By Mark Buckley
Jeremy Corbyn led the fight against No Deal in last week’s parliamentary vote, bringing with him the bulk of the opposition parties– and against the overwhelming majority of the Tory party. Unfortunately, it was lost by 11 votes. But the consequences for living standards in Britain are so grave that it is vital the fight continues.
The anti-Corbyn press systematically distorts Labour’s actual positions on Brexit in order to maintain their campaign against Labour’s leader, or ignores the positions altogether. It is therefore extremely important that Corbyn supporters are fully aware of the Brexit policy and can advocate it.
The fight against Hard Brexit, taking the economy outside not just the Single Market but also the customs union, is at the centre of British politics.
It is imperative for the Trump project to weaken the EU and for a free trade deal between the US and Britain that the latter is removed from a customs union with the EU. Otherwise US firms exporting here would have to conform to EU product and environmental standards, and the US would not be able to impose rules allowing its private sector to make big inroads into British public services including the NHS.
At the same time, outside the customs union, British participation in the integrated supply chains of the most advanced sectors such as cars, aerospace, pharmaceuticals and others will be severed as tariff and non-tariff barriers will force relocations. The inevitable fall in the pound will also further undermine general living standards.
The labour movement as a whole should join the fight against No Deal. As Unite’s Len McCluskey tweeted, “Labour’s correct efforts to rule out a no deal scenario in order to give some stability to the economy should have been supported by every decent-minded MP”, and went on to argue that the Tories are causing chaos that concerns all workers.
The arguments of Tory MPs and others who claim to oppose No Deal but voted against Labour’s motion are completely fake. Their own ambitions and the fortunes of the Tory party matter more than the threat to tens of thousands of good jobs and the living standards of the entire population. At the same time, the eight Labour MPs who voted with the Tories, largely because their opposition to Corbyn and support for the hardest possible Brexit takes priority, do not defend even the most basic the interests of the labour movement in any respect.
Any Hard Brexit will be extremely damaging to the living standards of the majority of the population. Jeremy Corbyn is leading the fight against the immediate risk of No Deal, a risk that is clearly rising. This will be a huge fight, as No Deal is supported now by a majority of the Tory Party and their key backer, Donald Trump.