Wednesday, 7 December 2016

The Hypocrisy of The Tory Government and The Brexiteers

Not just for months, but for years, ahead of the EU Referendum, UKIP and the Tory Right argued that the reason they were calling for a vote on EU membership was that in 1975, the British people had voted only to join a Common Market, and not a political union.  That claim was itself bogus. When Britain voted overwhelmingly by 2:1 to join the EEC, in 1975, it was on the basis of Parliament already having passed legislation that recognised and committed Britain to being a part of a European Union by 1982.  However, the more important point is that now, those same Ukippers, and Tory Brexiteers, along with Tory Ministers who supposedly supported Remain, are now claiming that the EU Referendum committed Britain not just to leaving the EU, but also to leaving the Common Market, i.e. leaving the Customs Union, and the Single Market.

For years the Eurosceptics claimed that they wanted to be a part of a Common Market, as they argued had been agreed by the 1975 Referendum.  Nowhere on the EU Referendum Ballot Paper did it ask people if they wanted to leave the Customs Union, or the Single Market, or any of the other institutions and arrangements that are part of, but separable from the EU itself.  No one knows exactly what people voted for in that Referendum, because some no doubt voted to Leave everything, some to only leave the political arrangements, whilst remaining in the common market, i.e. the customs union and single market, and as the recent Italian Referendum demonstrated, many no doubt voted simply to kick Cameron's government, or to express their hostility to immigration or foreigners in general.

To base Britain's future on such uncertain and shaky foundations, especially given that a large part of the effected portion of the population, i.e. 16 and 17 year olds, were denied a vote, and given that the vote to leave only marginally exceeded, the millions of people who voted to remain, and given the obvious lies that were told by proponents of leave, such as the idea that £350 million a week would go to the NHS, would be light-minded in the extreme.  Only 37% of the gerrymandered electorate voted to Leave.

Yet, today when question during PMQ's, by Emily Thornberry, and having said that they would provide a plan to parliament setting out exactly what the government does mean by Brexit, David Liddington refused even to commit to saying whether the government will seek to remain in the Customs Union.

The Tories and the Brexiteers, clearly did not expect to win the EU Referendum, they have no idea what Leave means, they are divided amongst themselves as to what it means, which is why they have delayed for months before even proposing to trigger Article 50.  It is once more an example of how incompetent the Tories are, as seen over the last six years.  That incompetence has destroyed the UK economy via austerity, and now threatens to inflict irreversible damage via a Brexit geared only to resolve internal divisions within the Tory Party itself.  And, of course, had the Liberals not acted as the facilitators of the Tories in joining them in a reactionary coalition government ibn 2010, we would not be in this position today.  A plague on both their houses.


George Carty said...

Wasn't it fairly obvious that almost all Brexiteers want to leave the Customs Union at least, given that a major rationale of the soft-Brexiteers (those who would support a Norway-style model of leaving the EU while remaining in the Single Market) is to be able to trade more flexibly than is possible within the EU?

Boffy said...

I think the point is that whatever the leaders of the various campaigns might have had in their minds of what they wanted, it bears no resemblance to what was in the minds of the 17 million people who went into the polling booths to cast their vote to leave, any more than all those Italians who voted against the constitutional changes in Italy were all voting for the same thing. That is the problem with plebiscites, and why they have always been so beloved by dictators and despots, who rely on the kind of features of mass society, we are increasingly seeing in Europe, the US and elsewhere.

Do you really think, as Ken Clarke said in the debate yesterday, that the 17 million people who voted to leave had all studied in detail the concept of what a Customs Union is, or what the Single Market is, and what the implications would be for leaving or remaining in such institutions and arrangements? Of course they hadn't. I doubt that many would even be able to tell you what a Customs Union or the Single Market is, or whether we were in or out of them.

Moreover, all of the talk ahead of the referendum by Leavers about whether we might have a Norway, or Swiss model or some other model implied that even they saw remaining part of the single market or the Customs Union, or both was necessary. The Tory Manifesto at the 2015 Election, even committed them, including the Tory Brexiteers who stood on it, to staying in the Single Market, and said it was in Britain's interest to do so.

They, including the Brexiteers had to say that, because for the last 20 years, they have been arguing that the only reason they wanted to overturn the decisive 2:1 majority in the 1975 Referendum, was because they were in favour of being in a Common Market, an economic union, but not a political union. Now they have simply dropped their previous argument and commitment to even a Common Market.

The reality is, of course, that you cannot have a Common Market without a common currency, without common laws that set a level playing field for every capital operating within that market, and the means of establishing those rules, and enforcing them, in other words, a political union, with a single state, fiscal policy etc. That is why the goal in setting up the EEC had always been to move towards such a political union, and was already known at the time the 1975 Referendum took place.

Britain leaving, simply means the other members of the EU will now have to press ahead more quickly with that process of political union, and it means that when Britain seeks to rejoin, it will do so having had little role in determining the framework, and being much diminished within that union. And, I have no doubt that if Britain ever does leave, it will before not too long be forced into seeking readmission, as the reality of the death of its imperialist position in the world sinks in to the heads of its population, having already become apparent to its ruling class.