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

Panicking Remainers’ two-pronged attack

THE RULING class in Britain is panicking at the prospect of a Corbyn Labour government in the near future with Britain decisively outside the economic controls of the European Union (EU). This would mark a significant shift in the balance of power between capital and Labour in Britain.

It would be a government free to trade with any country around the world and free to invest in British manufacturing industry. It would be a government ready to restore trade union rights and in so doing reverse the yawning wealth gap between rich and poor in Britain. It would be a government that could cap rents and burst the housing bubble that sees our cities’ forests of towering luxury homes owned by investment companies whilst our workers are forced to sleep on the streets.

Their original tactic was to make such a mess of the Brexit negotiations and get such a bad deal that people would be clamouring for a second referendum to reverse that of 2016. But they have made two very bad judgements of the mood of the people in Britain over the last two years in the 2016 referendum and last year’s general election — and weakened their own position. They have lost confidence. They are no longer sure that they could win a second referendum.

So, they are now trying to get the softest possible Brexit — with Britain effectively still in the EU in all but name. And they are spreading horror stories of what would happen — the pro-EU Tory MPs are tearing their pro-Brexit colleagues to pieces whilst, from the Labour backbenches, the remaining Blairites within Labour have launched an attack on the Lexit position — the left-wing pro-Brexiteers.

The Tory Remainers, led by Chancellor Philip Hammond, have issued impact economic assessments on the impact of the various options on the British economy. And not surprisingly the most complete Brexit is deemed to have the worst effect whereas those that see Britain remaining in the single market are deemed to be least damaging.

But not long ago the chief Brexit negotiator, David Davis, was asked by a parliamentary committee to disclose the economic impact assessments on various parts of the economy and he was forced to admit his team had not even begun any serious research on this. So where have these figures suddenly come from?

Remaining in the single market would leave Britain subject to all EU economic regulations but with no say at all in developing them.

Ian Duncan Smith, a firm Brexiteer, immediately attacked the analysis, saying that it was “deliberately leaked” because it “gives a bad view” and was “based on Government economic models that were “highly discredited.”

The attacks on Hammond elicited a response from angry Tory Remainers, urging May to stand up to the “fringe” group in order to deliver a “sensible” outcome to negotiations.

Former Business Secretary Anna Soubry said: “When is the Government going to stand up against the Hard Brexiteers who mainly inhabit these benches? There’s only about 35 of them.”

Meanwhile a group of Labour MPs and MEPs, academics and trade unionists have called on Jeremy Corbyn to stop hiding behind what they call left-wing myths surrounding membership of the European single market after Brexit.

In a joint introduction to the collection of essays, Heidi Alexander and Alison McGovern, Labour MPs who co-chair the single market campaign and support Open Britain, said it was “time for us, as a party, to come off the fence” over its Brexit.

Len McCluskey, general secretary of the giant union Unite, expressed concern about this group and the possibility that they will rescue May by backing her when she puts a deal for a very soft Brexit to a vote in Parliament.

“My personal hope and belief is that in late Autumn of this year the deal that comes back to parliament will be rejected,” he told the Resolution Foundation think-tank on Tuesday morning.

“It will lead to Theresa May having to resign and it will lead to an early general election in 2019 — that becomes then a referendum.”

McCluskey said he would not “rule out” supporting a referendum on the deal if Parliament failed to reject it.

But he warned there was a “real danger” of Labour losing support in ‘Leave’ voting areas if it backed a second vote.

Asked in what circumstances he would support a referendum, he said: “The one thing I believe all progressive left people in our nation should be concentrating on, one thing only, removing this Government. This should concentrate all our minds. How quickly can we remove this Government?”