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).

853 thoughts on “Labour’s Failure and Institutional Analysis

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  • Stu

    Craig has completely the ignored the political fall out of a referendum result being ignored.

    If we had won Indyref by 50+1 and Westminster had blocked Independence I would have been apoplectic (and i’m sure Craig would as well). Brexit is Cameron’s folly and we have to live with it.

    Labour opposing Brexit would be insane. How many people actually believe the referendum result should be ignored? I’m sure it can’t be many.

    • sports special

      We don’t have to go along with Brexit in Scotland. We didn’t vote for it and we didn’t have a say in whether we had a veto or not.

      • Shatnersrug

        Yes but Scotland is not its own country yet. If we are to take that attitude then all of Britain should have had a vote in the Scottish referendum. It’s nonsensical.

        Fucking Braveheart and a Tory government has sent my fellow countrymen around the twist.

        • sports special

          Scotland never ceased to be a country. And the union is supposed to be a union of equals, Not equals in population of course but equals nevertheless. It’s a strange partnership that is supposed to be democratic yet one partner gets railroaded into a major decision without agreeing.

          To say it again. Scotland never agreed that we wouldn’t have the power of veto over Brexit.

          • Shatnersrug

            That’s as maybe but it’s now almost part of antiquity. Great Britain is the country that you and I were born into a country that started the British Empired that was made up of Scotsmen going around the world doing really horribly things to other countries. The idea that we jettison the awful bits of our own history onto some fictitious other means that we are basically living in denial of our own empiral past.

          • Clydebuilt

            Great Britain is not a country. It is a union of countries. Scotland never ceased to be a country.

        • sports special

          There was no wording on the 2014 referendum paper that said voting No was also to endorse Scotland’s rights being ignored.

          You’re just plain wrong. We have a choice.

          • Stu

            “There was no wording on the 2014 referendum paper that said voting No was also to endorse Scotland’s rights being ignored.

            You’re just plain wrong. We have a choice.”

            What rights? What choice?

            EU membership is a reserved matter.

    • Martinned

      But that doesn’t mean that you have to accept uncritically whatever Mrs. May proposes. Any politician who can’t explain that distinction to his voters needs to get a different job.

  • Anon1

    RoS, sports studies, JOML, etc.

    Don’t get me wrong, I fully support Scotch independence. Along with most of my countrymen, I am frankly sick to death of the perennially aggrieved Scots; their grievance culture, their endless list of demands that can never be fulfilled, their constant whining about not being treated as an equal partner while they are given every possible amount of independence and advantage within the UK. We’re all sick and tired of you and wish you could vote for your own independence and fuck off.

    But it’s not going to happen. It’s much easier to blame everything on England whilst demanding yet more money and privileges. Nothing is going to shift the SNP from the cushy positions they have obtained for themselves and from which they can whine and complain forever without ever having to take any responsibility.

    You voted conclusively to remain part of the UK but it’s a grave injustice to Scotland that the UK voted to leave the EU. Just fuck off.

    It’s gone on too long now. We’re all bored to death with Scotland. Give England the vote and we will give Scotland her independence, because you can’t do it yourselves.

    • JOML

      I doubt Westminster would give you the vote because their interests are different than yours., plus they will be party to information they are not willing to share. I’d more than welcome a vote in England to break up the UK – and I’d be very supportive of the stance you have detailed in your post. You have my sympathies.

  • Bob McNair

    Unless the left combine in Scotland they will be picked off by the media. Internal squabbles must be put to one side. The present UK government is successfully pushing Scots togetjer. I wonder when ProjectFear 2 will begin earnestly once more.

    • morag

      It’s started already! Media screaming about “bashing” “smashing” “thumping” with regard to the First Minister and SNP is only going to get worse.
      Laughable, as Indy belongs to anyone who wants it!

  • Dave

    A nationalist and internationalist are both nationalists, but the term internationalist was a term to used to distinguish patriots from chauvinists. That is internationalists were patriots who rejected the chauvinism of the nationalists in favour of international cooperation and by recognising patriots of all countries as brother in arms.

    For example Tony Benn would describe himself as an internationalist and recoil at being called a nationalist, but was a patriot in his opposition to the EU in defence of parliamentary sovereignty. But now the old internationalists are decried as nationalists/chauvinists (racists) by the new internationalists because the new internationalists now confuse supra-national government aka imperialism with internationalism.

    • Resident Dissident

      Gobbledegook – please read Orwell’s Lion and the Unicorn on the difference between nationalists and patriots.

      • Dave

        The same word can mean different things to different people, but its a mistake to think an internationalist supports supra-national government as opposed to international institutions like the UN. Clearly some internationalists do, but supra-national government, depending on size and context, are imperial projects.

        The UK is a supra-national body, and as a Unionist would like it to include Ireland, but I recognise that some of the “Celtic fringe” denounce the Union as imperialist. But as a internationalist nationalist I think its a practical size grouping of nations that can work in the national interest. Whereas the EU despite initially being an attractive size grouping for many, has become an out of control imperial adventure, against the national interest.

        The madness of the “Celtic fringe” is to think they have more say in the EU than the UK., presumably based on an “Irish” anti-English feelings. But the UK due to mass-immigration is changing with the British English becoming English British and with localism and devolution changing to old British imperial mind set so offensive to the “Celtic fringe”.

        Add in voting reform and Brexit could become the basis for a new Reformation that can include Ireland following the end of their civil war.

        • Resident Dissident

          “Add in voting reform and Brexit could become the basis for a new Reformation that can include Ireland following the end of their civil war”

          Please stop dreaming it isn’t going to happen that way and you are going to be very disappointed.

          • Dave

            I agree that a Britain and Ireland Union is far fetched, at least for now, but not as far fetched as a European Union.

  • Tim Larkins

    I don’t seem to be able to comment on Facebook.. so happy to come to your site this time to chat.

    You always seem to point directly in the same direction as my moral compass so your opinion has a real weight in my world view.

    But this one doesn’t ring true..

    Brexit is bad… lets get that out of the way straight away… I spent the day of the referendum in shock virtually banging my head against a wall for the whole day.. I think that it was the wrong choice, and nothing will change that..

    That said…. We’ve been in the EU for my entire lifetime.. and I still see people begging for money on the streets.. minorities persecuted… The EU is not all powerful – in its current state, it’s far from perfect.

    So we don’t need to fight brext.. we need to offer ways in which we can tweak our cur current relationship so that it works for the majority rather than the minority… to an extent that the majrority are able to quantifiably see the improvements.

    As *always*…. its the 99% vs the 1%… lets not turn on ourselves just yet.. we need beacons like you to act like a rallying spot to get through this..

    • morag

      See those beggars? They weren’t created by the EU. Tory governments are responsible and I’m afraid that you will have to get people to stop voting them in .

      • Tim

        Totally true.. but the EU was not enough to protect them.

        So you reverse brexit.. the beggers are still having a naff time..

        What solution are we offering there? How are we getting more money into the North?

        Are we committing to not leaving any community behind?

        • xenophon

          So were the Tories responsible for the beggars in the USA?

          I arrived in “The City of Brotherly Love” at around 9pm, and having walked 200 yards from the bus station, was approached by a Vietnam Vet whose reward for going to war for his country was to be spending his life pushing a cart around with his little flag begging money off tourists.

          “Land of the Free” my arse!

    • Laguerre

      So what is brexit going to give us? That is, better than remaining in the EU. It was a minimal majority, hardly decisive.

    • fred

      There have always been beggars Tim and there always will be, as how rich society gets and I can tell you there weren’t nearly as many fancy cars with personalised number plates around before we joined Europe, there will always be beggars.

  • Habbabkuk

    “We can travel freely between EU nations”


    Indeed so but that has nothing to do with the EU.

    I suspect that you are, as so often, confusing two separate things (whether wilfully or out of ignorance is not for me to say).

    Free movement of labour is certainly a product of the EC/EU. Free travel on the other hand – in the important sense of visa-free travel – predates the Treaty of Rome and was already a reality in the late 1940s/early 1950s following the conclusion of bilateral agreements between Western European governments (the countries under the control of the Soviet Union, aka the Evil Empire, were of course another matter).

      • Habbabkuk

        Well, you’re right of course – but given that visa-free travel between Western European countries pre-dated the establishment of the EEC and has nothing to do with the EU it is highly unlikely. There are plenty of reasons why Brexit is not a good idea (just as there are plenty of reasons why it is) and there seems to be little point in advancing straw man arguments (RoS) and little point in defending them (you).

    • xenophon

      “We can travel freely between EU nations”

      Does that include Israel, despite its claim to be part of Europe, as regards the European Song Contest?

  • David Marchesi

    Firstly, the EU has thrown itself into the US embrace, nay, egged on the Hawks in its/their Drang nach Osten. This aspect, of course,was not a major reason for the uninformed electorate to take account of, much: it is,nevertheless, a major matter if one looks at the broader picture (the “argument” that “the EU has kept the peace in Europe for seventy years” is, of course, pure rhubarb- replace “the EU” with NATO and tell me otherwise) The once dreamed of reconciliation of Germany with Russia, a development pregnant with vast hope for a truly peaceful whole-continent Europe is now inconceivable, the Ukraine being a symptom of the EU’s choice of belligerence. The EU appears as the civilian branch of NATO, out of which we ought to get.
    Secondly, the derided (among the elite) desire for popular sovereignty is perfectly legitimate (cf. Scotland) and could eventually provide a basis for the challenging of the stranglehold of the casino capitalists on the political process (not, naturally, just in the UK) It simply is true that the Brussels bureaucracy and the well-meaning but deluded Euro-imperialists ( see recent Katya Adler programme on tv)have acted ruthlessly in Greece , for example, and are in reality not just in appearance subverting even the shreds of democracy which we have. More of the same was what Mr Cameron and his chums offered ,but they never touched on the clear trend towards integration which the top Eurocrats are aiming for . Is that what you would like ?
    Thirdly, immigration is a legitimate concern of working people whose jobs are threatened by robotisation, a creeping process which is, however, accelerating ( in the “West” generally, at least – but then, this aspect is a valid point for the other Europeans whose work is being exported to cheaper countries (despite the EU ? Prove it, or answer the objection. It would not, imho, be unfair to suggest that this is partly because of the EU, dominated by, yes, liberalism, which has ALWAYS sought to lower wage costs )
    Fourthly, Mr Corbyn himself has been pro-Brexit, in the line of Tony Benn and other stalwarts of “old” Labour. In fact, as I am sure you are aware, the Labour party fought the 1979 election partly on get-out-of -Europe.
    I sense that you will dismiss these points, not, I hope, with contempt. While I generally admire your work in exposing the sins of the spivs who rule us and who bomb Yemen etc etc etc, I disagree on you here, You know that a substantial proportion (overwhelming ?) of the World of High Finance supported Remain ? was this merely a machiavellian ploy to ensure the victory of Brexit? I wouldn’t put it past them, naturally, although the whimpering pursuant to their (apparent ? ) defeat suggests otherwise.

    • Habbabkuk


      “Firstly, the EU has thrown itself into the US embrace, nay, egged on the Hawks in its/their Drang nach Osten.”

      There is a slight difference between the historical Drang nach Osten and the recent expansion to the East of both the European Union and NATO.

      It is that the recent expansion of both the EU and NATO occurred with the consent and at the request of the Central and Eastern European countries concerned.

      There is, indeed, persuasive evidence that the countries which acceded to the EU in 2004 and subsequently were keener to accede than many of the EU-15 countries were to have them accede.

      No one forced them to accede – and no one forced them to accede to NATO either.

      And the same is true for that matter of the other countries currently in the EU accession queue.

      • bevin

        You really live in an historical fantasy land don’t you? The haste with which the Eastern European states rushed into the embrace of the EU and NATO was that their emigre leaderships(and former secret policemen turned mafioso), the sudden and temporary beneficiaries of the unanticipated collapse of the Soviet Union and the discrediting of local politicians, so distrusted the people, who they were consigning into catastrophic shock therapies, that they wanted to entrust their sovereignty to the states from which they came-in North America and western Europe.
        The only economic policy that they could come up with for their countries involved massive emigration; unable to manage their own economies because they were busily stealing everything the ‘elites’ were happy to facilitate the movement abroad of millions who, having seen guaranteed jobs and education, pensions and heathcare, go up in smoke fled to the west where the capitalist class has always welcomed recruits to the reserve army of labour.
        By its nature it is not a political situation which can last which is why warmongering and Russophobia have become standard policies in counties which are beginning to look back fondly to the days before they became the ‘eastern front’ (again) in Imperialism’s long war against Russia.

        • Habbabkuk

          That is simply Trotskyite garbage, isn’t it. Trotskyite propaganda usually involves a (usually selective) disregard of the facts at best and downright lying at worst. In the case of your diatribe, the lie consists in the claim about “emigré leaderships”.

          Please take the 10 Central and Eastern European countries concerned which acceded to the EU in 2004 and subsequently and, having defined what you mean by emigré leaderships, identify those which had emigré leaderships at the time when the accession negotiations were started and ended. This will of course involve you naming not only countries but also naming the politicians (leaders, as you call them) you have in mind.

          To help you, the acceding countries were: Poland, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Slovenia, the three Baltic republics, Hungary, Romania, Bulgaria and Croatia.

          Off you go!

        • Resident Dissident

          “and former secret policemen turned mafioso”

          Strangely enough you stop short of applying this accurate description to Putin.,

          Perhaps one of the many historical fantasies you should stop harbouring is that the Marxiist Leninist experiment of the Soviet Union and its empire was anything but a dreadful failure which demonstrated the that the underlying theory was highly flawed. One of the reasons for its failure from day 1 was its dependence on autocracy from Lenin onwards. Healthy societies need to be run by leaders who are prepared to accept checks and balances on their actions (as something that happens in healthy democracies where the will of the population is a nuanced and ever changing thing) – rather than thinking that their crank philosophy allows the ends to justify the means. It is quite clear how this misguided way of thinking leads you and other supposed “socialists” to end up throwing in their hands with the alt right and autocrats such as Putin and Trump.

          Scientific method requires that once one theory has been disproved by experiment to go back to the drawing board and come back with another theory, rather than making rather pathetic attempts to resuscitate the old one.

          • Habbabkuk

            Res Diss

            ““and former secret policemen turned mafioso”

            Strangely enough you stop short of applying this accurate description to Putin., ”

            An excellent point, which I ought to have thought about myself.

            I – as I’m sure you are as well – am awaiting with keen anticipation Bev’s considered and fact-based reply to the challenge I issued earlier on. 🙂

          • J

            The Soviet Union no longer exists. Neither does evidence based criticism imply support for party or parties unnamed or extrinsic to the argument.

            Beyond that the rest of your argument has at least a handful of doubtful premises. I assume you already know as much, just trying to be helpful.

            Carry on.

      • David Marchesi

        not quite clear if you see me , like your favoured adversary bevin, as a “Trotskyite”, but here, for what it’s worth, it’s a ” Powellite” point of view, if you insist on (pointless) labelling.
        NATO is a disastrous, anti-national warmongering organisation, totally dominated by whichever US administration happens to be around ,and with the EU at its beck and call.
        In the Brexit era, it is noteworthy that the Cameronites avoided reference to the plans for further integration, including, of course, a European Army. Very few UK politicians indeed would dare hint at their assent to such an extension of the EU’s powers and it is above all sure that the promise of ever closer integration (of “institutions”, not just policies) would have increased the Brexit vote vastly, had the Remainers had the courage to promote it.
        Few today realise to what extent this country has sold out its war-making ability to the US, via NATO: the Establishment arranges a Falklands from time to time so as to revivify jingoism, but , basically, we do as we are directed in things military (foreign relations)
        “the consent and at the request of the …concerned” is an evasive phrase, since these “countries” (=states) were/are controlled by elites, often representative of themselves, not of their peoples .
        They exploit a largely mindless Russophobia and , as in the Ukraine , include not a few whose grandfathers were enthusiastic participants in the real-life Drang nach Osten. They are playing with fire.

    • RobG

      The EU members are vassal states of the American empire. It’s totally embarrassing to see the likes of Merkel, Hollande, Cameron (now May) cringing before their US masters.

      We’ve recently had a refugee crisis of Biblical proportions in Europe, which will change the continent for ever, and it’s all a direct result of American wars in the Middle East and North Africa, yet none of these little lickspittles in the European capitals have had the balls to stand up to Washington.

      These cringing lickspittles will all find themselves on trial for high treason, and that includes the total vermin in the security services.

  • Habbabkuk

    Is it sensible and logical to call for a second Scottish independence referendum before the future relationship between the UK and the EU is known concretely following the outcome of the impending negotiations?

    • Iain Stewart

      Sense and logic may suggest that instead of waiting to see if the ship really is sinking it may be even more prudent to board a lifeboat as quickly as possible.

      • Habbabkuk

        Fair enough. But the people in the lifeboats (given the discomfort of life in a lifeboat) might regret having taken to them if they see the vessel sailing on safely.

        • Alcyone

          Losers always live in regret, they are regret.

          Britain needs to reinvent itself. It needs not just hardworking people but creative people who can leverage the country’s many strengths. Moaners are a drag. If they are rounding themselves up to pursue their own confusion, they can only propagate more confusion.

          Brexit will require growing the cake bigger first, the arguments of how to carve it up can carry on, but will still be easier once solidly on the path to growth.

          What has Scotland created of note in the last 40 years? I’m trying to inform myself.

          • nevermind

            yes moaners are a drag, but they do exactly what you do all the time, moan about others and their lack of conformity to your point of view.
            I will never accept Brexit and will take the opportunity to become an EU citizen, should I have to. If it stops me shuffling in queues for hours on end, so be it, whatever it means to the losers who just left 550 million consumers wanting.
            Creative people will get poached by those who are prepared to invest in people, not by rip off merchants, for example bio tech and othern tech companies in Cambridge are already ‘moaning’ about the brain drain, alki, and wishful thinking does not help teach our children.

            The Tories are preparing for the cheap and fast profit times when work is done by robots and clever children from the lower classes are not needed anymore, hence the aim to dumb down the masses with untrained academy teachers and non stop chaos in all of our schools from primary upwards.

            You want to breed excellence? good luck with that hot shot.

    • fred

      They are Nationalists, they don’t do sensible or logical, they just do fanatical.

      Thing is they don’t learn, they are convinced they lost the referendum because of the Unionists propaganda, they blame a biassed media, what they call project fear which was only plain reality, electoral fraud.

      Fact is they lost because when they were asked questions they didn’t have answers. “what will we use for currency?”, “we’ll use sterling”, “what if the rest of UK don’t want currency union?”, “they will”, “what if they don’t”, “they will it’s in their interests”, “what if they don’t think so?”, “they will”.

      Let them keep blaming BBC bias or electoral fraud, then they won’t address the real reasons they lost and then they will lose again..

      • JOML

        If you want independence because you believe the UK to be a warmongering, rogue state, nothing has changed. If, however, you are a hound for a pound (or Euro, dollar, etc.), you can get engaged in economic hypotheticals and vote for what you think benefits your wallet. Life would be easy in a black and white world but life tends not to be like that.

        • fred

          Before the UK was a warmongering state it was a collection of warmongering states constantly having wars with each other. Scotland was no different to any one else, William Wallace and Robert Bruce both invaded England. In recent times when we invaded Iraq the leaders of all three main parties at Westminster were Scots.

          So cut out the holier than thou act Scots are no different to anyone else when it comes to warmongering.

          • xenophon

            “Scotland was no different to any one else,”

            Why do you ignore the historical facts? Even the mighty Roman Empire built a wall to keep the war-like Scots at bay, and you will surely have noticed how the Picts “disappeared” from history. Who “disappeared” them I wonder? It sure as hell wasn’t the English, or the Welsh.

          • Rob Royston

            The Scots were not at war with the Romans, it was the other way round. They were defending their country, just like the Syrians today.

          • Phil the ex-frog

            Rob Royston
            “They were defending their country”

            Defending their country?! Too funny. In your state worshipping fever you suppose they were proudly fighting for a con not even contrived.

  • Laguerre

    I thought Corbyn made a grievous error in insisting on a three-line whip to support the brexit act. He should have permitted a free vote. He’s lost my support. Permitting a free vote would have allowed MPs to express themselves in favour of their constituents. As it is there are resignations. Sackings, we have yet to see. It was the wrong moment to insist. After all, the majority to brexit is minimal, hardly the “will of the people”.

    • philw

      Maybe an error.

      But I would read it like this:
      Corbynites are in a desperate struggle to wrest the party back from the neoliberal ‘pink tories’.
      Given a free vote Labour MPs would have voted overwhelmingly against the Article 50 bill.
      This would have made constituencies like Stoke, ie old Labour heartlands, completely unwinnable, as Labour would be seen as defying the will of the people.
      Labour would have been reduced to the hipster party of Hackney and Hampstead.

      The future of this country depends on the building of a real Left alternative. We cannot (unless we are Craig Murray) just write off the ‘leave’ voters to be scooped up by the hard right.

      Corbyn is prepared to be seen as weak. This can turn out to be a great strength, as Taoists saw.

      I’d urge you to stick with him.

      • exiled off mainstreet

        That is how I see it. Corbyn’s position, meanwhile, by resisting the neoliberal EU, is in the actual interest of his voters, whether or not they were conned by Remain propaganda and Corbyn’s own tactical efforts to survive the referendum last spring. Real leftists are getting better acquainted with the deplorable record of the EU as time goes on.

  • Dave

    As Enoch Powell said, “power devolved is power retained” and although the devolved Scottish government decided to call itself a parliament it is legally speaking a devolved council/assembly, but with more powers, like the Welsh Assembly. They could declare UDI, as could a local council, as in “passport to Pimlico”, but surely by their own logic leaving the UK will be as disastrous as leaving the EU.

  • Tom

    I think this goes beyond Corbyn or the Labour Party. What we’re seeing is the endgame of a political system that is built to keep the British establishment in power, through a combination of a rigged electoral system, a partisan media, the infiltration of opposition parties, and ruthless smearing and crushing of genuine dissent.
    There is nothing to exposes the hypocrisy and malevolence of Brexit leaders more than their attitude to Scottish independence, as well as their clear hatred of large sections of their own society. They have nothing to offer but insults and threats – because the Brexit emperor wears no clothes.
    Good luck to the Scots if they want to leave the UK. It isn’t a nice place anymore, so I don’t blame them.

    • RobG

      “Under the spreading chestnut tree I sold you and you sold me:
      There lie they, and here lie we
      Under the spreading chestnut tree.”

    • giyane

      February 10, 2017 at 21:45

      ” I think this goes beyond Corbyn or the Labour Party. What we’re seeing is the endgame of a political system that is built to keep the British establishment in power, through a combination of a rigged electoral system, a partisan media, the infiltration of opposition parties, and ruthless smearing and crushing of genuine dissent.”

      What a wonderful sentence. ” The British Establishment ” is like the Vicar of Bray, a prostitute of US power.
      As Craig recently pointed out, the British Establishment has no pretence of having a policy except the policy of poodling US policy and staying in power. Neither the 1979 neo-cons nor the 1997 neo-cons, could muster even a fart’s worth of UK policy so how can the clones May and Corbyn be expected to do better?

      The election of Trump punched the UK political nose 90 degrees round its face, and it’s now located somewhere around the right ear. That puts Corbyn in a difficult position because the left ear is now where the nose was, making it an easy target for little Scottish Nationalist upstarts like Craig. Upstarts in the British Establishment sense, not mine.

      We are all in this Rubricks cube, being twisted round in 3 dimensions by a US elite that is controlled by a Zionist lobby that wants to use USUK + France + Saudi real power to carve out a Greater Israel in stolen land in Syria. What good little slaves of Mammon the muppets of Daegshit and Al Qaida are!

        • Martinned

          I think the secret is to write with so much woolly metaphor within simily within metaphor than no one has the faintest idea what he’s saying.

      • Resident Dissident

        Pathetic – “that is controlled by a Zionist lobby that wants to use USUK + France + Saudi real power to carve out a Greater Israel in stolen land in Syria”. I wonder where we have heard that old tune before..

        • Resident Dissident

          “that is controlled by a Zionist lobby that wants to use USUK + France + Saudi real power to carve out a Greater Israel in stolen land in Syria.”


          {Lets see if the censors will even allow a single word criticism of that view.)

  • Wilfrid Whattam

    I agree with you on most things, but not completely on this. Corbyn did support Remain and delivered over 70% of Labour votes to Remain. His camoaigning was nuanced, and quite rightly so, and not the hyperventillating fear campaign that others offered. Given the referendum win for Brexit, he is also quite right to support the democratic result. Scotland, of course should gain independence, especially considering their Remain stance. The result also poses real fears for renewed violence in Ireland.

    The problems with the EU are not solely due to current neoliberal dominance – it has always been like that. They are also due to the engrained austerity of Germany – because of the deeply embedded fears, reflected in their (socialist) Minister of Finance, of a return to the post WW1 economic devastation. Yannis Varoufakis is an ardent campaigner for EU change, a very revealing commentator on the disgusting undemocratic nature of the EU, and a campaigner for Remain, who strongly influenced Corbyn. Yet, Varoufakis also supports Brexit as a democratic imperative.

    Brexit is not a disaster. That view is just way over the top. Things will settle down, but will be different. This is not a sign of complacence, but of reality.

    Nevertheless, I will keep reading you with great interest, especially where you present evidence, rather than just opinion! I also give you the opportunity to rubbish my rather distanced views – I have lived in NZ for the past 33 years!

    • Martinned

      Corbyn did support Remain and delivered over 70% of Labour votes to Remain.

      “delivered”? You mean those people would not have voted remain but for the fact that Corbyn convinced them?

      • Resident Dissident

        Unfortunately the number of Labour voters is a shrinking population – Corbyn needs to understand that he needs to appeal beyond the minority of true believers. I confidently predict that after the next Election that 100% of Labour voters will have supported the Labour Party – and that just as Tony Benn did in 1983 it will be proclaimed as a great victory for socialism.

  • Sharp Ears

    I heard on the Daily Politics programme that the average annual pension for a EU official (to which we are committed to contribute to post Brexit) equates to three times the annual average wage for a worker in this country.

    Stitched up.

      • Sharp Ears

        Mods. Please remove this attempt at an ad hominem. Yet again any response I make is removed and the troll’s nonsense remains. Fair? No.

    • michael norton

      All the disgusting E.U.apparatchik, should be striped of pensions, especially Kinnock.

      • Habbabkuk


        Two questions:

        1/. “all”? Would that include, for example, a secretary who spent her working life in an EU institution?

        Your answer would probably be “a secretary is not an apparatchik”. In that case, would you defined carefully what you mean by an “apparatchik ” in the EU context?

        2/. Why?

        EU civil servants pay pension contributions throughout their career into a fully-funded pensions scheme (as opposed to, for example, the UK state pensions scheme which is pay-as-you-go).

        Would you kike to be stripped of any pensions (whether fully-funded or pay-as-you-go) you enjoy and for which you have contributed?

        • Why be ordinary

          If the scheme is fully funded, why are they trying to levy a charge on the UK to keep it going post Brexit?

        • michael norton

          The Winslow Boy-Baron Mandelson,
          Neil Shysterl Kinnock-Baron Kinnock

          these are the Eurocrat-loons who should be striped of all pensions and honours.

      • Phil the ex-frog

        Sarcasm tag! In fact, this comment means just the opposite to what it says! Martinned really thinks other people should be allowed to earn more than a steel worker. It’s unambiguous, clever fun!

  • xAnonx

    Labour under Corbyn is quite pathetic, but this is the problem the western left have today, they have nothing to say and if they have something to say, they dont dare to say it.

    Its a pathetic bunch of people really that have no real power nor any radicalism.

    • Alcyone

      And not the foggiest understanding or experience of Business.

      It was laughable when, during the last elections, they took out advertisements featuring various business leaders and quoting them; almost all the people quoted rejected their rubbish and claimed they were not only quoted out of context but without prior consultation.

      I mean you look into Labours relationships with business, after all these decades and centuries and you come up with zilch.

      PS Similarly when Craig makes comments about the economy, what does he understand about Business? Without Business, there is no Economy. Like Russia. Unlike China. I don’t know about Scotland–maybe someone can give us a bird’s-eye view? Has Scotland ever manufactured a car? Do they make tyres? Golf carts? What about Technology, the New Economy? There are a fair few universities–what has been their contribution to the economy? Historians?

  • Habbabkuk

    There is a view on here that because the vote in Scotland was largely against Brexit, the Union-wide overall vote in favour of Brexit has no validity for Scotland.

    Let us consider an analogous case.

    In the Scottish independence referendum, Orkney and Shetland voted decisively (around two thirds to one third) against Scottish independence. If there were to be a second Scottish independence referendum resulting in a victory for the independence camp but in which Orkney and Shetland voted “no” in more or less the same proportion as during the first referendum, would Orkney and Shetland be justified in asking to remain within the United Kingdom or to ask for any other sort of constitutional arrangement (eg, some form of association with oil-rich Norway…) guaranteeing them independence from an independent Scotland?

    • Resident Dissident

      Given that the opinion polls show this

      I am pretty sure that Sturgeon be a fairly astute politician will not be calling a 2nd referendum yet, despite what Craig and others may be saying. She knows that if a 2nd referendum is lost then this time there really will not be another for a generation.

      What she will actually want is to see the Brexit negotiations to be going badly, and I’m sure she will now do all she can to encourage such an outcome.

      • Habbabkuk

        Res Diss

        “What she will actually want is to see the Brexit negotiations to be going badly..”


        Or at least wait to see how they appear to be going (bearing in mind the fact that most negotiations appear to go badly and that the more difficult the negotiations, the nearer the wire they go before achieving a mutually satisfactory outcome.

        As I asked earlier on :

        “Is it sensible and logical to call for a second Scottish independence referendum before the future relationship between the UK and the EU is known concretely following the outcome of the impending negotiations?”

        • Resident Dissident

          Sense and logic doesn’t come into it I’m afraid. Sturgeon is driven by one main objective – she will not go for a referendum now, but will try to time it for when the Brexit negotiations appear to be offering the worst deal to the Scottish electorate. If I were an SNP supporter I would trust her judgement on these matters rather more than Craig’s.

    • Iain Stewart

      As Scotland is to England, so is Orkney to Scotland. It is a common analogy, which could go further still, to argue that Lerwick and Scrabster, say, could go their separate ways too, assuming they voted differently from each other.

      Except that constitutionally the United Kingdom is a union of nations. But Scotland is not a union of regions. Therefore the analogy does not hold. It is surely as perfectly legitimate for Scotland to argue for its own national opinion as for England or Wales to argue for theirs, and to draw its own conclusions? For what it is worth, I fear that the natural extreme prudence of the Scots will tend to lead them to stand by the lifeboats (to use an earlier analogy) but without getting in. To be forced out of one prosperous union is vexing and enraging. But then to dissolve voluntarily another would require an uncharacteristic boldness verging on foolhardiness. But why not? Is that not what our English neighbours have so recently exhibited?

      Of course, Scotland is not Ireland in 1916 despite the frequently heard parallels between two small nations groaning under oppression of one sort or another and their desire for self rule. But the same pro-dependence argument often used (perhaps as a mere provocation) dates from even earlier: “you are too small, too poor and too stupid to survive without us and our guidance”.

      • Resident Dissident

        Do nations rather than people really have opinions. The common fallacy of nationalists and the autocrats who think that they speak for nations.

        • Iain Stewart

          “Do nations rather than people really have opinions.”
          Or is there such a thing as the general will, as Rousseau suggested?
          Then, if it exists, is counting votes the best way to know it?
          Perhaps there no such thing as society?

          • Martinned

            If children have a problem, it is society that is at fault. There is no such thing as society. There is living tapestry of men and women and people and the beauty of that tapestry and the quality of our lives will depend upon how much each of us is prepared to take responsibility for ourselves and each of us prepared to turn round and help by our own efforts those who are unfortunate.


          • Iain Stewart

            “men and women and people”
            No society then, but male, female and indeterminate human beings living in some sort of colourful embroidery or patchwork. Until my distant recollection was corrected by Martinned I thought she had said “there are only individuals and families” rather like in the poorer and more corrupt African states.

      • Habbabkuk

        You make a couple of pertinent points although your general argument is rather formalistic and your mention of Scrabster and Lerwick might be pushing matters too far. 🙂

        I do believe the analogy holds, though. It is true that Orkney and Shetland are not “in Union” with Scotland in the sense of the England/Wales – Scotland Union but they are distinct parts of Scotland with a rather unique history and culture which is reflected in the fact that they enjoy (together with the Western Isles) a unique administrative local govt status within Scotland as laid down by law (please correct if wrong).

        • Resident Dissident

          If you go to the Highlands you will find that there are not a few prepared to sound off about those in Holyrood/Glasgow/Edinburgh being out of touch.

          • Habbabkuk

            So I understand. I believe there have also been, in the past at least, views that Orkney and Shetland should obtain autonomy from Scotland but I couldn’t possibly comment.

        • Rob Royston

          They are separate regions among the current 32 Scottish Regions. They were given their own regional status in a local government re-organisation. I think Orkney and Shetland used to be one authority previously and the Western Isles was divided between Ross and Cromarty and Inverness-shire. The new arrangement with Orkney and Shetland each having it’s own authority and the Western Isles joined into one authority makes a lot of sense as there are so many inhabited islands in each group that all need many services administered. The researching of the history and the cultures of the areas has also been boosted by the changes, it was definitely one of the best Government decisions over recent years.

          • Habbabkuk


            Thank you for those further clarifications.

            May I take it that you disagree with Iain Stewart’s assertion that “Scotland is not a union of regions” (in any practicam sense)?

          • Rob Royston

            It’s not quite that simple. Although they are sometimes referred to as Scottish Regions during elections, they are actually Council areas. The word region can apply to sometimes more than one Council area. For example, Visit Scotland have a region called Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire which as the name suggests encompasses two Councils.
            Before Local Government re-organisation there were Local and Regional Councils in Scotland. One layer was removed but the reference to regions persists.

      • fred

        ‘But the same pro-dependence argument often used (perhaps as a mere provocation) dates from even earlier: “you are too small, too poor and too stupid to survive without us and our guidance”.’

        But who said that? I’ve heard it said by many a Nationalist, since it was first said by John Swiney back in 2001, the Nationalists keep on saying that is what the Unionists say but I don’t recall ever hearing a Unionist saying it. It’s a phrase constantly repeated by Nationalists.

        • Iain Stewart

          An early use of the expression, though better written of course, is in “John Bull’s Other Island” in a similar context. The same argument is seen frequently on these very pages, suggesting that Scotland has produced nothing of worth beyond, say, tins of imported shortbread. Too wee too poor too stupid is the generally accepted translation of the same oft repeated message. A sober pro-dependence supporter is unlikely to employ such plain language to express his idea, which would explain your lack of recollection.

  • Robert

    I see Edward Snowden is going to be handed over by Putin to Trump as a gift, and that the new head of the CIA is calling for him to be executed. Any chance of a suitably grovelling public apology BY YOU for your role in peddling Assange’s pitiful lies about the Russian hacking of the DNC e-mails. YOU HELPED PUT TRUMP IN POWER. You are now responsible for Snowden’s plight. Such is your idiocy.

    • Habbabkuk

      Calm down, Robert.

      Your yelp of “YOU HELPED PUT TRUMP IN POWER” merely confirms that some people ascribe far too much influence – and certainly far too much power – to the often demented scribblings on this and other blogs.

      I hereby pronounce you and your ilk responsible for the situation in Ukraine, global warming and the current cold snap.

    • Clark

      It’s just a claim by US intelligence. I haven’t seen any announcement from the Russian government. Probably it’s just more anti-Russian smearing.

      • Martinned

        Yes. Clearly a news report that sounds bad for Russia isn’t true until Russia confirms it! Until then it’s just anti-Russian smearing…


        • Clark

          No, the original suggestion seems to have come from former acting CIA Director Michael Morell. On January 15, he wrote:

          “Noon on January 20th provides an excellent opportunity for Russian President Vladimir Putin to give President-Elect Donald Trump the perfect inauguration gift – Edward Snowden […] The ball is in President Putin’s court. President-Elect Trump can encourage his Russian counterpart behind the scenes. What an opportunity for them both”

          So what if US intelligence has eavesdropped upon a conversation about this article?

          • Clark

            RT didn’t seem keen on January 18:


            Russian Foreign Ministry spokesperson, Maria Zakharova, responded sharply, saying that Russia does not betray its principles and does not hand out “gifts”.

            – “But seriously, the essence of what the [former] CIA [chief] is proposing, is the ideology of betrayal,” Zakharova wrote. “It is clear that, for the CIA-man’s firm, it is normal to present people as gifts and give up those who seek protection.”

    • giyane


      The press lied about Craig transferring documents/ files about the DNC emails to Assange.
      Craig merely testified that the press and Obama lied about Russia hacking them, because he knew that they were leaked by a Democratic insider. The sum total of lies about 9/11 by the press and the neo-con establishment put President Trump on his path of confrontation with the neo-cons:
      ” Donald Trump was the first personality in the world to contest the official version of the attacks of 9/11, on television that very day. After having noted that the engineers who built the Twin Towers were now working for him, he declared on New York’s Channel 9 that it was impossible that Boeings could have burst through the steel structures of the towers. He continued by stating that it was also impossible that Boeings could have caused the towers to collapse. He concluded by affirming that there had to be other factors of which we were as yet unaware.”

      9/11 has its own thread on this blog and cannot be discussed here on this thread. This is just a taster.

      Lastly, the victory of Russia and its disposable asset President Assad, also resulted from US insider leaks.
      US military leaders have been incredibly dissatisfied by neo-con, pro-Zionist policy resulting in the ongoing destruction of Muslim countries for no sensible purpose, except to de-stabilise the entire world for the benefit of one individual rogue state. They leaked vital espionage to the Russians about Syria via academic military links.

      Donald Trump is not fully in control of the neo-cons, who wish to pursue a policy of confrontation with Russia and support for Islamic State and Al Qaida, who(m) Russia and China fear. At the moment the intellectual classes of the West want to keep the neo-con status quo. We bomb Muslims and support Terror against Muslim civilians while protecting ourselves from any backlash by universal spying.

      Snowden is the sacred cow of the utterly hypocritical Western intellectuals. They lap up any bit of tripe from the terrorists , while shedding crocodile tears over Snowden and Assange etc, because they rely on the stranglehold of universal spying to sleep cosily in their memory foam beds. Can you see any irony in the reports of Assad killing USUKIS terrorists on a mass scale because they are proxies of a foreign power, while Pompei wants to kill Snowden because he is a proxy of Russia?

      Trump is stating the obvious that, in a small world, setting fire to Muslim countries is like making a fire in the middle of your front room out of your furniture. And that holding together an entire class of in-the-know spyers who know that universal spying is taking place, is impossible. Political Deviousness has fallen flat on its face.

      Politics has tied itself into knots and its driving the knot-tyers nuts because nothing makes sense any more and the people won’t sign off stuff any more that doesn’t make sense.

    • J

      “Any chance of a suitably grovelling public apology BY YOU for your role in peddling Assange’s pitiful lies about the Russian hacking of the DNC e-mails.”

      I’d love to see your evidence for any part of any of that. Besides which, I think you may have gotten your impression of who was saying what entirely garbled.

  • Phil the ex-frog

    Where tf does this idea, that we must judge an institution by some theoretical potential rather than policy, come from? Presumably then we should not judge Westminster by what it does. After all it too could change policy. By this bizarre measure we can not judge any institution by what it actually does. After all, nothing is immutible. All institutions have the potential to change policy. Judge by what could possibly be.

    Craig insists the English and Welsh are racist for Brexit. Yet the EU, which had a policy to let migrants drown in the med, which at gunpoint turns refugees back into the misery of Turkish camps, whose member states are increasingly under the influence of real nationalist parties who let migrants freeze behind barbed wire, this EU, which has driven the Southern poor into poverty, is merely in need of a change of policy. The member states, who have keenly embraced neo-liberalism will, even under pressure from the growing right, be persuaded to u turn by a new egalitarian Scottish state. New policies all round comrades Merkel, Kaczynski and Hoffer! My friends Orban and Le Penn! EU First and boo to the evil English and Welsh!

      • Phil the ex-frog

        Ah, legal/econ guy, your sarcasm is both punchy and clever. Such modern pseudo tags too! [/wanker]

        • Martinned

          Best not to risk running into Poe’s law, especially on this blog. And given that the blog uses regular tags, I have to use square brackets to make sure they show up.

          • Phil the ex-frog

            Ah, legal/econ guy, your riposte is a devastating defense of the EU and not at all dull or entirely besides the point.

          • Phil the ex-frog

            No, no I’m sorry. I’ve reread your comments and it’s true, I cannot contest your outstanding sacrcasm made clear with tags. I now see that the EU should not be judged by what it does. That’s just for other institutions.

          • Martinned

            No, no institutions should be judged by what they do. People should be judged by what they do. Institutions are just the tools that people use to do things.

          • Phil the ex-frog

            Ah, econ/legal guy, such insight. So institutions are people made? Thanks!

            I am still wondering why the EU should be judged by different criteria from other institutions.

          • Phil the ex-frog

            So no institutions can be judged by what they do? Only by their potential to change? Wow. Outstanding.

            However, you did use the word “strawman” and act all superior so I’m thinking perhaps your case is not as idiotic as it clearly is.

          • Why be ordinary

            An Insitution is an inanimate object, like a machete. You can cut cane with it, or cut people with it. The institution is not to blame, it is the person holding the handle

  • Harold T

    (T)here 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.

    The first is typified by people who put “ECOSSE” stickers on their cars. It’s a way of saying they hate the English but without appearing to share an attitude with the drunken scagged-up yobs on the schemes who hate the Pakis. It’s like watching sport and supporting a) Scotland and b) whoever is playing against England. This kind of “internationalism” is totally fake. It comes from having massive chips on shoulders.

    The second is a bunch of moneygrabbers who think their freemasonic connections will get them big grants if an independent Scotland is in the EU. After all, what works in the Republic of Ireland, eh?

    The whole line that Scotland needs to be independent so that it can be in the EU when the rUK leaves is dishonest.

    Let’s hope enough voters realise that an independent Scotland inside the EU while the rUK is outside it and outside the single market will have to obey EU rules. And don’t fiddle with those chips on shoulders while I’m talking! Yes, membership of an international union means obeying that union’s rules. Even for people who are Scottish. That will mean that the government of an independent Scotland

    * will not be allowed to permit free travel into Scotland from south of the border
    * will be required to allow free travel to Scotland from Poland, Romania and Bulgaria
    * will not be allowed to be in a single market with rUK.

    So being in a Union where Scotland will send 10% of its exports is preferable to being in one where it sends 65%? It’s OK. Just shout “YOU’RE JUST SCARE-MONGERING, YOU BASTARD” and “YOU’VE BEEN CONNED BY THE LONDON MEDIA” when you’re told. Adding “YORE A MORAN” is optional.

    The only kind of people who will be persuaded are nationalist tossers who think they can scam grants out of it, and complete idiots in all other parts of the population.

    This “Scotland is SO internationalist, and we so DESPERATELY need to be in the EU” is a middle-class dishonest way of saying “Fuck Off, English Scum”.

    • Harold T

      I know Scottish people who have lived in England for a few years, in an arrangement they intended to be temporary, who always intended to move back to Scotland in later life but who say that if Scotland goes independent they will never again live north of the border.

      • Harold T

        Here’s the truth:

        * if Britain leaves the EU, the most important region for Britain to trade with and cooperate with economically will still be THE EU (but few Leavers have the guts or sense to say that)

        * if Scotland leaves the British Union, the most important region for an independent Scotland to trade with and cooperate with economically would still be ENGLAND (but few Scottish nationalists have the guts or sense to say that)

        * if Scotland leaves the British Union, the most important region for an independent rUK to trade with and cooperate with economically would be rEU, and in particular, the major countries in it, including Germany, France, Italy, and the Netherlands

        Take that third scenario. Now either Scotland would be allowed to join the EU or it wouldn’t. If it would, then Germany and France are still going to be more important areas for rUK trade than little Scotland. If it wouldn’t, then a fortiori. And remember, an rUK government wouldn’t have to look after Scottish interests, and they wouldn’t be the biggest bastards in the world for not doing so.

    • Why be ordinary

      Interesting. But I can’t help thinking that the theoretical argument about Scotland taking place here ignores the obvious example being worked on for Ireland. The Brexit negotiations will have to come up with a workable solution for the island of Ireland, between two entities one in the UK and the other in the rEU (given that the only thing worse for the Irish than any form of EU membership would be a return to the UK). Whatever solution is arrived at for Ireland should be pretty easily transferable to Great Britain.

      • Harold T

        I agree with your last sentence. Unfortunately I don’t envisage a working solution being found in Ireland that many people are keen on. It is impossible for ROI to be in a single market with both Britain (or rUK) and rEU if they are not in a single market with each other. Similarly, x cannot be equal to both y and z if y isn’t equal to z. If Britain (or rUK) is outside the customs union too, the Irish border will become even more of a barrier. The only “solution” that keeps the border open to free movement of goods and people as it is now would be Irexit.

        I am strongly in favour of Britain staying in the EU. But if it leaves, and if it leaves the EU’s single market and customs union, and if Scotland goes independent, then the best solution for Scotland would be not to join the EU. The idea that Scotland needs independence so as to “stay” in the EU is utter codswallop. Whatever happens, an independent Scotland’s most important external economic relations would be with rUK, in which by far the most economically productive region would be England. Grownup supports of Scottish independence should admit that. There would have to be negotiations between Scotland and rUK, and seriously I don’t think the SNP is up to it, given their largely fake internationalism, their terrible penchant for whingeing, and their habit of blaming “London” or “Westminster” or “the Tories”, i.e. England, for everything. How long could an SNP government of an independent Scotland keep up its whingeing that rUK was ignoring Scotland’s interests? The message from rUK “Hey, rUK is independent of Scotland now, so look after your own damned interests” would eventually get home. That’s just normal international relations. There’s nothing odd about it. Here’s the bottom line: an iScotland’s relations with rUK would be FAR MORE IMPORTANT to it than rUK’s relations with iScotland would be to rUK. That would put Scotland in a very weak position. Scotland is stronger within Britain.

        Scotland needs the border open to free movement of goods and people, and the only ways it can get that are 1) to stay in Britain and b) to go independent and to have the same relation to the EU as rUK does – i.e. to leave if rUK leaves, and to stay in if rUK stays in. I would have far more respect for Scottish nationalists if they grew up and admitted it. Surely some in the SNP leadership are aware of it. This is assuming they haven’t drunk too much of what they’re trying to sell to voters.

  • xAnonx

    Although, why would Corbyn embrace globalism (EU for example)? Not to mention that the brits’ voted to leave but also due to ideological reasons?

  • michael norton

    Berlin is bringing home its gold reserves stored in New York, London and Paris faster than scheduled, Germany’s central bank said Thursday. The move is linked to surging euroskepticism, as new governments in France and Italy may ditch the single currency.

    Good idea Germany.What about diamonds from Namibia?

    • michael norton

      I have heard that Italy is about to fall off a cliff.
      Let’s hope it makes a softish landing in the Mediterranean Sea.

      • michael norton

        Cyprus, Greece, Portugal, Italy, Spain, Ireland, France, Belgium
        all up shit creek without a paddle.
        Guess what they have in common?
        The Euro

    • lysias

      I wonder to what extent it’s been the German gold stored in New York vaults (always potentially subject to confiscation or diversion – it happened to Iran) that has been responsible for Germany slavishly following U.S. foreign and military policies.

      On Jan. 1, a revision of the German Criminal Code (Strafgesetzbuch) went into effect that eliminated the article that made aggressive war a criminal act.

      • Harold T

        Have you got some details? Aggressive war against other states remains a breach of the UN Charter.

    • Harold T

      Germany’s gold repatriation is linked to much more than just the prospect that France and Italy may leave the eurozone. They could reintroduce the deutschmark and leave the gold in Manhattan, where it’s been since long before the euro came into existence. But that’s not what they’re doing. They want the gold back in Germany because of the prospect of economic collapse and major war.

  • lysias

    FT taking seriously the possibility of a Le Pen government, which would apparently redominate 80 percent of government debt in restored francs.

    I am about to begin the process of renewing my Irish passport. The new passport may well be one of the last saying “European Union” on its cover.

    Varoufakis mayyet get his wish with respect to Greek debt.

    • michael norton

      Apparently the Penelope Scandal is ruining the chances of the front-runner ( media) Francois Fillon, so much has come about about their family filling their boots with public money, even if he could make an explanation, he will no longer win.
      A bit like what was said of Clinton, she sunk like a stone.
      Just time for Fillon to retire and let Sarky back in?

      • Harold T

        @Michael, you are behind the times. Fillon is no longer the frontrunner, either in the polls or the betting market. Macron is.

        Like Fillon, Macron is beset by scandal. So in fact is Le Pen.

        But there’s a difference. Fillon is accused of dishonestly trousering French parliament money. Macron is accused of spending French government money on wining and dining bankers and other private sector figures to induce them to support his campaign. (He says he did it to help the French government.) So they are both accused of fraudulently using FRENCH government money to help THEMSELVES. Le Pen is accused of spending EU money (from the EU parliament) on her party, the National Front.

        So basically it’s Fillon and Macron using French public money to further their interests, and it’s Le Pen versus the EU. The collection of scandals as it currently stands favours Le Pen. It helps her message: Fillon and Macron are nicking French public money while she’s getting one over on the EU.

        • michael norton

          sorry, gobbledygook.

          @ Harold, I like it.
          Marine is sticking it to the hated European Union, while the other pair of shysters are stiffing the French purse.

          Fillon, against expectations, became the top boy in Les Republicans, if he steps aside now, they have a chance to drop somebody else in the race.

          Some have said that Macron is batting away suggestions he has been having an interlude
          with a male.

  • JOML

    Why do the English rugby team have blue socks? I’d have thought their strip would reflect the colours of the flag of St George. Thought I’d ask as there appears to be a few posters here today with all the answers. Thanks in advance.

    • JOML

      I now know it’s to do with club rugby, pre-1930. I can finally forgive Rob Andrew for having a blue cuff back in 1995!

  • exiled off mainstreet

    I have to take issue with you on this one. In light of the anti-democratic neoliberal nature of EU governance, and in light of the fact it has often degenerated into a transmission belt of yankee influence, Labour under Corbyn is taking a reasonable position to back the implementation of Brexit, which was voted in despite the tactical opposition of Corbyn at the time. Corbyn, during the brexit debate, took a position which appeared to be contrary to his basic view because he was not a free agent but under threat from the Blairite element, which used the surprise defeat of the EU to mount a coup against Corbyn which failed, freeing him up to follow his true instincts. Even the position of the Scottish Nationalists on this issue appears to an outsider to be tactical, because the examples of Greece and elsewhere reveals that real socialist policies such as those espoused by the SNP would be verboten under EU guidelines. Most of Corbyn’s plan, including renationalisation of public utilities, also falls within this classification. The EU efforts to short-circuit democracy in bringing in trade pacts such as TTIP which include extra-legal arbitration courts which would remove all consumer regulation over time by putting them under the sufferance of private, corrupt arbitration courts, reveals their hostility to the public interest. The historical fact that the EU itself was at least partially as a result of US influence, since they thought they could more easily control a “united” Europe than separate countries, is another reason to be sceptical of the organisation. The recent neoliberal push, particularly against southern European states, is another historical fact. Can the National Health service be restored under EU guidelines? I think not. Are the Russian sanctions imposed by the EU in the interest of sovereign European states, or are they merely one more indication that the EU is a vassal construction of the yankee imperium? Bearing in mind that the Brexit result was narrowed as a result of Corbyn’s efforts to keep his leadership against hostile elements and in light of the fact the SNP’s opposition to it (as well as Sinn Fein’s whose other views appear hostile to the neoliberal EU pattern) was obviously tactical and these elements depressed the Brexit vote, can you realistically aver that Corbyn’s efforts to represent the views of his supporters are anything other than trying to best represent the interests of his supporters, whether or not they may have been fooled by the rhetoric of the power structure on this issue?

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