Brexit

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...

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...

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...

Brexit: break Labour's silence

As the threats posed by the Tories’ Brexit policy become more serious and more imminent, the labour movement is not speaking up but saying even less. In the first half of the year, supporters of Keir Starmer argued his refusal to call for a delay to Brexit, despite the chaos caused by Covid-19, was savvy tactics. “Keir” would speak out at an appropriate time. Now, with the end of the Brexit transition ten weeks away, and a No Deal Brexit a strong and growing possibility, Labour is pretty much silent. If you dig a bit you can find this or that low-profile statement. All of it is pro-Brexit. On...

More Brexit means more US-type capitalism

New UK-EU talks on Brexit are due to run through the week starting 5 October, and prime minister Boris Johnson says he wants a deal outlined by 15 October. That looks unlikely. The EU has already started suing Britain for legislating to break the Withdrawal Agreement previously signed with the EU. Big gaps remain between the UK and the EU on Northern Ireland, on state-aid rules, and on fishing. The Tories say that they are happy with a “no deal” Brexit as fallback — meaning, in fact, a period of chaos following by a scramble for new trade deals, especially with the USA. Their basic drive is to...

Brexit shows... no point defending the BBC

The Cummings-Johnson-Gove clique have made no secret of their contempt for the BBC and desire to bring it to heel. They believe the result of the EU referendum and the 2019 election give them an opportunity to mount a “culture war” on the supposedly “liberal” and “metropolitan” BBC. Their approach so far, has been to follow Trump’s “fake news” strategy — in which politicians aim to escape accountability by convincing enough supporters that all criticism is based on the lies of a biased “liberal” media. But now there is clear evidence of a plan to fundamentally undermine the independence of the...

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