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John McDonnell, Moving “Towards a People’s Vote” on Brexit.

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McDonnell sticks to his Principles.

Labour ‘moving towards People’s Vote’: Shadow chancellor John McDonnell tells of party shift on Brexit

EXCLUSIVE: John McDonnell speaks about Labour shift on Brexit and calls for ‘fiercer’ action against anti-Semitism

He gave his strongest indication yet that Labour is close to backing a second public vote and said he would campaign for Remain if one is held.

“On the people’s vote, we’ve kept it on the table and we’re moving towards that,” he said.

He said an amendment calling for a public vote which is being tabled for debate next week by Labour MPs  Peter Kyle and Phil Wilson “could be a solution”.

The amendment, which was reportedly endorsed by shadow Brexit secretary Sir Keir Starmer at a planning meeting this week, would offer Theresa May’s deal an easy ride in the Commons if she put it to a binding yes-no vote of the public.

Mr McDonnell revealed the two backbenchers had been asked to redraft the amendment. And he said that if the Prime Minister’s deal was rejected by the public, Britain would remain in the EU by default.

“If we were going on a people’s vote based on a deal that has gone through Parliament in some form, if that got voted down then you’d have status quo, and that would be Remain,” he said.

….

Mr McDonnell said Remain should be an option in a referendum and said Labour was “moving into implementation stages around our conference decision, around the People’s Vote”.

Asked how would he vote, he said firmly: “I’ve said all along if there was another one I’d campaign for Remain and I’d vote for Remain.”

This is a genuine step forward for the internationalist left.

Comrade McDonnell also responded to chagres of anti-Semitism in the Labour Party in a way which will resonate with many activists,

In the same interview, Mr McDonnell criticised his party for moving too slowly and softly against anti-Semitism. “We’ve got to be quicker, and we’ve got to be fiercer,” he said. “I think there’s been a lot of listening but not enough action. That’s the problem.”

I cannot underline too much how more comfortable I and many feel with McDonnell’s way of dealing with these issues then the official line so far.

That’s without the kind of recoil many of us feel at the hyper ‘anti Zionist’ reaction.

The story has echoed widely in the media:

 

The Evening Standard notes that Len McCluskey, leader of UNITE, is opposed to any such vote.

No doubt influenced by the charge that, with company after company announcing shifts in car production, decisions generally said to be influenced by Brexit, that McCluskey he has let his members working in the auto industry down, the UNITE chief is now squirming:

 

Cormade McDonnell has won praise:

 

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Written by Andrew Coates

February 22, 2019 at 5:09 pm

Labour Split: Brexit and Beyond.

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” possibility that they have nothing to offer but anti-Corbynism and vacuous centrism..” (Labour List)

 

Labour split: Jeremy Corbyn faces major crisis as deputy leader warns more MPs are ready to quit party

Jeremy Corbyn faces a historic Labour rupture after being warned that more MPs are ready to follow the seven who dramatically quit his party on Monday.

The leader publicly appealed for unity while his supporters launched savage attacks on the MPs, branding them “cowards”, “traitors” and “splitters” and demanding they give up their seats.

But as the crisis deepened, deputy leader Tom Watson said other MPs are also considering leaving Labour, a party he admitted he sometimes no longer recognises, amid visceral anger over antisemitism, Brexit and Mr Corbyn’s leadership.

Independent

The first response to the 7 resignations and the creation of the Independent Group in Parliament should – this comes in the realm of the bleeding obvious – be temperate.

In this vein, “We at Open Labour view the split from the Labour Party as a step backwards for open politics within Labour, and for the communities our party represents. Many of those splitting away have served Labour for years, so we thank them for their work and wish them well, though we disagree with their decision.”

By contrast, the response  to the resignations shows some of the left at their worst.

Screams of ‘traitors’, as the Independent reports,  are likely to be welcomed by the new Parliamentary group.

They confirm their charge of intolerance and hatred.

The Napoleon of Counterfire, John Rees, writes,

Good that the splitters have gone, but this is a dangerous moment for the left, argues John Rees

What all this means is that the Labour left is faced with a choice: do you want a genuine left-wing workers’ party, or do you want to continue the losing battle to hold together a traditional Social Democratic party which contains right-wing, pro-capitalist, pro-imperialist, MPs?

No, NO!

This should be the moment when the entire Labour left, including the leadership around Jeremy Corbyn, decisively strikeout to recreate Labour as a genuine socialist party.

Perhaps Rees, experienced in creating a genuine workers’ parties, from the SWP to George Galloway’s Respect, should be appointed an adviser to Corbyn.

The next issue is to focus on the most important aspect: this break-away weakens efforts to stop the Tory Brexit.

Not only by grabbing attention for the split.

Concern at the influence of forces hostile to left-wing internationalism, that is, the pro-Brexit wing in Labour, can hardly have an effect outside the Party.

The damage caused by the looming threat of Brexit is already major:

Finally, is the controversy about anti-Semitism going to disappear?

The respected Mayor of London commented yesterday,

London Mayor Sadiq Khan has said he is deeply distressed by the Labour split, but admitted the party has been “shockingly poor” at dealing with anti-Semitism.

The Labour Party has been shockingly poor at addressing the issue of antisemitism over the last few years. We know that there are members of the Labour Party who have joined who have clearly anti-Semitic views, or have been in our party for some time and have clearly anti-Semitic views, the Labour Party hasn’t acted swiftly enough to kick them out.

– SADIQ KHAN, MAYOR OF LONDON

But he said he believed the Labour divide will make it more difficult for the party to be elected to govern.

History tells us that when the Labour Party splits, it leads to the Conservative Party winning the next election and the one after that and the one after that. What people I care about need is a Labour Government. One thing that’s going to make that more difficult is Labour splits.

– SADIQ KHAN, MAYOR OF LONDON

It beggars belief that the Chair of  Luciana Berger’s CLP was capable of this without being caught out.

The chair of the Liverpool Wavertree Labour Party – which is facing claims of antisemitic bullying by local members against MP Luciana Berger – made repeated appearances on a current affairs show broadcast by conspiracy theorist David Icke.

Dr Alex Scott-Samuel, who is a member of the pro-Corbyn Jewish Voice For Labour group, has been a regular guest on the Richie Allen on David Icke.com show since 2015.

Chair of CLP accused of bullying Luciana Berger appeared on show broadcast by David Icke

At the moment most minds are going to be focused on the potential of the group in elections.

The Spectator states,

When asked in the survey who they would vote for if there was a general election tomorrow, 8 per cent of the respondents opted for ‘A new centrist party opposed to Brexit’ if one existed. If these results materialised in a general election, this would make the Independence Group the third largest party, behind the Conservatives on 39 per cent and Labour on 34 per cent. Revealingly, the majority of the new party’s vote share has come from Labour, causing the party to fall into second place, five points behind the Conservative Party.

The capacity of the group to keep in the headlines is underlined by speculation over new defections,

Will more MPs leave Labour and the Conservatives to join the Independent Group?

Stephen Bush

John McDonnell makes a  suggestion to deal with the difficulties Labour faces:

McDonnell: Labour needs “mammoth, massive listening exercise.

Statements: 

“IT IS THE LABOUR PARTY OR NOTHING” – OPEN LABOUR STATEMENT

We at Open Labour view the split from the Labour Party as a step backwards for open politics within Labour, and for the communities our party represents. Many of those splitting away have served Labour for years, so we thank them for their work and wish them well, though we disagree with their decision.

As as a principle of democracy, we believe that those MPs splitting from the party no longer represent the people who voted for them as Labour candidates on our 2017 manifesto. They should stand down and face by-elections.

We stand by Labour’s direction of travel on the economy and austerity, which alongside Brexit are the most important issues facing the country. Labour is the only party serious about fighting for a transformation of our broken economy, and all indications are that it will remain the only party offering such a platform.

We have sympathy with some of these MP’s concerns raised around party culture, particularly with regards to the long failure of Labour to tackle anti-Semitic abuse and a culture of bad faith or exclusionary rhetoric which grips some CLPs – these criticisms cannot be dismissed. But the cure offered does not remedy the problem. We firmly believe that leaving the party offers no way to improve Labour, to ease the suffering in our communities, or prevent even greater suffering as a result of Brexit.

Open Labour will continue to fight for a left which encourages pluralism and tolerates a range of traditions and groups in their right to exist and campaign. Without it, there can be no vibrancy in the party, splits become inevitable, and our democracy loses its purpose.

The path to making our ideas a reality is through Labour and its allies in the trade union movement.

We are sorry to see this happen and thank our leaving MPs for their service, but we look forward to campaigning for Labour candidates in the seats affected.

Labour for a People’s Vote: 

Today seven Labour MPs have resigned from the Labour Party and announced that they will form a new “independent grouping”.

We understand that these MPs have had concerns over the way that the party has handled Brexit, and over the way that antisemitism has been dealt with.

Antisemitism is a serious issue. We are committed to rooting it out of the party and hope all Jewish members will stay to help us do this. Racism of any kind has no place in our party or our country. Labour has always been against discrimination of any kind. Antisemitism must be no exception.

We understand too that Brexit is a national crisis, made by the Tories and designed only to create division and harm in our society. Labour is the only party able to stop the Tories achieving their ends – which is why we are so clear on the need for a public vote, and for Labour to campaign for our EU membership in that campaign. Anything else would let down the people of Britain who put their trust in us at the last election.

We believe however that this fight is best fought within the Labour Party. Only Labour can win a General Election and keep the Tories out of power. Only Labour can stop the Tories’ Brexit getting through Parliament, and win a parliamentary vote to get a new referendum on Brexit. And only Labour has the reach and authority to lead and win the remain campaign.

We believe that Labour has the answers to the problems Britain faces. Britain needs a radical Labour Government, able to sweep away years of Tory misrule and austerity, and restore fairness and justice to our country. This agenda is not served by splits or resignations.

Labour for a People’s Vote.

People’s Assembly leader John Rees urges Corbyn to “face down” anti-Brexit Labour membership and MPs

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Image result for John Rees and Galloway

Happier Days: John Rees, Experienced Campaigner and Strategist. 

In a multi-pronged strategy for reviving Labour’s fortunes, John Rees, a leading figure in the People’s Assembly and the influential groupuscule Counterfire launched this broadside yesterday:

Waiting for the Tories to fail is a losing strategy, argues John Rees

Jeremy Corbyn, who has historically held an anti-EU position only altered under pressure from the right wing in the first days of his leadership, and now aware that Labour would lose the next general election if Labour deserts the very large number of Leave voters, is embattled at the head of his party.

One way of improving Labour’s prospects would be to face down the remainers and second referendumers. All the placatory talk of Labour being a broad church which can accommodate diametrically opposed views is doing nothing to quell the determination on the part of the remain right-wingers to see the end of Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership.

The pro-Brexit Rees, who sees leaving the European Union as the basis for a “new economic settlement that works for the many”, a “People’s Brexit”  urges Corbyn to come out forcefully for….. Brexit,

Worse still, placating these forces in Labour sends a signal to Leave voters that Labour is not serious about respecting the outcome of the 2016 referendum. The secret of the Tories continued relative success in the opinion polls is that they look like the only party seriously committed to delivering Brexit. If Labour allows this to continue it makes the next general election a much more close run thing than it ever need be.

Rees, on the strength of the 3,000 strong (some say, 2,000)  People’s Assembly March last month, which ended in fisticuffs about who has the patent to be the “real” British Yellow Jackets, urges action.

Now!

Labour’s campaigning is not up to scratch.

In the midst of an unprecedented political crisis Labour’s response has been wholly Parliamentary. Remainers take to the streets. Leavers take to the streets. The far right take to the streets. But the Labour left? Even Momentum, which used to pride itself on being a social movement, is in entirely passive in respect of any large-scale extra Parliamentary movement.

What we need is action!

Now!

Call the rallies now. Send left leaders of the movement out to address them. Call a mass national demonstration now. Call on every Labour movement organisation to build for it. Break the bounds of the Parliamentary deadlock and give ordinary people the chance to shift the political spectrum to the left, open up the path to a general election, and win a left Labour victory.

In a heartfelt plea Rees ends his Philippic,

The whole left, but crucially the Labour left, will allow their best opportunity yet to create a left Labour government pass by if they remain passive for much longer.

Guardian:

Most Labour members believe Corbyn should back second Brexit vote

Labour members are significantly more opposed to Brexit than Jeremy Corbyn is, with 72% of them thinking their leader should fully support a second referendum, according to a study of attitudes in the party.

The polling, part of an ongoing wider academic study into attitudes in various parties, found that only 18% opposed Labour campaigning for a second referendum, while 88% would then opt for remain if such a vote was held.

Written by Andrew Coates

February 17, 2019 at 11:40 am

Love Socialism, Hate Brexit – MPs and Meeting Make Waves.

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Anti-Brexit Left.

On Wednesday night a Union boss told the world his pro-Brexit policy.

Len McCluskey has said that remaining in the EU would “not be the best option” for the UK – but called on Prime Minister Theresa May to accept that a soft version of Brexit is the only one achievable.

Talking to ITV’s Robert Peston on Wednesday night, the General Secretary of Unite, which represents 1.2 million British workers across a wide range of sectors, said that he prefers a softer Brexit with membership of a customs union and tariff-free access to the single market.

He told Mr Peston that he was “vehemently in favour of a people’s vote, it’s called a general election” but said that he was against any efforts that could reverse the Brexit process as a whole.

He said: “My view is that having had a 2016 referendum where the people have voted to come out of the EU, to try and deflect away from that threatens the whole democratic fabric on which we operate… I’m saying that in reality, it is not the best option for our nation.”

The ‘I’.

Yesterday Clive Lewis spoke at “Love Socialism, Hate Brexit” with other Labour MPs to express a different view.

Love socialism, hate Brexit? Labour’s position is crumbling

Independent.

This is a man who resigned from Labour’s front bench in order to vote against triggering Article 50, but has now returned, and claims he has only done so because part of Labour’s Brexit policy involves the possibility of a second referendum, which now looks unlikely to happen.

Clive Lewis warned the Love Socialism, Hate Brexit crowd that the Liberal Democrats were “utterly, comprehensively destroyed for facilitating austerity,” and that the Labour Party risked the same fate by “facilitating a Tory Brexit”.

He told them a new Tory leader would come in, after Theresa May. “And they will say ‘you know what, she was a disaster for this country, she betrayed this country, but so too was the leader of the opposition. He was part of this sorry debacle and I’m now going to move forward to try resolve this situation in the best way I can.’

“And I tell you what, the Tory right-wing mainstream media will get behind that narrative and it is us, the Labour Party, that will pick up a lot of the flack for what happens.”

The Guardian also reports:

Shadow minister says party would never be forgiven as calls for second referendum grow

Labour tensions over Brexit threatened to boil over on Thursday as two shadow ministers broke ranks to call for a second referendum, and others hinted they could quit the party unless Jeremy Corbyn’s position changed over the next fortnight.

Clive Lewis, a shadow Treasury minister, warned Corbyn that Labour might never be forgiven and could disappear from UK politics if MPs voted to facilitate a Conservative Brexit deal.

Another shadow minister, Paul Sweeney, also backed a second referendum on the final Brexit deal for the first time on Thursday.

The high-profile pro-EU backbencher Chris Leslie said he was “clinging to hope” that the Conservatives would back a fresh poll in the next fortnight, suggesting that he had lost faith in his own party.

Leslie accused Corbyn of “regressing” from the party’s conference policy to pursue a public vote when other options had been exhausted. “I certainly feel we are being played for fools by the leadership of the Labour party on this particular issue. By now we should have reached the stage of a public vote. Nobody can explain to me seriously … why we are not at that particular stage right now.”

Leslie is among several backbench MPs rumoured to be considering quitting the party in the coming weeks, as concerns mount not only over the party’s Brexit policy but also how it has dealt with cases of antisemitism.

The shadow minister, a prominent supporter of Corbyn, made his comments at a Love Socialism, Hate Brexit rally promoted by the pro-referendum group Another Europe is Possible.

Lewis, who resigned from the shadow cabinet in 2017 to vote against triggering article 50 but returned to the frontbench last year, said Labour could face electoral annihilation similar to that of the Liberal Democrats after the party entered a coalition with the Tories.

The Socialist Workers Party makes a bold counter call:

The left should put forward an anti-austerity, anti-racist vision of Brexit that rejects the neoliberal single market and defends freedom of movement.

Labour Party Marxists (Weekly Worker, Communist Party of Great Britain Provisional Central Committee) , ignores the issue of Europe altogether,

Heading to a Split?

Amazingly, there are still people ostensibly on the Labour left appealing for ‘party unity’. But the last few weeks will have done wonders to convince most Jeremy Corbyn supporters that, in fact, there can be no unity with the right in the party. Corbyn and his allies have certainly launched plenty of appeals for ‘unity’ in the past three and a half years – trying to appease the right by bending over backwards to accept most of their demands. But we are seeing signs that, perhaps, the policy of appeasement pursued by Corbyn’s office might finally be coming to an end.

Instead,

the campaign to equate anti-Zionism with anti-Semitism is very much part and parcel of the slow coup against Jeremy Corbyn and the left.

Meanwhile back on the internationalist left:

 

 

Written by Andrew Coates

February 15, 2019 at 1:19 pm

Corbyn Plans “Bringing the Country Together” Behind His Brexit.

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Image result for alice in wonderland lion and unicorn I always thought Unicorns were fabulous monsters, too! ...

Alice Meets Corbyn’s Brexit, “I always thought Unicorns were fabulous monsters, too.”

The pro-Brexit Morning Star (Editorial today) summarises Corbyn’s move:

Labour’s five proposals are a compromise. They do not represent what Labour would negotiate if it had the opportunity: this is no doubt why the list is far less ambitious than the Brexit vision outlined by Corbyn in Coventry nearly a year ago, when he pledged to “negotiate protections, clarifications or exemptions … in relation to privatisation and public service competition directives, state aid and procurement rules” and vowed that “we cannot be held back inside or outside the EU from taking the steps we need to support cutting-edge industries and local business [and] stop the tide of privatisation and outsourcing.”

Until a general election changes the game, Brexit is not Labour’s to negotiate. On the other hand, articulating a positive and ambitious vision of our future outside the EU, and how Labour would approach that differently from the Conservatives, is essential both to general election success and to transforming an economy broken by neoliberalism and auster

Here is Corbyn’s letter to Labour members:

I have written to the Prime Minister laying out Labour’s alternative plan so we can move beyond the mess the Tories have made of Brexit.

The Tory failure has left the country deeply divided and facing the threat of a disastrous No Deal outcome. Labour can and must take a lead in bringing our country together.

We are convinced that our sensible alternative, set out in the five demands in my letter, could both win the support of parliament and bring together those who voted Leave and Remain.                                           

More than any other party, Labour represents the hopes and ambitions of millions of people across all parts of our country. 

Whether people live in Tottenham or Mansfield, they face the same problems of austerity, the injustice of Universal Credit and insecure work. The real divide in our country is not between Leave and Remain, but between the many and the few.

I believe our alternative plan – which includes a permanent customs union, staying close to the single market, and full guarantees on workers’ rights, consumer standards and environmental protections – can help move us beyond divisions over Brexit and lay the ground for the transformation of our country that only a Labour government can deliver.

Theresa May is unable to reach a sensible deal because it would split the Tories – and we will never vote for a bad Tory deal.

If Parliament is deadlocked, then the best outcome would be a general election. Without it, we will keep all options on the table, as agreed in our party conference motion, including the option of a public vote.

Thank you,

Jeremy Corbyn
Leader of the Labour Party

This all looks, as some have commented, a strategy for either negotiating some agreement with Theresa May, or for many, many years, of future negotiating should Labour win an election.

The Guardian has commented that, “It is far from clear whether Labour’s five demands for UK withdrawal are achievable”.

The Guardian lists the 5 points and looks at them.

  • A permanent and comprehensive UK-wide customs union, an agreement on commercial policy that includes a UK say on future EU trade deals.

The problem here is  that on present evidence, “The British government would have no say over new trade deals if it was in a customs union with the European Union, a former head of the World Trade Organisation has said. ” (Guardian 21st of January 2018). Nor is obvious how a sudden lurch back into a Customs Union is going to be re-worked out from scratch.

  • Close alignment with the single market, underpinned by shared institutions and obligations, with clear arrangements for dispute resolution.

The Guardian notes on this, “This part of the proposal sounds strikingly similar to May’s Chequers plan, but the EU rejected that as “cherry-picking” parts of the indivisible four freedoms. If Labour decides it wishes to be fully in the single market, the EU will insist it signs up to EU state-aid rules. “Corbyn will have to come out of the closet and say we accept single market rules,” says one senior EU official. If Labour wants to be in the single market, it will also have to accept continued freedom of movement, though senior Labour figures have sounded more warm towards that prospect in recent weeks.

This could equally be described as a pious intention, open to Labour to ‘negotiate’ as it sees fit. As noted on Labour List, (Sienna Rodgers)”“single market alignment” doesn’t amount to the “full participation” prescribed by the composite motion. (of the Labour Party Conference).

It is also open to the Morning Star Brexiteers and the “4 Ms” to “negotiate protections, clarifications or exemptions. That is, a merry game over many years, until they decide to break away completely and try for the WTO rule based trade. It is a recipe for endless rows, dramatic turnarounds, and a continuous diversion from any Labour government’s legislative programme.

  • Dynamic alignment on rights and protections so that UK standards keep pace with evolving standards across Europe as a minimum, allowing the UK to lead the way.

The word  “dynamic” cannot hide that this is always open to a Tory government to renege on. One of the obvious attractions of common European standards is that they were made in common not “aligned” with.

  • Clear commitments on participation in EU agencies and funding programmes, including in areas such as the environment, education, and industrial regulation.

A commitment – no more. And, the Guardian states, “The political declaration – the non-binding part of the Brexit deal that May has proposed – already states that the EU and the UK will “explore the possibility of cooperation” involving agencies such as the European Medicines Agency, the European Chemicals Agency and the European Aviation Safety Agency.

  • Unambiguous agreements on the detail of future security arrangements, including access to the European arrest warrant and vital shared databases.

Something that remains open. The Guardian says, “Brussels has said it is difficult for the UK to have the same access to EU police organisations and databases without being a member state, including taking on EU data-protection rules and accepting the remit of the European court of justice. It is unclear if Labour would be prepared to accept this.”

On Labour List Sienna Rogers also observes:

 Corbyn’s list makes no mention of the backstop or of free movement.

It remains that Corbyn and his inner circle want Labour Party members to accept Brexit.

The present strategy may well involve a compromise to bring “our country together” – for yet more, and yet more, negotiations.

Corbyn allies in the influential groupuscule Counterfire do not relish such a consensus.

John Rees writes,

Marxism and the Brexit crisis

But now the entirety of the British political establishment, and the mass media, are pushing the Labour leadership to “save the nation” by joining in a Tory-inspired unity campaign aimed at achieving the seemingly politically impossible task of passing Theresa May’s Brexit deal.

He, like the Morning Star, backs Brexit.

Brexit, in this compromise form is still Brexit.

Many people in the Labour Party simply do not accept Brexit in the first place.

Shiraz describes the move as  “Corbyn’s Brexit betrayal.”

Socialist Resistance writes on the forces, hostile to left-wing internationalism, who are driving the Corbyn stategy.

The British Road to Brexit

Milne and Murray haven’t changed their minds on that in forty-five years. That’s fine. The EU is a bosses’ club. What’s different now is that the push for Brexit is coming from the right of British politics and has galvanised every racist in the country. The 2016 referendum result wasn’t a rejection of a bosses’ club, it was a rejection of freedom of movement within the EU. Milne and Murray are in the Labour Party now and they are very definitely in a minority on this issue. The most recent evidence for that is the report commissioned by Transport Salaried Staffs’ Association which says:

“Labour would especially lose the support of people below the age of 35, which could make this issue comparable to the impact the tuition fees and involvement in the coalition had on Lib Dem support….

… “If there is an election in 2019, Labour will get a lower share of the vote in every seat in the country if it has a pro-Brexit policy than if it has an anti-Brexit position.”

Corbyn knows this already and yet he is risking electoral defeat. His letter to Theresa May setting out the terms under which Labour would support a Brexit deal makes no reference to the party’s conference vote calling for a new referendum. It doesn’t even mention delaying the exit date until a deal which meets his conditions for a soft Brexit are negotiated.

This is a big victory for those of his advisors who want Brexit to happen because they think it might set Labour on a road to socialism in one country. And it’s not just Milne and Murrary. Len McCluskey of Unite is dead set against a new referendum and so is Karie Murphy, Corbyn’s chief of staff who accompanied Corbyn and Milne to the recent meeting with Theresa May.

The only people this will give comfort to are those Tories who back May’s plan to run down the clock to a hard Brexit and the DUP. It will not win over a single Brexit supporting voter and it will demoralise the hundreds of thousands of Labour members the party will need to win the next general election.

As we learned a couple of weeks ago during the immigration debate, the Corbyn leadership is responsive to pressure from its left. Anti-Brexit members need to be kicking up a fuss about this capitulation to the idea of socialism in a single country across social media and in their wards, GCs and CLPs. And if you haven’t already done so get this resolution supporting a new referendum through your local party and affiliated unions.

The Pro-Brexit Labour Gatekeepers, From Milne to McCluskey.

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There is anger in the labour movement that a small group of pro-Brexit people are making party policy on Europe.

The Observer reported on Sunday that,

A senior union source said McCluskey seemed to be trying to bypass Labour party and TUC policy, which was to insist on a customs union and close involvement in the single market. “History will damn the treacherous moves to sideline the rest of the trade union movement and frustrate Labour party conference policy,” said the union official.

“He and his allies in the leader’s office haven’t made it a secret that they want Brexit to happen, but to do a secret deal behind the movement’s backs to get it done is shocking even for them.”

 Ana Oppenheim, an organiser for the leftwing anti-Brexit movement Another Europe is Possible, who is also active inside the pro-Corbyn grassroots movement Momentum, suggested any Labour MPs who refused to do all in their power to block May’s Brexit should be deselected.

“This is an existential moment for the left,” she said. “The Tory Brexit deal will mean a huge expansion of border controls and will open us up to unprecedented economic deregulation. If Labour MPs cannot unite to block it, they shouldn’t be Labour MPs. Members have mechanisms to choose MPs who actually represent the Labour movement, and we would encourage them to use these.”

Then there was this: in Private Eye yesterday:

There are claims that Corbyn has difficulty dealing with anybody with disagrees with him.

The highly articulate and focused Keir Starmer, the Shadow Brexit secretary, would normally be expected to have been at the meeting with the Prime Minister.

But apart from the differences PE outlines he is reported to back free movement, something the Lexit (pro-Brexit) left are dead against.

Having the unelected Milne in such a strategic position at the Downing Street and inside the Party means – the anti-Brexit internationalist left alleges – that attempts from inside the labour movement to reach a deal are reaching a critical point.

Shiraz posts today,

McCluskey’s Brexit manoeuvres

Four union leaders, including Len McCluskey of Unite, had one-on-one talks with the PM in Downing Street last month.

McCluskey is seeking commitments from May that would give some Labour MPs an excuse to back the government in the next “meaningful vote” on Brexit. That could allow Brexit to proceed without Jeremy Corbyn being held responsible by Labour’s anti-Brexit rank and file.  “The unions are at war given Unite’s attempt at a side deal,” an unnamed “senor union figure” told the FT, adding “and people are suspicious that it’s being nodded through by the leader’s office.”

Milne already has a programme for UK self-sufficiency:
Image result for the 4 M's Seumas Milne Maoist manifesto winchester

Written by Andrew Coates

February 7, 2019 at 3:08 pm

Shadow Foreign Secretary Emily Thornberry calls for “timely and effective” new elections in Venezuela and “targeted sanctions”.

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Image may contain: one or more people and crowd

Left needs to say more than this, and Thornberry has said it.

This was posted today on John McDonnell – The People’s Chancellor.

Shadow foreign secretary will make clear rebuke to record of Venezuela’s Nicolás Maduro.

Labour government would not indulge human rights abuses by Britain’s allies or by regimes that “call themselves ‘socialist’ but … betray every socialist ideal”, the shadow foreign secretary will say on Wednesday.

The reference by Emily Thornberry, when she sets out her proposed policy under a Labour government, is intended as a clear rebuke to the record of the Venezuelan government led by Nicolás Maduro.

JeremyCorbyn has so far opposed the decision made by a majority of European Union states, including the UK, to recognise the rival Venezuelan leader Juan Guaidó as interim president, but Thornberry is eager to ensure that Labour’s opposition to interference is not misconstrued as support for the Maduro regime. Guaidó’s party is a member of the Socialist International, with which Labour is affiliated.

The key themes of Thornberry’s speech at the Institute for Government setting out her vision of a Labour foreign policy will inevitably draw parallels with the ethical foreign policy set out by Robin Cook as the first foreign secretary of Tony Blair’s 1997 government.

This is an extremely welcome move.

Unlike many, who have suddenly become experts on Venezuela, this Blog has been reluctant to comment on the crisis in the country.

This numpty for example, thinks he knows it all:

It would seem that the only thing keeping Maduro supporters going in Britain is the fact that Trump and most of the EU (with exceptions like Italy’s far-right/populist government, “Italy has vetoed an EU statement on the Venezuela crisis amid political confusion in Rome“.)  is against him.

It  is as plain as a pikestaff that the Maduro regime is not just on the skids, but that 3 million people have fled  Venezuela, and that the corrupt Chavista government has remained in power through the use of force – including the torture of opponents.

There is a steady drip drip of stories such as this: how pro-regime millionaires have been salting their stolen cash away in foreign banks.

And this:

It is not necessary to go further to agree that Emily Thornberry has the right approach, from first principles, on how to deal with this issue.

Here is what she has just said, (Belfast Telegraph).

Shadow foreign secretary Emily Thornberry called for timely elections but declined to recognise Venezuela’s opposition leader as interim president.

…in a break with Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, Ms Thornberry backed the use of targeted sanctions and “whatever means necessary” short of a military invasion to bring about change.

….

Ms Thornberry told an event at the Institute for Government in London on Wednesday: “What I am saying is that we begin with dialogue.

“That offer has been made, internally and externally we need to ensure that happens.”

She added: “That’s the best way to proceed rather than somebody saying ‘that’s it, we’ve had enough, we recognise X, we don’t recognise Y any more’.

“That’s not the way to treat another country, even a country in as desperate a situation as Venezuela.”

Ms Thornberry said she was a “great believer in sanctions” as a way of using foreign policy muscle “that doesn’t involve killing people”.

She said there should be “timely and effective” new elections in Venezuela but “there should be no invasion, there should be proper discussion and negotiation”.

Written by Andrew Coates

February 6, 2019 at 12:41 pm