Hard Brexit

Soft Brexit makes no sense. Only Remaining or hard Brexit are the options.

Soft Brexit, keeping the rules of the Single Market and relinquishing the vote, with some concessions on immigration, would address the concerns of a lot of Leave voters, but Immigration is not the issue. It is the cape in the hands of the bullfighter, distracting us from our real problem, the hard Right.

The Single Market is not a matter of common tariffs but common law. It is our agreement to common standards of product safety, for the good of consumers, as well as common employment rights in the Social Chapter. Outside the Single Market our goods for export to the EU would be subject to “a blizzard of red tape”, as they would all need certified that they complied with EU law for the good of EU citizens. So trade negotiations now are a matter of harmonising not tariffs, but rules.

Britain outside the EU shrinks that trading bloc by more than 12%. It makes it less attractive to export to the Single Market, and less possible for the EU to enforce such rules. It is an attempt by the hard Right to destroy the rules, to increase profits for business at the expense of all of us. Mrs May will not publicise the British negotiating position and negotiating priorities only partly to avoid giving away too much to the other side- for her priorities would be unpalatable to any democratic politician without a great deal more lying and misinformation than there is now. So stories of straight bananas and hate-mongering against immigrants will get worse. TTIP may be foiled, but Brexit could make it unnecessary.

Leave voters from working class districts. You feel left behind, that politics is not for your benefit? You ain’t seen nothing yet.

This is why Labour must work to prevent Brexit, and why Tories cannot be trusted to take any action against lying and hate-mongering by politicians or the press. This is why the Foreign Secretary calls for hard Brexit. We are in danger. I use apocalyptic imagery in the featured picture, because this is what apocalyptic in the Bible is about: overwhelming threat and change in this world justifying talk of the world being born anew.

The fatal flaw in the Referendum, which renders unsustainable the cries that “The Will of the People must be respected” and so there must be some form of Brexit, is that there is no clarity what the will of the people is. Is it hard Brexit? Soft Brexit? An end to immigration? A wish to snub David Cameron? Only the Remain vote is clear. Remainers are the majority! The lies vitiate the Leave vote’s validity, since voters might have thought the NHS would really get more money, and voted for that. The arguments are quite clear that MPs should educate themselves as to the interests of the country, and not be bound by an ignorant vote; see AC Grayling.

My thought has been clarified by Nick Clegg.

18 thoughts on “Hard Brexit

  1. Pingback: Hard Brexit via Clare | Just Merveilleux

  2. I have to admit I am ignorant of British policies regarding voting, so I apologize in advance if this question seems naïve. With all that was at stake with voting to leave the EU, why didn’t the vote require a larger majority to let it pass? That would have taken care of any doubt with regards to whether the nation really had more people wanting to leave than remain.

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    • It is not a naive question. The short answer is that it was not politically acceptable. Many thought Remain would win, but the UK Independence Party would have increased its vote had there been a small majority for Leave but not enough to trigger leaving.

      There was a Bill in Parliament to create the rules of the referendum, and it did not specify that there should be more than 50% of the vote, or any percentage of the electorate, for Leave to be activated. There was some anger after the Scottish Devolution referendum in the 1970s, which required a vote of 40% of the electorate- more voted for devolution than against, but not 40%; so referenda since then had a simple majority. In the Welsh devolution referendum in the 1990s, the turnout was only slightly over 50%, the majority small, so the Senedd was set up on a slight popular mandate.

      It was also in the Act that the result would be advisory rather than binding, but now the Government claims that The People Have Spoken so their mandate must be implemented, by the Government (UK English- you would say “Administration”) without a vote in Parliament. A House of Lords committee has said that there must be a vote in Parliament to initiate leave negotiations- “Invoke Article 50” of the Lisbon Treaty- but that it must vote to Leave, as that is The Will of the People. Almost all MPs writing to their constituents have said that the popular mandate must be put in effect. I think it’s a disaster.

      Liked by 1 person

      • It’s shocking to hear people invoking mandates across the pond. Here, people talk about it and the will of the people all the time, and it’s been rendered meaningless. A simple majority isn’t indicative of anything except one side had at least one more vote than the other side.

        Moreover, isn’t it looking like there are at least enough people who regretted voting to leave that it calls that majority into doubt?

        Liked by 1 person

        • I think the lies and misinformation, not just during the campaign but for years beforehand, the false promises and false Nationalism, and the ignorance of the real issues, together vitiate the result. But almost no-one in Westminster will say that. Now the economy is going down the tubes, and the markets are only relatively buoyant because the rich know that the Bank of England will always reduce interest rates and print money, impoverishing the natives.

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    • It would have meant that people in favor of Brexit are less worthy than those voting Remain… You may agree, but it goes against the principale of equalitiy of human beings…

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      • I suppose that’s one way to look at it, but another way to look at it is that having a higher majority protects minority groups and increases confidence in the outcome. With the profound significance of this vote, one might think that measures to instill confidence in the outcome would be necessary.

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      • I say it would have meant that there should be a clear mandate, of more than around 26% of the population- after deduction of the EU citizens who were not allowed to vote, etc- to make such a huge constitutional change. Also, before the vote the upheaval it will cause should have been made clear, rather than obscure. The vandals of the Bullingdon Club have trashed our democracy.

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  3. I am sure that the PLP would love to stay in Europe…it is the context they know, after all given the age of most of them.
    However the ‘Leave voters from working class districts’, whom the current PLP have signally failed to represent or protect, think otherwise. They have apocalpyse now, but no one wants to know.

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    • Welcome, Helen. Thank you for commenting.

      When I was a child my father was chairman of the local Conservative constituency association, and he complained of “Ratchet socialism”: as he put it, the Labour party would get into office since 1945, mess up the country even more, and then the Tories would get in and instead of reversing the damage done by Labour they would simply try to make the system as it was work better. I have moved very far to the Left since then. Before the last general election I went to see my Labour MP, who said that while the Greens wanted to bring back local authority support for schools, Labour saw that this was destroyed, so they would just leave the system as it was. That lets the Tories mess it up further- privatise the NHS, make more religious schools because religious groups will run schools independently even though that increases sectarianism- and does nothing for people round where I am, which voted strongly for Leave. They read of straight bananas and hear Polish spoken in the streets, and blame immigrants as they are told to by the liars. Now my MP is a Tory, who led one of the Leave campaigns.

      Liked by 1 person

      • I was visiting England just before the referendum in an area which was to vote Leave by quite a margin. I heard nothing of straight bananas and very little about immigration but a great deal about lousy education for their children and grandchildren which destined them for zero hours contracts doing jobs with no future.

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        • Precisely. But Brexit will make that worse. The campaign was based on lies, such as the promise of £350m a week more for the NHS. The issue of immigration is more complex: economists can show immigrants benefit everyone, but it does not always feel that way.

          The Tories have dismantled the local authority system of support for schools, calling it “freeing” them from “local authority control”, and handed control to private individuals forcing schools to become “Academies” which perform worse than the local authority schools did. I could go on and on. The Tories are hell-bent on destroying all the social capital of the country, and turning us- Anarcho-Capitalist is your google term; if you like sci-fi, they want it like the planet Golter in Iain M. Banks’ “Against a Dark Background”.

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          • I didn’t come across people who thought the claims of Johnson et al at all realistic….they regarded the self appointed leaders of the Leave campaign as just another face of those out to rob them and their children of a future worth having.
            Their objective was to use their voice…impossible in general elections thanks to the party system.
            People are more sophisticated than they are portrayed.

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            • Indeed. We can always destroy things, if we have no other option. That was the point of the Alternative Vote referendum: snub the government. But first we should consider what we are destroying, and who is egging us on to do it.

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            • The EU system has. It “imposed” the Social Chapter- workers’ rights, but also safety matters like how long lorry drivers can work without a break- in the 1990s, but the British Tory government obtained an opt-out. The EU is our friend. The Tories aren’t. They are increasingly getting working class votes through far right tactics- foment hatred, fear and resentment. Though Labour does little to win votes by working for our good, Tories do active harm, demolishing public services and privatising what they cannot yet destroy.

              Liked by 1 person

  4. There is, of course, undeniably, some good in the EU….I remember when, under the Thatcher onslaught on workplace rights the Transfer of Undertakings measure safeguarded the rights of those whose companies were taken over.
    If it stuck to that, I would not be unhappy. However, the emphasis on privatisation, the appalling, illegal treatment of Greece and the intention of forming a military power block weighs very heavy in the balance.

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