Democracy in the EU and the Trilemma

While writing up the last article, I also looked at “Labour’s Brexit trilemma: in search of the least bad outcome” on the Open Democracy web site. It refers to Rodrik’s trilemma., which was designed to examine the Bretton Woods currency regulations and the international trade regime it spawned.  I have marked up the first of these article with what I think are the interesting bits on diigo which can be viewed here. The OD article adopts the trilemma and sees a Lexit option as maximising (national) democracy and national control of economic policy and poses it against a “remain and reform” position which it argues maximises economic integration.

My biggest problem with the trilemma, which was designed to describe the Bretton Woods global currency regime is that it seems to believe that the UK’s democracy is superior to that of the EU. Within the EU, British Citizens are protected by the Charter of Fundamental Rights and EU’s Court, which as I an others have mentioned is chock full of the children of the opponents of fascism and Stalinism. It is also a republican construct without a House of Lords, without First Past the Post and without a hereditary Head of State. The people elect the European Parliament, the biggest party in the Parliament nominates the President of the Commission, the members of the Council and Commission are nominated by member state governments and the latter are confirmed and can be removed by the Parliament.

The Open Democracy article, also asks some tough questions of the Lexiters, not the least important being what makes you think that a more independent UK can manage Capital and the economy more effectively; it is clear that the Bexiters in the Tory Party don’t believe this. It also points the impossibility of being independent; the WTO places constraints on Trade Policy and if we want to sign a Trade Agreement with the EU, most of their same red lines will exist. …

What is to be done by Labour on Brexit

Back to Brexit, I had reason to write this somewhere else, and decided to share it here.

There is not a consensus within the Labour Party on remain because some who seem to want to leave on any terms will not accept that within the party they are in a tiny minority. The agreed position of the Labour Party is Composite 5/18, which says we reject any deal that does not meet the 6 tests. We seek to bring down the government and win a general election and otherwise all options including a public vote which offers remain are on the table. Despite the attempts of some to smear the supporters of a 2nd mandate as rump new Labour, there were over 100 motions at conference calling for a people’s vote. That is the popular will of the masses, not the result of a tiny caucus’s manipulation.

It would be easily possible to argue as an election manifesto promise that we would seek to negotiate a better deal and then put that to the people i.e. repeat Harold Wilson strategy. This would unite us all except those who want to leave on any terms and hide behind a bogus loyalty to the leadership; most of whom seem unwilling to use a 2nd mandate as a means of escaping the shitstorm we’re in. They are going to look pretty stupid when the Party finally decides that remain is better than the deal on the table.

It is unacceptable that a tiny minority of the party, many of whom have no elected mandate seek to capture it and hold it hostage to a so-called Lexit position and collude with the Tory Government in running the clock down.

There is no principle in arguing that we should remain ambiguous on this issue for reasons of electoral strategy, examined here at statsforlefties; I’d have thought that we have all learnt that we need to take a principled stand by Labour’s actions on the 2014 immigration act where most of the PLP followed a whip to abstain FFS. 😣

ooOOOoo …

Brexit and Labour’s 2017 Manifesto II

In my article “Brexit and Labour’s 2017 manifesto“, and on my wiki article, “Stability & Growth Pact”, I talk about the reasons supporters of Labour’s 2017 manifesto might believe that they need to leave the EU to run fiscal deficits, nationalise critical businesses and offer state aid. I had come to the conclusion that our current terms of membership allowed the UK to pursue whatever macro-economic policies it chose and to be able to pursue its nationalisations. There would seem to be some questions on state aid and some people have raised the issue of the Railway Directive and its possible impact on the single market and nationalisation. A campaigning comrade of mine, from Southampton Itchen CLP has researched these issues and produced the following report, overleaf,  which he also published on Facebook wall.

He concludes, the notion that all EU activity is driven solely by Neo-Liberal ideology is in my opinion a mistaken assumption. In many instances there are additional rationales underpinning the EU rules that go beyond mere market obsession. The EU has pressed for more open networks in telecoms and energy but open access across national energy networks is critical for renewable energy production being made viable on a grand scale. Whereas in the water sector, where it is not feasible to create overlaying pan-European services, the EU has never shown any interest in legislating for open networks.

I would not go so far as to suggest the EU does not have an over optimistic view of the market system or tend to assumptions about private sector performance vs public sector that are not sustained by the economic models relied upon and it is possible to have a good discussion about Ricardo’s theory of comparative advantage.

On the other hand, free market supremacy is a pretty widespread assumption in the modern western world. The victory of the Neo-Liberal ideology has been to shift public perceptions to accept the ‘private good, pubic bad’ mantra as a gospel truth. That human beings in the EU broadly accept the same mantra is not really a surprise. The challenge to us as socialists is not just to reshape the UK economy to provide for greater equality and justice but to begin to reshape the underlying assumptions about human and market behaviour that underpin much of the capitalist economic system. …

Norway+

Not so sure where this has come from, but it seems to have a small level of support in both the Labour & Tory parliamentary parties. It would seem that Norway is not in the Customs Union, which is why we want a plus deal but also it does not incorporate the Charter of Fundamental Rights and the CJEU’s rights of enforcement. That won’t do for me and shouldn’t do for the PLP as we require the same levels of protection for work, consumers and the environment as we have today. It seems to unite both left and right of the Labour Party against it, here’s Jim Denham and here’s MIke Gapes MP.

And here’s what one senior Norwegian politician has to say,

 …

Brexit, the end parliamentary end-game

Earlier this week, Theresa May’s Government lost three votes in the House of Commons on Brexit. It was held in contempt for withholding its legal advice on the Brexit Treaty. A couple of hours later, the House voted to ensure it would have a further say if it rejected the Government’s Brexit Deal.

This changes things in Parliament and has created a maelstrom in Westminster and on social media.

I have thought since July 2016, that Brexit must be negotiated in good faith by people who want to leave but then the people[1] should be asked if the deal was what they wanted and still want.

At Labour’s Conference in Liverpool earlier this year, the Party voted to oppose a Tory Brexit, recognizing that it failed to meet the six tests; the Party resolved to attempt to bring down the Government and force a General Election and should this not happen that all options including a public vote would be considered. This composite was based on primarily two views but it can’t be seriously suggested that rump New Labour could have got over 100 motions to Labour Conference. Also the supposed suggestion that wanting a general election is somehow in opposition to a second mandate is childish. Labour’s position is clear, if May is defeated, we want a general election, if we can’t get that, then all options including a 2nd referendum are to be considered.

It should be considered that this is a development of Labour’s policy, first stated at Conference 16, which is should the terms be unsatisfactory, Labour will campaign to remain.

It’s important that all wings of Labour hold their nerve, the Lexiter’s may get their chance to define exit terms, but our short terms goals are clear. They should note that some of us have been biting our lips and holding our nerve. It’s your turn.

  • Vote down May’s deal!
  • Vote down the Government!

Maybe Corbyn can “do a Wilson”, renegotiate the Tories terms and then put them to the people; that’s what happened in the seventies, but more and more Cameron’s deal is seeming more and more attractive, but if we stay we need to build alliances in Europe to reform the EU.

Now is not the time for freelancing, whether in the PLP, Union Leaderships or in Party in the country.

ooOOOoo

[1] Including EU citizens resident in the UK, and UK Citizens abroad who have lost their votes through absence. …

Facebook & the European Union

Techcrunch reports that the European Parliament have called for an audit of Facebook’s systems in the light of reported data breaches. Will Facebook be added to the long list of US Tech companies successfully regulated by the EU albeit mainly over monopoly issues. (Google, Microsoft, Intel, Oracle). This is shared power, that the UK will lose should we leave the European Union. …