October 5, 2019 at 2:56 pm #190803
I don’t disagree with you that Britain withdrawing from the EU does represent turning the clock back in the sense that EU had evolved into a huge free movement zone and that Brexit means restricting the free movement of people to and from the Britain and virtually the rest of Europe. So it’s one of those reforms to capitalism which makes things worse.
But how to oppose it without taking sides in an internal capitalist dispute? There’s also our principle that a socialist party should campaign neither for or against a reform (but only for socialism). Vote Remain in referendum on a personal basis? A socialist couldn’t vote for the LibDems could they, especially as their tactics are likely to provoke a no-deal Brexit? Or any other capitalist party for that matter.October 6, 2019 at 8:01 am #190815
Here is Will Hutton in today’s Observer admitting that what is at issue is which way to run capitalism:
”Once the referendum is won, which, given the polling numbers and gathering economic difficulties, is Remain’s to lose, the argument in the general election to follow will be how to reset British capitalism and society to address the scale of disaffection that fuelled the Leave vote.”October 6, 2019 at 5:42 pm #190845
But how to oppose it without taking sides in an internal capitalist dispute? There’s also our principle that a socialist party should campaign neither for or against a reform (but only for socialism). Vote Remain in referendum on a personal basis? A socialist couldn’t vote for the LibDems could they, especially as their tactics are likely to provoke a no-deal Brexit? Or any other capitalist party for that matter.
Yes I agree that we can’t “take sides” in the sense of joining the Brexit party or standing in the street dressed as an EU flag. But I think the anti-nationalist and socialism argument should be made clearly that there is nothing for the working class to gain from Brexit, and that the forms of Brexit that are being put forward are an assault on immigrant (and emigrant) labour and something that will threaten peoples family life, much like the windrush saga. From that, if there where another referendum, people can make there own mind up how to vote.
But with regards to the voting strategy, in absence of a mass socialist movement, it’s of little significance how socialists do or don’t vote. I think there are some situations where tactical voting *against* something could be a sensible option. In this context is voting Lib-dem or Labour that? Probably not.October 6, 2019 at 9:34 pm #190857
I did my usual ‘worldsocialism‘ on my referendum paper. I would be amazed if any more than 100 party members did this going by the returns from Conference.October 7, 2019 at 7:02 am #190865
There will also have been some non-members who do this. Still insignificant of course. And we know that at least a couple of members voted Remain (because they said they were going to).
On the main issue I don’t see why there can’t and won’t be a deal. In proposing that Northern Ireland stay in the single market the UK has made a huge concession and there already exist border controls for VAT and excise duties. The proposed DUP veto will have to go of course. We’ll see.
October 8, 2019 at 8:29 am #190876
- This reply was modified 1 month ago by ALB.
Anti-Brexit court case involving workers for once:
Can’t see them winning, though.October 12, 2019 at 7:09 am #190963
If the rumours about what the UK government is now proposing are true, ie that Northern Ireland should be in a customs union with both the EU and the UK, the businessman Bijou met last month will be happy:
“I was talking to a small businessman from Northern Ireland last week and for him this was the dream solution, as part of the UK they would have access to all (if any) trade deals that the UK have as well as having free access to the UK, they would also in effect be part of the EU for trade purposes. It would make Northern Ireland a very attractive part of the world to set up manufacturing plants in.”
At least for an exporter. An importer might not be so happy with the added bureaucracy but when it comes down to it Northern Ireland is not much more significant for the UK economy than the Isle of Man (except it costs more).October 14, 2019 at 11:41 am #191017
Oh Dear! Am I to be served deportation papers and sent back to miserable rain-sodden Blighty any time soon? I ‘effin hope not!
October 15, 2019 at 7:36 am #191057
- This reply was modified 4 weeks, 1 day ago by robbo203.
During the debate on the Puppet’s Speech in Parliament yesterday, Johnson made a pathetic attempt at humour while at the same time trying to smear the Labour leaders as Communists when, according to the Grauniad referring to Corbyn he said:
“Frankly I fear for his political health. We can see the Soviet-era expulsions that are taking place in his circle. As one by one, his lieutenants are purged as Lenin purged the associates of poor-old Trotsky. And there is Lenin, the veteran fabricator of GLC budgets, as the shadow chancellor tightens his icy-grip on the Labour party.”
John McDonnell was probably secretly flattered to be compared to Lenin. But Johnson has got his facts wrong. Lenin never purged Trotsky’s associates. They were great buddies as they planned the Bolshevik coup and began to lay the basis for state capitalism in Russia. It was Stalin who, after Lenin’s death in 1924, purged Trotsky’s associates when he and Trotsky fell out as to who was to be Lenin’s successor as dictator of state-capitalist Russia. Maybe Johnson knew this and that he wouldn’t get away with likening McDonnell to Stalin.October 18, 2019 at 6:42 am #191079
So, as was to be expected, a deal has been done. Also, as was to be expected too, it doesn’t give the religious sectarians of the DUP a veto as was initially floated. Apart from the arrangements for Northern Ireland, the withdrawal agreement is exactly the same as May’s.
The Irish backstop (which would have kept the whole of the UK in a customs union with EU in the event of no trade deal being negotiated with them) would probably never have been invoked as some trade deal was bound to be agreed. It did, however, strengthen the EU’s hand in these negotiations. The EU has now agreed to give this up. In the (unlikely) event of no trade deal within 5 years it’s only Northern Ireland that risks remaining aligned (which, incidentally, is what the EU originally proposed; it was May who in a concession to the DUP insisted that whatever applied in NI should apply to the whole UK).
The “political declaration” is also different in that it holds out the prospect of the future trade deal being a free trade agreement rather than some closer trading arrangement with the EU. That’s not really what the dominant section of the British capitalist class want but the political declaration is just that — a non-binding declaration of intent, just a piece of paper. If the withdrawal agreement itself is accepted, nothing prevents a future government ignoring the political declaration and negotiating a different trade agreement retaining a closer alignment with the EU and easier access to its single market. That’s still to play for for the dominant section of the capitalist class even if the new deal is accepted.
The opposition parties, who are representing the interests of the capitalist class better these days than most Tories, still seem to think that they can get the UK to remain in the EU and are going to try and sink the new deal. With the help of the DUP they may well do so. We’ll see on Saturday.
If they succeed, then what? More of the same, the same old, boring and irrelevant debate about the trading arrangements of the British capitalist class, complicated by the political ambitions of the career politicians on both sides of the House of Commons. It’s a dismal prospect. The side show has ceased to be amusing and it’s time the actors were booed off the stage.October 19, 2019 at 2:10 pm #191089
Exciting times today as the MPs passed an amendment to delay further the passage of the deal until necessary UK legislation is passed.
The only thing I would say is some anti-worker deregulation measures can now be contested, whether they will succeed is another matter, unless the government manages in forcing the deal through next week. Ho hum.
October 25, 2019 at 9:55 am #191143
- This reply was modified 3 weeks, 3 days ago by Matthew Culbert.
I thought this was an interesting piece, about how Britain’s Thatcher -Blair governments shaped the EU policies which has bitten their backsides with the current flames of Brexit.October 25, 2019 at 10:45 am #191144
There is one very odd statement in that article:
“Britain’s decision to enter the EEC stemmed from the need to protect white British national identity after Empire and, at the same time, to continue its relationships with some of its former colonies in the area (Malta and Cyprus).”
Britain joined the EEC (as it then was) in 1973. Cyprus and Malta joined only in 2014. Cyprus got independence from Britain in 1960 and Malta in 1964. So how would Britain joining in 1973 reflect a desire “to continue relationships” with these two ex-colonies? Why would it want to anyway, especially not with Malta which is pretty insignificant and had lost the strategic importance it once had?
And what’s all this about “the need to protect white British national identity”? I don’t see that that was an issue at all. The motive was economic, even if arising from the end of Empire.October 25, 2019 at 10:59 am #191145
I didn’t notice that. I just skimmed it. I copied and posted your exact reply above to them.October 25, 2019 at 11:20 am #191146
Socialist Party Head OfficeParticipant
Email from a comrade:
I keep reading all the stuff about Brexit, hoping that one newspaper will have a rush of honesty to the head, and tell its readers – “Oh, by the way, we should remind you that whether the important people decide to Brexit or to non-Brexit, all you gullible commoners who spend your lives working and not owning – you’ll go on working and not owning, and the rich will go on owning and not working – sorry about that!” The debate which fills the press, the radio, and the television, is really among the upper class who are trying to decide whether they’ll be better off if British capitalism continues to be allied to the rest of Europe’s capitalists, or whether they could hope to prosper still more if they could make their own trade treaties and so on. However, if it makes the proles happier turning out and waving banners, the important people don’t mind if they keep doing it – but it won’t make a blind bit of difference.
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