Labour’s Failure and Institutional Analysis 853

Jeremy Corbyn’s failure to oppose Brexit in Parliament is as culpable as Harriet Harman’s failure to oppose welfare cuts. It will haunt Labour just as much. The job of opposition is to oppose. We currently have a more right wing government than I imagined the UK would ever see in my lifetime, and it is riding a tide of racist populism in England and Wales, barked on by a far right media whose ownership and world view is ever more concentrated. This is no time to drop the duty of resistance.

Corbyn’s view of the EU is ambivalent. Both major English and Welsh parties are led by people who are at least highly sympathetic to Brexit. That is a democratic failure when 47 per cent of the English and Welsh voters supported the EU.

The problem with the EU as a cause is that it is supported by some extremely unpleasant people. Straw (father and son), Mandelson, Osborne. The EU has nobody given media coverage to speak for it in the UK that is not amongst the most despised members of the political class. And in criticising Corbyn’s failure to oppose Brexit, I find myself echoing Blairites, which is uncomfortable.

But there are two major problems with the left criticism of the EU. The first is its willingness to be hijacked to the racist cause with the economically illiterate argument that immigration means competition for the fixed number of jobs, and thus drives down the living standards of British workers. That atavism I dismiss with contempt. Not least because even if it were true, it shows a very narrow lack of concern for workers of the world outside Thanet. Beggar thy neighbour is not a socialist motto.

The second and more subtle trap into which the left falls is to view the EU as a set of policies. It is not a set of policies, it is a supra-national institution. At the moment its policies tend towards the neo-liberal because at the moment Europe, and especially the UK, is dominated by neo-liberal governments. The notion that leaving the EU will bring more social justice under the reality of continual Tory governments is one of the more risible contentions of much of the British left.

The EU can very much be a force for good. I am personally convinced that there are two reasons Scotland is so much more pro-EU than England. The first is a generally more internationalist and communal outlook in society at large. The second is that during the Thatcher years, when Scottish industry was being devastated and there was a deliberate government policy of no action to alleviate suffering communities, EU regional policy provided the only ray of light. I recall personally seeing big signboards at the dualling of the A9 and the construction of Dundee airport, stating that they were paid for by EU Regional Funds. As Corbyn pointed out in the referendum, workers’ rights, the maximum working week, tachometers, many health and safety standards, all came from the EU when doctrinaire right wing Westminster documents were abolishing “red tape”.

This failure to note that the EU is an institution not a policy, is reflected in the Left’s current attitude to trade agreements. Trade is an extremely good thing. Neo-liberal governments around the world have added highly undesirable extras to trade agreements. The role of Investor Protection clauses which allow cabals of lawyers to adjudicate billions of dollars to rapacious corporations is well understood. But it is not a necessary feature of a trade agreement. Nor is it necessary for a trade agreement to forbid state aid. It is a perfectly logical position for two states to trade without tariffs while accepting that the organisation of the internal resources of a state is its own affair. The neo-liberals are in any event inconsistent here. They ought to believe that state aid to one industry is going to cause inefficiencies which will balance out by giving the state traded with comparative advantage elsewhere. Because neo-liberal governments have secured the addition of these unnecessary bolt-ons to multilateral trade deals, does not make the concept of multilateral trade deals in itself bad. And again, the notion that Liam Fox is going to negotiate anything fairer is hysterical.

Corbyn’s failure to oppose Brexit is a symptom of the abandonment by much of the left of the principles of internationalism. Internationalism is not possible without international institutions. To write off those institutions because they are currently controlled by right wing governments is short-sighted to the point of being stupid. That it leaves the left vying for the racist vote with the atavistic right is a plain signal of what a wrong direction it is.

Labour is becoming an irrelevance in Scotland. The latest opinion poll has SNP 47%, Conservative 27%, Labour 15%, Lib Dems 4%, Greens 3%. This continues a trend of Labour bleeding support to the Tories. It is however fascinating that the Tories in Scotland having achieved their highest point, that point is still lower than the lowest point of Labour in the UK under Corbyn. Yet Tory ministers are prepared to take this Tory “popularity” in Scotland as evidence they can ride roughshod over the Scottish people en route to Brexit.

More significant is what is happening at council by-elections all over Scotland, held under Single Transferable Vote. It has become an accepted part of political life here that Tories, Lib Dems and Labour will transfer their preferences to each other. So Labour voters will transfer to Tory rather than to SNP or Green. This everyday collusion with the Tories reveals Scotland’s remaining Red Tories for what they are. It also makes it essential that everybody in the crucial council elections looming in Scotland votes SNP first or at the very least ensures they use all their preferences and include all the SNP candidates.

I have blogged for some years now about the deep gap in social and political attitudes between England and Scotland. That this gap manifests itself in attitudes to the EU is not surprising, and if that has become the wedge all well and good. That the same gap is resulting in a clear choice between Independence and the Tories – both Tory rule from Westminster and the Tories in Scotland – is the inevitable working out of the same process.

That is why all the Scottish left should now suspend dispute and get behind the SNP until after Independence, provided the referendum happens before the end of next year (which appears happily almost inevitable).

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853 thoughts on “Labour’s Failure and Institutional Analysis

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  • ben

    but surely Corbyn was right to not block article 50 since that was just about beginning the process, it does not dictate the final shape of brexit. that will be debated over the coming 2 years.

      • ben

        if that’s true, it’s kind of a moot point since the referendum went the way it did. Corbyn had to respect the result and he will continue to fight for a sensible brexit. if Labour fail to secure those conditions then i suppose we will have to elect a party that wants those conditions next time there’s a general election. Since the tories have a majority, labour can hardly be blamed for the current trajectory of brexit. even if every single Labour MP had voted against article 50 it still would have passed, wouldn’t it?
        regardless, i think it’s pertinent to note that article 50 was only the starting line, not the entire race.

      • Pádraig Ó Raghaill

        Corbyn is stuck between neoliberalism rock and neo-leftism. Let me lay out how I see it. Labour as in the traditional class struggle up the worker’s rights etc. and so forth died an agonising death many moons ago. I am sure many of you could channel the words of despair by Pink Floyd – Post War Dream – Oh Maggie, Maggie, what are we to do. The traditional left sold out; it became a flavour of neoliberal, hence the hypocrisy of supporting war while blustering about the need to help refugees. The left became the neo-left it took on identity politics, it gave up the class struggle and became the love child of the of the bourgeois. The core of globalised capitalism is the free flow of capital all over the world, to secure low labour costs. The social democracy and its offshoots have accepted this, as well as free flow of labour, which allows the capital to replace workers at home with immigrants who accept lower wages. So by swapping horses, the neo-left won support from some of the middle classes. Who they lost, became increasingly disenfranchised were the actual woking class traditionalists. Hence why Corbyn is not only attacked by the Conservative Party but also the neo-left. As Corbyn at the end of the day is a traditional socialist, he is also not a leader.

        How can Corbyn stand against Brexit when he is (trying) to win back the actual traditional Labour voters? What happened to the traditional Labour voters? There is a reason why the (coined far-right) have a dispropriate level of traditional working or labour classes in them. As the neo-right is the only party talking to the traditional labour voter. Hence the rust belt in the US and why Le Pen will win the election, and it is also why everyone was stunned by Brexit. (well some were some saw it coming)

        Any good old Labour voter can sense the odour of classism a mile away; the neo-left is festooned with bourgeois with contempt for the working classes. Seeing that the neo-left took on cultural politics, feminism, all that sits under what we would label identity politics. What do you think is going to happen in upcoming elections? Ukip will continue to build while Labour continues to loose ground. As they are not Labour, they are a neo-liberal flavour taking on the challenges of the middle class ‘freedom fighters.’

        How can an actual Labour man who knows the traditional Labour vote, voted out, then how he sees it, abandon his class battlefield?

        • Martinned

          None of this explains why Corbyn thinks he can protect the interests of the workers by voting to leave the one organisation that protects them against being exploited by the Tories.

          • Pádraig Ó Raghaill

            Does the EU not exploit enough on its own. The other bug elephant in the room is thinking the EU is some kind of stable place. It isn’t; it has proven what many said at the beginning of having a single currency, this will not end well. It has overexpanded as all Empires do and now crosses cultural boundaries.

            The temptation to dismiss populist discontent as reactionary, especially after the Trump has made into the WhiteHouse, and hope that it will all go away is not a great idea. The EU has a massive financial problem, and it has created a condition of deep structural rust. Maybe one of the reasons is gaining membership across the EU.

            Few with a brain want the EU to disintegrate, but we are on a troubled path and only people that have one’s head in the sand to not see that.

            Put yourself in the shoes of the Greeks, even us Irish, the Brits that voted out, the Italians, the Spanish, even the bloody French. People have joked that it will be the ‘Remanians’ and the Germans holding the bag. While that is an overstatement, there is reasoning in the rhetoric. There needs to be understanding that the economic changes of the past 30 years, let alone the past decade, have disadvantaged, if not directly hurt, the life chances of millions of ordinary Europeans. Compounding the EU troubles is as everyone is so broke it is not hurting the German supply chain and exports. Unless the powers that be understand that austerity politics and removing sovereignty of economic policy was a bad idea it will continue to fracture. Brittian has this propensity to think it has just left a fantastic boat, whereas the reality is everyone is moving chairs on the Titanic.

            It needs restructuring, finding the core that was the common market and most of the politics need to go. Anyone that does not see the deep-seated financial issues must have some pretty outstanding rose tinted glasses. Keep the recovery going! What recovery?

          • Pádraig Ó Raghaill

            Sorry couple of typos the major one being “it is ‘now’ hurting the German supply and export chain” (Trump will compound that issue)

      • Alcyone

        So we are doomed forever? And you have a crystal ball? I thought you were a historian, not a futurologist. First come into the present, Craig.

        When the going get’s tough (and there may be a little bit of that, not so far), the tough get going.

        Moreover the shape of backing off the referendum after the people have spoken, might make us look a bit like Russia.

    • Martinned

      He was wrong not to block it as long as it gives Parliament no power whatsoever about “the final shape of Brexit”. Under the bill as it was passed by the Commons Corbyn will never have a (realistic) vote on the shape of Brexit again.

  • John Goss

    “The EU can very much be a force for good.”

    I agree. I voted to stay in. The big problem was the way the referendum was run. There should have been built-in safety factors like the result should only be valid if there was at least a 55% majority either way. Another contributory factor was the media’s racist output denigrating Islam and Muslims and supporting the likes of Farage. I do not mean during the referendum but for years. But the decision was taken. Corbyn has to abide by it or fifty persent of his constituents will be against him. It was a people’s vote however much many of us disliked the result. I could not even believe it.

    What we need to do now is get Corbyn into number 10 and start repossessing our nationalised industries which have made a few unworthy people very rich, get control of, gas, electricity, railways and add to them. Then we will be back to the days when people abroad envied our NHS and welfare back-up. If the rest of Europe gets a similar leader all the better. But we have what we have. It was ‘democracy’ at work.

    • Geoff Bridges

      And yet we couldn’t nationalise or renationalise UK industry whilst still a member of the EU. That is one of the reasons I voted to leave.

        • c rober

          Actually have a gander at google , state owned enterprise in europe , it exists – One example for you seen in Scotland , abellio.

          Same with state sponsored backing , including seat on the board , Volkswagen , Power and utils , or even Renault – owner of Nissan.

          The lies swallowed by many that the EU bans nationalization , or open competition is only as a result of privatization , are as a result of the same media that drove the horses in brexit. All by the same tory minded billionaires that sold us on privatization in the UK.

        • Mick Hall

          Craig but you have failed to mention the EU is institution with policies, to be honest your analysis just doesn’t stand up. What is the source that labour voters, voted overwhelming in 2nd preference for Tories as I do find that hard to believe.

      • Martinned

        Quoting the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union:

        Article 345
        (ex Article 295 TEC)

        The Treaties shall in no way prejudice the rules in Member States governing the system of property ownership.

        Nothing in the Treaties gives the EU the power to make laws that dictate who should own what. (Only that, if the government owns it, it should be governed in a certain way, compete fairly with privately owned companies, etc.)

    • michael norton

      Let’s see how the two Northern by-elections go, this month.
      If Labour are wiped out because they were not in favour of Brexit, that might inform us of J.C.’s current position,
      in favour of 50.

      • Harry Vimes

        It would seem a resetting of the calander is required here as this comment seems to be a bit behind the curve given that the two northern by elections took place on February 2nd by my watch.

        Both in Rotherham; a traditional Labour voting heartland located in a former mining and steel producing area whose populace and communities have been devestated by the policies of neo liberalism pursued by the Blessed St Roberts of Grantham and the self anointed deity Blair of Sedgefield, the latter of whom considered such voters had nowhere else to go, over the past several decades. A town still reeling over the long running sore of young white working class girls being groomed by predetory males from the Asian sub continent in which several who were found guilty had their well deserved jail sentences announced throughout the media on the day before and the day of the poll.

        A town which voted for Brexit and whose former Labour Blair cult supporting MP was caught in an expenses scandal. Ripe for the picking for any party committed to Brexit, anti immigration, anti Europe, anti internationalist etc etc.

        Sadly, for that section of the populace inclined to those sentiments and policies it did not go well. In the former mining area of Dinnington the mighty unassailable UKIP vote halved and they lost the seat to a Labour Party still led by Jeremy Corbyn. Who would have thought it? In the nearby Brinsworth and Catcliffe Ward it was even worse. From an almost 30% vote in May 2016 in the space of only nine months UKIP could only manage to hang on to around 12% of the vote and the seat went to the only major political party outside of the Scottish SNP committed publically to remaining in the EU and which is pro Europe. A Lib -Dem party whose local Ward organisation membership is so small they had to amalgamate with a neighbouring Ward to remain viable.

        If those supporting a Hard Brexit and all the other baggage which goes with it cannot maintain, never mind advance, their voting appeal in such favourable circumstances then the clear and obvious conclusion is that they are going nowhere. They are an irrellavance. All sound and fury. Windbags in love with the sound of their own voice who think that democracy is about those who shout the loudest with the biggest gobs on the block.

        Hardly surprising seeing as they don’t do geography – since when has Stoke on Trent, a City made of five towns in the Midlands, ever been in the North?

      • michael norton

        Thursday, 23 February
        Stoke-on-Trent, I used to live there, as far as I am concerned, it is Up-North

    • nevermind

      John, you wrote
      ‘What we need to do now is get Corbyn into number 10 and start repossessing our nationalised industries which have made a few unworthy people very rich, get control of, gas, electricity, railways and add to them’.

      With the unfair disproportional odds stacked against Labour you would have thought that they’d realise and, by leaving their ego’s outside the room, would have got into discussions about a progressive Alliance with other parties long ago.

      That said, political tribalism here is so strong that I blame all political parties here for failing to realise modern politics, failing to get together with other parties and offering voters an alternative policy manifesto before the next general election.

      This is another fallacy to be added to the list, no single party will manage to win a GE without forming a coalition, that’s how strong the right is’
      I feel uncomfortable that Labour has not got any foresight as to what it will take to leave the biggest most lucrative market (unless we negotiate access and pay for it) or what it takes to counter this right wing jolt into nationalism.

      I refuse to agree that there is not alternative to a hard Brexit because a right wing media, their pundits and its most futile ministers tell me, hallo Boris. There is no figure head that has the guts to speak up for Europe after all that peace and prosperity it has created for us all.
      We see and hear ‘taking back control’, when we are planning no such thing, we have no control of the city of London, no long term plans for social care or the pension situation/black hole. We are peddling our health service assets to US pharma as if our life’s have become commodities to the kind of soft killers of infrastructure, like Mr. Hunt. Are we taking back control by loosing 550million lucrative customers? or by forcing our poor and disabled to live at the margins of existence, or by having one of the highest rates of child poverty in Europe?

      Today’s news features a general who is telling us how valuable Trident is, even when no ships are out there watching the dangerous Commies, the Chinese and the Iranians.
      Well general, ever wondered whether the always changing underwater listening places for our subs are known? secondly, whether these areas have sleeper drones nearby, ready for action when switched on, newly developed anti sub weapons that are undetectable and small?
      and whether in our absence, these little critters could be introduced, here there and everywhere?

      If we here can think of it, and if the state of technologies allow such one hit devices, then the possibility that they exist are very likely.
      So what the heck are we updating Trident at enormous costs to our society and whilst we’re at it, manage to shoot both barrels into both feet, by allowing these electoral cheats to get away with busting open the EU and changing our life’s here forever.
      Good analysis Craig, and the sooner everyone realises, an inevitable second Indy vote, Mrs. May is not coming of Thatchers old mare, she’ll run with it, whatever happens.

      until your Norwich date……

      • Harry Vimes

        In regard to the point made about the Labour Party, or at least it’s upper echelons, taking a monopolist position acting as
        gatekeepers as the only way through which social justice and progressive policies can be realised it may be worth checking out the latest Fabian Society paper which explores this issue.

        Whilst the analysis it provides is based on some challangable assumptions it is at least a start of sorts.

    • c rober

      You probably will see that sort of double lock in the next Scottish ref though , rerun of the one in the 70s.

    • Resident Dissident

      “Corbyn has to abide by it or fifty persent of his constituents will be against him”

      The vote in Islington was 3:1 to remain – so yet more false news from Mr Goss.

      In whipping the Labour Party to vote for a hard Brexit in the 3rd reading – Corbyn was voting against his constituency, Labour Party policy, current opinion polls which are not in favour of a hard Brexit and support continued membership of the single market. He has shown a total lack of leadership throughout the referendum campaign and is one of the reasons why the referendum was lost (yes he has responsibility for the way that the referendum was run). He is a leader in name only – the opinion polls show he has a negligible change of getting into Number 10. I trust Mr Goss is working hard in nearby Stoke upon Trent to ensure that Stoke is not lost for the Labour Party.

      Worth noting that during the referendum campaign Boris Johnson supported a position of leaving the EU but not leaving the single market and that we joined the single market (EFTA) many years before we joined the EEC. So there is no electoral mandate for leaving the single market – but we now have a Government Bill supported by Corbin that endorses leaving the single market. Mr Goss should also no that membership of the single market also requires compliance with the many protections of workers rights currently embodied in EU Law that we were required to be adopted – but which the Tories will no doubt shred as soon as they get the chance, but let us not forget that Corbyn has now whipped the Labour Party behind leaving the single market.

    • Mike

      “There should have been built-in safety factors like the result should only be valid if there was at least a 55% majority either way”
      Of cause you wouldn’t be saying that if the vote had gone the other way would you?

    • James W

      “But the decision was taken. Corbyn has to abide by it or fifty percent of his constituents will be against him.”

      Or he could fight against it have the other fifty percent of his constituents supporting him. As the vote was pretty much 50 50 why not go with less racist more progressive option?

  • AdrianD

    Corbyn is right to be ambivalent about the EU – and was right not to obstruct Brexit. Much of the discussion – on the free-movement of labour, security, tarrif-free trade, happy-clappy-hands-across-the-ocean niceness, were, to my mind, missing the point. Unless we do something about the untrammelled free-movement of capital all of those will fail as whatever benefits there were will always been hoovered up by the elites. Being in the EU precluded this – and so we had to leave – it’s as simple as that.

      • AdrianD

        It makes that more likely, yes. We’re talking about what may or may not be possible within the next two to five decades which is how long we would likely have had to wait if Remain had won last summer. It also has obviously escaped your attention that the Tories are already in charge of everything anyway – glad that’s working out for you at least.

        • Martinned

          No the Tories are not in charge of everything, they’re only in charge of Westminster. They’re not in charge in Cardiff, Edinburgh, Belfast, or Brussels. And that makes a big difference. Vertical separation of powers – like the horizontal kind – is your friend.

  • Geoff Bridges

    70% of Labour constituencies voted to Leave although the majority of Labour supporters voted to Remain. Corbyn is playing a bad hand very well.
    Although immigration has little effect on average wages many reports have shown it adversely effects the low paid.
    “The notion that leaving the EU will bring more social justice under the reality of continual Tory governments is one of the more risible contentions of much of the British left” is a ridiculous statement. No-one on the left believes there will be continual Tory governments and everyone is united in ousting the Tories asap.
    “Corbyn’s failure to oppose Brexit is a symptom of the abandonment by much of the left of the principles of internationalism” is another ridiculous statement. Corbyn is one of the most internationalist politicians and so are his left wing supporters.
    We can vote out a right wing Tory government but we can’t vote out the EU Commission.
    Most socialists in England would be happy to see an independent Scotland.

    • craig Post author

      Immigration expands the economy as a whole to the benefit of everybody, including the low paid. This more than outbalances local effects.

      • Shatnersrug

        Craig I’m afraid you are being guilty of something you have – behaving like a sulky elite liberal who can’t get his own way.

        We lost the referendum, if democracy means anything it must mean we have to accept the results.

        We fail to communicate well why people should go out and find out why the EU is not so bad. And we did that because instead of offering out a hand of friendship we chose o stay in our urban environment and abuse anyone that had not done the research we had.

        You can blame Murdoch if you like or call rural people bigots but the fact you and I did not bother to go out and meet people makes friends and present our cause.

        It’s our fault. Labour have a duty to represent their constituencies if they do what you think they should do they will loss there seats and UKIP will become the future opposition party.

        You need to stop and think about it instead of allowing your passions to run away with it and insult more people. The past Brexit behaviour of liberals have pushed even more working people away from the EU and I am absolutely sure that a retakes vote would come out even more in favour of Brexit.

        Craig, you do your fellow British countrymen and women a huge deservice in this post and I suggest you rethink.

        • Mark Cunliffe

          I totally agree. I hate that we’re in this position, but it’s where we are. Corbyn faced so much criticism for being out of touch with the Labour heartlands who voted for Brexit, and now he’s listened to those heartlands and agreed to not challenge Article 50, he’s facing criticism again. He simply cannot do right for doing wrong and attacking him on this is really detrimental and playing into the hands of the Blairite mob who simply want him out and care even less for the traditional vote!

          As you yourself point out Craig, criticism echoes the Blairites and they’re seizing on this now as yet another excuse for a leadership challenge. Sometimes, only sometimes, I kind of think it might be for the best if the Blairites win and topple him. Then I can walk away completely from politics knowing that there really is no one who represents my interests.

          • Chris Rogers

            @Mark Cunliffe,

            Well Mark, for my own efforts to support the Labour-left and the democratisation of both the Labour Party and CooP Party, suffice to say I’m now banned from both, but I don’t give up and am presently active in UNITE Community, which at least affords me a Vote in any other Labour leadership election via the Affiliate route. And in UNITE, the Blairites are trying to seize control in their leadership election, so join Unite if you have not done so – its 2 quid a month – and get Len re-elected. More than one way to skin a cat and come 2020 the buggers will be begging for my vote, which they’ll not get if Labour is back in the hands of the neoliberals and identity politics brigade.

      • michael norton

        Where I live, every single factory has been closed, also all the government facilities have been closed, at the same time we are being tsunamied by outsiders, we are being swept into oblivion.
        Why do you think the country voted for Brexit?

        • Laguerre

          Is that supposed to be an argument for brexit, MN? Voting for something that will close more factories?

          • Loony

            If “every single factory has been closed” then there is no policy that is capable of “closing more factories”

        • Martinned

          Because they believed, erroneously, that it was the EU who were to blame for all of this. Somehow voters didn’t believe the Tories when they said they had cut the government budget by a lot, or at least voters don’t connect government budget cuts with actual reduced spending on things they care about.

      • Ba'al Zevul

        I’d like to see that backed up. Fact is we don’t have enough (1) housing, (2) investment in healthcare, (3) transport infrastructure to cater adequately for the current inhabitants of Englandshire. We haven’t had for a long tiime, and it’s getting worse. There are more people sleeping rough than ever before, diseases like rickets and TB are reappearing. The mood among my non-ambassadorial fellow-artisans is very bleak indeed. They’re not seeing this benefit to the economy themselves, and for some unfathomable reason, they actually think things are getting worse. How can this possibly be? Eh?

        Whoever you want to blame for that, increasing the demand for unaffordable services isn’t actually a very sensible policy. You claim an increase in economic activity created by mass immigration. Most lower-stratum wages have been in real decline while this magic growth is alleged to have occurred, post-Blair, while the wages of already better-off, largely non immigrant, numerically fewer higher earners have increased – at the very top, exponentially. The activity has increased: its beneficiaries haven’t. The activity for them consists of running even harder to stay where they are. Further, the real value, as opposed to the paper value, of the economy has, even in periods of growth, failed to surpass artificially inflated property prices.

        Anyway, I’m still waiting to see the SNP’s economic policy for the glorious dawn of independence. Which isn;t a nationalist project at all, but a socialist one, and completely different in kind from Brexit. Things are going to be wonderful all round, obviously, but who’s paying for all this?

        • Martinned

          Fact is we don’t have enough (1) housing, (2) investment in healthcare, (3) transport infrastructure to cater adequately for the current inhabitants of Englandshire.

          Because someone decided to cut spending on all of those things?

          • Ba'al Zevul

            Because someone didn’t take account of rapidly increasing demand before cutting spending on these things. ? Well, possibly not. There is a school of thought which looks at the evidence and concedes that the neoliberal agenda is to put everything in the hands of hedge funds, relinquish all responsiblity for social welfare, and laugh all the way to the bank/financial directorship/lecture circuit. To which end the free movement of labour and dissolution of national identity are logical routes.

          • Martinned

            Sure, it could be a big conspiracy. Or you could tell British voters that the government budget is just like a household budget, tell them exactly how much money you’re going to cut out of it, and watch the votes flow in. Occam’s razor.

          • Harry Vimes

            “To which end the free movement of labour and dissolution of national identity are logical routes.”

            The problem here is that the focus on free movement of Labour, which works both ways, is fixating (to borrow a biblical analogy) on the mote whilst totally ignoring the beam.

            Community cohesion, employment levels, wage renumeration levels and a whole raft of metrics which one would use to assess the impact of policies over the past forty years or more on working class communities have concentrated almost entirely on the contribution from the free movement of labour which is in comparison tiny when compared with the negative impact of the free movement of Capital. From shifting manufacturing capacity of whole industries upon which the majority of working communities relied on – the coal industry, steel, ship building, car making, even aerospace (remember Lucas in the 1970’s) abroad – through to Thatcher ‘s big bang in the city far more damage has been done to communities from free capital movement then from the free movement of labour.

            Yet this larger issue is totally ignored, giving capitalists and capital a free ride and hamstringing and disadvantaging labour by cutting off an avenue of employment opportunities in Europe to the competitors of low paying UK employers offering poorer conditions to the benefit of those employers who, along with the rest of the Capitalist class must be laughing all the way to the bank.

        • Bayard

          “Fact is we don’t have enough (1) housing, ”

          Why are all those empty houses sitting on estate agents books then. We have enough houses, just not enough cheap houses in expensive places.

      • Geoffrey

        And also the overall level of debt. The period of high immigration from say 2000 to now has seen National Debt increase from 500 billion to 2 trillion now.
        Not everyone wants the country covered in roads and houses.

        • c rober

          Geoffrey , by your argument then tax receipts would have increased significantly.

          You should instead ask where that money went instead – as the wealthy have nearly tripled their wealth since the crash…. state subsidy for private profit is your answer , along with deindustrialisation changing over to banking , and cheap imports , as well as continually downward wages in real terms.

          This as we see 10 percent increases in energy tarrifs across the board , and increasing prices at the pump wi th long erm cheap oil , and at the till due to a minor increase in export led businesses driving import cost higher of food.

          • Harry Vimes

            The recent 10% gas tariffs and 5% electricity tariffs hike will seem modest when the guaranteed three times the market rate for electricity comes on stream when the Chinese/ EDF Hinkley Point nuclear power plant is built.

            A deal negotiated by the same people who a certain section of the populace seem willing to let negotiate a decent deal for a divorce with the EU. You just could not make this stuff up.

      • Pádraig Ó Raghaill

        “Immigration expands the economy as a whole to the benefit of everybody, including the low paid. This more than outbalances local effects.”

        Well, that is not really true.

        Immigration, women entering the workforce, the baby boomers, is the primary reason that wages have not grown in relation to output since the 1970’s. The economy continued to grow, but wages have been virtually stagnant. Then you compound the issues with neoliberal economics. Cut funding to public schools, gut welfare, slow down public housing, and you create the mass inequality that we, do, indeed have. There is a net positive to immigration and also a very big negative.

        Now we have a decreasing labour market due to technology; it won’t expand again it will just continue to constrict. Then you have the undeniable need for a UBI; any ideological objections will become irrelevant when they come with pitchforks and torches. So that adds another problem, if we keep immigration high, many people will add to the problems of a depleted labour market.

        • Shatnersrug

          Not sure about you woman and baby boomers Padrig you’re doing what other sane people are doing and trying to apply logic to an illogical system – there is only one reason why people’s life chances have been destroyed and it’s this;

          Until we all stop bickering and trying to take our ball and go home like Craig here and realise that we are all being fucked – and that includes yes men like Martined and Habakkuk then this will all continue.

          • Pádraig Ó Raghaill

            Thank you for the video, but I don’t watch video’s apart from entertainment as I can read much faster. Is there a transcript. Also, it is not from a logical analysis rather analysing the data available. We can find a similar situation in the USA – It should also be somewhat reasonable going back to your first point, that if there is an over production of labour more than the demand, then it will drive down wages. Also, if you have, say, 30% women in the workforce in 1970 and now over 65% then it must have an effect on labour markets. Supply and demand are still a fundamental driver of labour and capital economics.

      • Alcyone

        Stick to the knitting Craig; economics is not your area.

        Getting (way too) many of the wrong kind of immigrant into this country has been an important component of its decline. Continue and it becomes downfall. Try it at home in Scotland.

      • Becky Cohen

        I agree with Craig on this point. In the retail sector, many brands now considered quintessentially British – such as Tesco, Marks & Spencer and Sainsbury’s – were started by immigrants and the expansion of these businesses over the past century has seen millions of jobs created across the UK and beyond. Also, another great British institution – Harrods – is owned by an immigrant. Last, but by no means least, let’s not forget that even our own Royal family were originally immigrants from Germany and the amount of tourism they bring into the country is incalculable. As Craig says, immigrants contribute to this country’s wealth and prestige – not to mention the enrichment we all benefit from by the exchange of our cultures. In short, being ethnically diverse and a multi-cultural society is one of the very things that makes Great Britain Great!

        • Pádraig Ó Raghaill

          That is all well and good. There is no argument that immigration does not expand the economy and enrich the culture of the country. However, if you do not think of tomorrow, have an economic policy that allows the Lucas Critique to game the financial system then you prime society for major problems. I think you will find there are many communities, due to terrible sociocultural integration policy, that would not share you enrichment narrative. With skyrocketing inequality, integration policy well a lack thereof, that sets up communities to fail on the social capital front. What do you end up with, well, you end up with Brexit, Trump, Le Pen and a fracturing EU. That is exactly what happens when experts advise on sociocultural policy, and it goes ignored or better put policy driven consulting.

          • michael norton

            I guess there is now a fair to middling chance that the lovely Marine will this year become the First Woman of France.

            If it happens, it will be because nobody is any longer believing the lies of that buffoon Hollande, or Sarky or Fillon or Macron, so they may give a woman a chance, especially as she claims she will put the ethnic French working class, first.
            A bit like the Scottish Donald, claiming to put the American working class first.
            No doubt neither Donald nor Marine will succeed but with them, people at least glimpse hope, with the other E.U. lickspittal clowns, there is no hope.

          • Pádraig Ó Raghaill

            I don’t put Le Pen and the Donald on the same shelf, a great insult to Le Pen to be fair. People have an issue with her immigration policy. However, no matter how you spin it, that is top of mind for a great percentage of Europeans, and we can thank the media for writing problems large. Apart from her controversial immigration policy, her economic policies are quite sound. A single currency was always going to end in tears. The only way you can have any influence on your economy is in the restricting method. The common market was the best part of the EU. Movement within the EU, visa agreements also predates in some cases the formation of the EU. Maybe we need to think about getting back to the core principals of the common market.

            What I do like about Le Pen is seeing the need to move away from classical neoliberal ideology. We need to be thinking of that mixed economic model that returns some power to the labour market. As you can have a Brexit, you can have a Le Pen, but if you keep the same economic policies that have created inequality, then all you will do is cue the next round of civil unrest. Currently, no one apart from the (coined far right) a pejorative label, is speaking to the everyday struggling household. We don’t call Australia the far-right, yet they have a pretty harsh immigration policy. The more the neo-left lambaste and label the more they will drive the vote to the Le Pen’s shall we say.

            In the pure form of the EU are brilliant concepts, the ability to trade across a broad market and the simplicity of travel with almost no barriers. However, the idea of the EU is corrupted into a dictatorship, beholden to but a few countries.

            We need to start thinking about protecting people not jobs.

    • nevermind

      how come he misses out on democratic equality Geoff, why does he not advocate a law that stipulates fair proportional voting for all voters and in all elections, just as he himself enjoyed? to once and for all take this potential tool/fraud away from political parties, who, lets face it, try everything to divert the lax rules and controls the Electoral Commission exudes?
      Such a law would not need a referendum but it would speak to thousands cross party. Why should we indulge failing politicians over and over again just because the electoral system is ancient and malleable, which is a nice word for what I’ve seen in Blackburn.
      And Geoff, please realise, Labour alone will not win outright, its not possible, and it is not making any noises for wanting to be amicable to any potential coalition partner, why not?
      Do the shadowing of Tory policies such as Article 50 and Trident mean that the mushrooms in this deal, us, can look forward to a grand coalition between Labour and Tory’s?

    • Resident Dissident

      “Most socialists in England would be happy to see an independent Scotland”

      The delusional ones I’m afraid – the English nationalists in UKIP and the Tory Party would be even more rampant in England that at present, and absolutely delighted to see their opposition being split. They would also not be against using the relative economic power of England to screw Scotland something rotten.

  • Dominic Trounce

    Labour’s failure to oppose Article 50 is related to one thing. Corbyn was faced with two possible options. Oppose the Article 50 bill and alienate Leave voting Labour supporters whilst achieving nothing due to the Tories majority. Or propose amendments and vote for the bill and alienate Remain voting Labour supporters whilst achieving nothing due to the Tories’ majority.
    He chose the first option because there is a by-election in less than 2 weeks in an overwhelmingly Leave voting constituency and a very real danger that UKIP could take the seat. This would be disastrous for Corbyn, Labour and the UK.
    If Corbyn can hold Stoke and Copeland he has 3 years for the Tories to tear themselves apart, as they almost inevitably will and work to get Remain voters back on side.
    To choose the second option would have been akin to repairing the roof whilst the house was burning down.

    • Geoff Bridges

      The Labour candidates in Stoke and Copeland are not the preferred choice of Corbyn. The CLP in Stoke have shot themselves in the foot by choosing a Remain candidate in a strong Leave constituency.

      • Andy

        Geoff, it doesn’t matter now if the Labour candidate voted Remain, the UK is leaving the UK in 2020.

    • Martinned

      If you’re the leader of HM Loyal Opposition you have to have enough political acumen to be able to accept the principle of a bill while opposing the specific way HM Government is trying to turn this principle into legislation. If you’re the kind of politician who can’t get that explained to their voters, you’re probably in the wrong job.

  • Carlos

    The job of opposition is not actually to oppose. It is to bring down the government and take power as soon as possible.

  • fred

    Yes, this is why some of us were so anti-leave before the referendum.

    Corbyn wasn’t.

    “On Friday night, Mr Corbyn admitted that his support for EU membership was only 70 to 75 per cent. He told the Channel 4 chat show, The Last Leg, that he was “not a huge fan” of the EU. ”

    He wasn’t the only one only giving half hearted support for Europe either. It’s a bit late now.

    • michael norton

      I think J.C. has played his part well.
      He was never that keen on the way the E.U. was turning out, it turned out it was in favour of the Elite.
      J.C. was having some difficulties with the New Labour shower, if he wanted to make a difference to the United Kingdom, he had to remain as Labour leader, so he played along with the New Labour faction, to pretend he loved the E.U. of Blair/Straw/Kinnock/Mandelshon.

      Now, after the people have spoken, he will be strongly on the side of Brexit means Brexit.
      He is playing a blinder.

    • Anon1

      Yes I recall Craig stating that the blog would be an “EU-free zone” in the run-up to the referendum.

    • Andy


      You’d have to be nuts to be 100% pro EU. The EU backed the neo Nazi in Ukraine.

      AND destroyed Greece , Greeks are dying and the EU wants to make them pay more.

      • glenn

        Not to mention introduced harsh austerity to Ireland, Portugal, and Spain, who obeyed and did exactly what they were told to do against their populations. Result? More poverty, and little in the way of recovery.

        Even if one was to indulge the neo-liberal direction the EU was taking, what the EU did to Greece (“We will collapse your banks”) is enough on its own to see that the EU, as an institution, has lost its soul.

        • c rober

          Actually Glenn – Ireland never took the pill of austerity , it choose to let the ponsi scheme of property fail instead – selling off assets in fire sales.

          Spain , Portugal choose to protect said property , still is , offering 100 percent mortgages on millions of properties , at the same price as pre crash.

          Can you see the difference , one just needs to look at the Irish economy since , and that of Spain and Portugal today.

          • glenn

            c rober: “Actually Glenn – Ireland never took the pill of austerity […]”

            So these articles in The Economist, the Irish Times, all the reports we heard and read about at the time – they were all false, you say?


            Since 2008, successive Irish governments, in seven budgets, have taken €28 billion ($38 billion) out of the economy in spending cuts and tax rises, which amounts to 17% of today’s GDP.

            Then there’s this:


            “There is a dark side to Ireland’s ‘success’ that requires discussion about the most effective responses to financial and fiscal crises.

            The eight austerity budgets between 2008 and 2014 involved €18.5bn in public-spending cuts and €12bn in tax-raising (revenue) measures. Key public services, in particular health and housing, have been weakened as a result.

            Public service staff have been reduced by 10% (37,500). Health spending has been cut by 27% since 2008, resulting in an 81% increase in the number of patients waiting on trolleys and chairs in emergency departments. One-third of all children admitted to hospital suffering with mental-health difficulties have been put in adult wards and the waiting lists for youth mental-health services have increased to 2,818 people.

            There’s lots more. But that never happened, huh?

        • Andy

          You don’t know anything about the so called revolution.

          Ashton meet the neo-Nazi leader Oleh Tyahnybok. The Right Sector are Neo Nazis. They were the street fighters.

          • bevin

            He knows Andy. He just doesn’t think that Nazi collaborators are as bad as Russians. In fact to the average euro-rightists they have always been preferred.

  • Andy

    Labour could have made a protest vote. But in doing so Labour would have scuppered any chance of winning in 2020. Many constituencies where Labour has a chance of winning voted Leave. Labour would be labelled traitors and undemocratic.

    On referendum welfare comparison, A Labour government can undo Tory cuts on NHS, welfare etc, Labour cannot rejoin EU if it wins in 2020. I’m sure most Labour voters understand that.

    • craig Post author

      I think being labelled traitors by the Little England bigots currently running the asylum, would long term be a good thing.

      • Andy

        Ok, undemocratic.

        But Labour supporters (and floating voters who might vote Labour) who voted leave will see Labour as undemocratic. Not to be trusted.

      • Alcyone

        Yes I agree Labour would’ve had an excellent chance of being reelected in 2525 instead of 2025.

        Anyway, Craig who are the “Little England bigots currently running the asylum”? Spell it out.

  • Anon1

    Yes it is true that all the most revolting people and organisations on the planet support the EU.

    There might be a conclusion to draw from that.

    • Martinned

      Yes it is true that all the most revolting people and organisations on the planet support the EU.

      Really? More revolting than UKIP and the pseudo-UKIP wing of the Tory party?

          • glenn

            Although I have quite some respect for Obama, as the least bad US President in some time, I don’t believe he gained the REMAIN campaign a single vote. A foreign leader coldly instructing the British on what they are expected to do has never worked that well. Particularly with that “back of the queue” threat (which must have been written by Cameron – an American would have said “back of the line”).

            Then, unsmiling, Obama more or less dismissed us with our orders, to serious nods of agreement from Cameron, Osborn, Blair and other ghastly figures.

            If that wasn’t a challenge for the population to stick two fingers up at the Establishment, what would be?

          • Loony

            “Although I have quite some respect for Obama, as the least bad US President in some time…”

            That would be the same Obama who set a record as being the only US President in history to be at war for every single day of is Presidency.

            The same Obama that launched a total of 563 drone strikes during his Presidency. This compares with the acknowledged war hawk that was Bush who only managed a total of 57 drone strikes.

            The same Obama that launched a total of 1,337 (non drone) weapons launches on Afghanistan in 2016 alone.

          • Laguerre

            re Glenn

            “A foreign leader coldly instructing the British on what they are expected to do”

            Is that what he did? I didn’t get that impression at the time. You sound like a brexiter overegging the picture. You’ll find Trump intervening much more heavily, particularly when he’s using May as a doormat.

          • Resident Dissident

            While I agree with Glenn that Obama’s intervention in the Referendum didn’t win votes – I am also pretty clear that Corbyn’s lack of involvement in and obstruction of the main campaign also lost lots of votes for Remain.

          • glenn

            RD: Agreed. I also agree with Fred that it’s a bit late to start campaigning for a REMAIN vote now.

          • Alcyone

            “Upset” votes are a time to reflect on the collective wisdom of the majority at any given time. Ditto for the US.

            Obama would make a good new Sidney Poitier, Michelle could go into manufacturing music.

    • Silvana

      The strongest supporters of leave are the most right wing Tories and above all UKIP. These are the most disgusting bigots in my view.

      • michael norton

        You are the disgusting bigot.
        How dare denounce all the good people of the United Kingdom who voted for Brexit.

        • Silvana

          I wrote ‘The strongest supporters ‘ as per their campaign. I did not mention voters, least of all every single voter.

      • Harry Vimes

        Mr Norton ‘s response to your post is quite revealing Silvana.

        It would seem that the only ‘good people’ – that is those who count – are that section of the 17 million who are strong supporters of a hard Brexit ( as per your statement). Anyone and everyone else clearly, particularly the over 16 million who voted remain, does not count and are not worthy of being regarded as good people and worthy citizens.

        Anyone would think on the basis of Mr Norton ‘s approach that 100% of the population voted leave. Which I suppose must be accurate if one takes the position that anyone else does not count as a bona fide citizen worthy of remaining in the UK.

  • Michael McNulty

    The EU didn’t prevent mass unemployment and zero-hour contracts, nor did it save any of the thousands who died from their illness or suicide after being declared fit for work. It won’t save the NHS. What it does do is give massive subsidies to farmers and landowners, a welfare for the rich that doesn’t appear on the government’s books. But it will when they demand the British government pay their dole.

    I’ll vote for Labour if Jeremy Corbyn is still its leader, providing the local candidate hasn’t tried to hamstring Brexit which I voted for. If he has then I shall vote for whoever demands Brexit, as I’m sure many will in response to this stalling. I only have to vote that way once.

    • Andy

      Micheal, Brexit is happening, the day May announced she trigger A50 in March it became inevitable.

    • Martinned

      The EU didn’t prevent mass unemployment and zero-hour contracts, nor did it save any of the thousands who died from their illness or suicide after being declared fit for work. It won’t save the NHS. What it does do is give massive subsidies to farmers and landowners, a welfare for the rich that doesn’t appear on the government’s books. But it will when they demand the British government pay their dole.

      The EU also didn’t prevent World War II, yesterday’s earthquake in Adelaide, or my grandma dying of cancer. Your point is?

      • michael norton

        The cretins Nick Clegg and Owen Smith both think the voters of the United Kingdom
        voted the wrong way, they should have voted Remain, as they had been instructed.

        They fail in their understanding of what a referendum is.
        There are similarities with the S. N. P. is Scotland, they just can’t accept the verdict of the people, if it is not the verdict they require.
        This goes to the heart of democracy.

        • Martinned

          Not sure why you’re writing this in response to my comment, but OK.

          ‘The first duty of a member of Parliament is to do what he thinks in his faithful and disinterested judgement is right and necessary for the honour and safety of Great Britain. His second duty is to his constituents, of whom he is the representative but not the delegate. Burke’s famous declaration on this subject is well known. It is only in the third place that his duty to party organization or programme takes rank. All these three loyalties should be observed, but there in no doubt of the order in which they stand under any healthy manifestation of democracy.’ Sir Winston Churchill on the Duties of a Member of Parliament

          • bevin

            Burke’s declaration is widely misunderstood. His view of virtual representation made it very logical that he felt able to resist the demands of a tiny number of wealthy men who monopolised the franchise in Bristol. Among others he had responsibilities to the disenfranchised, in Bristol and across the country.
            Had he been writing in an age of universal adult suffrage his views would have reflected this. He was, after all, a sensible man.

          • Martinned

            Maybe. Then again, I didn’t quote Burke, did I?

            Parliamentary sovereignty is not the same thing as popular sovereignty, and popular sovereignty is not the same thing as giving voters whatever they want, particularly in a system with constituencies. (As Churchill points out in this quote.)

            Also, there are plenty of disenfranchised still left. Maybe it would behove our MPs to occasionally spare a thought to little old me and others similarly situated, long-term residents who pay taxes but are not allowed to vote for Westminster.

        • Harry Vimes

          “The cretins Nick Clegg and Owen Smith both think the voters of the United Kingdom voted the wrong way, they should have voted Remain, as they had been instructed.”

          And herein lies the elephant in the room. Regardless of any negative attitude I might have for the likes of Clegg and Smith the fact is statements like this one above is inaccurate by any definition. The “people” of the United Kingdom, a Single Market in its own right consisting of two countries with their own differing legal and constitutional systems, Scotland and England, plus Wales and Northern Ireland, did not vote to leave the EU. Overall, a slim majority across the four constituent parts of the UK single market voted to leave. The majority of that vote came mainly from within England, supported by Wales. Whereas in Scotland and NI there were clear majorities in favour of staying as members of the EU.

          The only way a statement like this works is to air brush out of legitimate citizenship anyone outside of the just over 17 million souls, out of a total population of around 66 million, who voted to leave. In that regard the tail, 17 million, is wagging the dog, the remaining 49 million. Which is why you get too many loud mouths from within that 17 million dismissing the majority who disagree with their Hard Brexit position by telling them to STFU and leave ‘our country’ as though no one else but themselves are entitled to be here. Where no one else but themselves have any say, or rights in the matter.

          The vote overall was close it was not a 100% majority of the people. Many of the people of the UK disagree. That slim oversll majority does not give carte blanche to the minority of the overall population who voted leave to treat the rest as though they don’t exist or that they should bugger off out of what they consider to be their territory.

          Moreover, if people wish to stand on principle they should at least have the honesty to be consistent. The argument that the UK Single Market should take control back from a larger Single Market in the form of the EU via a democratic vote does not just operate at that level. The majority of people in Scotland and NI voted democratically to retain membership of the larger single market. Polls exist to suggest support for Scottish independence outside of the EU stands at only 11%. Those who argue this line have to accept that the same argument vis a vis the UK and the EU also applies to the constituent parts of the UK single market who want to take control back for themselves from an over centralised bureaucracy in Westminster. What is sauce for the goose also applies for the gander unless one wishes to publically declare themselves hypocrite.

      • Hmmm

        I think his point is that there is no point paying vast sums to MEP’s when we can get fucked over quite adequately by our own MP’s

      • bevin

        His point is probably that mass unemployment and zero hours contracts result from policies chosen by politicians, whereas neither your Ooma’s cancer or earthquakes are.

    • kailyard rules

      The EU can’t save the NHS as there is no NHS in England to save. It was abolished by the Health and Social Care Act 2012. by UK govt. It is already gone and fast disappearing into private hands. Wait until Mayhem’s master Trump and his MedicMafia get further into it.

  • Julian Bond

    Quite apart from the ideology, there’s a horrible conundrum for Labour. 65-70% of Labour voters voted remain. Among the new, new labour supporters and members that got Corbyn his position, I bet it’s higher than that. And yet 70% of Labour constituencies had a majority who voted Leave. So Labour is damned if they reject Brexit because they upset and lose the MPs and seats in the “Labour Heartlands”. I’ve heard it said that it would be disastrous for Labour and could destroy them just as the LibDems were destroyed by the coalition. They might never recover. But they’re also damned if they support Brexit, even with the weasel words of “getting a good deal”. Because their new supporters who wanted real opposition to the Tories, discover that they’ve signed up to something that is just as bad in it’s own way as Blair’s New Labour was. There’s a lot of young, pro-remain, pro-EU, new-new Labour who are now really angry at being betrayed by Corbyn.

    So now just as the Tories got power by doing a political deal with UKIP and the Anti-EU right, we’re now suffering a Labour opposition doing a political deal to try and avoid losing MPs to UKIP and the hard Brexit crew. And what should have been a really important rational decision turns out to be just more stupid party politics. And the country as a whole sleepwalks it’s way off the edge of the cliff.

    It is to weep.

    • bevin

      ” there’s a horrible conundrum for Labour. 65-70% of Labour voters voted remain.”
      Not really- Labour’s problem is that the Blairites and Kinnocks have driven away masses of Labour voters. To win an election Labour needs to reclaim them. Most of them are working people, the prodessionals and middle class supporters found Blairism acceptable, if not their cup of tea. It was the victims-the working people- who had hoped for an alternative to Thatcher, rather than more of the same, who stopped voting Laboutr. For the most part they stopped voting.
      And they were the people who decided against the EU, not because they are racists-God knows they stuck with Labour and the Left throughout the post war period when Racism was really being employed as a Tory/fascist political weapon- but because there is no work, no hope and no assurance of their worth and dignity.
      They are ready to leave the EU and take responsibility for the future. Who can doubt that they are capable of building an economy to serve their purposes, to take care of basic social needs, to feed and house all and put an end to the long nightmare of Empire.
      What the Brexiteers sense, rightly, is that the EU and NATO are just another attempt to revive the Imperial project to conquer and loot abroad in the interests of a thin sliver of society the modern equivalents of the Victorian imperial class whose victims ranged from Calcutta to the Gorbals.
      The racists are those who don’t realise that the blood in which mankind is wading is directly attributable to the people who run the EU, NATO, Israel and the US and that they must be stopped. Business as usual doesn’t cut it while Yemen’s children are starving to death because our economy depends upon the wat against them.

  • Manda

    “Jeremy Corbyn’s failure to oppose Brexit in Parliament is as culpable as Harriet Harman’s failure to oppose welfare cuts.”

    I profoundly disagree. Corbyn respected the result of the referendum. Democracy shouldn’t be about those that think they know better than those suffering the worst forcing their will on those who bothered to vote against their wishes in greater numbers than those that agreed with those who think they know best.
    Democracy in UK/EU is very flawed and corrupted by spin, hype, omission, disinformation etc, but if we show contempt for the principle and demean a swathe of people who are hurting, well… what hope is there?

    The whole EU and UK is a mess, it is going to take many years to return to some equity and sanity as far as I can see. “Traitors” have been at work for many, many years that is why we are in this mess on the verge of systemic collapse and increased conflict.

  • nick j

    you’ll find out about the EU when you join and are in the Euro. you’ll be in the same boat as the Greeks, subject to the whims of schauble.

    • Martinned

      You mean in the Euro like Sweden is?

      Also, I’m still struggling to understand what’s so complicated about “you borrow money, you don’t pay it back, the bank owns your house”.

      • Ba'al Zevul

        Happy to explain, what’s complicated about ‘you can’t afford a mortgage, but the bank prints money to lend you money anyway, bundles the bad debt, sells it on to some other sucker, collapsing the system completely and requiring that you not only hand back your house but help to prop up the failing bank.’

        If only economics were as simple as you suggest. Your model is long obsolete.

      • Loony

        Oh say it aint so Joe. You seem to be confusing houses with submarines. The submarines that a bankrupt Greek state was forced to purchase from Germany. Those would be the same submarines that were priced without reference to the market price for submarines and were acknowledged to be expensive by all parties.

        Those would be the submarines that carried no credit risk to Germany since payment was guaranteed by the trioka “bail out” funds.

        Some may ask why these submarines were so expensive – luckily the Germans have an answer. “The submarines are expensive because as part of the deal there will be a technology transfer to Greece enabling it to build its own submarines in the future”

        How did that all work out? Why the Germans used the money it made on the whole submarine deal to buy up a Greek shipyard (the very same shipyard that was to be the recipient of the technology transfer. This enabled Germany to claim that as the shipyard was now owned by Germany there was no need to formally transfer any technology since by definition the German shipyard situated in Greece had access to the same technology as all other German shipyards.

        Almost contemporaneously Germany noticed that there seemed to be a surplus of submarine capable shipyards in Europe and so decided to close its newly acquired shipyard in Greece.

        Still all is well with the EU – provided of course you are wedded to the idea of something called Greater Germany.

        • c rober

          Perhaps then the UK can buy those subs up , seeing as how every single one is in dock , in repair , or pushed down the line for replacement.

          Submarines , submarines , two furra poun.

      • Manda

        That was the blinder I think Cameron and Tories have played. They get to keep their cake and eat it. Very dangerous times ahead indeed on all fronts.

  • Vronsky

    Corbyn is a long time opponent of the EU for leftist/democratic reasons. Leaving aside what you might make of his arguments, Brexit put him in a difficult position. Abrupt conversion to support for the EU, just because the Tories don’t like it? Because that is how the media would have presented it. I agree that he has chosen the wrong course, but I can see why.

    • Martinned

      What gives you the idea that Corbyn alone should decide the Labour party’s views on everything? I know you Brits like your “one leader over all” approach to politics, but seriously? Do I really need to roll out Chris Dillow’s many excellent posts on managerialism and (New) Labour?

        • Martinned

          Not my party, but I’ve objected to this managerialist approach to party politics whenever it’s come up. (And for whichever party it’s come up.) It’s weird when a party is in government, and even weirder when they’re not.

          • Ba'al Zevul

            The managerialist approach to just about everything is the problem. But it’s so much cosier talking bollocks in a nice warm office than forging widgets on a noisy shop floor, everyone wants to do it.

    • Humphrey Bland

      According to rumours ( the ~€60,000,000,000 divorce settlement will probably be handled by inter partes agreement , not on the sum, but the algorithmic method.

      A snapshot financial audit of U.K./E.U. Liabilities-Assets will happen in March’17 – then easy monthly ‘payday’ wonga payments can be arranged – perhaps as little as £350m/week?

      J.C. might lead the then inevitable “Br-back-in” campaign, starts in 2019?

      ps. Does Murdoch sit quietly in the back of all high-level meetings?

    • Laguerre

      What was needed, Vronsky, was for Corbyn to give a free vote to Labour MPs, not a three-line whip.

  • Loony

    How unsurprising to see anti-EU elements being smeared with the racist brush.

    It is probably the case that some people who wish to leave the EU are racists. However they will be backing the wrong side as it is clear that the only position for racists to take is to be in favor of of the EU. Proponents of mass immigration in general can only be either ignorant or racist.

    Here is a 6 minute video setting out the impossibility of mass immigration meeting the stated objectives of its proponents.

    It is widely accepted that you can help 12 people in situ for every one person that immigrates from a poor country to a rich country.

    The conclusions outlined in this presentation rest on an understanding of the exponential function. It is not hard to grasp although most people seem to fail. Anyhow here is Professor Bartlett setting out how it all works and the inevitable implications

    Finally I note that the “non racist” supporters of the EU never actually spell out exactly how many Greek citizens need to die as part of the anti racist moral framework. What is about Greeks that drives you to completely ignore their plight?

    • Laguerre

      Well, they are racists, so they can’t be smeared by it. You demonstrate by the rest of your comment. Cutting oneself off from the flows of population movements can’t be done. Migrants can always get over the wall.

  • My Cocaine

    I’m old enough to remember the days before the EU, and in that time, I witnessed the Left fight for workers rights, women’s rights, social justice and so on, and they did it without the helping ‘hand’ of the EU to show them what to do.

    Apologists for the EU often make this argument, that without the ‘benevolence’ of Brussels, we’ll be back to the days of the workhouse and kids sweeping the chimneys.

    Utter nonsense!

    Long before the EU rolled into town, people fought for and won rights. You insult their memory by claiming otherwise.

    If people want to stand up for their rights against this Tory government, they’ll have to do what their forefathers did – go out and fight for those rights.

    Any democracy is only as good as people want it to be…

      • Ba'al Zevul

        <…and then lost them again

        With the complete complicity of the EU:

        we need to note two points. The first is that the EU Treaties protect four fundamental freedoms for business to:

        provide services,
        establish business,
        move capital,
        move labour,

        from one member State to another. The neo-liberal purpose of ensuring that there is no distortion of competition is to be found in the Treaties. As we will see these four freedoms practically trumps all other rights.

        The second is to point out that the Directives passed by the EU on individual employment rights were and are valuable, not least because EU laws are binding on EU member States so that it was and is not open to UK governments to opt out of them. But on the other hand the limited scope of these individual rights is notable. They have little application to most terms and conditions of employment to protect or encourage good pay and decent jobs. They say nothing about pensions nor about dismissal (save in particular circumstances such as in a transfer of undertaking). They neither promote nor protect collective bargaining. They do nothing to protect the right to strike. And there appears to be little implication to protect workers’ rights much further. The Agency Workers Directive appears helpful but in fact has led to a massive increase across Europe in the number of workers employed through agencies and hence without the full rights of directly employed workers.

      • Harry Vimes

        Indeed. The operative tense here in this little polemic being the past rather than the present or the future.

        One is tempted to observe good luck with that project of getting people off their arses from watching the great British strictly come baking in a house by the sea/traipsing around the Mall to defend and advance their collective rights. Some people seem to have failed to notice the drop in Union membership and the rise of the I’m alright Jack brigade.

        It’s like tumbleweed out here in the real world trying to hold that line.

    • Ba'al Zevul

      Agree with that, but it is worth noting that if we get too firmly jammed up the arse of the USA as a result of leaving Europe, it’s always been less liberal, and right now is in full Gradgrind mode. This was always a risk for Brexit, and I am sorry to see that it’s a looming threat. A lot of Leavers, I think, were objecting to globalisation as much as anything. And we were sold a pup. We have the Atlanticists in charge of the party, not patriots. Bigly SAD.

    • nevermind

      Any democracy is only as good as people want it to be…

      far from it, people do not come into it, parties and those who influence parties do.

      Any democracy that does not evolve, is stale, undermined by politicians and not true to the received mandate.

  • Russell Verbeek

    A really interested article covering many major themes with a clear eye.

    The one area within the article I’m really concerned about is the focus on who controls the EU structure. It must surely be obvious by now that whenever a powerful system is created it is always those with money/power who get to control it.

    Such powerful centralised systems must not be built, ever. Simple as that. The point of the EU is to control the continent via a single office. At least that’s how the bankers and corporatists see it.

    The more hat power is shared, localised and divided up then sub divided again the harder it is for the elites to hijack.

    Unifying power in one giant institution is always the preferred method of tyrants, autocrats and all the other power hungry types.

    Simply put – large scale institutional power becomes so absolute that it corrupts absolutely.

      • Russell Verbeek

        How sweet you don’t appear understand who holds power in Brussels. You appear to be falling for the charade and not comprehending where the real power resides.

        To assist you:

        Consider the difference of proposing and voting on new laws in Westminster compared to Brussels.

        Consider the difference between Whitehall and Westminster also and you may get closer to understanding the Brussels power dynamic.

        • Martinned

          In Whitehall, Theresa May’s word is the law. In Brussels, the legislature tells the Commission where to shove it on a daily basis. Tell me again about that wonderful democracy thing that the English invented?

        • Republicofscotland

          “How sweet you don’t appear understand who holds power in Brussels.”


          Well go on then, tell us all who holds power in Brussels?

        • Shatnersrug

          Russel, your entire thesis is based on “what I reckon” drivel wrapped up in a condescending tone ?

  • Arby

    “The EU can very much be a force for good.” I don’t know of too many people who think so. I myself am absolutely convinced that this comment is simply divorced from reality.

    People should embrace the barbaric (not just neoliberal) EU because the British ruling class is more barbaric?!

    Leave the barbaric, neoliberal/neoconservative American EU lieutenant to it’s own devices and fix the UK. Either way, You don’t embrace a Donald Trump because a Hillary Clinton is worse (or vice versa), at least not if you’re principled.

    I thought Corbin was anti Brexit (but without enthusiasm)?

    • fred

      The point of having a united Europe run democratically is because if you don’t you will get one country trying to unite it under their control. That is what the Germans tried to do in WWII and that is why the idea of a European Union as conceived by Italian anti-fascists.

      • Loony

        If your reasoning is accepted then it forces the conclusion that the EU is a failed entity.

        In large measure the EU is united and under the control of the US. From the US perspective the EU is little more than the civilian arm of NATO. Do you really think Europeans want to support Nazi’s in the Ukraine? Do they really want to impose sanctions on Russia – that hurt themselves and benefit only the US.

        From a monetary perspective the EU is unified under German control. When you have the example of Greece it is amazing that there can be any doubt as to German intentions.

        • fred

          My grandfather had to go to war in Europe. My father had to go to war in Europe. I haven’t had to go to war. How is that a failure?

          • bevin

            How is it related to the EU?
            Do you honestly believe that, had the UK never joined the EU, had the EU never existed, you would have been conscripted to fight in Europe-never mind against whom.
            The sad reality is that it is the EU, and NATO, for the two are growing closer all the time, who have been instrumental in making the crisis in Ukraine, a civil war, and who were responsible for the break up of Yugoslavia.
            In fact the EU has been acting as an Empire in its constant nibbling away at Russia’s defences and has been complicit in bringing Europe closer to major war than it has been since 1945.
            At this moment US troops and allied forces from the EU are marching along the Latvian border. In the Don basin neo-nazi militias, sponsored and supported by the EU are shelling cities and death squads assassinating opponents of the Kiev regime and its authoritarian racist policies.
            The notion that the EU is a force for peace was always fanciful, that it survived the Maidan insurrection is incredible to anyone who has been alert.

          • Geoffrey

            Well,this time we just decided to give sovereignty away. Otherwise you might have had to go to war, and perhaps now we have decided we no longer want to be vassal state,you will because they might come and attack us.

          • michael norton

            my grandfather fought in France in WW1,
            my father fought in France in WW2,
            i don’t go abroad, unless you count Scotland.

          • Dave Lawton

            “My grandfather had to go to war in Europe. My father had to go to war in Europe. I haven’t had to go to war. How is that a failure?”
            They learnt from the saying ‘Don’t shit in your own backyard’ They just trashed other countries since the end
            of WW2.

      • Republicofscotland

        “That is what the Germans tried to do in WWII and that is why the idea of a European Union as conceived by Italian anti-fascists.”


        No, now the British government, (Falklands/Malvinas) aside, hang on to the coat tails of the Great Satan. Exploiting and asset stripping, the likes of Iraq, Syria, Afghanistan, and countless African nations.

        In which countless numbers of civilians were killed. Removing Britain from the EU, will only increase the xenophobic British governments appetite to remove to the rights, (or severely damadge them) of the British people, already the promise to take 3000 parentless children (immigrants from war torn nations) has quietly been cut to 300.

      • MJ

        “The point of having a united Europe run democratically”

        And the point of having a united Europe run autocratically is what exactly?

    • Republicofscotland

      “I don’t know of too many people who think so. I myself am absolutely convinced that this comment is simply divorced from reality.”




      Well, the EU provides us with skilled people, it provides us with grants, Scotland’s agricultural industry, receives £400 million from the EU. I wonder will the Tories pay that after Brexit.

      Our universities are also given EU grants our brightest are included in the Erasmus programme our rights are protected under the ECHR. We share our information with the European policing agencies, including intelligence and vice versa.

      We can travel freely between EU nations, and most importantly we partake in the Eurovision Song Contest. ? Well, no one likes Britain anyway at the Contest so “Nul points” anyway, no change there then.

      • c rober

        If the UK is a country then does that not also mean national sports , just like at the olympics feilding UK sportspersons , or in a national football league?

        So perhaps the EU , FIFA , UEFA should be told about this one nation?

        It would be a joy to see Celtic and Rangers in division three.

        ECHR , employment rights – without the EU its gonna be Victorian mills and workhouses.

        • Republicofscotland

          “ECHR , employment rights – without the EU its gonna be Victorian mills and workhouses”


          Not only that all those hard earned (workers rights) fought for by your forefathers, will stealthly be eroded away.

          I especially see unions coming under the microscope.

  • Mike C

    Craig, the duty of the Opposition is certainly to oppose, but not just for the sake of contrariness. Corbyn had basically no choice but to stick to the result and Labour’s much-repeated promise to do so. Opposing the bill would have been seen, rightly, as a futile and ineffective gesture at best, and it doesn’t take much imagination to predict what his enemies both outside and inside the Party. Furthermore, the strategy of exposing the reality of a Tory Brexit through a series of eminently sensible amendments which the Tories rejected, was the best anybody could have done in these circumstances. The Tories were already set for these attacks anyway, whichever way it had gone, and Europe would have prevented none of them, because workers’ rights are also being trampled on around the EU. At least now the real fight is underway
    I also disagree with your point about internationalism. There is literally a world of difference between workers’ internationalism and capitalist internationalism, and conflating the two is a mistake. This was sharply illustrated in the case of Greece, where those international institutions you mention subjected the Greek people to a breathtaking assault on their national sovereignty and democracy, and carried out a rapacious and punitive seizure of their national assets and internal markets. The Greek rich were made richer in the process of course. In direct contrast to this strictly bourgeois solidarity was the internationalist solidarity shown by the massive left-populist movements in Greece, Spain and elsewhere. It was this radical left internationalism that Corbyn had hoped to forge bonds with in order to take on Brussels austerity. That’s now made more difficult by Brexit, but it’s not over yet by a long chalk.
    Now that Grexit is looming its head again, Italian banking is on the edge of crisis, and the decidedly anti-EU fascist leaders from France and The Netherlands coming to power in the spring a distinct possibility, the prospect of the EU falling apart before the negotiations are even properly underway is not outside the realms of imagination. If that occurs the consequences will be very serious indeed. Now is not the time to break up the union, least of all for the sake of staying in the EU. Electing a principled socialist government is the best chance we’ve got to defend ourselves and other workers across Europe from the barbarism to come.

    • c rober

      Doesnt explain not backing Scottish democratically elected politicians Amendments to the bill , yet still able to be following the English majority mandate.

      Where was the fair for all mandate of Labour , in special deals for London , for the NE of E ,for NI , or the farmers promised subs to remain?

      IT was hardly an example of best action then.

  • Republicofscotland

    “Jeremy Corbyn’s failure to oppose Brexit in Parliament is as culpable as Harriet Harman’s failure to oppose welfare cuts.”


    Indeed, the Brexit bill passed through the House of Commons, without one single Labour amendment being added to it.

    I knew none of the SNP’s concessions would be met, but for Labour to roll over so timidly, must be embarrassing for their supporters.

    Though I can’t tar all Labour members with the same brush as Labour councillor (in Scotland) Mary Lockhart, is a avid independence supporter.

    No doubt by 2018, when we’ll have a somewhat slightly clearer picture, of the carnage that Brexit will inflict upon us, that more Scottish Labour members will jump ship and vote yes, to Scottish independence.

    • michael norton

      I expect Scotland will be Independent outside the E.U. in less than three years.
      Good luck

  • Dave Price

    “…?? ?? ?????? ? ???? ?? ?????? ???????? ?? ??????? ??? ?????”

    What on earth does this mean? How does one apply that phrase to reality?

    To me, the words ‘a tide of’ and ‘populism’ together can only mean huge numbers of ordinary English and Welsh people.
    In your last article but one you wrote:

    “??? ?????? ???????? ?? ??????? ??? ????? ??? ?????? ?? ????? ?? ??? ?? ??? ??.”

    At the time I thought perhaps you meant ‘parliamentary majority’, but now I doubt it.

    I am fed up with you suggesting that the majority of the 56 million ordinary people in England and Wales are racist. At best it is a thoughtless generalisation that undermines your arguments. At worst it is bigoted rant.

    Your current article stays unread past that sentence.

          • Dave Price

            Unless I’ve missed something, Craig hasn’t qualified it as the numbers voting for Brexit. He appears to mean the entire population of England and Wales.

    • Chris Rogers

      Dave Price 15.39,

      Great post Dave, I too object to CMs language against what I perceive to be members of the working class, many of whom, like myself, elected in a democratic forum to leave the EU – allegedly, I as a Welshman and the majority of my fellow countrymen are now deemed RACISTS by the Libruls. Thank fuck I’m no Liberal and remain a socialist at heart!

  • c rober

    Liam Fox , or Mrs Werrity.

    LIAM Fox – Westminster cabinet member for Secretary of State for international trade , and president for the board of trade.

    Some might remember him for resigning due to the Werrity Scandal – which leads directly to private healthcare.

    Liam is a Doctor , ex military.

    In January 2014, Fox stated that ring-fenced funding for the NHS should end,

    Before the Scottish independence vote he made a speech setting out reasons why Scotland should remain in the union. He has also voiced his concerns about Scottish Independence in the media, urging foreign states to intervene.

    In October 2012, the Commons Speaker blocked the release of data showing which MPs were renting their homes to other MPs for financial gain.The study showed that Liam Fox receives rental income from his London home while simultaneously claiming rental income from the taxpayer to live at another residence.

    That FOX? The one in the chicken house?

    • Republicofscotland

      C rober.

      Just a gentle reminder that there’s no longer a NHS in England, it’s gone. The British government washed its hand of responsibility for it.

      “It has devolved responsibility to Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs). The CCGs have no legal obligation to provide you with anything beyond emergency care – this may not be the case at present but it means that there is no legal guarantee that they will continue to do so.”

      • Martinned

        Indeed. Like the CAT said in the Flynn Pharma interim relief case:

        The overcharge is paid out of finite resources, which are diverted away from other needs, to the general detriment of patient care. It is not apparent that Flynn disputes the substance of this harm. It argues that NHS resources are always stretched and that allocating expenditure to one particular product or treatment is bound to affect others. It says that any harm to patients from its price continuing unabated is regrettable but unavoidable and in any case can be compensated in large measure by its cross-undertaking in damages.

        So I guess a few million pounds over here will result in someone not getting help over there.

  • Chris Rogers

    Don’t know where to begin with CM’s comments on the EU, which he, like many a Librul, sees as some benevolent entity, a supranational one no less, that quite remarkably by his own words has been taken over by those who push neoliberal economic quackery as a cure all for Europe’s ills. Well, Craig, you say we Socialists are not being internationalists if we are opposed to the EU, the very same EU that’s crushing our peers in Greece, and has done so since 2011 – but, because you tell us, we are supposed to support the very institution that’s suffocating several EU member nations to death with tough love.

    Well, you can stick your tough love where the sun don’t shine, for if I’m to applaud the fact that my EU peers are being economically destroyed because of the bloody Euro – a great success in your humble opinion – then forget it. I’m with Bevin on this and Lexit.

    As internationalists I’d much prefer to support the UN and have Westminster give it more support.

    The European Union only came into existence with the passage of the Lisbon Treaty, prior to that event it was the European Community and prior to that, the European Economic Community, so lets stop conflating one with the other and let it be known I was very happy with the EC, but alas not happy with the EU.

      • Chris Rogers

        My Big Martinned, it was indeed under the Third Presidency of Delors that the EU formally took shape, and if memory serves correct we then moved to a EU-wide Constitution that was rejected by the French in the early part of the 2000s, which was then re-labelled as the Lisbon Treaty and signed by Gordon Brown, despite promises of a Referendum on that important matter – suffice to say, I actually liked the European Communities, rather than a Union and all that entails. Suffice to say I’m opposed to a European Federal state, but not opposed to a European Confederate State.

          • Chris Rogers

            @Martinned, 16.39

            Where do I stand on Brexit, quite simple really, I don’t want to be part of a Federal Euro Superstate but have no objections to full participation in a Customs Union, so I’m opposed to the UK leaving the Single Market and would advise we adopt the Norway Model, which when costed last year by economists and academics came out at approx. £1 billion more per year than the UK presently pays as a full member – most pro-EU and anti-Eu rational persons I’ve discussed the issue with have suggested this should be the lowest common denominator for both sides to accept here in the UK – of course, it would also call for sensible heads across Europe. Alas, all we seem to hear is the UK must be punished, punished for desiring to leave a club, one, as CM admits, pushes neoliberalism down Europe’s throat, with some sugar applied now and again.

          • Chris Rogers


            I’m actually all in favour of a Federal solution to the UK, and we could do no better than mirror Germany’s Basic Law, which was informed by both the UK and USA in the aftermath of WWII – actually, upon Reunification a new Constitution should have been enacted, or at least that was part of the pre-amble of the original print version of the Basic Law, but at the time it was felt why change something that works. Further, as with Germany, the UK shares a common language, which helps in the longevity stakes of Federal States. Alas, the EU in many ways is resplendent of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, namely a patch-work of different nationalities and cultures with numerous languages, hence, a Conferral Europe would fit the bill, alas our Elites desire a Federal Europe, which history suggests would implode, as indeed the EU is imploding today because of its economic recklessness, which far from creating a ‘Union’ or Community, is actually ripping it apart – but CM tells us the Euro is a great success – for whom I’d like to know?

    • c rober

      Sorry Greece is hardly a good argument , avoids every opportunity to full commit to the rules of EU membership , yet hasnt. Increases the civil servant number , pensions , and reduces work time. Avoids taxes at the olympic level. Operates protectionism – be warned America.

      However the IMF bailout has been researched , and where 95 percent goes in one door and out the other back to its creditors – Germany and France. So I do agree on the haircut in principal , in that if they were stupid enough to lend , without insurance , then German and French banks should pay the piper and have Greece cast out.

      The history of Greece and debt is long , as is bankruptcy , if I remember correctly 7 times in the 20th century.

    • Republicofscotland

      Some do not realise just how involved Britain was over the EU. I posted this the other day, it seem fitting to post it again.

      Well it seems some what apt, to mention that 25 years ago today Britain signed up to the Maastricht Treaty, in the Dutch town.

      Strange, though to think that it was Britain that devised the hugely successful Single Market, yet now the British government wants to leave it, and jump into the unknown.

      It was Britain that pushed for (and got it) the enlargement of the EU, yet now, Westminster can’t wait to trigger its exit.

      It’s even more surprising that it was Britain that coaxed a sceptical Denmark, into ratifying the Maastricht Treaty, or the treaty may have failed. Yet now Westminster is determined to leap into the abyss to get away from the EU.

      Britain contributed and help devise aspects of the EU, some like the Single Market, that are inspiring. Yet now to the Brexiteer’s the word Maastricht, has become a byword for all the EU’s faults.

      One explanation could be that UKIP and the Tories are harking back to the days of Thatcher, who staunchly opposed the Maastricht Treaty. One can see aspects of Thatcher in Theresa May.

  • c rober

    As labour rolled over with brexit it defeated entirely the reason for retaining the UK for Scotland.

    The argument that Scottish Labour , and Labour in England , are a party with a solidarity shared vision for the UK was destroyed finally , not in one moment , but in blocking and abstaining many amendments that featured and/or protected Scotland.

    Come MAY Scottish Labour will be destroyed – but that means at the rise of the Tories whom they are in bed with – a party hell bent on privitisation of pensions and the NHS , of job removals , of housing price protection via lack of supply , of TRIDENT on the Clyde. Basically every single thing that people “thought” that the party stood against – are now all gone.

    The greatest SNP politician that has ever lived is Kezia Dugdale , the second one is post May after the new leader election , Jackie Bailie putting the nail in the Slab coffin.

    Do they really not realise the party is dead , or is it that they just dont care that the local troops are sandbags to be sacrificed for their own protected regional list jobs?

  • Phil Thompson

    There again what it he’d taken a principled Lexit position in line with his real beliefs? There is of course socialist internationalism and then there is the “internationalism” of big business where some states concede a little bit of sovereignty. The former is where Corbyn lies. As it stood only a handful of far left parties took this position and so Brexit was dominated by the racist right. Your argument goes to the heart of the old reform v revolution thing. It’s far from over – could it be that Corbyn is the last breath of reformism in England; shortly to be followed by the SNP?

  • MJ

    Labour’s decision to support the Article 50 debate was perfectly correct. The decision to leave the EU was made by the people through a referendum and parliament’s duty is only to realise that decision.

    It doesn’t matter if some MPs’ constituents favoured Remain. Those constituents had their say when they voted in the referendum.

  • sports special

    Labour got 31% of the vote in the 2012 Scottish Council Elections. Polling consistently shows they can expect to get only half of that in May and are no longer at all the major bulwark in Scotland against independence. The Tories will reach their ceiling if they get around a quarter of the popular vote. They will have taken as much support from Scottish Labour as they’re capable of. The remaining Labour voters are either unionist but staunch Labour or pro-independence Labour. Neither group will ever vote Tory and needless to say the Tories can’t take votes from the SNP or the Greens.
    Also to be factored in is the element of Tory support in Scotland that is strongly pro-EU and doesn’t like the way Scotland has been treated by Westminster since 2014. Ruth Davidson’s supposed charisma, however real it might be, is not going to prevent large numbers of this group drifting over to Yes in indyref2.
    The road is wide open for the Yes camp with no cohesive unionist force opposing us. Yes for Scotland in the EU. Yes for a Scotland that retains the Scottish NHS.
    Expect to see Theresa May regularly appear in assorted tartan between now and the indyref2 vote. Is that Clan McPatronising Theresa? But the unionists have got nothing effective to counter with this time. Their biased media support has been exposed too much now for what it is.

    • Anon1

      You’ll lose on the economic argument. There is no way that Scotland can support itself without English largesse. Your only hope would be full dependency on Brussels, which would make a joke of becoming ‘independent’ in the first place considering the much greater independence you already have within the UK.

      • sports special

        The unionists lost the economic argument in the indyref1 campaign. There is no English largesse. What won it for No in 2014 was scaremongering about the EU and scaremongering aimed at older voters on the subject of pensions. Scaremongering only works for a limited time as any historian can tell you. Real historians that is. So not Neil Oliver.

        • Republicofscotland

          Sports Special.

          Indeed, I still recall Alistair Darling “claiming” the only way for Scotland to remain in the EU was for Scotland to vote no, we did, and now we’re being dragged out of the EU.

          Westminster is fickle, now the game is splendid isolationists imperialism, a game we should take no part in.

          • sports special

            Totally agree RoS.

            If Scotland stayed in the UK it would be double isolation. Scotland in a UK isolated from the world and Scotland isolated from power in the UK.

      • Republicofscotland

        You’ll lose on the economic argument. There is no way that Scotland can support itself without English largesse.


        How so Anon1, Scotland pays over £35 billion pounds in UK services. Add to that coming back to Scotland oil and gas revenue, VAT, and throw EU exports and a independent Scotland would a viable nation.

        We’d even save £300 million quid funding the state extortion rackeeters known as the BBC. Who currently collect £300 million in TV licence fees in Scotland, but spends only £30 million producing Scottish content.

        Yes independence is a win win scenario.

        • c rober

          Of course many also ignore the elephant in the room – if Scotland is such a basket case then its under Westminster watch , with the powers that remain reserved.

          Or the other elephant of iincreased costs , through Scottish Exports being mostly via English ports , subsidizing English jobs , and further taxes for transit to them. And of course the opposite is true of their argument that Scotland needs the UK for exports , when the reverse is far more truer.

          To put it another way , we would all still be living with our parents fearing the unknown – ironic I know as we are seeing exactly that scenario today – and a possible need for it as NHS and care is eroded further.

        • michael norton

          You can’t even fund Police Scotland, they are two hundred million pounds in the red.

      • JOML

        If Scotland is such a charity case, why would you or Westminster want to hold on to Scotland? Doesn’t make sense, particularly when NHS England is in desperate need of cash. Is Scotland a higher spending priority or could you perhaps be wrong in your assertion that Scotland could not support itself?

  • awkwardboy

    In the Annandale north council by election almost every one who had labour as first choise had conservative as second, but there was no reciprocation conservative voters had conservative as first and only choise.

  • philw

    Please Craig, will you tell me what your independent Scotland’s immigration policy should be? RoS? Any advocate of Independence? Or at least tell me why it does not need to be considered.

    Some of us are getting on, and the NHS is collapsing. We need to know if the Scottish NHS will be there for us when we need it.

    • Republicofscotland


      Of course immigration needs to be considered, any articles I’ve read regarding immigration to Scotland from the likes of the Common Weal, the SNP etc, agree that Scotland needs a set amount of immigration every year due to its aging population and emigration.

      However I don’t agree that Scotland should just throw open its doors, immigration in a independent Scotland like most nations would need to be measured.

      As things stand the Home Office decides who can and cannot remain in Scotland, often will hit and miss decisions, that leaves one scratching their heads in disbelief.

      As for the Scottish NHS, it’s the best performing in the UK, also Phil you seem to be looking at immigration as a burden, I see immigrants working and paying tax and national insurance, that would go towards bettering the NHS.

      • Harry Vimes

        Not sure if I’ve read this accurately RoS but the way I saw that comment was in relation to immigration to and Independent Scotland by those wanting to flee the dystopia of the Hard Brexit, tax haven little E gland currently being expounded upon as a negotiating position by the crazies in the Tory/UKIP camp such as PM May

        • c rober

          Ironically internal migration sees in Scotland anywhere from 9-15 percent English born residents – aligns also with the no vote regionally based on income.

          Economic migration in other words – something condemned in English media about refugees.

          I am not against such a thing , and if a clever Holyrood watches what it does it might well see wealth movement as a result , somewhat along the lines of Belgium or Basque residency to defeat higher taxation in the “home” nation. Luxembourg has seen the same sort of money residency – and where it has also enacted born residents only in elections to preserve the national vote over the resident one.

      • philw

        Thanks RoS, that is eminently sensible as far as it goes. As you say, an independent Scotland like any developed country will have to control immigration, and its policies and procedures for this will be a major issue worthy of debate.

        My comment about the Scottish NHS, whilst a bit mischievous, does have a serious point. Health and social care, particularly for the elderly, are major costs. If the English NHS continues to deteriorate, then there could be a significant number of elderly English who would find a move to Scotland appealing. This would be one reason that migration between England and Scotland would most probably end up being subject to control.

        There are many reasons why I personally would be tempted to join an independent Scotland, but I suspect I might well end up being more of a drain on its resources than a contributor, at least in financial terms.

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