THE NEW WORKER

The Weekly paper of the New Communist Party of Britain
Week commencing 2nd February 2018


Build support for Corbyn now

by Daphne Liddle

LABOUR has forced the Government to publish a leaked Whitehall draft paper providing an assessment of the impact of the various options for Brexit on the future of the British economy. Many Tory backbenchers supported the Labour call and the Government agreed not to contest the vote on publication on Wednesday.

The paper had already been leaked and all its scenarios predicted that Britain would be worse off with Brexit. But the softest version was clearly promoted as being the least damaging.

But there’s doubt on both sides of the House about the accuracy of the figures amid speculation that they’ve been massaged to support the option most favoured by Theresa May and Chancellor Philip Hammond.

May and Hammond seem determined to get parliamentary backing for the softest version of Brexit, which in reality would be leaving the European Union in name only, while remaining subject to all its economic restrictions and regulations without any say in drawing them up.

May would much prefer not to leave the EU at all. She would like a second referendum to reverse the first and the rest of the EU would be only too pleased to welcome Britain back to the fold. The EU policy of keeping Britain de-industrialised and earning its bread through “financial services” would then continue. But whether she could get this past the Eurosceptic majority in her ranks is another matter.

So, a “super-soft” Brexit, for her, would be a safe second choice, with Britain remaining in the single market and restricted on trading outside it. She is expected to present such an option to Parliament in the autumn and she knows she will face a real challenge to get it through.

Labour will oppose it and so will many Tory backbenchers. But, on the Labour backbenches there is a group of Blairites who are campaigning for support for May’s super-soft Brexit.

If May loses the vote she will lose her leadership of the Tory Party and there will probably be a general election early next year. There is a good chance that Jeremy Corbyn would win this for Labour.

But he would need to win it with a substantial majority in order to be able to negotiate a strong Brexit. With a small majority he would be vulnerable to Remainer Tories, Scottish Nationalists, Liberal Democrats and Blairites uniting to demand a second referendum or the acceptance of a super-soft Brexit.

This is why we now must campaign hard for a Labour government with a majority that will give it effective power to implement a proper Brexit. And we must continue to campaign to remind people of the damaging effect of the EU on the on lives of workers throughout the continent.

Remainers talk about human rights and protection for workers. But when did the Common Market defend the human rights of the oppressed people in the occupied north of Ireland?

When did it defend our right to take strike action? Our coal and steel industries were sacrificed to EU economic policies and in the fight to kill off our coal industry a massive fight with the National Union of Mineworkers ended in a series of cuts to our trade union rights.

Instead we have a two-page social chapter of the Maastricht treaty that is little more than a fig leaf for workers’ rights.

We desperately need re-investment and modernisation of our industries and outside the EU a Labour government would be free to do this.

Other Remainers talk about immigration and racism. But EU regulations severely curtail immigration from outside the EU — from Africa, Asia or Latin America. We need a humane immigration policy that is not based on race or colour of skin — or one that only lets in very high earners. Currently, under EU regulations we have a very unfair, racist and cruel immigration policy.

With Jeremy Corbyn as Prime Minister and truly outside the EU such an immigration policy would be possible — and an end to the awful detention centres. No immigrant should be detained unless there is very good evidence that they are a criminal.

So, we need to work hard to get Corbyn into power and, if there should be a second referendum, that the Brexit option will win again.