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Corbyn is keeping his powder dry. If he strikes a deal with May to push through her brexit, what would be his price?

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II
by eurogreen on Wed Nov 14th, 2018 at 05:29:14 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Can he? Isn't he pretty much boxed in by his prior commitments, his bases hatred for the Tories, the hostility of his MPs and the prevailing wooly thinking about that whole Brexit thing?
by generic on Wed Nov 14th, 2018 at 07:05:32 PM EST
[ Parent ]
His price would be his own self-immolation as leader. If Labour can't oppose this Tory government and their  Brexit disaster, what would be the point of having an opposition, or indeed a Labour party at all? Who would ever be bothered to vote for them again?

It would be worse than US Democrats facilitating Trump rule. There may be some areas where their preferred policies are not all that far apart, but they have to at least pretend there is a huge gulf between them in order to motivate their base to come out and vote.

When the public start saying all politicians are the same, that it's a case of tweedle dum and tweedle dee, that voter apathy becomes dominant and the elite can do more or less as they want, freed from the fear of voter retribution at the polls.

Like it or not, it is voter perceptions of relevant differences that animates politics. If anything, it is Corbyn's perceived sincere Euro-skepticism that is holding the Labour party back as the natural recipient of popular disillusion with Tory Brexiteer rule.

Calls to end division in politics are generally the call of the elite for everyone to unite behind them.

Index of Frank's Diaries

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Wed Nov 14th, 2018 at 07:32:18 PM EST
[ Parent ]
JUST TO ADD SOME MORE FUEL: Why the Left Should Embrace Brexit  Jacobin

Nothing better reflects the muddled thinking of the mainstream European left than its stance on Brexit. Each week seems to produce a new chapter for the Brexit scare story: withdrawing from the EU will be an economic disaster for the UK; tens of thousands of jobs will be lost; human rights will be eviscerated; the principles of fair trials, free speech, and decent labor standards will all be compromised. In short, Brexit will transform Britain into a dystopia, a failed state -- or worse, an international pariah -- cut off from the civilized world. Against this backdrop it's easy to see why Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn is often criticized for his unwillingness to adopt a pro-Remain agenda.

The Left's anti-Brexit hysteria, however, is based on a mixture of bad economics, flawed understanding of the European Union, and lack of political imagination. Not only is there no reason to believe that Brexit would be an economic apocalypse; more importantly, abandoning the EU provides the British left -- and the European left more generally -- with a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to show that a radical break with neoliberalism, and with the institutions that support it, is possible.

The authors argue that the economic arguments against Brexit are contaminated by the neo-liberal assumptions embedded in the economic analysis.

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Thu Nov 15th, 2018 at 11:14:39 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I've long suspected that Jacobin is a Heritage Foundation operation.
by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Fri Nov 16th, 2018 at 01:24:08 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The WSWS calls it "the unofficial mouthpiece of the DSA". That's not meant as a compliment.
by gk (gk (gk quattro due due sette @gmail.com)) on Fri Nov 16th, 2018 at 01:33:50 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Jacobin has been around a few years and does not appear to be a cheap magazine to publish. I have my doubts about the funding coming from the DSA.

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Fri Nov 16th, 2018 at 06:19:49 PM EST
[ Parent ]
LOL! I thought that this article is so far out of the context of anything I have seen discussed on the subject of Brexit that I have got to see what is the reaction.

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Fri Nov 16th, 2018 at 06:14:56 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Brexit may indeed offer the left a good opportunity for a Mandate of Heaven in UK.
by das monde on Fri Nov 16th, 2018 at 06:50:45 PM EST
[ Parent ]
That's a stretch.

Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.
by Cat on Fri Nov 16th, 2018 at 07:22:15 PM EST
[ Parent ]
....Many months ago I sent in a hit piece on the really annoying, Sanders-style magazine Jacobin (in fairness to them, I've never made it much past a paragraph on that website). I am grateful the CP editors were mature enough not to publish my piece. Still, I'll venture to include a paragraph here that may capture who I see Sanders et al. representing: What Jacobin and all their confused posturing proves is that among the upper and middle class there is no such thing as a revolutionary. ...
hmm, closer to the historical "brand", I'd think, than Mountain. But let Bernard weight in.

Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.
by Cat on Sat Nov 17th, 2018 at 01:21:53 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The fundamental assumption appears to be that the EU is a neo-liberal institution. Certainly it has embraced some neo-liberal economic policies as its member state governments have drifted ever further rightwards, but I would argue that the EU - especially in relative to USA terms - is a fundamentally social-democratic concept seeking to prevent increasingly globalised capital from dividing and conquering small states, playing them off against each other, and capturing the smaller ones. One of the fundamental drivers of Brexit is the failure of global capital to completely capture the EU, preferring instead to deal with a smaller and weaker target in the UK.

Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Mon Nov 19th, 2018 at 12:16:50 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Sorry, Frank. I agree that the current Commission has learned to make the right noises on fighting globalised capital, and has even started moving things in the right direction on certain dossiers, but the problem is that the damage is already done.

 The EU has suffered profound neoliberal ideological capture, at every level (particularly during the deathly Barroso years) and has been the principal agent of enforcing the doctrine at national level. National governments, whether conservative or social democrat, just recite "Sorry folks, Brussels makes us do it" while trying not to smirk.

There are signs that recent progress is being rolled back. It appears, for example, that the Commission is working hard to prevent municipal governments from regulating their rental markets, on the pretext that this would be unfairly discriminatory against transnational platforms...

It is vital to push back against euro-neoliberalism, and it is vital not to leave the subject to the right-wing nationalists.

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II

by eurogreen on Mon Nov 19th, 2018 at 11:50:15 AM EST
[ Parent ]
... but you are of course right that the EU offers a certain amount of protection (if only through inertia) against globalised capital, which an isolated "sovereign" nation lacks.

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II
by eurogreen on Mon Nov 19th, 2018 at 11:51:54 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Debatable. I think we have to think about the nature of the threat posed by globalised capital before we jump to conclusions.
Number one is being thrown out of the international trade system through loss of access to the payment system (see Iran) and piracy(see Argentina).
We'll have yet to see if the EU offers any kind of protection against this. Iran is a test case.

Otherwise, all we are left with is this:
What Is Foreign Investment For? - J. W. Mason

The final argument is that, if you have committed yourself to permitting the free creation of cross-border payment commitments, you will be unable to honor those commitments without a sufficient willingness of foreign units to take net long positions in your country's assets. [6]

This one is correct. If, let's say, banks in Argentina have accumulated large foreign currency liabilities (on their own, or more likely, as counterparties to other units accumulating net foreign asset positions) then their ability to meet their survival constraint will at some point depend on the willingness of foreign units to continue holding their liabilities. And unlike in the case of a bank with only domestic-currency liabilities, the central bank cannot act as lender of resort. In other words, the central bank can always maintain the integrity of the payment system as long as its own liabilities serve as the ultimate means of settlement; but it loses this ability insofar as the balance sheets of the domestic financial system includes commitments to pay foreign moneys. [7]

This, probably, is the real practical content of stories about how important it is to maintain the goodwill of footloose capital. If you don't honor your promises to foreign investors, you won't be able to honor your promises to foreign investors. The weird circularity is part of the fact of the matter.

by generic on Mon Nov 19th, 2018 at 12:41:47 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Ireland is obviously a case study in this regard, having foolishly taken on net liabilities of c. €60 Billion on foot of the bank guarantee (c. 30% of GDP) the Commission and ECB prevented the government from burning bank bond holders - even junior unsecured bondholders - putting ordinary taxpayers on the hook instead: taxpayers who had, almost universally, never even heard of the investment banking entities who required much of the bail-out. Apparently this was for reasons of moral hazard, if you don't regulate your banks sufficiently, you pay...

Hopefully lessons have been learned - by all sides from that debacle - the ECB has since moved to make junior bond holders the first line of liability. That debt is still on the Irish government books despite a massive turnaround in economic fortunes since. But much of that economic turnaround was also enabled by ECB policies in the meantime, with QE providing v. low cost finance for the national debt to the point that the interest burden now is less than it was after the economic crisis of the 1980's - before the advent of the Euro.

It is perhaps this history, and this experience which makes me and c. 90% Irish people such pro-EU advocates. Most would trust the ECB/Commission before we would trust our own financial watchdogs. The peculiar perspective from a very small state with a very open economy makes us appreciative of whatever small mercies the Draghi ECB visited upon us.

We are still close to being captured by global corporates, and particularly by US ICT corporates like Google, Microsoft, Facebook, Apple. Our government could/would never have contemplated what the Commission has done in seeking to rein in their most egregious tax and regulatory excesses. We need the EU to do what our government simply hasn't got the bargaining power to do. Perhaps this is a particular "small country" perspective, but let us not forget the the bulk of the remaining 27 EU members are economically small countries. The view from France/Germany may be somewhat different.

Index of Frank's Diaries

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Mon Nov 19th, 2018 at 02:53:13 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Yes, but all this is mere politics...

Without a majority for the brexit package, we're in uncharted territory, politically, institutionally, diplomatically and, especially, economically. The full train wreck, with no clear way to cut the Gordian knot.

That's where politics needs to give way to statesmanship.

Corbyn wants neither a hard Brexit nor to stay in the EU; so pragmatically, though he would no doubt have done a less worse job than May, he would have ended up with a broadly similar package for the 2 year transition.

If his price for getting it over the line were a general election, would it be worth it, for Labour, and would May accept it?  

Given that the real business is the final bilateral agreement, then if Labour won the ensuing election, that's a pretty good outcome for Corbyn.

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II

by eurogreen on Thu Nov 15th, 2018 at 08:53:20 AM EST
[ Parent ]
What would be the point of voting for Labour if both May and Corbyn were campaigning on the basis of the same deal? It would be open season for UKIP and Tory Brexiteers to blame all the short comings of the deal on May/Corbyn - and with May having been displaced as Tory leader and already consigned to yesteryear.

Labour would be on their own campaigning for a Tory deal with the Tories having already abandoned it and elected a new leader.

If Labour can pin this deal on the Tories, and the Tories alone, on the other hand, there would be a historic opportunity to cast the Tories into outer darkness for perhaps a generation, with the Lib Dems perhaps even displacing them in the Westminster duopoly.

Index of Frank's Diaries

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Thu Nov 15th, 2018 at 12:28:14 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Labour could secure Commons majority for compromise Brexit, McDonnell says

John McDonnell, the shadow chancellor, told the Today programme this morning that Labour could secure a Commons majority for a compromise Brexit plan. As the Press Association reports, he said that when the government of the day was unable to command a Commons majority, the constitutional convention was that the opposition should be invited to form an administration. He also suggested Labour could seek support for an alternative agreement with the EU based on a permanent customs union and a "close collaborative relationship" with the single market.

McDonnell told the programme:

   I think we can secure a majority. What is absolutely certain is that the government's proposal won't command a majority in the House of Commons.

    Anyone having seen what happened in the House of Commons yesterday realises that the proposals that the prime minister brought forward will not command a majority and therefore there has to be some discussions. There has to be some movement.

    You saw in the debate yesterday, and certainly some of the discussions that have taken place around the House of Commons, people have looked over the edge of a no-deal Brexit and realised it could be catastrophic for our economy.

    I think our European partners also have looked over the edge of a no-deal Brexit and seen what an impact it could have on their economies.

    So I think what is emerging within the House of Commons now is almost a unity platform to avoid a no deal, and therefore get down to serious discussions about what could construct a deal which would enable us to protect jobs and the economy.

    I think that is beginning to emerge around the permanency of the customs union, the relationship with the single market.

He also rejected claims that it was too late to re-open negotiations with Brussels on the terms of the withdrawal agreement.

"We have met [EU chief negotiator] Michel Barnier and others. If you can create the right atmosphere and relationship, there can be negotiations that are constructive.
I think everyone realises the dangers that there are of a no-deal Brexit, both for the UK but also for Europe itself. I think there is a sense of urgency now about getting on with a proper negotiation."

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II
by eurogreen on Fri Nov 16th, 2018 at 12:33:17 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The thing Corbyn should be maneuvering for is keeping the Tories in government through the post-Brexit slow-motion train wreck.
by rifek on Thu Nov 15th, 2018 at 10:33:40 PM EST
[ Parent ]


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