Europe and Brexit, yesterday & tomorrow

Europe and Brexit, yesterday & tomorrow

It wasn’t a good night for Labour last night and but not as good for the Brexit Party as they might have hoped. This article was written mainly on Tuesday and backdated to Monday 27th. It looks at the impact on the European Union, how the earth moved in the UK,  and the dreadful and inept campaigning decisions taken by the Labour Party. It finishes with a brief look at the immediate reactions in the Labour Party not least the twitter spat between Paul Mason and LOTO.

This is what the European Parliament will look like.

ep-2019-2024-hemisphereFrans Timmermans, the Socialist Spitzenkandat is now appealing for the Euro Liberals (ALDE) to build a progressive alliance in the hope of winning the Presidency of the Commission. How those lost 10 Labour seats would have helped him. This is an important initiative; the European Parliament has been run by the pan-European equivalent of the German grand coalition and while the numbers might have made this necessary, if a progressive majority could establish itself and the German Social Democrats weaned off their alliance with the Christian Democrats then a reform agenda for the EU becomes much easier since the German Social Democrats are both large and influential although. (This reminds me I must write to the Charlottenberg SPD to see what joint work we i.e. Lewisham Labour might do.)

Another good aspect of the results across Europe is that the hard right did less well than they had hoped, although the story in France is less optimistic.

This is the worst result in the Tories history, they have lost big time, their worst result since 1832. The main beneficiaries would seem to be the Brexit Party but some Tories moved to the Lib Dems, Labour and even the Greens. I illustrate the change in seats.

What happend to the votes is best described on Lord Ashcroft’s blog where he presents this chart showing the movement of votes from 2017 to 2019.

It doesn’t make good reading for Labour either. The LibDems stolen slogan, “Bollocks to Brexit” was clearly helpful to them and they have been historically sticky, once people learn to vote for them and they win, they stick with them despite having some disgraceful and unprincipled candidates, although that’s not something they have a monopoly on. (Huhn and Hughes). This was before Clegg & Cable’s tuition fee betrayal and their collusion on the Osborne’s Tory led coalition austerity programme.

If ALDE’s behaviour in the European Parliament repeats this submissive support of the executive committee of the bourgeoisie then this might have some consequences for the Lib Dems & Verhofstadt.

Labour’s hope must be that we have the 2017 manifesto, and many want & need that radical hope. What ever happens Labour needs to be anti-austerity and in my opinion clearer on remaining. Ashcroft In fairness to the Party, we have always believed that Remain is better than a bad or no deal exit.

Another thing that Labour needs to fix is the dreadful campaign. Elements of what might seem deliberate actions are detailed in John Howarth MEP’s letter to his members and published by the Huffington Post who selectively quote him as shall I. He says,

As such it was either phenomenally naive or utterly mendacious to put in place a policy that would knowingly lose votes in remarkable numbers.

From there on the party machine sought to close down any deviation for the suicidal central message. In an unprecedented decision the General Secretary was appointed agent for the entire country. At all other EU election since regional lists were introduced Regional Directors have been agents. They managed the desire of CLPs to promote candidates and help win the elections. The spending limits for these elections are huge, easily capable of accommodating local activity aimed at enhancing the campaign. This time spurious legal grounds were used to clamp down on local activity and even additional union assistance. The much derided nationally produced leaflets which carried no mention of a ‘confirmatory vote’ were presented to MEPs as a fait accomplice that was “already at print” – this turned out to be untrue but it shows how the campaign was run. The eventual product was no better. While it was frustrating to be fighting an election with hands and feet bound and with Labour staff in apparent opposition it is not the fault of junior staff or middle managers – responsibility lies elsewhere.

Howarth elsewhere in his letter talks of the poor role played by the NEC in developing and agreeing the Labour Manifesto.

To his words, I would add the late selection of candidates which delayed the production of election material, ensured there was no trigger ballot and no membership ballot to settle order, the stunningly shit “Fight  Farage” leaflet with his picture FFS and the late delivery of out cards and election addresses; half my canvassing we had no material to leave the very few doubtfuls.

The question I ask is where is the member led party? Conference has been firm that Remain is better than a bad deal! The compromise starts from we oppose a Tory Brexit, tactically we prefer a general election because it’s easier to talk about austerity, jobs, education and the NHS in an election and turnout is better, but elevating the general election to the point of principle and opposing a 2nd referendum is foolish and dishonest.

One silver lining is that the shadow cabinet and Jeremey Corbyn are now arguing that a 2nd referendum is required for any deal; we’ll have to see if the votes are there to push it through. They may have been influenced by Paul Mason’s article and the acrimonious fallout on twitter as he accurately lays the blame at the feet of the Leader of the Opposition’s office (LOTO).

ooOOOoo

Related Posts

‘The people have spoken’: How Remain parties beat Hard Brexiteers in European elections from business insider

Notes From The Cult: After EU. No, After EU from a blog called disappointed idealist, a different take on what happened and what should happen next. He or she starts by looking at who didn’t vote.

Labour’s priority should be helping to build a European socialist left by Sabrina Huck at Labour List

Unhinged by James Butler at the LRB, Labour’s front bench’s room for manoeuvre is constrained by divisions in the PLP and by it’s membership’s enthusiasm. It’s not as free as either side of the debate think.

 

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Vote Labour again

Welcome to the Brexit merry-go-round!

I have been reading the news as have you all. Labour’s promised vote seems to be plummeting, in London in 2017, we got 61% and in the Mayoral election, Sadiq Kahn got 41% of first preferences. Polls are suggesting that Labour is on about 24% in London, although they could be wrong.

Labour supporters should vote Labour.

If you are a Remainer, and we win, these MEPs will sit for 5 years holding a Commission accountable.

Labour’s MEPs will be the Party of European Socialists and will pursue the objects of the PES Manifesto, which is largely influenced by Labour’s agenda of anti-austerity economics and social solidarity. Labour MEPs will vote for the Socialist candidate for the position of President of the Commission.

In London our candidates are good people. Claude Moraes has an exemplary record as European Legislator acting as Rapporteur (i.e. author) for the GDPR which redefined the right of Privacy in Europe. He has been Chair of the Civil Liberties committee, Seb Dance is probably best know for the he’s lying stunt but has been campaigning on environmental rights, Katy Clark used to be an MP and was a strong civil rights campaigner and Laura Parker is an articulate socialist who would strengthen Labour’s parliamentary team; she has been part of the team that has led Momentum to its “remain” supporting decision.

We talk of beating Farage; this is not just important in the UK for our own political health but the number of MEPs in the European Parliament matters. Historically Farage has sat independently with allies but apart from the Fascist parties from France & Hungary. These far-right parties are likely to be joined by the Alternative for Deutschland and the Italian hard right. The idea of an alliance of the political right of such size is frightening and all democrats should do their best to oppose these people. i.e. coming first or second matters in the UK.

The alternative for many seems to be the LibDems. If elected, they will sit with the ALDE group led by Guy Verhofstadt, who has been the European Parliament’s Brexit co-ordinator; he has given up partly because he feels that ALDE will be more powerful without a strong Labour delegation. The British LibDems are no longer part of a British progressive alliance and ALDE cannot be trusted to fight the far-right.

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Labour’s road to here

Labour’s road to here

There has been much a-wailing and gnashing of teeth as the Labour Party NEC decides what Labour’s Euro manifesto should say; they have reiterated Conference ’18 policy, to oppose a Tory Brexit by all means including a Referendum.

I was asked elsewhere when we established and then stepped away from the six tests; The six tests were confirmed at Conference 18 although the phrase “respect the referendum” which was inserted to the 2017 Manifesto presumably through the Clause V meeting, has not been approved. I have over time tracked the development of Labour’s Brexit policy as set out by Conference.  The first is about #lab16  which says we’ll stay if terms set by the Tories are unacceptable and states that we’ll accept any mandate including a vote in Parliament. I cover the  the #lab17 stitchup but while it’s weaker, it’s still fundamentally about no worse than in, (read the comment for the bad news), and I record the words of #lab18, last year,  which opposes a tory brexit by all means, prioritises jobs, the economy and the Northern Ireland border. I also talked about the abandonment of the six tests, in this article, called “Consenus” and the low profile insertion of the Common Arrest Warrant as a requirement. …

Sometimes it’s only the long odds that work

Sometimes it’s only the long odds that work

We have got to a position in British politics, where people will say anything to get what they want. One annoying meme doing the rounds is that Remain voters should abjure Labour because it is a Brexit party. It isn’t. But it is the only anti-austerity party, the only Party that will address investment, jobs, and the labour market, housing and education. Remainers must consider Labour, as the likely alternatives to a Labour MEP are a Tory or a Brexit Party MEP.

To non Labour Remainers, it ain’t going to happen without Labour; you should play your hand to maximise the strength of the Remain cause and voting for likely losers only strengthen’s the hand of Farage & the Tories’ brexit extremists.

I used to read Jeremy Flint’s bridge class, I also used to play a bit but not very well. Flint’s bridge class was a comic and the lesson he repeated time after time was that if the obvious odds meant you failed to make your contract you had to bet on longer odds, and because it was a fiction it always came off. I didn’t really get it until a couple of years later. How come he always bets against the odds and wins? The answer is that if he bet with the odds, he was going to lose. …

Consensus?

Theresa May finally reached out to Corbyn to aks for his help in getting Brexit over the line. She wants to apply for another short extension, avoiding the Euro-elections. The good news is that having seen the weight of opinion in Parliament, she’s moving away from catastrophic towards pointless. Here’s what Corbyn said last time, in February about what he thought was acceptable, and I commented on the letter here … and then wrote a small piece about the requirement to be able to keep the European Arrest Warrant.

As I said, the latter is an important demand, since it invokes the justice pillar which brings the Charter of Fundamental Rights and the Court into play. Another Tory red line bites the dust.

ooOOOoo

This also is still true, from, my “New Red Lines” article, which still holds true,

My one true fear is that it means Labour accepts the withdrawal agreement which will throws those Brit’s living in the EU under the bus, and the will permit the Tory government to implement another Windrush by placing EU citizens in the UK, having lived here for months or years under the same hostile environment applied to other alien immigrants and subject to uncertainty about their rights to remain. For me this might be a price too high!

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Back to the Commons for more on Brexit

Last night the House of Commons voted on four alternatives to No-Deal and May’s Deal Brexit, they were any deal to be confirmed by a confirmatory/final say referendum, aiming for Custom’s Union, aiming for a Customs Union and Single Market membership, and changing the default, currently to leave without a deal to Revoking of article 50. They all failed to win a majority, but the Customs Union only lost by three votes. Here is a graphic from the Institute of Governance showing the votes. I also present the majorities/minorities in bar chart form.

 

A number of MPs and commentators have argued, partly as a result of the ERG’s stupid game playing, that accepting May’s binding deal in exchange for a promise that the non-binding political declaration becomes better than May’s first draft is unacceptable; much of the problem in compromising in or with Parliament is that it can’t bind itself, so its promises are worthless. It’s one of the reasons I still support remain as Pariament can’t break the accession treaties. This means that “Customs Union” and “Common Market 2.0” have questionable value and the Withdrawal Agreement with it’s sub-standard citizenship guarantees and its failure to underwrite the Good Friday Agreement underwrite them. The vote however is meant to be indicative.

I have previously argued that Brexit is either catastrophic or pointless and I have learned that there are at least two forms of decision making, which either polarise or coalesce foci. Parliaments allow coalescence, compromise and the ability of popular second choices to become a reality. It seems that MPs are not yet ready to make these comprises, as shown by the high number of Labour votes against all these positions and Nick Boles decision to resign the Tory Whip. See below/overleaf for the bar charts, … …