Europe can reverse the rise of extreme right wing populism with ‘Progressive Protectionism’


Seeing Off Extreme Right Populism With ‘Progressive Protectionism’

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Colin Hines

The first step to an effective response by progressives to the rising tide of right-wing populism in Italy and elsewhere is to realise that ever more open borders are the problem. It was predominantly opposition to inadequately controlled immigration Continue reading

Only way to see off extreme right populism is ‘progressive protectionism’

Only way to see off extreme right populism is ‘progressive protectionism’

Guardian Letters

Wednesday 7th March 2018

The first step to an effective response by progressives to the rising tide of rightwing populism in Italy and elsewhere (Editorial, 6 March) is to realise that ever more open borders are the problem. It was predominantly the opposition to inadequately Continue reading

Corbyn’s first tremulous steps towards becoming a No Brexit Prime Minister


Corbyn’s first tremulous steps towards becoming a No Brexit Prime Minister

Guardian Letters

Wednesday 28 Feb 2018

The Labour leader’s first tremulous steps towards a “cosy Corbyn Brexit” (Corbyn’s cosy Brexit pitch is a gamble. But he’s beating May, Rafael Behr, 27 February) need rather more work to turn it into a credible pathway to becoming prime minister. Continue reading

Getting down with the No Brexit kids!

Getting down with the No Brexit kids!

The New European Letters

February 15th -21st

Dear Sir,

There is a real opportunity offered by the fact that the much followed rapper Not3s is opposed to Brexit, but doesn’t know what to do about it (‘Young want to stop Brexit..we can help them’ The New European February 8th-14th).

Were he and like minded musicians to join up with the young Remainers of ‘Our Future Our Choice’ they could put pressure on Jeremy Corbyn to campaign to ‘Remain’ and support a second referendum.

To ensure this approach gets maximum coverage in mainstream and social media these young activists should replace the feel good, but directionless, chant of ‘Oh Jeremy Corbyn’ with ‘No Brexit,.Jeremy Corbyn’.

Yours faithfully,

Colin Hines

This last sentence was cut:

T shirts with #No Brexit Jeremy Corbyn could then dominate every Labour gathering.

For more detail behind the thinking of this letter see yesterday’s blog:


‘#No Brexit Jeremy Corbyn’: saving the UK economy and getting Labour elected’


Colin Hines – ‘#No Brexit Jeremy Corbyn’: saving the UK economy and getting Labour elected’

February 14, 2018

A different Remain. Colin Hines is one of the few trying to promote remain, while correcting the failed policies that resulted in Brexit. The question is if the Tories and the EU are seeking an amicable solution or trying to secure their own power?

 We at Brave New Europe don’t take a position on Brexit. While we recognise that many dark and odious forces lay behind the Brexit vote, and that the process will inflict significant economic damage on many people, we also know that European institutions and policies typically reflect a strong neoliberal slant – and we launched this project to oppose and change this.  We have sympathy with the anger against European institutions – but we also believe in the principle of European cross-border co-operation and co-ordination in many areas.  Reflecting this complex reality, we will host both pro-Brexit and pro-Remain articles.


2018 is the year to campaign for halting Brexit, since unless adequately challenged, Tory infighting and disarray could mean that next year the UK is dragged out of the EU on the worst possible terms. And what role is Labour playing during all this destructive mayhem? Why babbling impotently that a ‘jobs rich Continue reading

Robot threat can be countered by Green New Deal


The rise of the robots brings threats and opportunities

Guardian Letters

Monday27th November 2017

• Your editorial on productivity and robots repeated the cliche that automation does cost jobs, but more are created. The problem with this is that the new jobs are frequently in different places from where they are lost and require very different skills, hence exacerbating the problems for the “left behind”. Also unmentioned was that just as this automation is starting to really bite, the world faces a strong possibility of another serious credit-induced economic downturn, from China to the UK. Thus we have the potential of the prefect storm of domestic unemployment soaring and export markets falling as happened after the 2008 economic slump.

The answer to these problems has to be a shift of emphasis to rebuilding the local economy by prioritising labour-intensive sectors that are difficult to automate and impossible to relocate abroad. Two sectors are key: face-to-face caring from medicine, education and elderly care through to carbon-reducing national infrastructural renewal. This should range from making the UK’s 30m buildings energy efficient, constructing new low-carbon dwellings and rebuilding local public transport links. Funding could come from fairer taxes, the availability for savers of investments in local authority bonds and green Isas and a massive new green infrastructure QE programme. The reason this approach must become central to all political parties and their next election manifestos is the crucial vote winning mantra of “jobs in absolutely every constituency”.
Colin Hines
Convenor, UK Green New Deal Group

Reverse EU free movement AND Brexit: Guardian Letter, Brave New Europe, brilliant Deborah Orr piece

Reverse EU free movement AND Brexit: Guardian Letter, Brave New Europe, brilliant Deborah Orr piece 

Free movement of people raises real concerns

Wednesday 15 November 2017
What those who want to remain in a reformed EU that lessens people’s insecurity must grasp is that Brexit voters don’t want an apology, they want policies to deal with their desire for managed migration. What is still inadequately understood is that the one Continue reading

Progressive Parties in the UK Must Now Address the Immigration Challenge Head On if Brexit is to be Avoided

Progressive Parties in the UK Must Now Address the Immigration Challenge Head On if Brexit is to be Avoided

Immigration was the dominant issue for voters in the 2016 Referendum demanding that UK politicians should ‘take back control’ of our borders from the EU.

Since then, however, Brexit discussions have focussed on the so-called ‘divorce issues’, with immigration apparently off the agenda. This has allowed Labour, the Lib Dems and the Greens to keep their heads down on what remains the highly controversial issue of immigration.

A hard-hitting paper from Jonathon Porritt and Colin Hines suggests that this is very unwise. Public opinion on Brexit continues to soften, but any serious prospect of avoiding a ‘hard Brexit’ (which remains a critical priority for all progressive parties), let alone of rejecting Brexit altogether, depends on decisively addressing UK voters’ concerns about immigration.

Jonathon Porritt: “Progressive parties have already paid a high price, across Europe, by allowing right-wing and populist parties to manipulate citizens’ concerns about high levels of immigration coming into and moving between EU countries. All EU countries are now wrestling with this ongoing dilemma, with the majority of their citizens demanding that their governments should indeed manage immigration far more rigorously – in effect, taking back more control of their borders. Progressive parties are now duty bound to develop much smarter, compassionate policies to achieve precisely that.”

Colin Hines: “What is inadequately understood is that political discussions about reinterpreting ‘freedom of movement’ to allow nation states to manage migration is already taking place across Europe. Such an emphasis in the UK would strengthen support for a ‘No Brexit’ position, as the public is becoming increasingly uneasy about the present state of negotiations on leaving the EU.”

As the paper highlights, 2017 elections in the Netherlands, France, Germany, Austria and the Czech Republic have made this a pivotal issue for all centre left and Green parties, in a way that can no longer be ignored or deferred. And there are already welcome signals that both Labour and the Lib Dems are beginning to move in this direction as well, but they need to move far faster and far more proactively than is currently the case. As indeed does the Green Party.

Both Jonathon Porritt and Colin Hines believe that Brexit can be avoided, but that this will only happen when all three political parties address the immigration issue head on, reassuring people that we really can and must take back more control over our borders.


‘The Progressive Case for Taking Control of EU Immigration – and Avoiding Brexit in the Process’


Jonathon Porritt and I have written this report both to address some ‘taboo territory’ for the progressive left and many greens – and to start to undo some of the damage caused by the 2016 Referendum.

Background to the report by Jonathon Porritt

“Anyone who cares about progressive politics has to get real about immigration.”

That’s a quote from Colin Hines, a very good friend of mine. Colin’s work has been ignored and overlooked for far too long by far too many. In January, he published his latest e-book, ‘Progressive Protectionism: Taking Back Control’, and I think Colin would be the first to agree that it has not, as yet, turned out to be a publishing sensation!

His book addresses the four basic ‘freedoms’ on which so much of the EU’s philosophy and policy is based: Freedom of movement for capital, for goods, for services, and for people. As it happens, I don’t share Colin’s fundamental hostility to the movement of goods and services, but on both capital and people, we are pretty much in the same place.

This publication focusses on the freedom of movement for EU citizens. With his permission, roughly half of the raw material for it has been taken from Colin’s e-book, but I have re-ordered it, re-purposed it, and then added a lot of my own stuff. But I do urge you to have a look at Colin’s full protectionist argument in all its unvarnished (and much more provocative!) glory:

Free Movement of people- dystopian recruiter for the extreme right, bad for country of origin, and rejected by majority in rich host nations


Guardian Letters

Wednesday 18 October 2017

• Gary Younge’s dystopian view of a world with no curbs on migration will increase the rise of the anti-immigrant right, as was seen on Sunday in Austria (Austrian elections won by conservative accused of playing the far right’s game, 16 October). It is time to stop always seeing migration just in terms

of the rights of generally more affluent migrants. The rights of the original host country not to lose permanently their brightest and best must also warrant consideration, as should the views of the majority in the recipient counties who want less migration. The major cause of population growth in most rich countries is now immigration. This has led to well-founded public concerns about uncontrolled mass migration. A Gallup poll showed that about 630 million of the world’s adults would like to leave their country and move somewhere else permanently, with 42 million expressing a preference for the UK, a destination second only to the US.

If net migration continues at about recent levels, then the UK population is expected to rise by nearly 8 million people in 15 years, almost the equivalent of the population of Greater London (8.7 million). Population growth is projected to approach 80 million in 25 years and keep rising. Younge is right that nation states are a recent phenomena and mass migration is as old as humanity. But because of domestic pressures, the nation state will increasingly make large-scale permanent migration a thing of the past. The question will be: will their governments inevitably be rightwing or will progressive politicians grasp this rational political inevitability.
Colin Hines
(Author of Progressive Protectionism), London