Before next election Labour must replace its ‘cake and eat it’ Brexit for ‘No Brexit’
New Statesman Correspondence
23-29 JUNE 2017
Jason Cowley (Editor’s Note, 16th June) is right to call for someone to say “No Brexit”. That someone should be the Labour Party. During the election, Labour was able to get away with a Boris-like “cake and eat it” approach by saying it wanted to have managed migration and have all the advantages of access to the Single Market without membership. That probably succeeded in ensuring that the flow of voters who had shifted from Labour to Ukip did not vote Tory. Instead they liked Labour’s manifesto and it sounded like the party was anyway going to do something about controlling immigration.
This studied ambiguity won’t survive a new election and to strengthen its position it should take note of Michael Heseltine recent suggestion that Macron and Merkel might team up to offer a deal on immigration such that the UK could stay in the EU. Were Labour to champion such an approach, the party could show its support for internationalism by bringing to an end the permanent theft of the brightest and the best from generally poorer European countries.
There are internationalist ways to manage immigration and still stay in the EU
Colin Hines argues for an amendment of the treaty of Rome
Thursday 22nd June
What a relief to read the letters from Dick Taverne and others saying that Brexit should be fought rather than meekly accepted as inevitable (Letters, 19 June). However, I’m afraid that none of your correspondents mentioned the key change required before a “remain and reform” package has a cat’s chance in hell of succeeding in a second referendum. That is the need for the EU to amend the treaty of Rome to allow member states to decide how many people they want to come into their countries. The Continue reading
To win next election Labour needs to promote the ‘People’s QE money tree’ and intergenerational solidarity
Tuesday 13 June 2017
• Sorry Brenda from Bristol, but another election looms, and this time a progressive alliance of Labour, the Lib Dems, the SNP, Plaid and the Greens need to get their policy ducks in a row to win it. Firstly, these must provide hope, not just for the young, but for every community in the country. To do this Jeremy Corbyn must revisit and vigorously shake his people’s QE “money tree”. Continue reading
Closer polls a boost to tactical voting
‘Our window poster will proclaim Greens for Vince Cable’, writes Colin Hines.
Tuesday 30th May 2017
• As a supporter of a progressive alliance, I was delighted that in my Twickenham constituency and in neighbouring RichmondPark, the Green party has stood aside to give the Liberal Democrats a better chance of winning. To try in a small way to get tactical voting into the minds of the sensible majority who are not obsessed by politics, in the days before the election, our window poster will proclaim Greens for Vince Cable, and I hope local Labour supporters will do the same. In a way it’s a pity we don’t have a Lynton Crosby, hectoring our side to repeat endlessly that the weak and wobbly Tories’ pro-austerity, coalition of cruelty must be constrained, and most importantly, keep it simple: Vote ABC – Anything But Conservative.
East Twickenham, Middlesex
The bits of my letter to the Guardian that were edited out might also be of interest:
Zoe Williams’ view that nothing is certain in this election and anything could happen https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2017/may/28/uncertainty-politics-u-turns-polls is born out by the narrowing gap between ‘weak and wobbly’ May and Jeremy Corbyn, whose increased media presence appears to make many voters’ hearts grow fonder. Against this it must be remembered that for some who voted UKIP in the last election, this could well turn out to be a ‘gateway drug’ for former Labour supporters to migrate to the Tories. This will be tested by the ‘regressive alliance’ of UKIP candidates standing down to attempt to ensure that many who once voted Labour turn to their new Nigel in drag candidate, Theresa May.
NEW STATESMAN 19-25 May 2017
LETTER OF THE WEEK
The many not the few
The rupture between Tory free marketers and those that wanted to control the imports of corn in the 1840s was the defining split in the party, leading to a determination to prioritise internal solidarity as a way to ensure the power necessary to benefit their wealthy backers http://www.newstatesman.com/politics/elections/2017/05/why-tories-keep-winning
Labour’s equivalent is the division between those who now realise that opening the borders to uncontrolled immigration from eastern Europe in 2004 sowed the seeds for Brexit, versus those (to paraphrase the wonderful Four Seasons hit) who kept crooning in Corbyn’s ear ‘Jerry, Jerry baby, don’t you dare be UKIP lite’.
To prevent annihilation, Labour must use its imminent defeat as a reason to prioritise policies for managed migration and protection of local jobs. Only this approach will eventually put it in an electoral position to take power on behalf of the many, not the few. In the meantime all that can be done in the run up to this ominous election is to drop party tribalism and Vote ABC: Anything But Conservative.
@GreenRupertRead review of @HinesColin‘s new book (it’s only a fiver – well worth it), in the latest issue of RESURGENCE AND ECOLOGIST May/June 2017
Protecting the local, globally
Rupert Read reviews Colin Hines’s ebook, Progressive Protectionism
[Park House Press, 2017; ISBN 978-0-9544751-2-3]
Colin Hines is best known as convenor of the ‘Green New Deal’ group that influenced many governments to seize the financial crisis moment to transition economies in a greenish direction. His new book is a feisty clarion call to greens and ‘the Left’ to change direction: away from acquiescence in the trade treaties which shaped the deregulated world that spawned the financial crisis — and toward protection of nature, workers, localities and national sovereignty, as the key locale where democracy might resist rootless international capital. Continue reading
Wednesday 26th April 2017
I fail to understand how you can call Macron a “progressive” (Front page, 25 April). His thin policy programme, though it claims to want to remake France’s political system, proposes the same failed policies of reducing labour rights, cutting business taxes and shrinking the public sector. In terms of Europe, he wants more federalism allied to support for the calamitous euro. Such policies helped lead to a collapse of support for the traditional right and left parties. Continue reading
Is this the beginning of the end for neoliberalism?
Friday 14 April 2017
Your editorial on the French elections (11 April), with its encouraging mention of the rise of the higher tax and spend candidate Jean-Luc Mélenchon, failed to mention possibly his biggest electoral draw: the fact that he is a leftwing protectionist. Prior to the 2012 election, polls showed that over 80% of French Continue reading
Green Party Report Calls for Progressive Protectionism
Green MEP Molly Scott Cato this week launched a report by Victor Anderson and Rupert Read entitled ‘Brexit and Trade Moving from Globalisation to Self-reliance’
Its Executive Summary states that: This report puts onto the political agenda an option for Brexit which goes with the grain of widespread worries about globalisation, and argues for greater local, regional, and national self-sufficiency, reducing international trade and boosting import substitution.
The importance of this document is in its title since as far as I am aware it is the first time a report from a politician isn’t clamouring to retain membership of the open border Single Market. Instead it details the need for an environmentally sustainable future Continue reading
Brexit and article 50: it’s not over till it’s over
Thursday 30th March 2017
Andrew McWilliam (Letters, 29 March) interprets Theresa May’s claim that “No deal is better than a bad deal” as meaning, literally, “no deal”, therefore we revert to staying in the EU. The president of the European council, Donald Tusk, put this option more pithily when he said the choice was between hard Brexit or no Brexit. Remainers should cheer up. It is likely that Brexit will be reversed as two trends emerge during the article 50 negotiations.
First, the full complexity, costs and downsides of leaving the EU will become ever more apparent. Second, changing attitudes to the free movement of people by political leaders across Europe will address the major reason the UK voted to leave. This rethink will doubtless be accelerated when Marine Le Pen does far better than people imagine against Emmanuel Macron, a former investment banker pushing neoliberal policies, in the French presidentiual election. The result of all this must be a growing campaign to stay in a reformed EU, allowing controls on internal migration. Let’s hope opposition MPs, unions and NGOs wake up and spearhead that campaign.
Author, Progressive Protectionism Continue reading