Brexit

Labour must oppose a Tory Brexit deal!

The more-than-rumour is that Keir Starmer’s leadership will impose a parliamentary whip to force Labour MPs to back the Tory Brexit deal possibly coming soon — even a high-pressure “three-line whip”. There is no good Brexit. But any possible deal will fall at the hard, economically destructive, socially regressive end of the Brexit spectrum. The left and labour movement should oppose this big, convulsive step backwards. We should refuse responsibility for the Tories’ disastrous plans, and loudly tell the truth about what they represent. We should demand the Parliamentary Labour Party votes...

In the bleak midwinter

Three blows are likely to hit us in the first months of 2021: Brexit, a new pandemic lockdown, and a new wave of job cuts and closures. Lockdown pushes down many people who fall through the furlough net, or were looking for new or first jobs. Back in spring it looked like the biggest job cuts among previously well-established workers would come as lockdown eased. Companies which had stuck it out through lockdown with furlough money and government loans would then shut down or shrink, and those shutdowns would be magnified through their supply chains. Now we have a second lockdown, and a third...

Interview: What happened in Labour on Brexit

Michael Chessum, national organiser for Another Europe Is Possible, spoke in a personal capacity with Sacha Ismail. Written up and edited by George Wheeler. You’ve written an article on openDemocracy, arguing that the anti-Brexit Left made a serious mistake at the 2018 Labour Party conference. What’s your thinking? We’re in this period of mopping up after Corbynism, and I wanted to challenge myself to reflect about what we might have got wrong, rather than what others got wrong. I don’t conclude we were wrong in any of the politics we advocated. What I conclude is that we began determined not...

Chasing the conservatives

Friday 27 November saw an online launch of Paul Embery’s book, Despised: Why the Modern Left Loathes the Working Class, sponsored by The Full Brexit, a group which promotes the fantasy that Brexit is an “historic opportunity… for restoring popular sovereignty.” Embery is a well known proponent of “Blue Labour,” the idea that a moderately social-democratic project in the Labour Party can be reinvigorated only if it also promotes conservative social values, not just Brexit but supporting immigration control, opposing Black Lives Matter, lauding Britain as a Christian country, and supporting...

Brexit is a step backwards

The Brexit transition period ends in less than six weeks, on 31 December. The EU has told its member states’ ambassadors that a post-Brexit trade deal with the UK is close — but warned a No Deal Brexit is still possible “accidentally”, because of the timescale... A No Deal exit, producing wrenching economic and social dislocation, would or will be terrible. But the Guardian hit the nail on the head when, on the same day as the EU briefing, it quoted economists saying that “the best deal the UK can secure would have counted as ‘one of the hardest of Brexits’ three or four years ago”. During the...

Not a class act

Last week three former shadow ministers, Laura Smith, John Trickett, and former party chair Ian Lavery, launched a report for their No Holding Back (NHB) initiative. It purports to be the result of a “listening exercise” amongst Labour members and trade unionists, with the aim of reconnecting Labour with its lost “red wall” voters, but contains few practical proposals beyond unspecified “strengthening trade union and workers’ rights”, taxing firms like Amazon more, creating a “cronyism watchdog” and adopting “progressive patriotism.” On the issue of redundancies NHB says precisely nothing. On...

David Lammy is right!

Tottenham Labour MP and Shadow Justice Secretary David Lammy has broken ranks with Keir Starmer’s leadership to call for a delay to Brexit. On BBC Question Time on 12 November, Lammy described the fast approaching chaos and called for an extension to the Brexit transition period beyond 31 December (watch here). Lammy’s arguments could certainly have been clearer, more emphatic and more left-wing, but he deserves major credit for making them. They stand out from the silence on Brexit smothering almost the entire labour movement. I don’t think any other Labour MP, even on the backbenches, has...

Now 50%-38% against Brexit

The Observer reports that Boris Johnson is waiting for the US election before deciding whether to go for a No Deal Brexit. Ivan Rogers, former UK ambassador to the EU, says a Trump victory would make Johnson feel “history was going his way”. But, “no deal” or “rushed-through last-minute deal”, the UK will experience a destructive and regressive hard Brexit in eight weeks whatever happens. A last-minute bare-bones deal with the EU will just mean it is a bit less destructive. Solidarity has been warning since March that Brexit at the end 2020 will mean multiplied disruption and suffering in the...

Brexit: make Labour speak out

As we go to press on 27 October, talks between the UK and EU for a deal for Brexit are continuing in London and are due to move to Brussels on Thursday 29 October. Brexit is due to happen on 31 December. The Tories bluster about being happy to settle for “no deal”, and may yet lurch us into that, but will probably prefer to get some sort of deal, at the last minute, which can be rushed through with the minimum of scrutiny and the maximum of us all being distracted by other concerns. Labour and the trade unions are still not speaking out, or even demanding a pause on Brexit until virus-chaos...

Nick Wright and "the powerful intellect"

Nick Wright is a member of the Communist Party of Britain and frequent contributor to the Morning Star — often writing on Labour Party matters. Two themes recur in Wright’s articles: that Labour’s changed position on Brexit (no longer promising “to honour” the referendum outcome) was the “fatal surrender” that cost it the 2019 election and that allegations of antisemitism within Labour under Corbyn were “manifestly untrue and malicious” — the work of “not only British and Israeli state actors but an unscrupulous assembly of reactionary forces of all kinds”. Those particular quotes turn up in a...

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