The Weekly paper of the New Communist Party of Britain
Week commencing 15th December 2017

We really do need to leave the EU

by Daphne Liddle

RICHARD Branson’s Virgin Care was awarded a £328,000 pay-out following a contractual dispute over the provision of services in Surrey.

But the trade laws that allowed Virgin to sue the NHS are part and parcel of European Union (EU) business regulations that see health care as a commodity and the provision of its services as a free market.

The EU is not to be mistaken for the people of Europe — their diverse cultures, their values and their best intentions to promote peace, freedom, equality and goodwill in the continent and throughout the world.

The EU has evolved out of the Common Market, founded by the Treaty of Rome as a giant business cartel created for the purpose of allowing businesses based in Europe to enjoy maximum profits — at the expense mainly of the workers of Europe.

Since then the Maastricht, Schengen and Lisbon treaties have steadily increased the powers of private enterprise at the expense of workers’ rights. They claim to have brought freedom of travel to the workers of Europe.

One change brought by the Lisbon treaty is that if a company based in one EU country opens a factory or does construction work in another, it can ship in its own workforce and employ them under the wages, conditions and labour laws of their own country.

This encourages companies throughout the EU to register themselves in the country with the worst wages, conditions and labour laws in the continent and to move thousands of workers around, employ them on the worst possible terms and shatter the labour laws, wages and conditions in the host country, bringing wages and conditions down to the lowest common level throughout Europe.

We do not see that as any kind of freedom of movement for the workers. We see that as economic coercion to force workers through poverty and unemployment away from their homes, treat them like slaves and separate them from trade unions and any kind of organised labour protection in any country.

The EU designated different member countries to different economic roles so that they would become inter-dependent. Britain was to be de-industrialised and designated to provide ‘financial services’. Our economy was to be based on the commission that tricked out of these dealings.

It suited British capitalists — just sitting at computers watching numbers and no more problems with industrial unions. It allowed Margaret Thatcher to close our steel industry, coal and most other manufacturing — and to impose draconian anti-union laws.

Once out of the EU we will need to rebuild our industries and our trade unions in order to raise living standards.

An article by Daniel Hannan in International Business Times UK gives a timely warning about perceiving “The-single-market-and-customs-union” as one entity during Brexit negotiations.

“We’re talking about two different things,” he says. “The Single Market is a series of agreements on competition rules, technical standards, labour laws and environmental policies. Some of these are beneficial, some innocuous and some damaging.

“There is a legitimate debate about to be had about which aspects of the Single Market we should aim to retain after we leave...

“The customs union is something else entirely. It is an agreement whereby all EU members hand over 100 per cent of their trade policy to Brussels and agree, instead of setting their own tariffs against third countries, to apply the EU’s Common External Tariff...

“One big advantage of Brexit is being able to strike our own trade deals...

“Staying in the customs union while being outside the EU would be the worst of all worlds. It would mean that we surrendered our trade policy to an often protectionist European Commission while having no input into what that policy should be. It would be worse than remaining members...

“Why should Britain seek a worse deal than the EFTA [European Free Trade Association] nations? Why pursue a status shared only by micro-states that were already in a customs union with their larger neighbours, such as Monaco and San Marino? Even Turkey is only in a partial customs union with the EU, and complains frequently about it.

“No, there is only one possible reason to remain in the customs union, namely as a way of transitioning back into full membership. That is what Cleggie and Chuka and the rest plainly want. I just wish they’d man up and say so, instead of insulting our intelligence like this.”

This is why when we hear Labour’s Keir Starmer refusing to rule out Britain leaving the customs union and the single market, alarm bells should start to ring.