Join the Socialist Party Join us today!

Printable version Printable version

Facebook   Twitter

Socialist Case for Exit

Link to this page: https://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/924/23924

From The Socialist newspaper, 9 November 2016

What we think:

High Court bombshell: Fight for a united, working class approach to Brexit

International trade unionists marching against EU austerity, photo Paul Mattsson

International trade unionists marching against EU austerity, photo Paul Mattsson   (Click to enlarge)

The decision of the High Court that the government must allow Parliament a say in the issue of Brexit is a bombshell with wide, and perhaps even unforeseen, effects. It could lead to a general election next year which in turn will widen even further the endemic splits within the Tory Party. As shown by the resignation of Tory MP Stephen Phillips over the government's handling of Brexit and of Zac Goldsmith over the third runway at Heathrow, these splits are already of Grand Canyon proportions!

Moreover, if it appears that the will of the people has been overturned by three unelected judges, and then confirmed by the Supreme Court, that could lead to mass opposition on the streets - which the far right and Ukip will seek to capitalise on. In Ireland in 2008 the population voted against the Lisbon Treaty of the European Union - only to be sent back to the polls just 16 months later for the ruling class to get the result they wanted! The Lisbon Treaty itself was only created to get around the rejection three years earlier of the EU Constitution by referenda in France and the Netherlands.

However Britain now is not in the same situation as these countries were then. There has been a build-up of massive discontent and such a move would result in mass resistance. The referendum result was not just about the EU but was an expression of mass revulsion at the social conditions that have developed in Britain. There is brewing mass discontent powered by worsening conditions of life for huge swathes of people who are only managing to keep their heads above water by accumulating even more debt. The total household debt in the UK now tops 1.5 trillion.

Hypocrisy

This court case has illustrated the sheer hypocrisy of all wings of the ruling class. The Daily Mail poses as the defender of the people with its headline drawn from Norwegian playwright Henrik Ibsen, 'Enemy of the People,' referring to the three judges.

The so-called 'liberal' press has outdone itself from the opposite perspective, rushing to defend the 'independence' of the judiciary. The Observer denounced the Mail and Telegraph: "Castigating the judges and by extension, anybody who has the effrontery to agree with them, is exactly what the hard Tory Brexiters and their accomplices in the lie factories of Fleet Street have resorted to with a venom, vindictiveness and vituperation remarkable even by their standards."

The truth of the matter is that the judiciary is not independent - it is drawn largely from the rich and powerful, linked to the capitalist class. Any striking worker who has been threatened with an injunction knows this. The 'independent' judiciary jailed the Tolpuddle Martyrs and many of those - including 34 of our own members - who fought against and refused to pay the unfair Poll Tax.

Theresa May has appealed to the Supreme Court to overturn the decision. But if the decision stands, what are its implications? First of all, it will mean a battle in the House of Commons and the House of Lords aimed against a 'hard Brexit' - opposition to withdrawal from the single market and to limits on immigration etc. The majority of MPs supported a Remain vote. If the House of Lords were to help to overturn Brexit, it could lead to a mood in favour of the abolition of that undemocratic body.

May, with her slim majority, could be forced to try to engineer an early general election. This would be welcomed by the Blairites who are, as we have pointed out, 'counterrevolutionary defeatists'. They would hope for a Labour Party defeat to then use against Jeremy Corbyn in a third coup.

As part of their campaign, those who welcomed the judges' decision will once more argue the 'progressiveness' of the EU. Incredibly, this is backed up by the Trade Union Congress which goes along with playing up the EU for allegedly defending trade union rights. In reality, most workers' rights - for example equal pay for women - did not begin from EU legislation but through workers' struggles here in Britain. What's more, even when advances were introduced by the EU, the bosses have found ways around them - for example by cutting full time jobs to get around the maximum 48-hour week enshrined in the Working Time Directive.

The EU remains a neoliberal project which at heart means more privatisations, worsening conditions such as through the gig economy, falling pay, etc. Only the actions of the working class itself, through trade unions, is able to achieve lasting reforms of better conditions and wages. In fact a left Jeremy Corbyn-led government implementing measures in the interests of the working class, like the nationalisation of the railways, would quickly come into conflict with the institutions and legislation of the EU.

Corbyn

Jeremy Corbyn has said that only on the basis of workers' rights and conditions being defended will he allow Article 50 to go through. It is good that he has emphasised defending workers' rights, but it is a mistake to give the impression that he would consider blocking Brexit by voting down Article 50. Tom Watson has flatly contradicted him, and this statement could be used to undermine Corbyn. It is also a mistake for Corbyn to include access to the single market in his demands for Brexit, if by that he means acceptance of its neoliberal rules.

Jeremy Corbyn's position related to Brexit has to be linked to policies and action like those that have brought him victory in two leadership elections. This includes rent control, council house building, a 10 an hour minimum wage, an end to zero-hour contracts. It must also be linked to a radical socialist programme, including the nationalisation of basic industries.

Without this, the Corbyn movement will be powerless, especially in the teeth of a new economic crisis, which is on the horizon. This has been shown in Greece where Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras - elected on a more radical programme than Corbyn has advanced - is moving further and further to the right.

Jeremy Corbyn is correct to say that Labour would welcome a general election and to ignore the sceptics, like Kevin Maguire of the Mirror, who say Labour will be defeated. On the contrary, the Tories are hopelessly divided and these divisions could become even wider. The Labour Party could win with an anti-austerity, socialist programme.

The question of a general election is still in the balance. Originally Theresa May was determined to last it out until 2020. And there are complications, such as needing the agreement of Parliament to have an early general election. But nevertheless she could have no choice if Brexit is dragged out and subsequently watered down by Parliament and there is a growing revolt among working people.

The whole labour movement has to be prepared. Labour must fight on an independent class position in all situations. It is therefore scandalous that in Richmond Park even those supposedly behind Corbyn, like Clive Lewis, said that Labour should not contest the byelection brought about by Zac Goldsmith resigning from the Tories. An independent working class and socialist position is vital for the Labour Party to triumph in the challenges it faces.

Why not click here to join the Socialist Party, or click here to donate to the Socialist Party.


In The Socialist 9 November 2016:


High Court Brexit bombshell

Bosses' government, bosses' EU...fight for socialism

High Court bombshell on Brexit decision


Socialist Party news and analysis

Stop the 54,000 yearly maternity sackings

Build housing for the kids without homes this Xmas

Unions must act on pay restraint!

Court slams Tory air quality plans

Them & Us


Socialist Party reports and campaigns

Build the education fightback

Read the Socialist

Over a thousand march to fight museums and libraries cuts

Library cuts: working class kids suffer most

Momentum left meeting excludes socialists

New Socialist Party pamphlet: Fight racism, fight for socialism

Far-right given short shrift in Darlington

Obituary: Hilary Mooney 1945-2016


Socialist Party workplace news

Action needed to defend workers at the sharp end of prisons crisis

Courts and tribunal services face huge cuts

Newcastle council cuts: opportunity for trade union fightback

Birmingham's Labour council freezes workers' pay

Hackney Picturehouse strike


International socialist news and analysis

Turkey: Erdogan tightens repressive screw

Ireland: Gardai strike threat

South Africa: State victimises #OutsourcingMustFall activists


Socialist Party comments and reviews

Horror of health-wrecking toil for Polish migrants

HyperNormalisation: Arbitrary selection of ideas to confirm feelings of powerlessness

Socialist inbox


 

Home   |   The Socialist 9 November 2016   |   Join the Socialist Party

Subscribe   |   Donate   |   Audio  |   PDF  |   ebook






Related links:

EU:

triangleFight for a general election to kick out the Tories

triangleFor a socialist alternative to the EU - mobilise to kick out the Tories!

triangleEnd Tory misery - general election now!

triangleBrexit as a window on our times

triangleGovernment limps on... Corbyn and unions must call urgent, mass action

Working class:

triangleIn defence of socialist feminism

triangle1,000-strong rally in London this weekend

triangleEqual pay uprising shows power of working class

trianglePeterloo: "If the people were to rise and smite their enemies, was not this the time?" Samuel Bamford, demonstrator

Labour:

triangleFight Cardiff Council's school cuts

triangleBlairite Birmingham steps up union-busting and two workforces plan strikes

triangleSouthampton: Join the pledge to resist cuts

Jeremy Corbyn:

triangleHaringey 'Corbyn council': end the secrecy and confusion - lead a fight against the cuts

triangleNothing to offer from the Blairites

General election:

triangleAusterity: not one more day - Tories out now

Election:

trianglePCS AGS election: Where now after the Left Unity conference?

Workers:

triangleWorkers at the forefront of the new wave of protests in Iran

Pay:

triangleWorkplace news in brief

Socialist:

triangleNorth West Socialist Party regional conference

Parliament:

trianglePolitical turmoil in Sri Lanka

Union:

triangleLeeds TUC conference to organise fight against austerity

Labour Party:

triangleIslwyn Labour Party calls for council no-cuts budget

Britain:

triangleEven UN slams Tory poorhouse Britain

Government:

triangleEyewitness: French protesters seize streets against President Macron

Nationalisation:

triangleCrowds turn out for Corbyn in Rugby

Trade union:

triangleCollege lecturers in Wales strike against low pay and workload

Market:

triangleUniversity bankruptcy threat - kick the market out of education

Tories:

triangleHackney & Islington Socialist Party: Brexit - Will the Tories survive?

Lisbon Treaty:

triangle'Vote Leave' fined: For a workers' Brexit

Debt:

triangleUniversal credit = universal misery

House of Lords:

trianglePhilip Green scandal - bring him down like BHS

Greece:

triangleDeadly fires ravage Greece: austerity contributed to high loss of life and property

Economic crisis:

triangleFearful bosses call for 'fairer capitalism'...

Elections:

trianglePCS Left Unity election: All votes should count

Immigration:

triangleThousands march against racism - now Corbyn and unions must take lead

Anti-austerity:

triangleNewham by-election: We need anti-austerity councillors

European:

triangleWhat we saw

European Union:

triangleTUC congress Brexit debate: unions must lead fight for a general election

News and socialist analysis

News and socialist analysis

5/12/18

EU

Fight for a general election to kick out the Tories

5/12/18

Technology

The growth of artificial intelligence technology

5/12/18

PCS

PCS AGS election: Where now after the Left Unity conference?

5/12/18

Huddersfield

Racist attack in Huddersfield

5/12/18

Buses

Fatal bus crash - an avoidable tragedy

5/12/18

Housing

Arrogant landlords can be beaten

5/12/18

Tories

Austerity: not one more day - Tories out now

5/12/18

NHS

Health bosses move goalposts on A&E waiting times: more funds for our NHS now!

28/11/18

Environment

We need system change to halt climate change

28/11/18

Housing

The Tories' letting fee ban is full of holes - we need rent controls and council homes!

28/11/18

Haringey

Haringey 'Corbyn council': end the secrecy and confusion - lead a fight against the cuts

28/11/18

Brexit

End Tory misery - general election now!

28/11/18

EU

For a socialist alternative to the EU - mobilise to kick out the Tories!

22/11/18

Brexit

Brexit as a window on our times

22/11/18

Women

In defence of socialist feminism

triangleMore News and socialist analysis articles...


Join the Socialist Party
Subscribe to Socialist Party publications
Donate to the Socialist Party
Socialist Party Facebook page
Socialist Party on Twitter
Visit us on Youtube

LATEST POSTS

CONTACT US

Phone our national office on 020 8988 8777

Email: info@socialistparty.org.uk

Locate your nearest Socialist Party branch Text your name and postcode to 07761 818 206

Regional Socialist Party organisers:

Eastern: 0798 202 1969

East Mids: 0773 797 8057

London: 020 8988 8786

North East: 0784 114 4890

North West 07769 611 320

South East: 020 8988 8777

South West: 07759 796 478

Southern: 07833 681910

Wales: 07935 391 947

West Mids: 02476 555 620

Yorkshire: 0114 264 6551

ABOUT US

ARCHIVE

Alphabetical listing


December 2018

November 2018

October 2018

September 2018

August 2018

July 2018

June 2018

May 2018

April 2018

March 2018

February 2018

January 2018

2017

2016

2015

2014

2013

2012

2011

2010

2009

2008

2007

2006

2005

2004

2003

2002

2001

2000

1999