by Colin Fox, SSP national co-spokesperson · Isn’t it strange how Brexit is being blamed for everything from Honda’s decision to close its Swindon factory to the unseasonal February weather?
Actually it’s not strange at all merely a measure of the case made by increasingly desperate ‘Remainers’ as the deadline for leaving the EU looms.
It looks increasingly possible Theresa May will reach a deal with the EU before March 29th, that Parliament will agree it and that it will not make an iota of difference to millions of working class people languishing on poverty wages, zero hour contracts, chronic indebtedness, housing waiting lists and enduring declining public services.
The contrast between that reality and the fantasist forecasts of economic ‘Armageddon’ from EU loyalists like Chukka Umunna and Nicola Sturgeon on the one hand and the equally absurd ‘Utopia’ trumpeted by ‘Little Englanders’ Boris Johnson and Nigel Farage on the other, is stark.
Kicking the can
Amid such conceits it is unwise to ignore the fact, as many appear to have done, that it is in the interests of both the UK Government and EU Commission to avoid a ‘No deal’ Brexit.
For all the talk of ‘kicking the can down the road’ and the ‘backstop impasse’ both are intent on squeezing out an eleventh hour compromise which will protect the interests of multinational capital ahead of the trade negotiations to come.
Whilst the Conservative Party has been racked by divisions over Europe for 40 years it was always more likely Labour would see the actually split. And so it has come to pass.
Last week a motley bunch of right-wing Labour MP’s abandoned Corbyn’s Party after a year of rumours. More will certainly join the so called ‘Independent Group’ with Deputy Leader Tom Watson’s new ‘democratic socialist’ caucus likely to follow after March 29th when their charge against Corbyn of ‘aiding and abetting a Tory Brexit’ reaches its climax.
Corbyn’s gamble of finally conceding to a ‘People’s Vote’ may even fuel the flames of a split amongst Labour’s Brexit supporting MP’s in the North of England, the Midlands and Wales. Those who believed Corbyn would become UK Prime Minister must now see their dreams dissolving.
They chose to ignore the political realities outside and inside the Labour Party. The split renders their dream obsolete.
And yet, as the SSP warned, this schism was inevitable because the mythical ‘common ground’ some saw between Ian Murray and Jeremy Corbyn, between Chris Leslie and John McDonnell, between Diane Abbott and Luciana Berger simply never existed. They hate each other.
It seems unlikely but the Tories could emerge as the main beneficiaries of Brexit with Labour its 2nd biggest loser. Second biggest? Yes, because first place undoubtedly belongs to the EU itself. Their ‘Common Market’ has not suffered a setback as big as this in all its 70 years.
It must also be honestly admitted however that the independence movement has been damaged too. Tying Indyref2 to EU membership as Nicola Sturgeon did was always destined to fail and it will lead many to reconsider the SNP’s ability to lead the independence movement to success.
The SNP right-wing are already kicking their own ‘can down the road’, delaying Indyref2 indefinitely and offering up an ominous ‘soft independence’ that doesn’t scare away Asset managers in Edinburgh, Glasgow businessmen, North Sea oilmen or Aberdeenshire farmers.
‘Yes’ will benefit from the collapse of ‘Corbynmania’ and the illusion there was a Labour government ready to offer an alternative set of social democratic reforms to independence but rather than gloating we would be better advised to set our own house in order because it too looks pretty dilapidated.
Pedalling illusions in the EU, as the SNP has done these past 3 years, was both embarrassing and counter-productive. The EU is not Europe. Nor is it responsible for the economic, social and political gains made by working people in Scotland these last 40 years.
The EU is an anti-democratic organisation which in Treaty after Treaty has centralised political power in the hands of multinational capital.
It is an organisation that sits on the G20 and wants a seat on the UN Security Council and have its own army, the European Defence Force.
Nicola Sturgeon has not progressed the case for independence over the last three years. Insisting that because Scotland voted to Remain—when the UK opted to ‘Leave’—was enough to make the case on its own was incapable of convincing undecideds of the material merits of self-determination.
The polls show as many people have moved from Yes to No as vice-versa since 2014. Whatever else may be said of such ‘leadership’ it is incapable of defeating an intransigent and ruthless British state.
With the right-wing of both the Labour Party and the SNP organising their forces anew it is high time the left took stock and faced up to the many new challenges working people face after March 29th.