Labour cannot have a manifesto that promises radical change if we are to remain in the EU

Labour manifesto 2019 subject to EU approval

We cannot have a manifesto that promises radical change if we are to remain in the EU Any manifesto will be restricted to what we can and can’t do while ever we are a member of the EU.

Perhaps the Labour Party manifesto will be a manifesto of alternatives, two manifestos?

Manifestos one, only achievable if we leave the EU .
A radical manifesto of change bringing in a winning formula that breaks monopoly capitalism while allowing the working class a level playing field to advance their lives. A manifesto that contains a policy of 100% nationalisation one where we see mail, rail and utilities come under public ownership. Run efficiently allowing for green technology investment while still keeping consumer pricing down.

One of self-government where we choose our own rules and path. Pledges placing workers rights, education and health at the front and center of society. An anti-austerity manifesto that allows the rebuilding of infrastructure throughout the UK. Investing in the old abandoned Labour heartlands that have been left to decay for a generation.

Reanimating these left behind communities bringing real work and industry matching the needs of society with health care and education built into an industrial strategy to that ensures we as a nation can offer investors a vibrant healthy educated workforce. This manifesto would take us into the 21st century the rejuvenation of the Labour Heartlands would turn the wheels of industry with the backing of a promised massive state aid policy that would give us the ability to build a new green Industrial Revolution.

We would have the freedom of self-government allowing the UK to use its massive wealth to invest in building green technologies bringing new initiatives allowing a socialists government the ability to procure and nationalise. An example the Honda motor manufacturing manufacturing plant at Swindon, retaining all the skilled workers and turning their knack, knowledge and skill into producing UK electric vehicles based on the free Tesla patent.

A leave manifesto that allows us to set our budget according to our needs not to the restrictions imposed upon us by the treaties signed with the failed neoliberal EU and it’s staunch and unwavering commitment to austerity within its member states.

This is not an exaggeration. The European Union (alongside its legislative arm, the European Commission, and its monetary arm, the European Central Bank) is committed to the kinds of sweeping austerity measures that have been championed by successive Conservative governments here in the UK. The EU has either demanded or directly imposed austerity measures on several of its debt-ridden member states, it stipulates spending and oversees all members budgets including the UK’s. LINK

There is no doubt public ownership of gas, electricity, rail and mail are destined to become a cherished aim of the Labour Party. For years under privatisation, the swindling of the consumer has gone hand-in-hand with outrageous profit-taking by the corporate giants, to the loss of the public purse. Far from helping customers through keen competition, the main effect of energy privatisation has been – like austerity – a redistribution of wealth from the have-nots to the well-to-do.

What a pity, therefore, that Labour cannot renationalise it! While ever Britain is a member of the European Union and as such we are bound by the EU Treaties. Indeed, every British court is duty-bound to enforce every EU law in preference to any conflicting British statute. Under Article 106, the EU prohibits public monopolies exercising exclusive rights where this violates EU competition rules.

The EU’s Court of Justice has interpreted Article 106 as giving private companies the right to argue before the national courts that services should continue to be open to private-sector competition. Nationalised services are prima facie suspect and must be analysed by the judiciary for their “necessity”. Thus the EU has given companies a legal right to run to court to scupper programmes of public ownership.

The fact that EU law has this effect may seem astonishing. Many on the Left seem unaware of it. Those fond of the EU tend to go into denial over it. Despite Greece, there is a tendency to displace the EU’s neoliberalism onto the nascent however neoliberalism is at the center of all the EU does.

Yet the consensus that EU law really does preclude renationalisation is pretty overwhelming. Legal scholars regard the jurisprudence surrounding Article 106 as “revolutionary”, since it reverses “the decades-old presumption…that Member States are free in principle to determine their preferred system of property ownership”. Even Polly Toynbee endlessly reiterated that EU competition law would make NHS privatisation irreversible, though curiously this didn’t dampen her pro-EU ardour in the long term.

Furthermore there is scant prospect of Article 106 ever being repealed. To do so would require the common accord of all the governments of the EU Member States. You’d only need a single neoliberal government to veto such a Treaty change.

For good measure, from the 1990’s onwards there was a surge of EU liberalisation directives opening up gas, electricity, transport, telecommunications etc to private sector involvement. Fat chance of a Labour Britain getting these repealed either: to do so would require a “qualified majority” of Member States.

The Remain camp would dismiss this and try to paint over the facts but it is clear to anyone who looks deeply enough that the EU is not in favour of Nationalisation or state aid.

This can clearly be seen in how the EU forced Électricité de France popularly known as EDF a state-owned EPIC, it became the main electricity generation and distribution company in France, enjoying a monopoly in electricity generation, although some small local distributors were retained by the nationalisation. This monopoly ended in 1999 when EDF was forced by a European Directive to open up 20% of its business to competitors.

Note the fact that EDF was forced to open up to competitors due to EDF’s monopoly. Nationalisation of utilities and rail in all senses of the word is a Monopoly and can be no other, it is on this bases that EU rules and regulations will not allow Labour’s manifesto to be implemented in full.

The single market is defined in the Single European Act of 1986 as “an area without internal frontiers in which the free movement of goodscapitalservices, and labour is ensured.”

The European Court and Commission interpret the “four freedoms” — free movement of goods, workers, capital (“freedom of establishment”) and the freedom to provide services across borders — as the highest law informing their actions.

This legal status is based on a profound and immutable assumption in the DNA of the “European project” that competitive markets constitute the most efficient method of organising economic life.

While the EU is theoretically neutral as to the legal form of companies, in practice publicly owned companies must operate within a tightly controlled competitive context where democratic government-led economic interventions are a distortion of the market.

Under Article 107(I) TFEU, the actions of member states must not distort competition. Interventions by EU member states in the economy can be ruled unlawful if it can be shown that they use state resources, distort competition, distort trade between member states or give enterprises a selective advantage. Article 87(1) TFEU covers “any aid granted by a member state or through state resources in any form whatsoever which distorts or threatens to distort competition by favouring certain undertakings or the production of certain goods, in so far as it affects trade between member states.”

The European Commission holds strong investigative and decision-making powers. In 2013 revised State Aid Procedural Regulations empowered it to conduct state aid sector inquiries and to recover “incompatible state aid.” Member states may not grant state aid without European Commission prior approval (the “standstill obligation”).

So how does this work in practice? Labour’s 2017 manifesto pledged to bring passenger rail services back into public ownership as rail franchises expire and repeal the 1993 Railways Act, which privatised our railways.

Yet the Fourth EU Package of Rail Liberalisation Directives embeds an identical competitive structure to the 1993 Railways Act introduced in Britain, in order to open up domestic public rail services to compulsory competitive tendering across all EU member states and regions by December 2019.

Public operators may continue to operate passenger rail franchises under EU rail liberalisation rules, but only on the basis of competitive tenders.

This rules out reconstruction of a coherent, integrated public monopoly responsible for passenger and freight services, rail infrastructure and public accessibility, such as British Rail.

Beyond rail sector-specific EU Directives, the rail market is policed more generally by EU competition law, to ensure market competition between firms, including state-owned firms.

This manifesto would guarantee workers rights and our NHS by being a winning manifesto that leads to a truly transformation Labour government that sits front and center in any trade negotiations ensuring our public services are protected not being sold of by either the Tories or the EU in trade deals like CETA.

As much as we support Jeremy Corbyn he cannot have it both ways. When talking about the EU prior to winning the leadership contest he called the EU out. Corbyn argued the case that the was EU tearing up the social chapter damaging the working class and workers interests and hiding tax evasion across Europe. He now claims that leaving the EU will bring about these same issues.

Jeremy Corbyn has said that leaving the EU is a Bankers Brexit the irony is that 99% of Bankers are remainers who openly support remain. Yet on the forming of the EU Corbyn said Ahead of the 1993 adoption of the EU’s founding Maastricht Treaty in a warning that the creation of the currency’s European Central Bank would undermine European countries’ ability to set their own policy.

“The whole basis of the Maastricht treaty is the establishment of a European Central Bank, which is staffed by bankers, independent of national governments and national economic policies, and whose sole policy is the maintenance of price stability,” he said.

“That will undermine any social objective that any Labour Government in the United Kingdom—or any other Government—would wish to carry out.”

The then as a backbencher, Corbyn also warned against a lack of democratic accountability of the soon to be established European Union’s structure.

“The Maastricht treaty does not take us in the direction of the checks and balances contained in the American federal constitution,” he said.

“It takes us in the opposite direction of an unelected legislative body—the Commission—and, in the case of foreign policy, a policy Commission that will be, in effect, imposing foreign policy on nation states that have fought for their own democratic accountability.”

It seems to me the only why of overcoming this contradiction and the only choice is to vote for Labour but demand Labour adopt its policy from its vote winning 2017 manifesto and pledges to take us out of the EU.

Corbyn on the EU and it’s Bankers.

Manifesto two.

A manifesto if we remain in the EU is quite simply the status quo. In this manifesto we are still bound by EU state aid, competition and Austerity rules.

The contentious requirements of getting the UK budget deficit down below 3%, and getting state debt to fall as a percentage of GDP which have guided policy since the crash, curbing spending with the anti growth stance that the Maastricht state debt rules create.

One where we still subsidise privately-owned rail and utilities. One where we allow what trade deals the EU have conducted like CETA to open up procurement of public services like the NHS, education, prison services and anything else that could be leveraged for privatisation and if our government refuses to bend to the will of the globalise corporations they will use the Investor state dispute system to sue the government for loss of profit.

The continuation of handing over the UK budget every year for the EU to sign off?

Lets have some honest politics after which if people who want to remain in the EU with people like Thierry Breton the head of ATOS as EU commissioner for the single market. Then fine just as long as we tell the truth.

“We can start by telling the truth on Austerity and our Public spending cap agreed with the EU.”

7561cd12 austerity

Jeremy Corbyn told an audience of European socialists that EU support for austerity has caused hardship for ordinary people, and that unless something changes there is a risk that “the fake populists of the far right will fill the vacuum.”

Speaking at the Congress of European Socialists in Lisbon, the Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn said his party respected the result of the Brexit referendum and it was the duty of the left in the UK to “shape what comes next”.

The fact is while we remain in the EU the status quo will continue.

The Stability and Growth Pact (SGP) is an agreement, among the 28 member states of the European Union, to facilitate and maintain the stability of the Economic and Monetary Union (EMU). Based primarily on Articles 121 and 126 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union, it consists of fiscal monitoring of members by the European Commission and the Council of Ministers, and the issuing of a yearly recommendation for policy actions to ensure a full compliance with the SGP also in the medium-term. If a Member State breaches the SGP’s outlined maximum limit for government deficit and debt, the surveillance and request for corrective action will intensify through the declaration of an Excessive Deficit Procedure (EDP); and if these corrective actions continue to remain absent after multiple warnings, the Member State can ultimately be issued economic sanctions. The pact was outlined by a resolution and two council regulations in July 1997. The first regulation “on the strengthening of the surveillance of budgetary positions and the surveillance and coordination of economic policies”, known as the “preventive arm”, entered into force 1 July 1998. The second regulation “on speeding up and clarifying the implementation of the excessive deficit procedure”, known as the “dissuasive arm”, entered into force 1 January 1999. LINK

Article 126 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union obliges member states to avoid excessive budgetary deficits. The protocol on the excessive deficit procedure, annexed to the Maastricht Treaty, defines two criteria and reference values with which member states’ governments should comply. These are:

a deficit (or net borrowing) to gross domestic product (GDP) ratio of 3%

a debt to GDP ratio of 60%

For the UK, financial year (April to March) figures are used by the European Commission when assessing against the protocol on the excessive deficit procedure.

We will always be held back by EU rules, laws and articles that inhibit a socialist agenda.

EU Treaties and rules that no matter your opinion on nuclear energy were used to stop the building production of Hinkley Point C nuclear power station for three long years while the EU decided if the UK’s 17 billion state aid was legal. Austria has filed a legal challenge at the European court of justice against EU-granted state subsidies for a new nuclear power plant in Britain, government officials have said.

“Subsidies are there to support modern technologies that lie in the general interest of all EU member states. This is not the case with nuclear power,” the Austrian chancellor, Werner Faymann, said.

The Austria argues that the Hinkley Point C project is in breach of European law and risks distorting the energy market.

The announcement came days after an alliance of 10 German and Austrian energy companies filed a legal challenge at the ECJ against Hinkley Point.

After three long years of court battles the ECJ ruled the UK use of state aid was in actual fact legal. This 3 years of court battles put a holt to UK energy plans due to one EU member claiming wrongly that £17 billion distorted the market. imagine what will happen if the Labour party try and use the £500 billion national investment bank it promised in it’s 2017 manifesto when we were set on leaving the EU.

There is a big world out then and fortress Europe walls are both keeping us in and others out.

The big myth remains that the Single Market is central to UK prosperity. It is not. Over the last 20 years, UK trade has grown 12 times with China, 3.1 times with the rest of the world ex-EU, 2.6 times with the US and just 2 times with the EU. Moreover, the UK trades with a modest surplus with the world The UK had a trade surplus of £44 billion with non-EU countries but has a £96 billion deficit with the EU. Our biggest growing market is outside the EU and if Labour are elected they make the future trade deals.

The EU as always been a basket case stumbling from crisis after crisis. EU citizens are voting with their feet. An estimated 3.5 million have moved to the UK over the last 20 years. EU economic failure has directly led to widespread migration away from Italy, Spain, Portugal and most of Eastern Europe. People follow the opportunity and it has generally not been in the Eurozone. Again, despite claims, net EU migration has remained positive to the UK since the EU referendum.

Labour therefore faces a choice: dump the EU dumb Austerity or dump rebuilding, regeneration and renationalisation. Whatever choice it makes, the fact that EU membership enforces Austerity, outlaws renationalisation this needs to be fully understood throughout the Party and the Labour movement.

“But most of all dump the vote losing second referendum.”

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