Back to the single market?

Back to the single market?

I have been published on Brexit Spotlight. The article reviews the macro economic reporting and increasingly obvious failure of Brexit, it critiques the Labour Party leadership’s recent response reported at least by me in these two blog articles, Sensibleness Postponed, and my take on Lammy’s speech a week earlier , looks at other political forces within and outside the Labour Party. It highlights the Redfield Wilton opinion polling showing growing support for the single market and rejoining the EU and ends with a warning, that Labour “is terrified of setting out a principled case that seeks to lead, not follow, the electorate. Ironically, he i.e. Starmer risks losing Labour voters – especially young and working-age voters – with this strategy”. …

An old idea, whose time has come

An old idea, whose time has come

Has the single market pendulum swung? Tobias Ellwood MP, a Tory, lifted the lid? The GMB voted to recognise that we could do better than the terms agreed; it seems I was preceded (or maybe not) by Ann McMorrin MP, who was rebuked by a courageous un-named Labour spokesperson. McMorrin was followed today, by an article from Stella Creasy, arguing that Labour’s silence on the crapness of the Brexit deal leaves the whole of the narrative to the Tories, although crapness is not the word used by Creasy. This is compounded in my mind by Starmer’s decision to vote for the withdrawal deal! The Creasy article is to my mind very good, and here are two quotes,

For fear of saying the wrong thing, many in Labour claim it is better to say nothing at all about Brexit. But such reticence does not honour those who voted Leave – or Remain. Each wanted their vote to mean something better than chaos at the borders or businesses in peril. Post-Brexit, there are many ways forward for the UK and the EU – and most don’t end in a trade war as a distraction from a prime minister’s personal misconduct

Aneurin Bevan once argued that “silent pain evokes no response”. The same is true of silent politics. It will damage our national interest for generations if hostility about the UK working with the EU seeps into public life without dissent. To be able to do business with the biggest trading block in the world, stand shoulder to shoulder against Russian aggression and tackle climate change, terrorism and social injustice, Britain needs us to speak up now. Keeping stumm is not in anyone’s interest except Johnson’s.

Stella creasy – The Observer 19 June 2022

She’s right, we need to talk about the post Brexit deal and the single market; and if the Chair of the Labour Movement for Europe won’t then there’s little reason to expect others to do so as the treatment of McMorrin shows.  …

The Single Market

The Single Market

In the middle of the week, one Tory MP wrote in a House of Commons magazine. He catalogued the decline in trade,  GDP and inward investment. He does not mention the traffic queues in Kent or in European airports. On exports he said,

the fishers who can no longer sell their Scottish salmon, to the farmers undercut by unchecked imports, to Cheshire cheesemakers running into £180 health certificates, even to the City which can no longer sell financial services to Europe, sector after sector is being strangled by the red tape we were supposed to escape from.

Tobias Ellwood MP, Politics Home, The House

He concludes that,

In a nutshell, all these challenges would disappear if we dare to advance our Brexit model by re-joining the EU single market (the Norway model). …

Any model will have benefits and drawbacks. The single market means the free movement of goods, services, capital and people. It would see £7bn of paperwork and checks go, and boost our economy by restoring free trade to sectors demanding change. 

Tobias Ellwood MP, Politics Home, The House

What’s fascinating and brave is that this is a Tory MP!. He makes the obvious point that it’s still outside the EU and needn’t be seen as abandoning Brexit, but many in the parliamentary Tory party disagree. It has attracted the usual idiocy from Lord Frost whose response in a non-linked three tweet thread 🤦 is best seen in this article at the London Economic. It’s as light weight as everything else he does.

He’s right we should re-join the single market, and I think that support for this is growing.

The question I ask is where is Labour on this.

 …

Is exit from the single market dead?

Is exit from the single market dead?

This needs to reported; the UK Government, is postponing the introduction on import checks on goods arriving from the EU. The announcement was made by the Minister for Brexit Opportunities Rees-Mogg. It is reported in the Guardian with the following comment,

You read that right. Jacob Rees-Mogg, arch-leaver and longtime loather of the EU, is now parroting lines from the remain campaign. He is admitting that implementing Brexit in full, honouring the 2016 promise to take back control of Britain’s borders, would be “an act of self-harm”. There’s plenty to attack here, starting with the nerve of hailing this move as “saving” Britons £1bn, when this was £1bn that Britons would never have had to spend at all if it hadn’t been for Brexit. Or you could share the outrage of British farmers, appalled that, thanks to Brexit, they have been left at a serious competitive disadvantage: they now face onerous and costly checks when they ship their goods across the Channel, while French, Italian or Spanish farmers face no such hassle moving their products in the other direction. Or you could worry along with the British Veterinary Association, which warns that not checking food imports leaves Britain exposed to “catastrophic” animal diseases such as African swine fever – a risk that was reduced when Britain was part of “the EU’s integrated and highly responsive surveillance systems”. Or you could join the lament of the UK Major Ports Group, whose members have spent hundreds of millions of pounds building checking facilities, which now stand unused as “bespoke white elephants”.

Jonathan Frredland – TheGuardian

The BBC also report with a comment from Faisal Islam, their economics editor, although they find a quote to illustrate the benefits, or at least the avoidance of further harm. This is the fourth postponement. The critical politics is that this Government, things that the customs checks are a harm.

Luke Cooper of Another Europe, in an article on Brexit Spotlight also highlights the announcement and concludes with,

This is why the Rees-Mogg announcement shows that the game is up for the British exit from the single market. … This [the asymmetric checking system] is self-evidently unsustainable. If the most nationalistic government in recent British history is not able to fully extricate the country from the European market, then it simply isn’t possible. The question now is when – not if – Britain re-joins the single market.

Luke Cooper – Another Europe

At the beginning of the year, I thought that the critical failure of exit from the single market would be in Northern Ireland but maybe not; the new lorry park in Kent is another pressure point and a number of EU exporters were just giving up on the UK as a market. …

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. …. …

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. …

More on Brexit

More on Brexit

Many the implications of the vote to leave the EU has been exercising my mind. I have finally got my notes & thoughts to publish my initial views on the politics of the aftermath; this article attempts to limit itself to the events and thoughts of the first week after the referendum. I have published them as at the date I started my storify where I collected the sources I wanted to quote. This is because it is one of a planned series, I plan to follow up with a piece on immigration, one on Labour Party and Left unity and one on the mutation of capitalism and politics.

One of the reasons for my delay was that I was asked for a number of quotes in the IT trade press which took some writing time. I have posted the complete quotes as three articles in linkedin pulse, on Cybersecurity, Privacy & Trade and the single market, covering innovation, TTIP & Privacy and net neutrality. …

Future of the Internet

In March, I attended the EU’s “Future of the Internet” conference. This was a meeting of Europe’s top computer scientists from both business and academia, planned to discuss future research and development. The meeting was jointly convened by the rotating Presidency (the Government of Slovenia) and the Commission, and held at Lake Bled. I attended a number of sessions dealing with technical, societal and economic issues together with the state of research in the European Union.  The original articles were written from notes taken at the time, posted the following week and back dated to the approximate time the speech was given; they were copied across to this ominbus blog in July 2016. It is now, really quite long. The sessions included, Dr Ziga Turk, who spoke of enlargement and the 5th freedom, Dutton on Privacy, Trust and economies of scale, Wyckoff Lovink, Johansen , Vasconcelos in a panel on economics and Heuser, Grégoire, Uddenfeldt , Nathan , Hourcade on the development of technology in Europe, and speakers from the US and Japan. …