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.
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
‘US Democrats need to consider a progressive form of protectionism that will benefit all countries,’ writes Colin Hines.
Published in the Guardian
Wednesday 15 March 2017
It’s reassuring to hear that Bernie Sanders is campaigning again (Journal, 11 March), but the examples given of his fightback are hardly likely to keep the light-sleeping President Trump awake at night. The usual emphasis on ever-more protests will soon meet Continue reading
Published in the Financial Times
March 3rd 2017
Sir, It should come as no surprise that an “America First” Trump administration is likely to override the free market strictures of the World Trade Organisation (“Trump prepared to ignore WTO rulings”, March 2). What is more disturbing from a UK perspective is how trade secretary Liam Fox’s head is still stuck in the sands of pre-2008 neoliberalism (“Fox warns of EU-UK trade barriers danger”, March 2). This means he is unable to grasp that it was the opposition to open borders to goods and capital as well as people that fuelled the Brexit result, Donald Trump’s election and the continued rise of Marine Le Pen in the French polls.
Published in the Guardian
Saturday 24 February 2017
The only way the Tories will ever be defeated and the demise of Ukip ensured is for all the other Westminster parties to unite behind a programme of progressive economic nationalism. Steve Bannon (Report, 24 February) and Marine Le Pen have their fingers on the pulse of voters far more than most elected politicians in the UK. The latter still mostly beat the drum of free movement of people within the European Union and open borders to capital and goods.