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Brexit, Racism and the Far Right: what some new anti-Fascists ignore.

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Hard-Line Brexit Right.

“The fight against racism is indivisible – which is why the left has always made it central to its politics.”

Lindsey German.  of the Left pro Brexit group Counterfire. August the 13th.

Brexiteer Arron Banks wants to mobilise Leave supporters to join the Tory Party and vote Boris Johnson as leader reports the Tendance’s favoutie daily print paper, the ‘I’.

Former Trump strategist Steve Bannon says Johnson has potential to be a ‘great prime minister’

Brexit-backing businessman Arron Banks is planning an attempt to ensure that Boris Johnson becomes prime minister by flooding the Conservative Party membership with his anti-EU supporters. The former Ukip donor, who gave £9m to the Leave.eu campaign in the 2016 referendum, has proposed a digital advertising campaign to encourage backers of his Brexiteer movement to join Tory ranks and back Mr Johnson in a future leadership election.

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Trump adviser In the immediate aftermath of Mr Trump’s election victory, Mr Banks travelled to meet the president-elect along with close political ally and former Ukip leader Nigel Farage. Steve Bannon, Mr Trump’s former political strategist and architect of his White House victory, yesterday reiterated his support for Mr Johnson, saying he has the potential to be “a great prime minister”. Mr Bannon, who is attempting to sway Mr Johnson towards supporting his plans for a populist anti-EU movement, insisted that Mr Johnson had “nothing to apologise” for over his remarks on the wearing of the burka. The US right-winger told the Sunday Times: “Boris just needs to be Boris – true to his nature and his calling – and I think he has potential to be a great prime minister, not a good one.”

In her account today of the Johnson’s Burka scandal Germain discusses racist coverage of Muslims, Islamophobia, and Boris. She defends women’s right to choose their oppression with the Burka. (Boris Robinson and Tommy Johnson: two sides of the same racist coin – weekly briefing)

For a second one’s attention is caught by this curious sentence, “Islamophobia in the 21st century targets women heavily, reproducing all sorts of issues to do with fear of sexuality, or of independent women. “

But disappointingly the role of the Burka and Niqab in promoting sexual independence is not developed.

After rushing around to mention media attacks on Jeremy Corbyn, she then ends with the one phrase which makes some political sense in the whole overladen adjective-strewn, rant against “toxic” “scapegoating”,

There is a deliberate process here where fascists and the far right hitch themselves to mainstream politicians, and use them to further spread their doctrine of hate and division.

Now how did we come to a political scene in which these highly funded, media, Net obsessed alt-right can have an impact?

Why is there a cross-over between the far right and ‘mainstream politicians’?

How is that when the SWP bookshop, Bookmarks, was assaulted recently members of the vehicle of this cross-over UKIP, were involved (Ukip suspends three members over socialist bookshop attack) ?

Why is Boris the favourite of these forces?

The answer is the Carnival of Reaction that fed into and broke out after Brexit.

This was and is itself based on racism and xenophobia, the motor of that form of alt-right-driven populism which focuses on defending national sovereignty against the foreign EU and migrants.

While some on the left keep imagining that a People’s Brexit will be magicked out of economic and political thin air this continues to develop.

As observers have stated:

UN: Racism has risen since Brexit vote 11.5.2018.

The UK’s Brexit referendum has caused a growth in the acceptability of racial, ethnic and religious intolerance, the UN special rapporteur on racism said Friday.

After finishing a two-week fact-finding mission in the UK and Northern Ireland, Tendayi Achiume said in a statement that she found a “growth in volume and acceptability of xenophobic discourses on migration, and on foreign nationals including refugees in social and print media.”

Racial and religious-based intolerance was also noticeable in political discourse on both the left and right to the point that it has gained ground in mainstream political parties, she said.

DW

Perhaps one reason why Germain does not want to talk about this is because a part of the pro-Brexit left was heavily implicated in the process that has led to present conditions.

Paul Embery, National Organiser, Trade Unionists Against the EU. (a body given publicity and support by the Morning Star, the Socialist Party, and parts of the trade union left)  expressed (the  Sun 4th of May 2018)  the view that the left should be against uncontrolled migration permitted by EU rules on freedom of movement.

He went further than talking about competition over jobs and social resources, or employers’ use of (un-unionised) migrant labour to threaten wages and conditions.

Migration has created a cultural threat:

“The demographic convulsions meant stable, settled Barking and Dagenham found itself in the eye of the storm of the debate over mass immigration. The indigenous population cried out for respite. The letters page of the local paper was filled with correspondents begging to be heard. But nobody in power took a blind bit of notice, other than to patronise them with trite arguments about improved GDP and cultural enrichment.”

Our working class is not racist — they’ve just been shafted by the liberal elite

Embery’s defence of what he calls the “indigenous population” and their “their sense of order” ““faith, family and flag” against the “liberal elite”.

If this sounds like a call for something like the politics of Arron Banks (who donated £54,000 and gave other help to the Trade Unionists Against the EU) that is because beyond being the right-wing of Blue Labour it teeters on the fringe of the hard right.

There are wider issues about the relationship between Brexit and racism and the far right.

One way to look at them is through this emerging coalition of mainstream Tories and the far-right.

But it’s still important to look into the background.

In the lengthy article below Chris Gilligan, author of Northern Ireland and the crisis of anti-racism argues that the pro-Brexit left has ignored or tried to explain away the role of racialism in the Brexit vote.

It is not necessary to agree with the author’s support for Marxist-Humanist ideas on non-state social liberation (they took no official position for Leave or for Remain) to see that,

“If the Lexiteers are aiming to lead the working class, then they are invoking the working class to advance some other  project—such as promoting parliamentary sovereignty, justifying immigration controls, promoting social cohesion or building the Party. They are not immersing themselves in, and learning from, the struggle for human freedom.”

Left Brexiteers Evade the Charge of Condoning Racism

‘It was a popular revolt, not an anti-immigrant vote’: Left Brexiteers evade the charge of condoning racism

by Chris Gilligan, author of Northern Ireland and the crisis of anti-racism

The majority vote to leave the European Union (EU) has been celebrated by many on the Left (Lexiteers) as a revolt by the ‘left-behind’ working-class. The same vote has been condemned as enabling substantial racism and anti-immigrant sentiments. This article critically examines various Left attempts to defend the ‘Leave’ vote against the accusation of racism. According to these defences, a vote to leave the EU was in the interests of the working class, or of human liberation more broadly. The article highlights some contradictions between the goal of human emancipation and the defence of the Leave vote against the accusation of racism.

The article is divided into four main parts. The first part points to the ample evidence that anti-immigrant sentiment was a significant factor in the Leave campaign and vote. (This part also provides a substantiation of the assertion, in the MHI document Resisting Trumpist Reaction (and Left Accommodation), that: ‘In the UK, the surge of support for Brexit last year, which secured the victory of the “Leave” forces, was driven largely by anti-immigration backlash’ (p. 49).) The second part outlines a number of different attempts to evade the ‘it-was-racism-that-won-it’ argument. The third part provides a critique of Goodhart’s defence of Brexit voters from the accusation of racism. The fourth part does the same for Bickerton and Tuck. The article concludes by noting the importance of challenging racism as part of the broader struggle for human emancipation.

Amongst the many important  sections this is particularly telling:

Studies conducted after the referendum confirm that immigration control was a crucial issue. A poll conducted on the day of the vote, for example, found that a third of Leave voters who were polled (33%) said that the main reason for their vote was that leaving ‘offered the best chance for the UK to regain control over immigration and its own borders.’ An analysis of data from the British Election Study survey of referendum voters concluded that the data suggested ‘that the decision taken by the Leave campaigns to focus heavily on the immigration issue … helped to drive public support for leaving the EU while also complicating the ability of Remain campaigners to “cut through” and galvanise support for continuing EU membership’. A study of the British Social Attitudes survey used the data to test two popular explanations for the Brexit vote: firstly, that it reflected ‘the concerns of more “authoritarian”, socially conservative voters about the social consequences of EU membership—and especially about immigration’; and secondly, ‘that the vote was occasioned by general public disenchantment with politics’ (a version of the ‘revolt against the elite explanation’). The study found that the survey data provided more evidence to support the first explanation than it did to support the public-disenchantment one.

Until people like Germain recognise this link between Brexit, racism,  and the growth – still very far from a mass movement – of the far-right in Britain, it is unlikely that those outside their limited circles will take their calls for anti-fascist and anti-racist unity seriously.

 

 

 

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Corbyn Backs Britain and a Labour Brexit: “Build it in Britain Again.”

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“Build It In Britain Again”.

“Labour leader outlines UK-first strategy as he sets out plan for post-Brexit industrial revival”

Corbyn’s Full Speech

Because Labour is committed to supporting our manufacturing industries and the skills of workers in this country we want to make sure the government uses more of its own money to buy here in Britain.

The state spends over £200 billion per year in the private sector.

That spending power alone gives us levers to stimulate industry, to encourage business to act in people’s interests by encouraging genuine enterprise, fairness, cutting edge investment, high-quality service and doing right by communities.

But to ensure prosperity here we must be supporting our industries, making sure that where possible the government is backing our industries and not merely overseeing their decline.

These are some further statements:

A Labour Brexit could provide real opportunities as well as protections for our exporters.

It’s not just that our new customs union would provide the same benefits that we currently enjoy in the EU’s customs union but our exporters should be able to take proper advantage of the one benefit to them that Brexit has already brought – a more competitive pound.

After the EU referendum result the pound became more competitive and that should have helped our exporters.

But they are being sold out by a lack of a Conservative Government industrial plan which has left our economy far too reliant on imports.

And,

The rise of finance is linked to the demise of industry.

Between 1970 and 2007 finance sector output grew from 5 per cent to 15 per cent of total economic output.

Manufacturing meanwhile decreased from 32 per cent to 12 per cent.

The next Labour government will rebalance our economy so that there is prosperity in every region and nation.

We will do this by setting up a national investment bank and a network of regional development banks to provide capital to the productive, real economy that secures good skilled jobs.

This speech coincides with the publication in New Left Review of an ambitious study of Corbyn’s political and economic strategy by Robin Blackburn, Older readers may recall that the author was once active in coming along to left wing meetings.

There is much wishful thinking on Blackburn’s views on how to “enhance popular resistance to, and potential control over, the accumulation process.” and promote democracy and popular superintendence of the social surplus and how it is invested.”

But more immediately relevant is a description of the policy advisers behind the Labour Leader and his ally, John McDonnell.

McDonnell’s economic advisory team has seen some turnover but seems to have reconsolidated since the 2017 election, with 39-year-old James Meadway, former senior economist at the NEF, playing a central role.

At the NEF, Meadway’s paper ‘Why We Need a New Macro-Economic Strategy’ portrayed the UK as ‘chained to a dysfunctional, over-exposed financial system that is symbiotically linked to a weak real economy’—‘a weak economy sucks in imports, requiring finance; a continual demand for financing helps support a bloated financial system’, leaving policy-making overly vulnerable to investors’ demands.

‘The key to breaking the grip of austerity is to undermine the financial sector’, Meadway argued. ‘The key to undermining the financial sector, in turn, is to reinforce the real economy.’ Tools to shrink and reshape the financial sector could involve debt cancellation and breaking up the banks. Those for strengthening the productive economy included not only the orthodox notion of a State Investment Bank—the state-owned Royal Bank of Scotland could be used to finance projects with clear public objectives—but also more unconventional policies: injections of Quantitative Easing cash directly into real economic activity, such as financing Dieter Helm’s £500bn project for green infrastructure: ‘used wisely and sparingly’, popular QE could be ‘a major blow against the domination of private finance over public economic outcomes’.

Robin Blackburn. The Corbyn Project. New Left Review. No 11. May/June 2018.

To get a flavour of this we cite the following -from the recommendations in Why we Need a New Macro-Economic Strategy.

Introduce capital controls. By making movements of capital in and out of the UK more expensive, they become less desirable, reducing speculation Measures like an emergency tax on capital inflows; unremunerated reserve requirements; legal restrictions on derivatives positions and restrictions on overseas ownership of residential property could manage the flows of capital to attract more stable investments.

We note (which Blackburn does not) the following conclusion from a histrionic denunciation of the EU by the same Meadway in 2015.

For those in the UK, two things are necessary. First is to support all those resisting new austerity measures, whatever the presumed character of the government. Second, to reject Britain’s continued membership of the EU. It is simply not possible for anyone in good conscience to offer their support to an institution so manifestly and comprehensively opposed to democracy and committed to enforcing neoliberalism – whatever the price paid by its victims. Internationalism demands that we do whatever we can to undermine the European institutions. In our own referendum, on British membership of the EU, the left must vote No.

James Meadway. Counterfire 2015.

There are many people advising John McDonnell, including those, whom out-of-touch Robin Blackburn appears not to have heard of,  like Prem Sikka (Tax-haven transparency won’t stop money laundering in Britain Guardian May 2018) and those he has, Ann Pettifor (although there are good  grounds for believing she has not had had any results for her advocacy of radical Keynesianism).

One can see Sikka’s concerns (part of a group studying the issues)  in Corbyn’s phrases about the need to  “chase dodgy money out of the financial system” ,  “Getting the dirty money out of the City of London” and a ” financial transaction tax”.

But there is little doubt that Meadway’s argument for a “productive” economy, within a national framework has an echo not just with the Shadow Chancellor but with Corbyn and his advisers, Andrew Murray, and his spokesperson, Seamus Miline.

Or, that is the conclusion one draws from today Corbyn speech: titled Build it in Britain.

It is hard to see how any of the proposals, hard to give a concrete form other than a wish to give British companies priority in government procurement and contracts, fulfill this ambition,

“It is about changing course so that people feel real control over their local economy and have good jobs that produce a consistent rise in pay and living standards, in every part of the UK.”

But there are deeper economic problems:

This is a good summary.

Corbyn went full Trump in his latest speech about the benefits of Brexit – from an economic standpoint, that’s alarming.

Ben Chu

The Resolution Foundation this week shows incomes for the worst off in Britain are no higher than they were 15 years ago. Reshoring low-value manufacturing will not help such people, and will not restore depressed communities to economic health.

The reason for the record drop in the pound on the night of the referendum was a rush of expectation across financial markets that the UK economy will be considerably weaker outside the EU’s single market and customs union. There’s no long-term economic benefit implied in the currency slump – only cost.

Yet, in fairness to Corbyn, it’s not mad to suggest that a weaker pound should be providing a short-term lift for manufacturing firms. Even the Bank of England has suggested that UK manufacturers have been in something of a “sweet spot”, with sterling weak but Britain still, for now, remaining in the EU’s economic institutions.

More troubling are Corbyn’s comments on imports. “We’ve been told that it’s good, advanced even – for our country to manufacture less and less and instead rely on cheap labour abroad to produce imports, while we focus on the City of London and the finance sector,” he lamented.

There’s nothing wrong with promoting a rebalancing of the UK economy away from its 30-year over-reliance on finance. Yet the implication that the UK would benefit from churning out manufactured products domestically that are currently made in the developing world is nonsense.

New research from the Resolution Foundation this week shows incomes for the worst off in Britain are no higher than they were 15 years ago. A major part of the reason is that low-skilled men have seen their weekly hours collapse. Reshoring low-value manufacturing will not help such people. Nor will it restore depressed communities to economic health. That is the kind of con artist’s fantasy that Donald Trump has been spinning to US steel workers in the American rust belt.

The only sensible and feasible vision for the future of UK manufacturing is a high value added one, using skilled workers, cutting-edge equipment and, if necessary, foreign investment and expertise.

Corbyn’s reference to “cheap labour abroad” smacks of the beguiling creed of economic nationalism. His remarks may not be explicitly anti-foreigner but they are still resonant of Trump-style tirades against corporate outsourcing.

Labour List makes the following point which should be underlined:

The key words “cheap labour” were taken out of context to make it seem as if Corbyn had blamed migrant workers for the UK’s economic woes. This is what he actually said: “We’ve been told that it’s good, even advanced, for our country to manufacture less and less and to rely instead on cheap labour abroad to produce imports while we focus on the City of London and the financial sector.” He was talking about imports made abroad with cheap labour, not cheap labour here in the UK.

Trade Unionists Against the EU – “Former” Leading Communist Party of Britain Member worked with Arron Banks

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Worked Hand in Hand with Hard Right Millionaire Arron Banks.

Trade Unionists Against the EU was a key front for the Brexit left, supported by, amongt others, the Morning Star and the Socialist Party.

It is a strange beast, as today’s Unherd outpouring from their national Organiser Paul Embery illustrates,

…for those of us on the more traditional Left, the concept of family, far from being antithetical to our socialism, is the very essence of it. It is within the family unit that we first learn about obligation, sacrifice, loyalty, compassion and solidarity. It is one place where the common good will almost always transcend self-interest, where you are in every sense your brother’s keeper. What better example is there of socialism in action?

That’s why we socialists should defend the family unit against all-comers. And that means resisting not just the cultural war against it, but the economic one too. Austerity, low wages and poverty have all weakened family ties, as has the explosion in the number of families in which both parents go out to work, often not through choice but financial necessity.

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Confucius had it right 2,500 years ago when he said, “When there is harmony in the home, there is order in the nation.”

Why won’t our spineless politicians stand up for the family?

In a more traditional vein Trade Unionists Against the EU made much of their imaginary support amongst the European left.

It is true that some on the Continental  left – generally known as ‘sovereigntists’ and others who could be called anglophobes – resented the UK and some may have backed Brexit.

I recall one of the leading figures of TUAEU,  Enrico Tortolano, speaking loudly in public about his internationalism, and citing in evidence the ‘millions’ of Greeks who has stated that they wished the ‘Leave’ campaign would win.

Yet, as we known, the Greeks actually voted in a pro-EU left government, for all its faults, led by Alexis Tsipras.

The only concrete evidence of this pan-European  Lexit alliance,  came from a, they claimed at the time, a mass Paris Rally. In reality this was a hook up with the French trotskyist splinter (too small to stand in the most recent Presidential elections), the Parti ouvrier indépendant démocratique, (POID One of its best known members, Gérard Schivardi,was the last Presidential candidate (standing on a platform of backing for local Mayors’ power)  from this current, in 2007. He got  0,34 % of the vote.

Is this an “internationalist” movement?

POID is known for its support for reasserting  French National sovereignty against the European Union. The EU, they assert, has deprived Parliaments of their sovereign will, and reduced them to a subsidiary role to the EU  which imposes its will directly on nations. (“Parlements privés de toute velléité de souveraineté étant réduit à un rôle subsidiaire, les décisions de l’Union européenne s’imposent directement à toutes les nations. La Tribune des travailleurs).

That particular jamboree (2017) can be viewed here: LE GRAND MEETING INTERNATIONALISTE DE PARIS PORTE DE CHARENTON’ en 20 minutes et version sous-titrée:

 

More recently Trade Unionists Against the EU has developed a good rapport with the Spiked-on-Line linked Sovereigntist, grouping, the Full Brexit, which includes Murdoch’s Man in Brussels “The founding statement of a group called ‘The Full Brexit’. Good to see the statement signed by some well-known figures in the labour and trade union movement.” (5th of July): Trade Unionists Against the EU

Yesterday John Rogan  published:

Lexit and Brexit collaboration-what did the Morning Star know?

One long standing Lexiter is leading Communist Party of Britain member Brian Denny (also of the RMT union who backed Brexit). He has written extensively on the need to get out on the CPB’s website (“Trade Unionists need to take the lead against the EU”14 Aug 2015) and was a co-ordinator for NO2EU (Lexit electoral alliance), organiser for the (“Eurosceptic Labour Movement”) Campaign Against Euro-Federalism (CAEF) and a founder of Trade Unionists Against the EU (TUAEU).

Image result for Brian Denney rmt and arron banks

Denny’s contributions also take up some space (see here)  on the Trade Unionists Against the EU site.

Rogan continues,

Denny (CPB) and Banks (Ukip) worked together to maximise the Leave vote. Here’s an extract from Arron Banks’s “Bad Boys of Brexit” (28 Jan 2016) where Banks saw Labour voters as key to winning and the need to fund an anti — TTIP (Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership) leaflet produced by Trade Unionists Against the EU (TUAEU).

Here is some evidence of the collaboration between the leading Communist and the far-right Brexiteer.

Rogan Notes,

Arron Banks is currently under investigation by the Electoral Commission for funding of Trade Unionists Against the EU (£54,000) and other organisations. Some more background to this can be found here and here.

So far we have heard nothing from those accused of collaboration with the hard right.

Brian Denny, meanwhile, regularly retweets Spiked-on-Line….

 

Football: a Lament for the Two Englands.

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Résultat de recherche d'images pour "baudrillard sur le football"

Pseudo-Cosmopolitan Sneers Get Robust Answer From Spiked online.

 

“England for him was no longer a real place, but a consecrated isle in the lake of forgetting, where the God of the English still strode through an imaginary Eden, admiring His works.”
― Roger ScrutonEngland: An Elegy

THE TWO ENGLANDS.

Brendan O’Neill

There’s the England where we gathered in pubs and parks to go wild for the team, and in the process made new friends, hugged strangers, helped inebriated people into Ubers, and there’s the England that frets that this heaving mass of fans will turn violent and harm women and girls.

“Human beings, in their settled condition, are animated by oikophilia: the love of the oikos, which means not only the home but the people contained in it, and the surrounding settlements that endow that home with lasting contours and an enduring smile.”
― Roger ScrutonHow to Be a Conservative

And,

There’s the England that pursues of the promise of nationhood, and the England that views the nation as outdated. There is the England that feels national pride and sometimes even waves the English flag, and there is the England repulsed by such ‘jingoistic’ behaviour. Even in London itself, you can have a working-class estate adorned in England flags not far from Corbynista-inhabited parts of London where the only flag you’re likely to see is the EU one. Two Londons. The England that sees itself as a nation, and the England that sees itself as a small cog in the pseudo-cosmopolitan machine of Brussels whose wise counsel is apparently preferable to the opinions of ordinary Brits. Especially the ones who wave that bloody flag and beat their wives when England lose.

“When the chips are down, Orwell argued, our workers do not defend their class but their country, and they associate their country with a gentle way of life in which unusual and eccentric habits – such as not killing one another – are accepted as the way things are. In these respects, Orwell also thought, the leftist intellectuals will always misunderstand the workers, who want nothing to do with a self-vaunting disloyalty that only intellectuals can afford.”
― Roger ScrutonHow to Be a Conservative

I know which of the two Englands I prefer. Like millions of others, I experienced it many times over these past few weeks, and I know it is not the foul, prejudiced, violent land of the new technocratic elite’s nightmares, but rather is a place where people value collectivity over individual identity, talent over race, and pulling together rather than waiting to be enlightened by those who presume to know more than us. En-ger-land – it’s not so shabby.

Brendan O’Neill

For further information on the new politics of Spiked see:

Melanie Phillips Goes the Full Farage: “Sack May, give Farage a peerage, make him party leader and PM.”

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Phillips Leads the March on Downing Street!

Hat-Tip: The Seer of Hegemony.

Melanie Phillips is Britain’s answer to Alain Finkielkraut.

Both of ’em likes to whinge about falling educational standards, the loss of national identity and the perils of cosmopolitan multiculturalism, as in their parallel works, All Must Have Prizes (1996), Guardian Angel: My Journey from Leftism to Sanity (2018), and the Frenchman’s L’identité malheureuse (2014 – which reads like a line by line French version of Phillips’ oeuvre).

But one hesitates to imagine even  Alain Finkielkraut going outright raving nationalist as in the above and the below.

FAITHLESS, CRAVEN AND COWARDLY – THE BRITISH GOVERNMENT’S BREXIT BETRAYAL. Melanie Phillips.

we can say with near-certainty is that what Mrs May has done is put in serious doubt a Conservative victory at the next general election – and maybe at any further general election for a long time after that.

For she and her cowardly and faithless colleagues have betrayed Brexit voters, betrayed democracy and betrayed the British people.

..

the worst danger of all from this debacle: that the British people will simply lose faith not just in the wretched Conservative party but in the democratic process which will become increasingly meaningless.

That said, this thing is far from over; indeed, it may have only just begun. For if the EU sticks to its previous intransigence, it will reject the British government’s offer and insist that it makes further concessions to the EU’s rules which even Mrs May dare not make.

Which means, prepare now for “no deal”. Which Britain should have done right from the start.

But however this finally ends, Mrs May and her craven colleagues have done real damage – to themselves as politicians, to the Conservative party and to democracy itself.

 

These chaps are already moblising for the March on Downing Street to speak for the “disdained masses who have been championed by Melanie Phillips..”

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World Cup: “Pure Patriotic Ecstasy” Spreads to Giles Fraser.

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Cleric Giles Fraser: in “pure patriotic ecstasy”.

Some people read the future of today’s Cabinet meeting in taxi  phone numbers and train time-tables.

Others will pontificate on global warming at the opening of a tin of baked beans.

But nothing, absolutely nothing, brings out the worst in commentators than waffling about the political and cultural implications of the World Cup and the English team.

A whiff of victory and they’re all over the players’ aprons.

A couple of days ago Counterfire published this, sub specie eternal cultural studies bore,

Success for England will mean what we make it mean

Mark Perryman.

A popular Left politics must surely connect with such episodes as metaphor, to translate what we see on the pitch into the changes beyond the touchline we require to become a more equal society. So here’s my maxim for Jeremy Corbyn and his colleagues. If Labour cannot explain the meaning of the World Cup why should I listen to what the party has to tell me on how they’re going to fix the mess the NHS is in? Not the flimsy populism of Blair when he adopted the ‘Labour’s Coming Home’ message after England’s last tournament semi, Euro ‘96, but a political practice rooted in popular culture because here, more than anywhere else, ideas are not only formed, but also changed.

Perryman has an  admirer in the highest ranks of the Clergy who picked up on this passage.

But the point is that a St George Cross draped in the colours of multiculturalism has at least the potential for the beginnings of a journey away from racism. It has a reach and symbolism like no other, touching the parts of a nation’s soul no anti-racist placard thrust in our faces is ever going to. This is the meaning of modern football and when England begin to scale the heights of 2018 World Cup ambition the reach of that message is amplified still further on a scale and in a manner that ’66 could never have done, and ’90 barely began.

It’s Prelate Pontificus Maximus Giles Fraser:

In that moment of pure patriotic ecstasy, the pub seemed united in an unusually intimate form of togetherness. After all that, Neil and I had a rather messy argument about Brexit. “If we win the World Cup, Theresa May will call an early election,” someone else suggested. Then we all drank up and staggered home.

What we think about patriotism positions us squarely on possibly the moral question of our day. From Brexit to Trump, from Hungary to Israel, the question of putting our country first has a divisive feel that enrages liberals and internationalists. Because when it comes to patriotism, what liberals understand to be a defining feature of proper moral reasoning, communitarians think of as a vice. And what communitarians think of as an essential aspect of a flourishing moral community, liberals think of as bigotry.

The Cannon adds is some stuff about (former International Socialist)  Alasdair MacIntyre, if anybody can be bothered to read his half digested reflections.

Let us end with this:

For communitarians, my hugging the fat English stranger (steady down Padre!) , my “Come on En-ger-land” at top volume, are crucial to our morality solidarity. And it’s just the same with my mate Emilliano shouting for Colombia over in the Elephant shopping centre.

And this,

The problem, of course, is that what MacIntyre and I (Note: on the basis of one essay written long ago),  consider moral solidarity, liberals think of as prejudice, even proto-fascism. And what liberals call morality, communitarians view as a dangerous dilution of moral solidarity. And there, in a nutshell, are the culture wars that presently divide us.

After Virtue me old cock!

Pro-Corbyn Left Pro-EU Campaign Launched: Labour for a People’s Vote.

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“…essential that there is clear red water between the mainstream centrist remain campaigns and any serious attempt to get Labour to strengthen its Brexit position,” (Guardian.)

The pro-Brexit Morning Star, living the dream as this disaster unfolds, publishes this comment on the Saturday People’s Vote March,

Left Leave campaign Lexit convener Alex Gordon told the Morning Star that Saturday’s march was “a reactionary, lavishly funded protest.”

He said: “At its heart is the complaint by the entitled upper middle classes in British society that they have not been allowed to get their own way as usual.

“The fact that the People’s Vote march rapidly became a focus for anti-Corbyn slogans tells you all you need to know about the political outlook and class interests of those supporting it.”

This is the internationalist left reponse:

The Tories are making a mess of Brexit.

Their deal will harm working people and the communities Labour works to represent. Tory Brexit is an attack on our rights, jobs, wages, public services and democracy.

Only a radical Labour government can lead Britain into a fair and socially just relationship with Europe. Working together we can stop Tory Brexit and build a better future for everyone.

Join us to campaign for a People’s Vote to fight for jobs, wages and the NHS – and for a socialist Labour government.

Labour for a People’s Vote.

And here:

Sign Our Statement

Labour for a People’s Vote is a grassroots campaign run by Labour members across the UK.

We are proud supporters of the Labour Party. The election of a radical Labour government, to deliver a future of hope, solidarity and equality, is our first priority.

For the political and economic elite, the consequences of Brexit might seem like a game. But as trade unionists, and activists and politicians of the left, we know the impact that a bad deal will have on the people and communities we represent. The Conservatives have no mandate to tear up our rights and freedoms, or to drive our economy off the edge of a cliff, yet that is what their Brexit plans would lead to.

We believe that the Brexit currently being negotiated by Theresa May is a threat to jobs, to peace in Northern Ireland and the future of our NHS and public services. If a Brexit deal is signed which wrecks the British economy, binds us to a future of risky trade deals and American-style deregulation, and irreversibly undermines the rights, freedoms and protections currently enshrined in EU law, a new Labour government will be unable to deliver on its promises.

We do not believe that membership of the EEA offers a viable way forward. While it may offer short term stability it is not tenable for the UK to be a rule taker with no seat at the top table. We would also lose vital international cooperation in a number of areas.

We are therefore coming together to urge the movement of which we are a part to oppose the Tories’ destructive Brexit and unite the country behind a radical and hopeful vision for the future. In government, Labour could rally left-wing parties across the continent and create a Europe fit for the many.

Only by holding a popular vote on the terms of the deal can we move on from the mess of the Brexit process and get on with building a better society. Any other outcome will lack democratic legitimacy, drag out the process, and leave us poorer in every sense of the word. The people must have a final say.

Labour List. 25th of June.

Corbynites Launch Pro-EU Labour For A People’s Vote Campaign

Today key left-wing figures call for another referendum on Brexit as party activists launch Labour for a People’s Vote campaign. Supporters of the new movement include Ann Pettifor, an adviser to John McDonnell, the TSSA’s Manuel Cortes and Momentum activist Michael Chessum.

The campaign has already got members in over 60 constituency Labour parties (CLPs) vowing to submit its motion for debate, and expects many more to join as the movement becomes public.

Those involved are almost all on the left of the party, some having worked with groups including Another Europe is Possible while others are simply pro-EU, pro-Corbyn local organisers.

Labour for a People’s Vote is urging the Opposition to vote down Theresa May’s final Brexit deal, which they say is likely to fail Keir Starmer’s six tests, and subsequently to back another referendum on Brexit – including the option to remain in the EU.

Jeremy Corbyn, who has a Eurosceptic voting record and was criticised by many both within and outside of the Labour Party for not campaigning wholeheartedly enough for Remain during the referendum, has come under increasing pressure to back a ‘people’s vote’.

While in the past that pressure has mainly been coming from the Corbynsceptic wing of the party, namely MPs such as Chuka Umunna and pressure group Progress with its LabourSay.EU campaign, Corbynites are now emerging as a prominent lobbying force for the same cause.

Michael Chessum, who worked on Corbyn’s 2016 leadership campaign, denied wanting to undermine the current leadership, saying the intention of Labour for a People’s Vote was “quite the opposite”. Leaders of the new campaign hope that its political tone, which is explicitly of the left, in addition to its grassroots nature, will have a better chance of making an impact.

Many on the left of the party are stepping up Remainer efforts in the belief that intra-factional pressure over Brexit will be more successful than inter-factional campaigns.  Valerie Bossman-Quarshie, a party member in Corbyn’s own seat of Islington North, said she rejoined the party thanks to the Labour leader but supports LPV because “as a local activist I think we have to support a people’s vote”.

Last week, Momentum activist Alena Ivanova launched an online petition demanding a vote for all Momentum members on “whether to oppose Tory Brexit, and whether to campaign for Labour to hold a vote at annual conference in September on giving the people the final say on the Brexit deal”. Ivanova said Momentum should have a clear position on Brexit.

The Labour for a People’s Vote launch statement rejects the option of a Norway-style EEA deal, unlike 74 Labour MPs who recently defied the whip to vote in favour of the EEA, describing it as “untenable”. The motion argues that a Tory Brexit is set to “wreck the British economy” and therefore “bind the hands of a future Labour government”, making it more difficult for Labour to deliver manifesto promises.

The motion has been signed by activists including Billy Hayes, economist Ann Pettifor, TSSA general secretary Manuel Cortes, Paul Hilder, Julie Ward MEP, Seb Dance MEP, Richard Corbett MEP, Mary Honeyball MEP, journalist Zoe Williams, Professor Mary Kaldor.

More reports: Guardian.

The grassroots Labour for a People’s Vote group, which is led by several former Momentum figures, as well as trade union leaders, has the backing of more than 60 constituency Labour parties (CLPs) to try to force a vote at this year’s party conference to change Jeremy Corbyn’s Brexit policy.

The group will call for Labour to oppose the government’s final Brexit deal, which the party has said it would do if the deal with the EU did not meet six tests set by the shadow Brexit secretary, Keir Starmer. The group will then campaign for the party to go further and campaign for a public vote on the deal with an option to stay in the EU should voters reject the deal.

Activists from 62 local Labour parties have pledged to raise the issue in a motion at the party’s conference this September, which the group said was a major shift among the Labour grassroots members, the majority of whom are Corbyn supporters.

Independent.
Corbyn-backing group calls on Labour to back fresh Brexit referendum

Left-wing members are urging Labour to steer away from Theresa May’s ‘kamikaze’ Brexit  Ashley Cowburn

 

Written by Andrew Coates

June 25, 2018 at 11:42 am