November 12, 2018 at 3:33 pm #157876
It looks as if we are going to have to discuss Brexit again. The government haven’t yet said what the proposed deal with the EU is but it seems to be a variation of still being in the single market and parts of the customs union but without any say in what the rules of the single market should be. Since staying in the single market for goods was what the dominant section of the UK capitalist wants, something like this was bound to be their preferred option (even if a second best to staying in), which of course the government as their “executive committee” has had to take into account.
Complete withdrawal, i.e no deal, would be going against the trend under capitalism towards the concentration and centralisation of capital and so would be putting the clock back from that point of view. It could happen but it is bound to slow down the accumulation of capital in Britain. And if that happens the capitalist class will be very annoyed with their bungling political representatives.
The other aspect that has come up is the role of parliament. There are those who say that parliament is just a talking shop and that it does not control the government and the State (so it’s not worth socialists trying to win a majority there). True, parliament is not involved in the day-to-day running of the State but no government can do things which do not command a parliamentary majority. This was demonstrated over parliament’s vote against the Cameron government’s proposal to bomb Syria in the way it had bombed Libya. And may well be demonstrated again over the government’s Brexit proposals.
As to another referendum on the issue, oh no, not again.November 13, 2018 at 2:15 am #158318
Maybe it will coincide with the 2nd Scottish Referendum 😥
But ALB re-Syria, this was a very new precedent begun by Blair in his Iraq vote to actually request approval. No government constitutionally requires approval from Parliament for war for they hold the Royal Prerogative
An interesting paper on Cameron and SyriaNovember 15, 2018 at 9:47 am #159933
I suppose we should say something about what everybody else is talking about — the 585 page document on Britain’s withdrawal from the EU. I’ve not read it myself of course but listening to some politicians you would think it was the final trade agreement with the EU. In fact the provisions regarding trading are only temporary till the end of 2020. During this period the UK, while no longer in the EU, will still be in the customs union and single market while a longer-term permanent trading deal is negotiated. Boris and the others cry “vassal state” but this temporary transition period was agreed months ago while he was still Foreign Secretary. Even the famous Northern Ireland backstop would only come into being if no trading agreement is concluded by the end of 2020.
So, from a capitalist point of view, all the options are still open. During the transition period the brexiteers’ Canada-style free trade agreement could be negotiated as could a Norway-style arrangement. The transition period can even be extended (once) for a given period.
If they play their hand right the government should be able to convince the politicians to go along with it.
If the document goes through it’s not going to make much difference to ordinary people. As one of the panellists said on Loose Women on ITV yesterday (as I said everyone’s discussing it, but don’t ask me how I came to be watching it), that on 31 March next year, which is the day after Britain formally withdraws from the EU’s political institutions, it will be the same as the day before: people will still go to work as usual and still go shopping in supermarkets as usual. Nobody will notice any difference, so why get worked up about it.
Having said that, our fellow workers from other EU countries will know that they are not going to be kicked out or lose what legal entitlements they now have, including the right to vote in local elections (need to check that with the 585 page document).
Of course if the document is rejected daily life will be disrupted for a while but what are the chances of that? I suppose that depends on whether you’re an optimist or a pessimist.
The other valid point that came up, one already made by Richard Dawkins in relation to the previous referendum, is how can you expect people to vote on a 585 page document. This of course is the general case against referendums for deciding matters even in socialism since there’s rarely a yes or a no answer but always something in between.November 15, 2018 at 9:56 am #159935
I’ll use this post, alb, as a blog since i have little knowledge in the ins an outs of the negotiationsNovember 15, 2018 at 11:00 am #159938
That’s ok. I had thought of submitting a version it to the blog. Just one thing. I need to check whether EU citizens already established in Britain will retain the right to vote in local elections. I know the UK offered this to the EU at one point but think the EU was reluctant to reciprocate. European countries are stricter on who can vote than Britain. For instance, even before Britain joined the EU it allowed Irish and Commonwealth citizens to vote. I hope the 585 page document has an index ! But it might not be in it anyway as Britain might just have unilaterally decided to allow EU citizens here now to vote (and stand) in local and regional elections. But don’t tell the bigoted Brexiteers.November 15, 2018 at 11:19 am #159942
Found something (but not in the famous 585-pager):
So, yes, EU citizens already here will be able to continue to vote in local elections until 31 December 2020. It has not yet been decided what will happen after that.November 15, 2018 at 6:37 pm #159996robbo203Participant
Not really a socialist perspective on the matter but I found this (on Facebook) quite amusing:
16 October at 10:10 ·
LEAVER: I want an omelette.
REMAINER: Right. It’s just we haven’t got any eggs.
LEAVER: Yes, we have. There they are. [HE POINTS AT A CAKE]
REMAINER: They’re in the cake.
LEAVER: Yes, get them out of the cake, please.
REMAINER: But we voted in 1974 to put them into a cake.
LEAVER: Yes, but that cake has got icing on it. Nobody said there was going to be icing on it.
REMAINER: Icing is good.
LEAVER: And there are raisins in it. I don’t like raisins. Nobody mentioned raisins. I demand another vote.
DAVID CAMERON ENTERS.
DAVID CAMERON: OK.
DAVID CAMERON SCARPERS.
LEAVER: Right, where’s my omelette?
REMAINER: I told you, the eggs are in the cake.
LEAVER: Well, get them out.
EU: It’s our cake.
JEREMY CORBYN: Yes, get them out now.
REMAINER: I have absolutely no idea how to get them out. Don’t you know how to get them out?
LEAVER: Yes! You just get them out and then you make an omelette.
REMAINER: But how?! Didn’t you give this any thought?
LEAVER: Saboteur! You’re talking eggs down. We could make omelettes before the eggs went into the cake, so there’s no reason why we can’t make them now.
THERESA MAY: It’s OK, I can do it.
THERESA MAY: There was a vote to remove the eggs from the cake, and so the eggs will be removed from the cake.
REMAINER: Yeah, but…
LEAVER: Hang on, if we take the eggs out of the cake, does that mean we don’t have any cake? I didn’t say I didn’t want the cake, just the bits I don’t like.
EU: It’s our cake.
REMAINER: But you can’t take the eggs out of the cake and then still have a cake.
LEAVER: You can. I saw the latest Bake Off and you can definitely make cakes without eggs in them. It’s just that they’re horrible.
REMAINER: Fine. Take the eggs out. See what happens.
LEAVER: It’s not my responsibility to take the eggs out. Get on with it.
REMAINER: Why should I have to come up with some long-winded incredibly difficult chemical process to extract eggs that have bonded at the molecular level to the cake, while somehow still having the cake?
LEAVER: You lost, get over it.
THERESA MAY: By the way, I’ve started the clock on this.
REMAINER: So I assume you have a plan?
THERESA MAY: Actually, back in a bit. Just having another election.
REMAINER: Jeremy, are you going to sort this out?
JEREMY CORBYN: Yes. No. Maybe.
EU: It’s our cake.
LEAVER: Where’s my omelette? I voted for an omelette.
REMAINER: This is ridiculous. This is never going to work. We should have another vote, or at least stop what we’re doing until we know how to get the eggs out of the cake while keeping the bits of the cake that we all like.
LEAVER/MAY/CORBYN: WE HAD A VOTE. STOP SABOTAGING THE WILL OF THE PEOPLE. EGGSIT MEANS EGGSIT.
REMAINER: Fine, I’m moving to France. The cakes are nicer there.
LEAVER: You can’t. We’ve taken your freedom of movement.November 15, 2018 at 9:23 pm #160000Matthew CulbertKeymaster
A trawler fisherman at Peterhead answering Channel 4 News reporter’s question about Brexit negotiations, “Are you disappointed”, replied “I’ve been dispappointed since I left school don’t worry about it.”November 16, 2018 at 11:17 am #160180
Despite all the shenanigans at Westminster yesterday and to come, I am prepared to bet that there will still be a deal, i.e, there won’t be no deal. It might not be all that different from what’s being negotiated. I heard a Rolls Royce executive say on the radio this morning that “any deal is better than no deal”.
If there is no deal the capitalist class (except for the hedge fund managers and other dodgy dealers who financed the Brexit campaign) will be furious with their political representatives. I imagine that the working class too will not look kindly on those who would be responsible for an unnecessary disruption of their lives (as they weren’t with Heath in 1974 after the 3-day week). The trading arrangements of the capitalist class don’t concern us, but we don’t want to be the innocent victims of the failure of their political representatives to come to some agreement whatever it might be.November 16, 2018 at 10:53 pm #160349
“…we don’t want to be the innocent victims of the failure of their political representatives to come to some agreement whatever it might be….”
To highlight an omission in debates and the concentration on business comments, here is an apt quote from UN expert, Philip Alston, special rapporteur on extreme poverty, who just completed his tour of the UK
“….He also warned that the poor would “bear the brunt” of the expected impact of Brexit on the UK economy, and said the fall in the value of the pound had already cost low-income families £400 a year. “In my meetings with the government, it was clear to me that the impact of Brexit on people in poverty is an afterthought,” he said…..”November 17, 2018 at 5:06 am #160449
He seems to be assuming some sort of hard Brexit, which is jumping the gun since what happens after the end of the transition period in December 2020 has yet to be negotiated. The sort of Brexit that is likely to happen (and always was) is one in which the British economy will still be closely aligned to the EU, i.e a withdrawal from the EU’s political, decision-making institutions while remaining linked economically. This will be the case anyway until the end of 2020. If this continues after that, as seems likely, the effect on the destitute and the rest of us will be neutral.
The effect of the fall in the value of the pound, due to the vote for Brexit and uncertainty about what kind of Brexit, is a different matter. In the past this would have been a formal devaluation and Hatold Wilson could have returned to re-assure the destitute (and the rest of us) that the “pound in their pocket” was unaffected. True, except that a devaluation/fall in value increases the prices of the imported goods which we buy. This is presumably what the UN expert means and has calculated. Of course if the value of the pound goes up again, as it did for a while until the uncertainty returned and may well do when there’s a final settlement, then this would be reversed. Imcidentally, some of the hard Brexiteers are arguing that with “free” trade the prices of certain food and clothing items would fall as the current EU tariffs on importing them would go.
The point I was making was about the UK crashing out of the EU without a deal. That would temporarily disrupt the lives of nearly everybody, just because capitalism’s political representatives had messed things up. I was coming as close as I could to agreeing that “any deal would be better than no deal”, literally any as we don’t need to care which since the capitalists’ trading arrangements don’t concern us. It’s their problem but we don’t want to be victims if their politicians fail to agree anything. Having said this, I think they will agree something, anything.November 17, 2018 at 6:42 am #160456
But i think his comment
“In my meetings with the government, it was clear to me that the impact of Brexit on people in poverty is an afterthought,”
is very accurate. As you quote, Rolls Royce chairman and the CBI view-point is the one that May will be heeding and trying to satisfy.
As you wrote:
“…In fact the provisions regarding trading are only temporary till the end of 2020…”
Others have noted
“This is not a soft Brexit: the government has negotiated a bare bones customs union that alone will not deliver frictionless trade. Its temporary nature means businesses will go into the 2020s with no certainty about UK trading arrangements. The cliff edge has been postponed rather than eliminated. The agreement is an indeterminate pit stop on the way to a hard Brexit.” – Tom Kibasi, director of think tank IPPR, said the draft agreement
A full immigration white paper comes later which will be as important as the status of the EU workersNovember 17, 2018 at 8:30 am #160462Dave CheshamParticipantNovember 17, 2018 at 9:40 am #160465
I am sure that on that point the UN expert (he’s just a “rapporteur”, i.e a committee member who draws up a report for a committee) is right. In fact I don’t suppose the effect on the destitute is even an afterthought. The major consideration is, and was only going to be, the effect on business and finance.
As to the director of that think-tank, the IPPR (which is a left-leaning one, as they put it), why has he waited till now to complain about the 21-month transition? This was agreed at an early stage in the withdrawal negotiations as both sides realised that a final trading arrangement could not be settled the day after Britain left, i.e on 30 March 2019. There will now be 21 months in which to negotiate this, so to that extent he is right there will continue to be uncertainty as to what exactly the deal will be.
Will a deal be negotiated by 31 December 2020? They are going to give it a go. I heard Michel Barnier, the EU negotiator, say on TV that these negotiations could/would start on 30 March and that they would not take as long as other such trading deals because the UK and EU economies were already so much aligned. Incidentally, I imagine that a leading Brexiteer like Gove has agreed to stay on in the Cabinet precisely to be able to influence what is agreed for after 31 December 2020. Unlike some of his colleagues he’s got his eyes on their goal rather than posturing about the transitional arrangements being the end of the world in order to better position themselves to further their political careers (not that he won’t have his eyes on the leadership too of course).
If a deal is negotiated before the end of the transition period then the famous Northern Ireland “backstop” won’t need to be invoked. So this is a fuss about something that may never happen. Naturally the backwoodspeople (new PC word) of the DUP are fixated on the Border but the other politicians are just pretending. After all, there is already a trade border in the sea between Northern Ireland and the mainland of Great Britain — it runs around the Isle of Man, which is in the EU for some things (the customs union) but not for others (the single market), without this affecting the territorial integrity of the UK they keep on about. Also, you wouldn’t think it the way they are going on, but a majority in Northern Ireland voted Remain, so presumably didn’t want to go back to the days when “the Border” was the only issue in politics there even if the DUP does.
I know this is only Brexit train-spotting as we’re not concerned with what happens (except temporarily in the unlikely event of no deal) but we need to know why it’s not worth getting heated up over the issue and to see through the arguments of those who say we should.November 18, 2018 at 3:56 am #160624
France is pushing the UK to incorporate future European climate change directives into law automatically in return for an ambitious trade deal with the EU.
A large number of member states fear that the UK could enjoy an economic advantage after Brexit if it were able to diverge from European laws and regulations, and they want to use their leverage now to force a commitment from future British governments.
The EU has been steadily ratcheting up its targets as part of the 2015 Paris climate change accord, and France wants the UK to be bound to them. Last week the European parliament adopted energy-savings targets of 32.5% and a renewable energy uplift of 32% by 2030. That will put the bloc on course to cut emissions by 45% from 1990 levels by 2030.
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