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Posts Tagged ‘boris johnson

Labour Should Intervene in the Boris Brexit Shambles.

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Le Monde Cartoonist Plantu on Boris Johnson’s Covid-19 and Brexit Strategies.

The Morning Star, which has lost its once close links to the Labour Leadership, is now waging a culture war for Brexit. investigative journalist Solomon Hughes alleges that Keir Starmer was propelled into the position held by Jeremy Corbyn as part of a pre-planned attack on the left that used the campaign for a Second Referendum to remove socialists from being in a position to lead Labour and win a General Election. The daily now publishes articles defending Boris Johnson’s defiance of international law in his plans for Brexit.

The mischief making intention is transparent.

Away from the ‘People’s Brexit’ fringes the issue of opposing the present terms of leaving the EU  has come back to the fore,

Last week Johnathan Lys argued in Prospect.

It’s time for Keir Starmer to talk about Brexit

There is no advantage, anywhere, to remaining silent. If we leave with a disastrous no deal, Starmer can say that he warned about it and sought to avoid it. If we leave with a deal, he can say that he argued for that and it was the right thing to do. Nobody will say that he should have backed remaining outright, because that proposition disappeared after the 2019 election.

The Labour leader does not have to advocate staying in the single market or customs union. It is effectively too late to recommend either, and the government will in any case ignore him. All he has to do is advocate the closest arrangement within the currently deliverable parameters. In practical terms, that means arguing for a deal on fishing and accepting the level playing field. As and when Brexit significantly harms our economy and costs jobs, he will have the political space to advocate the closer relations embodied in a so-called soft Brexit, and include it in a future Labour manifesto.

Owen Jones argued on Thursday,

Brexit is back – and Labour’s dilemma has not changed

The latest Tory ruse on Brexit is tediously straightforward. By talking up no deal and expressing a willingness to flout international law, the Conservatives intend to bounce Brussels into a favourable agreement while torturing their Labour opponents. It is the Tories who have relitigated Britain’s rupture with the EU – despite coasting to victory with a commitment to “Get Brexit done”.

They know that if the airwaves are flooded with Labour’s angry reactions, their opponents can be easily portrayed, once again, as blocking Brexit altogether. They believe that their electoral coalition has little interest in international law. They want to toxify Keir Starmer in so-called red wall seats by portraying him as an aloof, establishment, metropolitan, remainer lawyer.

Starmer’s team has noted the trap and sidestepped it. “Get on, negotiate, get the deal that was promised,” declares the Labour leader, while his team blames Boris Johnson for reopening the supposedly done Brexit. This seems like sound politics: Labour knows that while most of its voters are remainers, any path to victory includes winning over leave supporters in English and Welsh towns.

He concludes,

as Brexit returns to the headlines and there is consensus in the commentariat that the opposition is cleverly sidestepping Johnson’s trap, let us conclude that that should have been everyone’s approach from the very beginning.

MIchael Chessum, campaigner for the left-wing anti-Brexit Another Europe is Possible, and who did not back Keir Starmer during the Labour internal contest has written in Labour List. He says that by not taking a public position the Party leader is making the “same mistakes” as Jeremy Corbyn.

It is urgent that Labour starts campaigning around an alternative vision for Britain after Brexit. This shouldn’t be hard, because it already has a full alternative policy, democratically established at its conference and supported by Starmer in his leadership campaign. Continued free movement, single market access and improved, rather than eroded, protections for workers, migrants and the environment: these could form a basis for Labour’s policy, both now and at the next election.

Remainers are silent because they are demoralised, but the part of the public which was rallied in opposition to the right wing nationalist politics of Brexit is still sout there. Labour’s road to victory was and remains finding this new mass base, and marrying it to working class organisation and a renewed radical politics. If it fails to energetically fight the Tories’ Brexit agenda, progressives will get more demoralised, Dominic Cummings will decide the new normal, and we will wake up in five years’ time in an economy modelled on Singapore, with nobody even promising to take us back.

The New Statesman’s Stephen Bush puts forward a different approach in the I’,.

 The calculation that Starmer is making is not just that keeping quiet on all things EU makes it more likely he will win the next election, but that a centre-left policy platform can be delivered just as easily outside the bloc as within it.

It does seem incredible, to say the least,  when the British, European and International Press, is full of articles, and politicians’ statements on Boris Johnson’s plans, that Labour has not said anything.

Our relations with the EU are not something you can reduce to electoral calculation.

There is a fundamental political division which is not going to go away.

The Hard Right (and their ‘left’ pro-Brexit allies, who wish for the same power for different ends) stand by these views, as Fintan O’Toole makes clear. This is the “larger mentality of Brexit..”

 At the heart of its theology is the fantasy that there is such a thing as absolute national sovereignty, a complete unilateral freedom of action that had been taken away by EU membership. Once Britain is “unchained” from the EU, Britain can do whatever it damn well pleases. The withdrawal treaty is not a set of permanent obligations, merely a route towards the obligation-free future that starts on 1 January 2021.

The project for national neoliberalism has now reached a decisive point.

The issues raised by the undermining of agreed Treaties, the Irish Peace Agreement, negotiations which could left substandard US food into the UK, not to mention private companies eyeing up public services, are too big to be sidestepped.

It is hardly too much to say that we need to stand up and present a different way forward.


Boris to Renege on EU Deal: Brexit Reality and the ‘Lexit’ Fantasy.

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French Daily’s Take on Boris Johnson’s Brexit Antics.

Brexit is turning out to be an economic catastrophe and a boost for Britain’s racists and fascists, as the ‘culture wars’ waged by nationalist identitarians show. The far-right protests in Dover over the weekend to defend UK borders against migrants  are only the latest part of the fall out.

Boris Johnson ‘planning to rip up key parts of the Brexit withdrawal agreement’

Boris Johnson is planning to rip up key parts of the Brexit withdrawal agreement putting at risk trade talks with the European Union.

The Mirror has learned the Prime Minister intends to use domestic legislation to override the “oven-ready” Brexit deal he signed with the EU at the end of last year.

The high stakes move would be a breach of international law and could damage the UK’s reputation on the international stage.

Government insiders also suggested it would give the UK a pretext later this week to blow up trade deal talks in favour of an Australian-style relationship.

reports the Mirror.

The Irish government responds,


The French left of centre daily Libération carries the story:

What is Boris Johnson playing at? Has he chosen the “nuclear option” in negotiations with the EU for a possible free trade agreement  ? The Financial Times revealed on Monday that the British government intends to present to Parliament on Wednesday a bill which, in fact, “clearly and consciously”, “would remove the legal weight of parts of the Withdrawal Agreement” on Brexit, signed last October by the British Prime Minister, in particular in the area of ​​state subsidies and customs in Northern Ireland.

On the eve of the eighth session of negotiations on the post-Brexit relationship between the European Union and the United Kingdom, which starts on Tuesday in London, these revelations could threaten the continuation of the discussions, already extremely tense.

Le Monde states,

In the absence of an agreement before December 31, only the rules of the World Trade Organisation (WTO), with their high customs duties and extensive customs controls, will apply. Which will further weaken economies already hit hard by the pandemic.

Der Spiegel talks of the threat of a hard Brexit. Left-wing members of the European Parliament have called for a response.


Older readers may recall the campaign for Lexit, ‘left’ Brexit.

Ardent Lexiteer Nick Wright wrote,

It is precisely because we want an alternative to Britain’s crazily unbalanced and financialised economy that we campaigned for Britain to leave the neoliberal EU and in doing so free ourselves from the anti-union judgments of the ECJ, the restrictions on state aid to industry, the obstacles to public ownership and the drive to militarise the EU.


Communists want a People’s Brexit. Unconstrained by EU treaties, single market rules and directives, a left-led Labour government could develop a worker-led industrial strategy; aid industry, invest in training, youth and jobs, social welfare, housing, education and health services; and take the transport, energy and postal service profiteers back into public ownership.
Nick Wright
Head of communications, Communist party of Britain

This of course is exactly what has happened…..

In The collapse of Corbynism – radicalism without class power, Johnny Lewis outlines the divisions in the Labour Party that focused on this issue.

The sharpest division between the PC’s (‘political Corbynites’)  and the social democrats was over the EU, a rupture made all the more important because ‘Lexit’ (the idea that there could be a “left-wing” Brexit, and/or that the reality of the Tories’ Brexit could somehow be turned to the advantage of the left and the working class) was deeply rooted in the Party’s neo-Stalinist wing. They stood on one side of the divide, while mobilised on the other was the Party’s base along with nearly everyone under 45 who wasn’t a Tory, a racist, a supporter of Farage, or all three.

An important section of the radical left in Another Europe is Possible was involved in mobilising against the Hard Right Brexit. We attended the broader People’s Vote national demonstrations and local protests.

In the Labour Party there was a furious dispute over the failure to come out with a clear anti-Brexit position.

As Zoe Williams, a supporters of Another Europe is Possible, wrote recently in the Guardian,

. By 2017, CLPs were using the very rebel spirit that had made Corbyn party leader to force him out of his strategic leave position. Let’s park this eternal question of who lost the 2019 election between remainers and the former leader; it is hackneyed to the point of being unkind to repeat how unpopular Corbyn was in the run-up to it. What recent years have shown is that most of the debate around the power of the membership is symbolic: they are a mighty mandate when it suits their leader, and a clearable obstacle when it doesn’t.

The treatment of the members is synecdoche for the party’s positioning: certainly, some leaders like to make a show of ignoring the membership to indicate how much more likely they are to listen to regular folk; other leaders pay vocal and elaborate respect to the members as a signal of their radical intent, but that doesn’t mean they’ll let them interfere with their strategic vision.

One of the reasons people in the Labour Party, including a section of the left,  voted for Keir Starmer, was his support for the campaigns against Brexit, and their disgust at manoeuvres inside the party to prevent their voice on the issue being heard.


A leading supporter of Lexit, Lindsey German, of the revolutionary socialist Counterfire, and the Stop the War Coalition, and whose group runs what’s left of the People’s Assembly, spends her time these days attacking Keir Starmer,


She writes this week: Labour adrift while the second wave builds – weekly briefing


It’s increasingly clear however that under Starmer’s leadership Labour’s main priority is to protect British capitalism from the worst effects of the crisis, and that the interests of workers are going to come a very poor second. This means that Labour has been very strongly in favour of the reopening of schools regardless, that it backs more people going back to work and that it wants to minimise the numbers of those working from home.

For those not interested in the hobby of  snipping against the Labour Leader the issue of Brexit looks unlikely to go away.

Written by Andrew Coates

September 7, 2020 at 10:43 am

“Taking Back Control”: Brexit, Putin, to Free Trade in Public Services, and Low-Quality Food.

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Boris Johnson urges Brits to vote Brexit to "take back control ...

Getting Brexit Done means “Taking Back Control”……

During the EU Referendum those who backed Leave talked of “taking back control”.

There were those on the left who denounced the EU as a “capitalist club”. They wanted a “People’s Brexit”, a ‘Left’ Brexit.

The former Labour MP Ronnie Campbell spoke for his camp when he said he wanted to “take back control of UK laws, taxes, budgets, and public spending”.

For the alliance of Blue Labour, the Communist Party of Britain, Labour Lexiteers, members, and supporters, of the Brexit Party, The Full Brexit, the phrase  gave voice to a “popular revolt against the status quo”.

“The Leave campaign’s slogan, “take back control”, resonated with millions of people whose interests are no longer represented in British politics.” Brexit, and the restoration of National Sovereignty, gave the UK the “opportunity to reshape Britain for the better”.

After the result the Lexit (pro-Brexit left) campaign issued this statement.

It began, 

The Leave vote is above all else a rejection of the entire political establishment by millions of working class people who have been left to suffer austerity for decades with few defenders among the mainstream parties.

The Leave-Fight-Transform (Pro-Brexit) campaign from the same stable asserted in August 2019 that,

the left must ensure the 2016 referendum result is implemented, so that the UK breaks with the treaties, institutions and laws of the EU as well as the structural racism of Fortress Europe.

Locating the origin of racism in the EU was a bold move, one yet for Brexit Britain to challenge.

But it looks as if the break with what is left of the its treaties, institutions and laws is underway.

In a statement on Brexit Day (3rd of February 2020), the pro-Brexiteers issued a statement on the ” likely terrain for the battle”.

They predicted a “crisis in Britain’s ruling class”, a phrase battle-hardened leftists find handy for any time in history.

A trade deal with the US looked fraught “with tensions”. But some light for the left was there, “Johnson wants to be free to engage in state investment. That requires a ‘Canada-plus[i]’ deal with the EU.” A step forward. “This new vision, brought on by economic necessity and the wishes of a section of British capital, as well as by the political reality of how Johnson won his majority, is rather different from the delusional, harking back to empire vision beloved of Tory Brexiteers in the European Research Group.”

Things were not so bad (compare above “crisis”). Indeed, “…much of British capital is confident that it can cope with whatever happens in post-Brexit Britain, providing the City of London’s banking and financial interests are kept safe.The EU, they predicted, would negotiate a way out. The Tories would try to respond to the “concerns” of those who voted for them.

The Brexit left claimed that conditions for a real struggle looked bright: “What couldn’t be done has been done: a major country has broken with the largest trading bloc in history.” After Labour’s historic election defeat, the post-Brexit terrain offered an  “opportunity for the left.”

Today there are two major news stories about “taking back control” Brexit-style.

The first is on the post-EU trade negotiations, 

MPs have defeated an attempt by Tory backbenchers to ensure parliament has a vote on any post-Brexit trade deal.

An amendment to the Trade Bill currently going through the Commons would have given MPs and peers a say on any new agreement signed by the government.

Jonathan Djanogly, the Conservative MP who led the rebellion, had argued that the US congress approves similar deals.


He accused the government of taking a position of “less scrutiny than we did as a member of the EU”, because EU trade deals are subject to a vote in the European Parliament.

Free of EU ‘neo-liberalism’ the government can agree with Donald Trump to open up UK public services to US businesses, and our shops to low quality American food.

Brexit is said to offer many more such opportunities.

It seems that Jeremy Corbyn had the clairvoyance – along with hundreds of anti-Brexit commentators – to foresee this.

Yet, as this tweet indicates…

Then we have this:

This story is still developing.

We note that Arron Banks, who gave money to ‘Trade Unionists Against the EU”, a campaign led by Paul Embery, a supporter of the Full Brexit, and promoted during the Referedum by the Socialist Party, gets a mention,

Government rejects ISC’s call for inquiry into Russian interference in Brexit referendum.

Here is the statement from the Committee itself.

Press release from the Intelligence and Security Committee, July 21:

There have been widespread allegations that Russia sought to influence voters in the 2016 referendum on the UK’s membership of the EU: studies have pointed to the preponderance of pro-Brexit or anti-EU stories on RT and Sputnik, and the use of ‘bots’ and ‘trolls’, as evidence.

The actual impact of such attempts on the result itself would be difficult – if not impossible – to prove. However what is clear is that the government was slow to recognise the existence of the threat – only understanding it after the ‘hack and leak’ operation against the Democratic National Committee, when it should have been seen as early as 2014.

As a result the government did not take action to protect the UK’s process in 2016. The committee has not been provided with any post-referendum assessment – in stark contrast to the US response to reports of interference in the 2016 presidential election. In our view there must be an analogous assessment of Russian interference in the EU referendum.

Observers predict that the Morning Star is about to carry a story attacking ‘anti-Russian hysteria” and “Putin Bashing”.

(1) Report: 

Case study: the EU referendum