Too hard to leave

I wish I could make this a haiku, it was written for and published on twitter.

On #Brexit #lab16 Labour’s Conference is right; redlines on citizen rights or No!

It’s too hard to leave, people with good will, if limited intellect, towards #Brexit are failing to agree satisfactory terms.

On the sanctity of the referendum’s democratic will, we now already have a second mandate, the general election 2017.

Also Parliament can’t guarantee anything, it can always change its mind.

The single market, it’s the State that’s the problem

The single market, it’s the State that’s the problem

Over the summer, most Brexit/Remain players have been on manoeuvres and Jeremy Corbyn’s appearance on the Marr show together with various clarifications have ensured for Labour at least membership of the single market has become a focus for what a post-brexit relationship would look like. In my opinion, if we were to stay in the single market via the European Economic Area, we might as well stay in and keep our MEPs, Council Seat (& Veto), Commissioner, Judges, the rebate, our opt-out from common borders (Schengen) and our indefinite opt-out in joining the Euro. I support these things, and staying in, I understand why Brexiters have now come to oppose the single market.

Transition

While May’s away, the mice they play. The Cabinet are on manoeuvres about the need and desirability of a transitional agreement in the case of concluding the Article 50 Brexit negotiations. As I have said a couple of times, this requires extreme clarity as to whether a transitional agreement  is in the words of the European Union Act 2011, a “Treaty amending or replacing the TEU or TFEU“. If so, either a Referendum, or a Parliamentary vote that one is not required must take place.

Labour & Brexit

On Labour & Brexit: up till last week, Corbyn & Starmer were talking about negotiating the best Brexit terms, in Starmer’s words,  no worse than membership. Corbyn’s interview over the weekend raised the possibility that Brexit would mean exit from the Single Market. This has caused a furore in the Labour Party and amongst some of its new friends.

This heat of this debate was raised by Barry Gardiner’s article in the FT stating that in a post EU existence the Customs Union was a problem but McDonnell says that nothing is off the table, and Starmer in a speech to Labour in Business repeats his six criteria and again states that nothing is off the table.

On Tuesday, my branch of the Labour Party debated this and voted, in part as a reaction to this debate, to remain in the Single Market and to take the issue to conference. In my speech, I seconded it, I argued that Conference had a policy, which I have mirrored here which was to ensure that the exit terms ensured no diminishing of workers, consumer, citizenship and migrant rights and that if the terms of exit breached these conditions that a second mandate (from Parliament, a General Election or Referendum) must be sought and that remaining in the EU is to be considered. This policy was established after the referendum. The 2017 Manifesto, approved by the Clause V meeting stated that,

Labour accepts the referendum result and a Labour government will put the national interest first.We will prioritise jobs and living standards, build a close new relationship with the EU, protect workers’ rights and environmental standards, provide certainty to EU nationals and give a meaningful role to Parliament throughout negotiations.

So three days later, I can accept that outcomes are important not structures and that an EEA/Swiss style deal might be acceptable to me provided we seek a second mandate.

I added that Labour are in opposition, and that the most likely way to get a third election is to defeat the Tories in the House of Commons. Stating that we would do in Government is premature and we are unclear which faction of the Tories will vote with us or abstain. It would be more sensible to retain our ambiguity on these issues.

In terms of timing, we, i.e. the British People, are running out of time. It may well be that the only option available by the time government falls is to revoke the Article 50 notice. Pretending that we can negotiate a Brexit deal & transitional agreement in 12 months is almost certainly a mistake.

Reason

This was published in Oct, last year. A look at the literature on the impact on wages and the public finances of EU migration.

Does immigration harm the job prospects of the UK-born? Brexit and the UK labour market



Two quotes worth highlighting,

Research on the impact of immigration to the UK has detected no negative effects on the average wages of UK-born workers (Dustmann et al, 2005Manacorda et al, 2012).

and

Research also shows that EU immigrants have contributed positively to the UK fiscal budget. This is perhaps not surprising given that on average they are younger and more likely to be in work than the UK-born and therefore tend to pay more in taxes than they receive in benefits.

But you can’t reason people out of positions thy haven’t reasoned themselves into.

Second thoughts

The Tories trying to evade the charge of a #dementiatax, double down on #brexit claiming only Theresa May wants to negotiate a deal. Two things, it’s not true, Corbyn & Labour want to negotiate a deal, the question we as an electorate have is what’s their second best position if a satisfactory deal cannot be done; I think we know with the Tories, they’ll leave with no deal and no further consultation. Labour will consult, even if only with Parliament.

Campaigning

A quick trip around the Lewisham Deptford constituency canvassing for the Labour Party. A couple of accusations about getting Brexit wrong, i.e. the nuance in Labour’s front bench position upsets i.e. pisses off London remainers. Labour’s candidate for re-election, Vicky Foxcroft , voted against the Article 50 notice bill, twice! It makes life easier for people like me; I am glad I don’t live in Vauxhall.

I am surprised at the large number of EU citizens I meet who cannot vote in the general election. Mistakes were made; it’s wrong that people who’ve been here for more than 5 years, in employment, paying tax can’t vote in the general election; nor in the referendum.

One issue came up which I had missed and not expected. The Tories have abolished the council tax support for those on the Employment and Support Allowance (ESA). Councils have had to develop ways of making up the shortfall, by either cutting (discretionary) services or levying council tax on ESA claimants. There are other laws that stop councils levying the council tax on the wealthier residents, if they have them…. It’s another Tory cut ensuring that Labour councils and the Party take the blame.

I’ll finish by stating that there were a few who say they’ve left Labour because of Corbyn. It’s sometimes hard to determine if this is actually about Brexit, or about other aspects of his politics, but I met one person from Northern Ireland who can’t support him over his record on that subject. Someone else did the talking, but I think these conversations have to start with whether they support the Good Friday agreement or not. From my point of view, the anti-corbynism on the doorstep is less frequent, if more vitriolic,  an occurrence then those who couldn’t support Ed Miliband because they didn’t like the way he ate a bacon sandwich, or something!. Labour supporters who repeat these damaging slurs need to remember the way that Ed was attacked as not being up to it and let’s not forget the attacks on Kinnock either.

A final note, Vicky is well known, although some still ask where Joan’s gone!

Parliamentary Sovereignty’s best sell by date

Parliamentary Sovereignty’s best sell by date

I went to the Labour Campaign for Human Rights meeting in the Commons yesterday, the keynote speaker was Kier Starmer, the Labour Brexit spokesman. He opened his speech stating he had voetd “Remain” based on jobs and rights and woke up on 27th June asking what world we live in. He argued that now we needed to accept democracy and that UK’s politics is about the new relationship with the EU. He argues we need to re-root our rights in UK law! (What like the Human Rights Act?) Labour is proposing a new Law to transcribe the EU’s rights and protections into UK law, but under the Tories this will be weak since the Tories are not planning to bring the “Fundamental Charter of Rights” across into UK law.

And out of the traps

And out of the traps

Labour has selected Vicky Foxcroft, the sitting MP to stand as Labour’s Candidate for MP in Lewisham Deptford. I am pleased to support her and already have my “Vote Labour” poster up. Anyone who thinks that this election is about anything other than Brexit is fooling themselves. She was one of the rebels who broke the whip to oppose the bill authorising the UK’s Article 50 notice, an action I supported. Corbyn has a problem in presenting Labour’s policy as he needs/wants to say one thing about winning and being in Government, and another should we lose.