Over the last five years, much has been said from both the Left and Right on the matters of democracy, sovereignty and accountability.
There is a general sense that the negotiations between Britain and the EU are a shambles and that British politics, in general, is broken.
This is clearly true in some ways, but we should not misunderstand what is happening, and fail to see that in part it is the welcome reawakening of long-dead political struggles.
Nye Bevan put it very clearly in 1957 when he stated: “In the absence of a wider sovereignty, all the conception of a common market does is to elevate the marketplace to the status now enjoyed by the various European parliaments.
Is it the disenfranchisement of the people and the enfranchisement of market forces?
Are we now expected to go back almost a century, reject Socialism, and clasp free trade to our bosom as though it were the one solution of our social evils? …
The conception of the Common Market… is the result of a political malaise following upon the failure of Socialists to use the sovereign power of their parliaments to plan their economic life… It is an escapist conception in which the play of the market forces will take the place of political responsibility…”
Conservatives, on the whole, expressed enthusiasm for the Common Market for precisely the same reasons. They understood that its general character would make a return to full-blooded Attlee-style socialism almost impossible.
It is no accident that Margaret Thatcher both voted for the European Communities Act and was an enthusiastic advocate of the Common Market’s evolution into the Single Market we have today, with its extensive restrictions on state aid and its enforcement of a high degree of competition in European markets, including the labour market.
From the beginning they also welcomed the free movement of labour. The position paper presented to Macmillan’s cabinet in July 1960, which formed the basis of all the later negotiations with the EEC, recognised that it would be the ultimate consequence of joining, but said – interestingly – that, “the movement of labour works both ways, and might conceivably be of advantage to us as a method of dealing with unemployment” – not a sentiment we can imagine a Labour government ever expressing!
No matter the debate on the issue of sovereignty, for parliamentarians their job has just become a little more difficult. No longer can politicians outsource their responsibility, or scapegoat the EU for their own inability to create political solutions for the people they represent.
The only thing which will allow the Left to roll back the last forty years of market entrenchment is opening up a space in which democratic politics can determine the shape of the British economy, and British society in general, as it did from the coming of universal suffrage until 1 January 1973. If at some point the electorate votes for Conservative policies, so be it; the policies can at least be reversed through the simple means of a general election, rather than through what we found to be in the agonising process of breaking away from a supranational entity.
Dennis Skinner: The EU is undemocratic
Now we must act in bringing about a cultural and industrial change to the UK. A rebalance of the economy one that creates prosperity through the innovation of new things and the restoration of old.
The wider Labour movement including the unions must now look to themselves and demand from its representatives’ solutions to bring about changes in circumstances for all those left behind.
Project fear has proved to be project propaganda
As far as Workers rights are concerned there is a Non-regression agreement. This essentially means that workers rights cannot be wound back below the standards of today. For the Labour movement, it means that the outsourcing of workers rights to the Bosses club is over. Unions are once again the agents of the workers’ it is their duty not only to act as insurance to already established workers rights but to ensure through collective bargaining, the democratic process and rigorous debate workers achieve better standards.
Article 6.2: Non-regression from levels of protection
- The Parties affirm the right of each Party to set its policies and priorities in the areas covered
by this Chapter, to determine the labour and social levels of protection it deems appropriate and to
adopt or modify its law and policies in a manner consistent with each Party’s international
commitments, including those under this Chapter.
- A Party shall not weaken or reduce, in a manner affecting trade or investment between the
Parties, its labour and social levels of protection below the levels in place at the end of the transition
period, including by failing to effectively enforce its law and standards.
The agreement stipulates a level playing field on state aid but in no way does that inhibit a future Left wing Government from pursuing nationalisation of monopoly utilities including rail and mail.
In fact Title VI: Public procurement
70.The Agreement ensures that the UK can maintain a separate and
independent procurement regime and will enable the Government to enact
reform of our system.
The Agreement provides for a transparent and nondiscriminatory framework of rules for trade in public procurement. These rules are based on the WTO Government Procurement Agreement (GPA), with some precedented additions for covered procurement, including the use of electronic means in procurement, electronic publication of notices, environmental, social and labour considerations, and domestic review procedures.
71.The UK and EU have also agreed an extension of market access coverage
beyond the GPA, which includes: the gas and heat distribution sector; private
utilities that act as a monopoly; and a range of additional services in the hospitality, telecoms, real estate, education and other business sectors. This will provide businesses with additional opportunities and will benefit contracting authorities through increased competition, creating better value for money for the taxpayer.
The danger for the Left is that the Tories will make hay while the sun shines and what is not done in dead or action will be believed to have been carried out only by word.
Broad, sunlit uplands’ await the UK
It is very clear that the Tories have not only stole a march on Labour who are still playing both sides of the Brexit divide but will now consolidate their gains from the 2019 general election. Unfortunately, Sir Keir Starmer has no answer other than to continue to cull Left wing Labour members and remake the Labour Party in his own centrist image.
While Starmer fights the civil war and transforms Labour to an alternative conservative Party ready to carry on where the Tories leave off. The Tories are taking every opportunity to make gains from the Brexit trade deal.
Brexit: Johnson vows to focus on ‘levelling up country’ after securing the deal
Boris Johnson has vowed to focus on “levelling up the country” and “spreading opportunity”, after securing the post-Brexit trade deal this week.
Boris Johnson told the Sunday Telegraph the deal would provide new legislative and regulatory freedoms to “deliver for people who felt left behind”.
But fishermen’s leaders have accused him of “caving in” and sacrificing their interests to reach the agreement.
Labour called it a “thin deal” that needed “more work” to protect UK jobs.
‘They know the price of everything and the value of nothing’
Remain backing newspapers have made fools out of thousands of people. Brexit prepping became a very profitable business for some people while others just peddled their doom and gloom. Even now trying to find more to fault than to use in the battle to change a rigged system.
“I think if there’s some empty shelves then people will panic buy.”— Channel 4 News (@Channel4News) February 13, 2019
Meet the Brexit ‘preppers’ who are stockpiling food in preparation for a no deal Brexit scenario. pic.twitter.com/TqHliOwE5u
Meanwhile, the reality is Tesco chairman John Allan told BBC Radio 4’s World This Weekend he expected the impact on food prices to be “very modest indeed”.
The agreement was reached on Christmas Eve after months of fraught talks on issues including fishing rights and business rules. MPs will vote on the deal in Parliament on 30 December.
Scrutiny of the treaty began in earnest on Saturday morning when the 1,246-page document was officially published, with Conservative Eurosceptics among those promising to pore over the details.
At this point, Labour should stop with the coulda, shoulda woulda and start to paint a picture of the UK as a land under a left wing government that can transform peoples lives for the better, instead, they are still playing the rejected bitter party with their glass half full attitudes.
The irony is the EEC and EU were always Tory projects and the Left viewed them as extensions of neoliberalism and removing the responsibility of democracy to a distant Brussels, to ‘the Bosses club’ as the EU was called before Blair. Now it seems modern Labour have become dependent on the bosses, they have lost their drive, there very purpopse, is there any wonder even in the midst of the worst national disaster since WWII at a time we are witnessing tens of thousands of victims to this terrible virus a time where Tory cronyism is the norm, making gains from the disaster and Labour cannot poll better than this corrupt government.
The Tories have no issues in making hay and setting the agenda outside the EU. In his first interview since the deal was agreed, Johnson said “big changes” were coming, declaring “it is up to us now to seize the opportunity of Brexit”.
He said a “great government effort” had gone into the plans, with animal welfare, data and chemicals being areas where the UK could diverge from EU standards.
“This government has a very clear agenda to use this moment to unite and level up and to spread opportunity across the government,” Mr Johnson added.
But he told the Telegraph that the deal “perhaps does not go as far as we would like” on financial services.
From the end of the transition period on 31 December, financial firms including banks and insurers will not be granted automatic access to EU markets.
They will have to be deemed by Brussels to be governed by rules as robust as within the bloc.
Chancellor Rishi Sunak has sought to reassure the City of London that it will not be damaged by the deal.
He said they would be “doing a few things a bit differently” and looking at “how we make the City of London the most attractive place to list new companies anywhere in the world”.
“There is a stable, co-operative framework, mentioned in the deal which I think will give people that reassurance that we will remain in close dialogue with our European partners when it comes to things like equivalence decisions, for example,” he said.
The chancellor said the deal was “an enormously unifying moment for our country” and it brought reassurance to those who were concerned about the impact on businesses.
He said the “comprehensive nature” of the free trade agreement ensured “tariff-free, quota-free, access for British businesses to the European market”, and protected British jobs.
But Labour’s shadow chancellor Anneliese Dodds said the agreement did not protect financial services, which employ a million people in the UK.
“This is a thin deal,” she told the BBC.
“It’s not the deal that the government promised and there are large areas of our economy, for example financial services – that employs one in 14 people in our country – where there aren’t clear elements within this deal.
“Much more work will need to be done very speedily by the Conservative government in order to ensure that we keep jobs in the UK as a result of this deal and don’t lose even more.”
But she said her party would support the deal in next week’s vote in order to provide legal certainty for businesses.
As a Left wing Leave supporter I would have had more respect for the Labour party if they were to abstain from this vote, for no other reason than principle, after all, Sir Keir Starmer used the Brexit and the Remain camp to remove Jeremy Corbyn and usher himself forward. At least he could show a little integrity if not for himself, for all the Remainers he used to ascend to his leadership position.
Price is what you pay. Value is what you get.
Tony Benn – Britain must Leave the EU to restore Democracy
A Democratic Deficit.
Tony Benn said: “In Britain, you vote for a government and therefore the government has to listen to you.
“And if you don’t like it you can change it. But in Europe all the key positions are appointed not elected.
“The Commission for example, all appointed not one of them elected.
Tony Benn recognised that the Maastricht Treaty, the treaty that formed the EU was a capitulation by the British government to an unelected EU commission. Speaking as the elected member of Parliament and representative of Chesterfield he stated:
I have five questions that I ask people who have power, and I recommend them to the House.
If I see someone who is powerful, be it a traffic warden, Rupert Murdoch, the head of a trade union or a Member of Parliament, I ask myself these five questions:
- What power have you got?
- Where did you get it?
- In whose interests do you exercise it?
- To whom are you accountable?
- How can we get rid of you?
That last question is crucial. We cannot get rid of Jacques Delors; we cannot get rid of the [European] Commission. We can get rid of a Government; but we cannot get rid of European legislation that a Government have entrenched during their period in office—be they a Labour Government with the Tories coming or the other way around.
The rights that are entrusted to us are not for us to give away. Even if I agree with everything that is proposed, I cannot hand away powers lent to me for five years by the people of Chesterfield. I just could not do it. It would be theft of public rights.
If people vote for that, they will all have capitulated. Julius Caesar said, ‘We are just merging our sovereignty.’ So did William the Conqueror.
Now after 47 long years the UK can now become a self-governing country. However Brexit as shown
Tony Benn on the EU
When I saw how the European Union was developing, it was very obvious what they had in mind was not democratic. In Britain, you vote for a government so the government has to listen to you, and if you don’t like it you can change it.
When asked his own thoughts about the European Union, Tony Benn did not do what most contemporary Labour Party personalities do today, Benn was very honest, open and articulate. Instead of falsely trying to state or justify the virtues that an undemocratic EU allows the UK. He would make no bones about the undemocratic EU. Tony Benn was very clear that the left-wing case against the European Union was about democracy, democracy, democracy or more so the loss of democracy.
In the UK we can remove Governments, change the direction of policy, change laws, demand new laws and rights within our own government but under the EU our very democracy has become eroded, our rights are not determined by the people but by a distant Brussels with no concern other than the bottom line for its globalised masters and the Banks that run the institute that is the EU.
Tony Benn would point out the undemocratic nature of the EU stating the disconnect between democracy the people and a distant EU. Benn would articulate the deficit of the EU parliamentarians who are redundant in the lawmaking process their only part to nod through law with no recourse of amendment or even proposing motions for law themselves. MEP’s can not propose laws or even amend laws their only recourse is to pass or decline.
The only body that can propose a law in the EU is the EU Commission.
The picture painted from the original advocates of entry into the Common Market believed in the 1970s that the globe is divided between Oceania and Eurasia (sorry, we meant the US and the EU) and that the poor little UK has to choose between them. Benn rejected this then, and socialists should reject it now. There is a profound distinction between globalisation and internationalism.
But what we have learnt over the last 3 years is that there is a democratic deficit in the UK one that has shown that our political class no longer listens to the people.
The UK will never return to a pre 2016 nation our political class have been measured weighed and found short in every respect.
The centre will shift and swing, old working class loyalties will ebb and flow but never be taken for granted by any Party. Just like the Scottish referendum empowered and activated a generation into politics the EU referendum as brought to life a new revolution that will see dramatic upheaval in the UK for a long while to come.
We now have our democracy back. The real fight now begins the question that remains, are those that hold the power of democracy our acting on our behalf for the benefit of the nation or as we have witnessed their own and the benefit of self.