35 comments on “Jeremy Corbyn on Brexit

  1. Andy H on said:

    While I shall be voting to remain, I’m singularly unimpressed with the remain argument around workers rights.

    What that argument is effectively saying is that the left has so effectively failed in democratic processes in the UK that we have to plead with unelected bureaucrats elsewhere to impose rules upon us.

    That’s a pretty ringing indictment of both the left (that we are completely unable to do things on our own) and of the EU (that they can blithely override democratic decisions of member countries). We only need to look at Greece to see that this swings both ways – they can as easily impose right wing policies as left.

  2. Why do left wing supporters of Britain remaining in the EU think that Jeremy Corbyn’s humiliating compromise over his long standing an d principled opposition th Britain membership is something to celebrate.
    Would they celebrate a volte face on anti Union laws, or opposition to the Iraq war?

  3. John on said:

    Nick Wright: Why do left wing supporters of Britain remaining in the EU think that Jeremy Corbyn’s humiliating compromise over his long standing an d principled opposition th Britain membership is something to celebrate.

    This constitutes a serious calumny on Corbyn’s character, integrity, and honesty. Essentially, you are calling a politician a liar whose entire reputation is based on his authenticity, integrity, and principled attachment to social and economic justice.

    It is desperate and despicable stuff on the part of a group of marginal far left voices who have entered an unholy alliance with the far right in service to British nationalism.

  4. John: It is desperate and despicable stuff on the part of a group of marginal far left voices who have entered an unholy alliance with the far right in service to British nationalism.

    Have you been out drinking with Jim Denham?

    🙂 🙂 🙂

  5. Vanya on said:

    #5 John, by supporting remain you could be said to be in an unholy alliance with Teresa May, David Cameron and George Osbourne. Not to mention US imperialism.

    Do you think the regime at the job centres will get any better if we vote to stay in the EU? Or that the government will be less emboldened to attack the unions?

    And look at some of the unsavoury people who essentially agree with you over Syria. Are you a pall of Nick Griffin or the many other fascists and right wing nationalists who have spoken out in support of the Assad government? (The answer is obviously “no”).

    This attempt to paint people as friends of the far right for taking a position you don’t agree with is, as with all such methods of “debate”, lazy and useless.

    And further to my previous question, do you include Arthur Scargill? (Or for that matter the RMT, Aslef and the Bakers’ Union)? Interestingly broadly examples of the sort of militant trade unionism you have elsewhere lauded.

    You are also btw in league with Sir Paul Kenny who you’ve chosen to attack so vehemently in his trade union role (and unjustifiably in my opinion).

    Personally my admiration for Corbyn has not diminished one iota for the position he has taken on this issue, any more than his decision to allow a free vote over Syria.

    When this vote is over I hope to continue to work with people I disagree with over this issue, as I do at the moment.

    That would be less easy I suggest if I was accusing them of being agents of imperialism or shills for Cameron or if they were accusing me of being an ally of the far right.

  6. John on said:

    Vanya: by supporting remain you could be said to be in an unholy alliance with Teresa May, David Cameron and George Osbourne. Not to mention US imperialism.

    Yes, only if you were plumbing the depths of desperation. The broad left is firmly behind Remain – i.e. Labour, Momentum, the bulk of the trade union movement, Sinn Fein.

    This consensus cannot be so easily ignored or dismissed.

    Vanya: Do you think the regime at the job centres will get any better if we vote to stay in the EU? Or that the government will be less emboldened to attack the unions?

    Of course it could. The right wing of the Tory Party will assume control, propped up by an eruption of right wing conciousness and anti immigration sentiment. It will be springtime for Farage, who has already been credited by Galloway with making the referendum take place.

    More unemployment will be the result of Brexit, as investment dries up and the economy contracts.

    The condition of working people will go into sharp decline as the new Tory government, acting on behalf of British business, enacts policy designed to forestall the fall in the rate of profit.

    In order to deflect from the impact of this we will see even more aggressive demonisation of minorities and migrants.

    Vanya: Sir Paul Kenny who you’ve chosen to attack so vehemently in his trade union role (and unjustifiably in my opinion).

    I wonder if Ken Loach would ever accept a knighthood? In fact, I’m sure he would never be considered for one. Or how about Mick McGahey or Scargill?

    I’d be personally insulted to be offered such a title. Wouldn’t you? If not why not?

  7. Vanya on said:

    John: the bulk of the trade union movement,

    Including Sir Paul Kenny, but not the RMT (or Scargill).

    And no, I don’t think the “broad consensus” can be dismissed and I don’t do that. What I do is point out that I believe it to be wrong.

    There was also “broad consensus” that in the wake of the collapse of the USSR socialism was off the agenda in any meaningful sense and that was when the Labour Party got rid of Clause 4. I didn’t agree with that broad consensus either.

  8. John on said:

    Vanya: There was also “broad consensus” that in the wake of the collapse of the USSR socialism was off the agenda in any meaningful sense and that was when the Labour Party got rid of Clause 4. I didn’t agree with that broad consensus either.

    This is a wild comparison that bears no relation to the issue of Brexit or Remain. The alleged defeat of an ideology that had underpinned a country whose influence was felt throughout the world and which in its existence had posed an existential threat to capitalism simply cannot be credibly compared to a referendum that will see the dominant ideology remain firmly in place regardless of the result.

  9. Vanya on said:

    #11 Well not in Arthur Scargill’s opinion it wasn’t. When the SLP was founded the two policies he was clearest about were public ownership and getting out of the EU.

    There is a direct historic correlation between Labour’s move to the right, the defeats of the left and the trade union movement, and the readiness to embrace the European Union.

    I think he (and I) got it wrong tactically in attempting to set up a new mass party (the SLP) because we hadn’t foreseen how much of a failure Blair’s project would turn out to be in terms of the union link and an irreversible break with any vestige of socialist politics.

    But we were right about the EU. That broad consensus you refer to is a reflection of defeat and lack of confidence in the ability of the working class and its organisations in this country to achieve anything progressive, and a readiness to place reliance on institutions that are opposed to our basic goals.

  10. Vanya on said:

    #11 Well not in Arthur Scargill’s opinion it wasn’t. When the SLP was founded the two policies he was clearest about were public ownership and getting out of the EU.

    There is a direct historic correlation between Labour’s move to the right, the defeats of the left and the trade union movement, and the readiness to embrace the European Union.

    I think he (and I) got it wrong tactically in attempting to set up a new mass party (the SLP) because we hadn’t foreseen how much of a failure Blair’s project would turn out to be in terms of the union link and an irreversible break with any vestige of socialist politics. It was an ultra-left sectarian project.

    But we were right about the EU. That broad consensus you refer to is a reflection of defeat and lack of confidence in the ability of the working class and its organisations in this country to achieve anything progressive, and a readiness to place reliance on institutions that are opposed to our basic goals.

  11. John on said:

    Vanya: a readiness to place reliance on institutions that are opposed to our basic goals.

    I don’t support the Monarchy or the House of Lords and never have.

  12. John: Nick Wright: Why do left wing supporters of Britain remaining in the EU think that Jeremy Corbyn’s humiliating compromise over his long standing an d principled opposition th Britain membership is something to celebrate.

    This constitutes a serious calumny on Corbyn’s character, integrity, and honesty. Essentially, you are calling a politician a liar whose entire reputation is based on his authenticity, integrity, and principled attachment to social and economic justice.

    It is desperate and despicable stuff on the part of a group of marginal far left voices who have entered an unholy alliance with the far right in service to British nationalism.

    Don’t be daft John.
    I don’t think Corbyn is a liar. He is elected as leader of a party with an established policy and strong though his personal mandate is, it is not strong enough to, at this stage, impose his will on his parliamentary colleagues if that is in contradiction to the party’s policy.
    apart from that, the dogs in the street (and the baying hounds in the PLP) know where he has stood for decades on this subject.
    I understand, although regret, the position he has taken. It strengthens his hand somewhat in dealing with the is inner party opposition in that he can legitimately command a measure of collective unity in turn.
    This is the price you pay and the reward for what remains of democratic centralism (or collective reponsibility in Labour politics.
    But the price paid for stilling the voices of criticism and disloyalty in the PLP and falling in line with the deluded dreamers of “another EU is possible” is that a good section of Labour former voters and existing omnes will be put off unless he can turn up the volume on his critcisms of the EU.
    We might describe the Left reamainers as advocates of desperate and despicable stuff on the part of a group of marginal centrer left voices who have entered an unholy alliance with the bank, big business and US imperialism in service to their fake internationalism.
    But that would be offensive

  13. Vanya on said:

    #15 Spot on Nick.

    #14 You crack me up!

    Of course, neither do I.

    But seriously John, we could point to a number of issues where reactionary legislation has been given such a battering in the House of Lords that it’s been delayed too long to come into effect or has been watered down significantly.

    And at least our very inadequate bourgeois democratic constitution places severe limits on the powers of those vestiges of feudalism. As Nick’s comment should show, the situation with the EU is very different.

    That doesn’t make me want to maintain the Lords, but the logic of your attitude to the EU, and that of the majority of the Labour and trade union movement would be that we should.

  14. Vanya on said:

    Vanya: It was an ultra-left sectarian project.

    Some clever-cloggs has asked me if I think Blairism was ultra left sectarianism. Clearly I was referring to the SLP!! 🙂

  15. The thing is I don’t think either option in the referendum actually advances the left, and both require us to vote on the same side as some appalling people (EG: David Cameron or Boris Johnson, Tony Blair or Nigel Farage) and institutions (either the IMF or various fascist and borderline fascist parties). The options are to support the status quo or the unknown (but, I personally think, likely to be worse). I have no doubt that the Tories will grasp the opportunity of changing human rights legislation for the worse.

    While there may well be circumstances under which leaving the EU is a good idea, I’ve yet to see any good reason for it under these circumstances (IE: a Tory/ neo-liberal government). This actually existing Brexit is not about opposing TTIP, or improving democratic representation (which is as much a problem with the UK as it is with the EU). In fact, the main argument for Brexit now seems to be open racism, so fuck that.

    Also, Bertie Ahern makes a really good point about the effect that Brexit would have on the border between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland. That would become the most obvious route into the UK from the EU. Combine that with anti-immigrant and anti-refugee hysteria of the right-wing, and you have potential disaster.

  16. JN: While there may well be circumstances under which leaving the EU is a good idea, I’ve yet to see any good reason for it under these circumstances (IE: a Tory/ neo-liberal government).

    Err. We already have a Tory neo-liberal government (it succeeded a Tory Lib Dem neo-liberal government and an earlier New Labour neo-liberal goverment).
    The neo-liberal bit is wrapped up in the Lisbon Treaty.

  17. Vanya on said:

    I was leafleting a left remain meeting in Manchester with flyers for our lexit meeting next week. Owen Jones took one and I saw him laughing at it as he walked in. If I’d changed my mind publicly on the issue as often as him I’d like to think I’d demonstrate a bit more humility! 🙂

  18. Nick Wright: Err. We already have a Tory neo-liberal government

    Err… I know that. In fact, it was kind of fundamental to my point, which you have evidently misunderstood.

    To reiterate: I see no advantage to Brexit under a Tory, neo-liberal government (which, yes, obviously, for fucks sake, we currently have).

  19. George Hallam on said:

    JN: I see no advantage to Brexit under a Tory, neo-liberal government

    The UK faces a number of very serious economic problems: low investment, gross regional inequalities, job insecurity, unemployment/under-employment, deteriorating working conditions, a balance of payments deficit, etc.

    These are long-standing structural problems. Importantly for the Referendum debate, they are not rooted in Britain’s membership of the EU. It follows that leaving the EU won’t solve these problems.

    In what respects is this relevant to Brexit under a neo-liberal government?

    Firstly, since Brussels could no longer be blamed for our problems, the discussion about the economy would sharpen.

    Secondly, Brexit would give HMG access to the array of tried and tested policy tools banned by the EU. Of course, a neo-liberal government would not wish to use many of these tools (e.g. nationalisation, abolition of VAT and the reintroduction of purchase tax on luxury goods, tariffs and quotas for selected imports), however there is no doubt that many of these measures would be immensely popular.

    The combined effect of these two factors would allow campaigners to reach out to wide sections of the population and involve them in a way that is not possible while we remain in the EU.

  20. John on said:

    George Hallam: Firstly, since Brussels could no longer be blamed for our problems, the discussion about the economy would sharpen.

    For those who approach this as a parlour game, yes, I’m sure it would be nice to have such a discussion. Meanwhile, in the real world where the mortgage and bills have to be paid every month, the three million workers whose employment is dependent on the investment that comes from the EU, the EU market for our exports and EU imports, this luxury does not exist.

  21. George Hallam on said:

    John: For those who approach this as a parlour game, yes, I’m sure it would be nice to have such a discussion.

    It’s difficult to give a constructive reply to such a dismissive comment but I’ll try.

    Thank you for agreeing that Brexit would put discussion of the British economy on the agenda.

    I agree with you that many people will be too burdened by their problems to be willing to take part in politics. But that is also the case today.

    Perhaps we can also agree that if there is a majority for ‘Leave’ it will change the terrain on which we campaign. Since there is a possibility that this might happen, I think it’s worth considering the opportunities this might hold.

  22. George Hallam on said:

    John: I’m sure it would be nice to have such a discussion. Meanwhile, in the real world where the mortgage and bills have to be paid every month, the three million workers whose employment is dependent on the investment that comes from the EU, the EU market for our exports and EU imports, this luxury does not exist.

    The growth of inequalities between regions has led to massive increases housing costs.

    https://sentinelnews.co.uk/2016/06/01/how-the-housing-affordability-crisis-is-set-to-spread-across-england-by-2020/

    Sentinel’s model is simplistic but it does indicate that there is a growing problem. I can’t see how this cam be tackled within the framework of EU treaties.

    There was a letter in today’s Guardian that drew attention to the growing anger of ‘ C2DEs’.

    Scare stories about Brexit do not impress people whose lives are already crushed between newly brutal working conditions (Sports Direct, Amazon, zero-hours contracts) and the theft of their life chances. Their higher education is priced out of their reach, their social housing almost gone, their houses hoovered up into buy-to-let portfolios by ABC1s. There is a visceral desire to stick it to people who only discover a conscience when their own comfortable lives might suffer a slight dent. There is an especial anger reserved for the Labour party, the Blair and Brown years spent not in undoing the worst of Thatcherism but putting in place all the mechanisms later gleefully seized upon by the Tories (NHS marketisation, academy schools, PFI frauds, etc) to complete their project to destroy the 1945 settlement. All the Westminster parties appear to despise the C2DEs as knuckle-dragging, bigoted racists, so why should they turn out to defend an EU that almost exclusively benefits people other than themselves?

    http://www.theguardian.com/politics/2016/jun/07/winners-and-losers-from-the-eu-and-brexit

  23. Vanya on said:

    While I sympathise with John’s response to a dickhead who had a go about saying someone passed and using the wors icon, please stop saying parlour game. In advance, if you tell me to fuck off, I say fuck off and when you get back, fuck off again. Comrade.

  24. Vanya on said:

    #27 The one who had a go at John for saying “passed” instead of “dead” (or “died”) on one of the Mohamed Ali threads. Wors should have been “word.”

    And my doctor is right. 21 units per week, not per day.

  25. John Grimshaw on said:

    Vanya,

    I read the comment on the Mohammed Ali thread. I thought what John wrote was just fine. The other bloke was just being ultra pedantic.