The independent London newspaper

A socialist case for Brexit?

28 November, 2019

‘Jeremy Corbyn abandoned the pro Brexit argument to the likes of Boris Johnson and Nigel Farage’

• IN her letter Catherine Miller says: “The EU has about 20 per cent of global GDP. This gives it great clout to negotiate good trade deals for its members”, (Why Brexit cannot be a success for the UK, November 14). This statement is certainly correct if we are talking about the interests of capital.

Let’s look at the example of CETA (Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement), between the EU and Canada. This deal contains the so-called International Court System (ICS), where companies are empowered to circumvent national and European legal systems and sue governments in parallel tribunals when they regulate to protect the public interest and the environment.

These corporate courts allow companies to sue not just for the money they have already invested but also for profit they think they could make in the future. In April 2019 the European Court of Justice ruled that the ICS system was compatible with EU law. This system of parallel tribunals is rife in EU trade deals, further examples being deals that have been signed with Singapore and Vietnam.

In stark contrast to the way investors are looked after in EU trade deals, workers are treated as second-class citizens. While CETA affirms that signatories will respect International Labour Organisation conventions on workers’ rights, it contains no mechanism to enforce these commitments, with no sanctions possible if workers’ rights are abused.

Such unenforceable labour chapters are also included in EU trade deals with Colombia and Korea, for example, where the European Commission took no action, even in the case of serious labour rights violations well documented by the labour movement.

Such grossly unfair trade deals, many concluded after years of negotiations, are only possible because the vast majority of EU governments have consistently been right wing. No truly socialist government would have a hope in hell of reversing the entrenched neo-liberal attitudes that have prevailed for decades around the EU negotiating tables.

In her letter, Ms Miller says of our country’s economic status that the UK has 3 per cent of global GDP, and is “…at an obvious disadvantage on its own in trade negotiations… By leaving the EU, the UK will be losing 85 per cent of its access to the single market.”

The UK economy is the fifth largest in the world, and second only to Germany in the EU itself. Germany sells 800,000 cars to the UK each year, which makes up 14 per cent of their entire domestic production. The UK has a trade deficit with the EU of £60billion per year. The idea that the EU are going to lock us out of trading with them is simply not credible.

And although there are currently about 12,000 EU regulations in operation in the UK the government is going to copy the vast majority of them word for word into UK law, so all life won’t be about to end once Brexit happens.

I voted for Brexit because I want trade deals that have workers’ rights, decent jobs, and fair distribution of wealth at their centre. I want an end to the hollowing out of other countries’ economies (such as Romania).

Jeremy Corbyn abandoned the pro Brexit argument to the likes of Boris Johnson and Nigel Farage. He compounds the insult to five million Labour leave voters by taking no-deal off the table, thus ensuring that our chances of getting a fair trade deal with the EU are zero.

Finally, he completes the affront to democracy by pledging a second Brexit referendum, where he will offer us a “choice” between an inevitable bad deal, or remain.

If Corbyn gets his way, and we do indeed remain, he will get a very rude awakening from the Eurocrats. In three interrelated areas, (state aid, public procurement, and nationalisation), EU rules would place severe restrictions on a future Corbyn government.

We are all much the poorer for the fact that the Corbynistas have made no attempt whatsoever to make the substantial socialist case for Brexit.



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