Brexit

Tories dig in for hard Brexit

New polling commissioned by liberal anti-Brexit campaign Best for Britain and anti-far right campaign Hope Not Hate says 59% expect the Brexit transition period will be extended. Unfortunately that may be naive. The government is digging in further and further, saying it will not under any circumstances apply for an extension. The deadline for applying is 30 June — less than five weeks. Labour and the unions remain silent at best, with Keir Starmer saying he is “not calling for an extension”. Starmer, whose popularity with Labour members and others was built partly on the basis of an anti...

Brexit deadline in six weeks

It is now just six weeks until the deadline for the UK to request an extension to the Brexit transition period (30 June), and the Tory leadership is digging in. Their spokesperson said: “We will not ask to extend the transition period, and if the EU asks we will say no.” According to the Sunday Times (17 May), civil servants previously working on pandemic control have been shifted to work on no-deal Brexit preparations. Even if the UK and EU agree a trade deal, it will represent a very hard, damaging form of Brexit. But as we go to press negotiations have once again stalled. A No Deal Brexit,...

The Morning Star and "patriotism"

On 7 May, the Morning Star carried an article with the snazzy headline “Patriotism is good for you.” A better headline would have been “Stalinism turns you into a useless nationalist who can’t pick the right side in an industrial dispute”. Before examining what this Comrade Blimp has to say about the fusion of nationalism and socialism, it’s worth saying something about the piece’s author. Doug Nicholls is chair of the board of Ruskin College. Last year college management victimised workplace activists in the UCU. Nicholls refused to back the workers, and then invited the college principal to...

Nationalism or class solidarity?

Fire Brigades Union activist and National Officer Riccardo la Torre spoke to Sacha Ismail. *** Yesterday we had “Victory in Europe” day, and a lot of nationalism. What are your thoughts on it? Well, first off I’m angry that workers are dying because they’re at work and aren’t given proper protection, and yet the same “leaders” responsible want us waving Union Jacks. There’s immediate reasons to be angry too, because the day itself created a lot of unsafe conditions. I’ve seen blokes out selling Union Jacks and pictures of the Queen – which makes the political agenda of it all pretty clear, but...

Block the Tories’ Brexit rush

The statement calling for Labour and the unions to fight to delay Brexit, promoted by Labour for a Socialist Europe, has now been signed by over 350 party and union activists. Probably for a mix of reasons, this is not (yet) an issue figuring prominently in most left-wingers’ consciousness. Nonetheless, it is incredibly important. Allowing the Tories to push through a hard Brexit in the midst of the economic and social fall out from Covid-19 will be disastrous for workers, and facilitate the hard right pursuing their nationalist, anti-migrant, disaster-capitalist agenda at our expense. And we...

Ease the lockdown on Labour debate!

Labour Party general secretary Jennie Formby has sent round a letter instructing local Labour Parties that any online meetings they hold cannot take votes and decisions. But many activists report meetings starting up again, particularly branch meetings. We have reports of Constituency Labour Parties or branches holding online meetings across the country – in Newark, Mid-Worcestershire, Sheffield Central, Islington North, Islington South, Croydon Central, Edinburgh Southern, Newcastle East… Others report that their CLPs are not meeting or active at all. Regional officials generally say that...

The inequalities are glaring

Katrina Faccenda is a Labour Party activist in Edinburgh and Labour candidate for the Scottish parliamentary seat of Edinburgh Northern and Leith. She talked with Sacha Ismail. This crisis has starkly highlighted all sorts of inequalities and made them glaring. Vulnerable people are now much more vulnerable – people in poverty, women, BAME communities. It’s an indicator not so much of how awful the pandemic is, as how dysfunctional our society was even before. At the same time, we’ve seen the power trade unions can have when they actually put their mind to it, winning victories and concessions...

Brexit is putting lives at risk

As hapless Health Secretary Matt Hancock blames first NHS medics and then clinicians for the desperate shortage of PPE and NHS bosses ask doctors and nurses to work without full-length gowns or re-use single-use PPE, the Guardian has revealed that: “Britain missed three opportunities [on 28 February, 17 March and 25 March] to be part of an EU scheme to bulk-buy masks, gowns and gloves and has been absent from key talks about future purchases... “European doctors and nurses are preparing to receive the first of €1.5bn (£1.3bn) worth of personal protective equipment (PPE) within days or a...

Sign petition to pause Brexit

Photo by Fred Moon on Unsplash Pressure for the government to extend the Brexit transition period beyond 31 December is growing. With the deadline for requesting an extension now less than three months away (30 June), it is likely to grow further. The left should do everything we can to amplify that pressure. The European parliamentary group of the “centre-right” European People’s Party – too moderate for the Tories – has called for the UK to apply for an extension. The EPP is the largest bloc in the European parliament and linked to many EU governments. Its stance is a clear signal that an...

Pause Brexit now!

From Labour for a Socialist Europe Whatever our differing views on Brexit, the whole Labour Party and labour movement should call and campaign for the Brexit transition period due to end on 31 December to be extended significantly – at least an extra year, maybe the full two years permitted under existing rules. Even before the Covid-19 crisis, the possibility of the UK striking a deal with the EU in time looked tenuous. The Tory government has been threatening to walk away and prepare for a No Deal Brexit if the essentials of a deal are not in place by June! Now the next round of UK-EU talks...

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