm

        • You say that like it’s a bad thing


          January 19, 2021 at 8:47 pm

          • Well, the late Bro. Dutt was on record as being a bit put out by Kruschev’s famous secret speech of 1956 denouncing Stalin’s crimes; As Jim Higgins put it “Palme Dutt’s discourse in justification of Stalin, was know as the “spots on the sun” speech. The sun, according to Dutt, is the source of energy, life, growth and was an all round good thing to have, nevertheless, there are spots on the sun: so it was with Stalin. The argument , for once, did not go down well with the comrades. Over 7,000 left the party and the monolith cracked in a way that defied restoration.” A ‘bad thing’ ? History has made its judgement already.

            david walsh

            January 19, 2021 at 9:16 pm

            • I am old enough to remember copies of Palme Dutt’s Labour Monthly, one sale in Collets in Tottenham Court Road (last issue 1981) ,

              A more despicable apologist for Stalinism, mass murder, genocide, than Palm Dutt, would be hard to find.


              Andrew Coates

              January 19, 2021 at 10:07 pm

              • If one has to pick a side between Khrushchev, feted by the imperialists, and Comrade Dutt, socialists would not find it difficult to know with whom to stand

                R P Dutt

                January 20, 2021 at 7:57 am

                • Which reminds me of a story….as the great polemic against revisionism gathered force, Mao sent Chou En-Lai to Moscow to meet Krushchev. The meeting was not fruitful, and, at the obligatory banquet, Krushchev, in his cups, insulted Chou. “I’m the son of a Donbass miner [untrue, in fact]”, he boasted, “while you, Chou, come from a family of mandarins.” “True, comrade Krushchev”, replied Chou, “ but we do have one thing in common.” “What’s that?” Krushchev slurred. “Why, we’re both traitors to our class.”

                  R P Dutt

                  January 20, 2021 at 8:46 am

                  • Such gibberish as, “a reactionary system in a country (he instances the Emir of Afghanistan) can be conducting a struggle which is objectively revolutionary solely because of its significance in the world relation of forces; while at the same time you can have those people in Finland, proclaiming themselves advanced ‘socialists’ and professedly fighting a fight for ‘national freedom’, in reality establishing themselves on the side of reaction, White Guard imperialism and counter-revolution: this was shown, above all, by the world significance of their role (with Mannerheim, Chamberlain and Daladier against the Socialist State), and not only by their role in the internal situation. Again, you can reach a point, he says, in which the particular national interest can conflict with the total world interest, and in that case the part gives way to the whole. This is of course important for our understanding in given cases in dealing with the national question.”

                    Rajani Palme Dutt: ‘Leninism’, the CPGB and the imperialist war..


                    Andrew Coates

                    January 20, 2021 at 4:07 pm

  4. Andrew Coates

    January 20, 2021 at 7:55 am

  5. James P. Cannon and Rajani Palme Dutt both died in 1974.

    Workers Fight (fore-runner of the AWL) published a piece contrasting the political evolution and careers of the two, entitled “Communism and Philistinism: the two souls of the Comintern.”

    The article closed thus:

    “Let future historians of the communist movement of the 20th century philosophise, if they have a mind to, on the human tragedy of men like Dutt, hooked and corrupted as a result of the degeneration of the Russian Revolution and of their own weaknesses, and turned into bitter enemies of the goal they had set out to serve. For us the air seems cleaner that he is no longer breathing it. It will be cleaner still when all his works, the now shaky party he moulded and corrupted for Stalin, and all it stands for politically, is consigned to the black museum of history and has been replaced by the sort of movement the young Palme Dutt set out to build.

    “It is largely thanks to the men and women amongst whom Cannon was so outstanding that this generation of revolutionaries has the possibility of achieving that goal.”

    Shiraz Socialist republished the article in full, here: https://shirazsocialism.wordpress.com/2020/03/24/communism-and-philistinism-the-two-souls-of-the-comintern/

    Jim Denham

    January 21, 2021 at 9:31 am

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