ThoughtStorms Wiki

Context: JeremyCorbyn, Brexit

Quora Answer : Could Jeremy Corbyn and Nigel Farage become allies?

Jul 11, 2018

It's hard to see what they'd be allies in.

Some people accuse Corbyn of being a secret hard-Brexiteer.

I don't believe that. I think Corbyn finds Brexit a distraction. He certainly has a history of sympathy with Lexitism. Just as he has a history of wanting unilateral nuclear disarmament.

But I suspect, as in the nuclear disarmament case, he's willing to be pragmatic on EU membership and follow wherever the country leads.

He has no sympathy with the reasons animating people like Farage and other Leave fanatics. He isn't against immigration or hostile to foreigners. He doesn't want to remove EU standards and protections for workers. He's not itching to get a free-trade deal with the US and join it on a race to the bottom.

I'm sure he recognises that a bad Brexit isn't compatible with his plans.

OTOH, I think he doesn't want to spend his political capital fighting it.

So, he's basically sitting it out, cautiously following what seems to be the mood of the country, as it crawls towards accepting a softish Brexit.

I don't see there's anything to collaborate with Farage on.

Quora Answer : Why is Jeremy Corbyn backing Remain when he voted against the Maastricht Treaty in 1992 then again in 2009, against the Lisbon Treaty, and said of the EU that it was a "European Empire of the 21st Century" a "military Frankenstein"?

Aug 31, 2019

Because there's a left-wing argument for Brexit. (Which we sometimes call "Lexit") and Corbyn has supported that in the past.

But the Tories are in charge of this Brexit, and aren't taking the UK anywhere near a Lexit type separation from the EU.

They're taking us towards a full neoliberal "DisasterCapitalism" crash which will destroy much of the Britain's remaining industry and agriculture, and severely degrade the welfare state.

Initially, when the kind of Brexit we were going to get was still an open question, and we had an opportunity to negotiate something reasonable, Labour positioned itself as a party which tried to a) respect the Leave vote, by supporting some kind of Brexit in principle. But b) insisted that it would only practically support a Brexit that continued to protect workers rights, the environment, and the basic functioning of the economy and British society.

Labour campaigned on that manifesto in the 2017 election. And increased its share of the vote.

Labour fought for, and had MPs vote on, its version of Brexit in parliament (which it unfortunately lost).

Now the time has run out. We have fewer options. And are basically faced with two ways : a full Tory disaster Brexit. Or parliament seizing control and postponing Brexit until there's either a new democratic instruction (in the form of a new referendum or a new general election) or some other better way forward.

Politics is partly about pragmatism. And recognising the choice available in the place you are, not in the place you wish you were.

Faced with a disastrous Tory Brexit or delayed / referendumed Brexit. Labour sensibly chooses the second option as the far better option.

Quora Answer : Is not Mr. Corbyn's approach to brexit - which is not to prescribe leave or remain but rather to prepare a credible deal and let the electorate decide whether to take it - a perfectly reasonable proposal?

Sep 13, 2019

Of course it's reasonable.

It's amazing (and horrifying) that so many otherwise sensible people, seem to think that it isn't.

For two years people who didn't want Brexit were calling for exactly this. A new referendum where there would be a chance for the people to pull back from Brexit. Or at least, now they had a better idea what it entailed, would be making an informed choice.

That was even the banner they marched under : a "People's Vote" campaign.

And Corbyn was bitterly criticised because he wasn't down with a new referendum.

Now, though, Corbyn does promise a "people's vote". After various negotiations and manoeuvrings in the last couple of months. Where we presume the other parties were asking him to join them in supporting exactly that position.

And suddenly everyone hates the idea.

Why is that?

Well, partly the Lib Dems have, possibly in order to distinguish themselves as more Remainery than Labour, declared themselves for full blown Remain without bothering with a new referendum. For those for whom Remain has become a tribal identity, this is now the more ultra and pure position to rally around. It suits the Lib Dems to help themselves to the energy and passion of Remainers by shifting to the more extreme pole.

Partly, undoubtedly Remainers have seen the equal fervour and passion on the pro-Brexit side. Where a frighteningly large number of Brexiteers have embraced No Deal as a viable option. And they've seen the continuing strength of pro-Brexit feeling in the media and in the country.

Whereas they might previously have assumed that a new referendum would most likely lead to Brexit being cancelled, they now can't help but worry that a new referendum will just reconfirm (even a No Deal) Brexit.

Finally, you can't write off the degree to which some people have become pathologically opposed to Corbyn. For them, whatever Corbyn says or does must be wrong by definition. Even when he does roughly the right thing, he must have messed it up somehow, in the subtle details. For them Corbyn never delivers a 90% right solution that needs 10% tweaking. He only ever delivers the reverse alchemy of turning what would have been gold back into shit ... because ... Corbyn.

Put these three factors together, and you can see why suddenly Labour's espousal of a second referendum - which is undoubtedly a perfectly sensible plan, given where we are today - gets so roundly hated on.

Quora Answer : Jeremy Corbyn voted against May's and Johnson's deals. What type of deal is acceptable to him and what deal would he negotiate with the EU?

Nov 1, 2019

Corbyn and Labour's suggestion for a deal with the EU has been public and known for some time.

It's for the UK to stay in a customs union with the EU. Which basically means that the UK stays aligned with EU standards for goods, and in return there are fewer to no checks at the borders for goods coming through.

The EU, right from the start, has said it would accept something like this (it's on the chart of options that the EU gave at the beginning) Places like Turkey and Ukraine have some variant on this agreement with the EU.

Now this isn't an ideal arrangement between the UK and the EU. But it does give both sides in Britain's polarized Brexit debate some of what they want and some of what they don't want. So both sides can feel equally satisfied / equally aggrieved. Whereas any other option is going to leave one side feeling happy and the other side bitterly disappointed and angry.

For Leavers :

  • it is a real Brexit. The UK leaves the EU.
  • it allows the UK to control its borders for people (the UK is no longer signed up to freedom of movement. EU citizens don't have the right to work in the UK)

For Remainers :

  • it doesn't disrupt the supply chains that tie, say, UK car manufacturers to the rest of Europe. And minimizes the damage of Brexit for industry
  • it keeps the NI / Irish border open for goods and agricultural produce
  • therefore it reduces the damage that Brexit will do to the economy, solves the GFA problem.

What it doesn't give :

  • hardcore Leavers don't get the right to reduce standards for food safety or products. These stay aligned with the EU. And therefore the Leavers can't make, say, a deal with Donald Trump, that opens the UK up American chlorinated chicken
  • Leavers don't get the right to make their own lower tariff deals with other countries either..
  • Remainers don't get to keep freedom of movement
  • Remainers won't like the fact that we are definitely out of the EU with no say in setting its rules.

Labour has expressed its aspiration to negotiate a seat at the table where the EU was negotiating setting it's standards. It's unlikely that the EU would give the UK the same kind of rights it had as a member, but it is just plausible that it might grant it some kind of secondary "observer" status.

A couple of other things to note when evaluating the Labour proposal :

  • Although the CU binds the UK into EU standards for goods; in areas which the EU hasn't specified much, particularly in services, which is a UK speciality, the UK would still have some autonomy to make its own deals with other countries.
  • Many UK farmers and manufacturers etc. will want to continue selling into the EU anyway. Even if the UK leaves the EU with a harder Brexit or No Deal Brexit where it isn't bound to EU standards, British manufacturers and farmers will still have to follow those standards for everything they sell to the EU. So ... if you're selling 90% of your sheep to France. Or 90% of your widgets to German and Italian car factories, then you don't get any benefit from the theoretical freedom not to follow EU regulations. You'll still have to follow EU regulations. All that being outside the CU means is that you will have more paper-work to fill in, and your stuff will have more border checks, because YOU will be responsible for proving to the EU that your stuff meets their standards. If the UK stays in the CU, then the government takes responsibility for ensuring that you are following the standards, and the EU will just waive your stuff through.

Is Labour's proposal ideal?

No. It's a clunky compromise.

But :

  • yes it's a real policy. People who say Labour don't have a policy or have a confusing policy, are just wrong. Either they haven't bothered to look into it, or they are deliberately trying to misrepresent Labour.
  • it's a compromise rooted in reality. The EU would accept it. And the economy could survive it. And most importantly, the British political culture might survive it.

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