The Brexit deal the media aren’t telling the country about

lab uk eu jigsaw.png

The Establishment media has been in overdrive to shore up Theresa May’s Brexit deal – even while an unavoidable scepticism has been present and the objections of its right-wing opponents have been presented, the overall tide has been toward a position of credibility for May’s deal that initial, more honest reactions showed was not warranted.

But the fact that a different, genuinely far more credible proposal exists has been largely ignored: Labour’s vision for Brexit.

Labour’s plan includes:

• a permanent customs union
• single market access
• freedom from state-aid rules
• replacing freedom of movement with a skills-based system
• workers’ rights not just protected but enhanced

The permanent customs unions removes the need for any backstops or tangible borders – resolving the difficult Northern Ireland issues and allowing frictionless trade. The UK would shadow EU regulations – and there would be no priority on a US trade deal – avoiding the damaging asset-stripping that hard-line right-wingers are hoping for.

Freedom from state-aid allows the renationalisation of key industries overwhelmingly supported by voters across the political spectrum to proceed unhindered.

Skills-based movement prevents the draining of vital skills from our NHS and other public services that has taken place under the Tories – while preventing unscrupulous employers exploiting cheap labour to drive down wages. Enhanced protections for workers would ensure that the UK does not sacrifice its social fabric for the sake of leaving the EU.

Labour’s plan holds all the advantages of May’s thin-gruel ‘deal’ and more, while avoiding its many pitfalls – and the latest polling by one of the most reliable polling companies shows that it would be hugely well-received.

It would also be welcomed by the EU for its clarity, simplicity and permanence – all achievable only by Labour, which doesn’t have to pander to the Tories’ extreme right.

Small wonder the Establishment doesn’t want the UK’s people to know it exists – preferring instead to continue the false claim that Labour has no cogent Brexit position.

The SKWAWKBOX needs your support. This blog is provided free of charge but depends on the generosity of its readers to be viable. If you can afford to, please click here to arrange a one-off or modest monthly donation via PayPal. Thanks for your solidarity so this blog can keep bringing you information the Establishment would prefer you not to know about.

If you wish to reblog this post for non-commercial use, you are welcome to do so – see here for more.


  1. It’s simple, we can have all those things and more by staying in the EU! Which is what Labour should still strive for by offering a peoples’ vote with ‘remain’ as an option

    1. …and recent polls indicate that this is what the majority of the electorate want.

    2. The Tory Party along with the DUP have a majority in Parliament. Despite months and months of promises that there will be a Tory Rebellion on every vote which has been presented to Parliament there has been no Tory MP’ s voting down the Government proposals. This may well change on December 11th when May’s deal is put before Parliament.

      However, whilst there may well be a sufficiently significant number of Tory MP’s who vote against this (and there is plenty of time for this to dissipate in the the same way that the move to oust May fell flat on its backside because the ERG etc could not get 48 letters into the 1922 Committee) getting the current Parliament to sanction a second referendum is tilting at windmills. It’s delusional nonsense.

      The Tories are not going vote for that. The DUP certainly won’t. The price of SNP support is too high for the British Nationalist establishment (a second independence referendum). Which leaves the Labour Party, Lib-Dms, The Welsh Nats, and the single Green Party MP.

      This arithmetic is well known and obvious even to blind man on a galloping horse. There is absolutely no chance as matters stand that such a vote will be sanctioned by this Parliament. It is not just dead in the water it is a dead parrot lying down. The only feasible way this can happen is to change the Parliamentary arithmetic.

      And the only way that can happen is through a General Election. This idea is therefore putting the cart before the horse. It’s not quantum mechanics to figure this out. Which raises the question why are certain groups and individuals seemingly wanting to die in a ditch over something they know is never going to happen in the order they are screaming for?

      One very obvious answer is they are desperate to avoid any possibility of a General Election which risks returning a Labour Government pursuing current policies under the existing leadership.

      But they cannot be open about this as it would reveal that agenda. Until those who undermining the Party, along with the vote at Conference, can produce a credible answer to the question as to exactly how it will be possible to achieve a second referendum being passed brought he current Parliament most rational people will see this for what it clearly is.

      1. You are arguing against yourself “(and there is plenty of time for this to dissipate in the the same way that the move to oust May fell flat on its backside because the ERG etc could not get 48 letters into the 1922 Committee)”

        The move to oust May hasn’t fallen flat on it’s back. It’s said that the total has almost been reached and if there is plenty of time as you state for a move against to dissipate, there is also plenty of time for it to escalate. Especially if she loses, when apparently there are already letters written ready to go in.

      2. “These arguments have been quashed..” (JackT) by what – the occasional reference to pre existing nationalised utilities? I’m not sure that amounts to a demolition. In all honesty, I have seen many links on this site to serious and substantial discussion re the EU and its significance re state intervention. Whereas, I have never seen more than an occasional assertion about existing utilities, a paragraph at best, (to the effect that the EU won’t stand in the way). Whether we support remain or leave – we should be honest and probing about the implications of these choices. I’m more interested in that, than in gambling on somebody’s poll.

      3. O.k. Paulo it’s your turn or anyone else who believes we can’t nationalise our utilities. Produce the relevant EU wording which says we can’t.

      4. JackT,

        A while back, on this site. I expressed a wish to be better informed on this issue. Subsequently, there were plenty of short references to legislative articles paragraphs and sub sections of the kind that you are asking for, usually but not always pertaining to competition rules. I am sure, as a regular poster that you will have been aware of them. For me, these were not enough, because obviously they need context and expert interpretation to be of any substantial value.

        On the remain side, the habitual reference was to the preexistence of some nationalised utilities in some parts of Europe – also not enough!

        However, from both points of view, these references were an invaluable starting point and I am grateful to those patient subscribers to SB, including yourself, who took the trouble to reference these.

        Somewhere else on this thread you will see reference to the economist Phillip Whyman’s “The Left Case for Brexit”, which runs to 100 pages or so and which certainly doesn’t try to persuade anybody that we can stay in the EU and “have all those things and more”. Perhaps that would be a more useful reference than decontextualised extracts from chapter and verse. It has certainly been useful for me. Then of course, there’s Larry Elliott of the Guardian and Lapavitsas, not to mention Lundiel and others.

        FWIW, labrebisgalloise, below, sums up pretty sharply much of how I perceive the current situation.

      5. PS JackT

        Another Lexit source that influenced me would be Gordon and White (9 August 2017) ‘The EU single market is incompatible with Labour’s manifesto’.

        And in the interest of balance: this comment from Crofts (Vox CEPR policy portal 18/04/2017) a decidedly non ‘Lexit’ source, who is no fan of (selective) state intervention:

        “The proposed horizontal policy reforms to innovation, infrastructure, and skills can happen with or without Brexit, whatever the flavour of Brexit. The obstacles to better policy in the past have been located in Westminster, not Brussels. It is difficult, however, to believe that the proposed moves towards selective industrial policy would be allowed under EU rules on state aid”.

        Crofts is referring to some of the government’s own, 2017, green paper proposals for a better post Brexit industrial strategy.

        And the EU article under scrutiny, as I am sure you are already aware, is Article 107.

        But please note; I’ll be more than pleased, if these doubts turn out to be ill founded.

    3. By staying in the eu, the UK has no control over state aid to floundering businesses. Don’t forget that it was the eu’s fair competition rules which prevented the government from bailing out the steel industry as it slid under. So we can’t have all those things and more by staying in the eu.

      1. These arguments about ‘no nationalisation’ and ‘no state aid’ have been quashed many times, yet people keep regurgitating them.

      2. Yes sure. Read the Maastricht treaty and those that have been signed into law since, including the Fourth Railway Package market pillar……already nationalised industrys, monopoly transport infrastructure and utilities can hang on for now but the end is in sight. There is no chance of re-nationalisation competition law virtually forbids it and if you did manage it, it would be open to challenge constantly…..and would be challenged by wealthy global corporations helped by their lobbyists. If we were to stay in the EU our rail network would be in the hands of French and German companies by 2023.

    4. We don’t want to stay in the EU. We are happy that the economy will shrink due to a fall in house prices. No Socialist can ever support the EU, while its social policy is acceptable, its economic and geopolitical policy stinks. Plus the EU will inevitably split along north south lines at some point, getting out now is ahead of the curve and England voted decisively to leave.

  2. It’s not a deal, Skwark, it’s ideas for a Labour proposal for a deal. The EU has to agree too

    And unfortunately the top concern of the European Commission, which negotiates deals, is to stop state aids under a Corbyn government from distorting the European market.


    So ultimately any Labour negotiator would EITHER have to capitulate on state aids, tearing the heart out of a Left industrial strategy, OR go for a no deal Brexit.

    Incidentally, you are also wrong in that there are MULTIPLE provisions of EU law not merely the supervision of state aids which obstruct the extension of public ownership. Both the series of liberalisation directives covering certain utilities and the Treaty freedom of corporate establishment, block socialist governments from establishing public monopoly in place of marketization.

    1. The thing you omit from your analysis is realpolitik.

      Most of the rest of Europe does not care about the nationalisation issue, because they were never stupid enough to privatise their industries in the first place. Most of the directives in this area were driven by the UK, and agreed to by others because they don’t much care one way or the other.

      Labour would need an assurance from the EU that privatisations could be reversed if the UK were to remain a member. If such an assurance were given, the main Lexit argument would fall away, and the path would then be open to cancel Brexit.

      Without such an assurance, we would need to see what other terms were available, and then take a view on the various options in front of us at that stage.

      1. I would love to completely agree with you Ultraviolet because you make it all sound so simple!

        However, I just don’t believe that such an assurance will come easily, not with a remain agenda and neither with the customs union single market option currently proposed by Labour. Philip Whyman (who has spent the last 20 years studying the economic relationship between the UK and the EU) suggests the softer the Brexit, the harder it will be to achieve that particular task. I wish the Labour party would come clean about this, or at least persuade me that somehow they’ve got it covered.

        And then there’s the realpolitik as in our chances of getting a second referendum, what it would contain and how it would be structured and how to avoid civil strife over all of that.

        And then there’s the result, by no means predictable – I don’t care what anyone says.

        I hate Government by polls, first referendums, second referendums and focus groups!

      2. Like the EU is going to rewrite the Maastricht Treaty and all the others negotiated since and the 27 will all agree? No chance.

      3. Lundiel comments aptly on this. Earlier, somewhere, DavidMcN who is consistently showing sensitivity to the inherent flaws of the EU, suggests that EU policies are not “set in stone”. A stone that weighs as much as 27 countries, all of whom would have to agree … let it not be me that has to find the strength to roll away that particular stone.

  3. First of all I live in France so I’d be happy to host any number of you EUrophiles to come here and witness the biggest EUrophile of them all Emmanuel Macron as he tries to privatise/centralise everything in sight. Cynicism about the EU is mushrooming here across the political spectrum, that Macron is its biggest supporter, has attacked the trade unions at EU behest and has now started on about a European army has set the alarm bells ringing across France and is not lost on the popular insurrectionists or “gilets jaunes;” last week in my little town of 4,000 someone posted a “Frexit Now!” poster on the main roundabout and last weekend the Communist Party fell in line behind JM Melenchon’s LFI and a number of other left movements in becoming openly eurosceptic. Back to Britain and the Labour Party’s position is pretty good as expounded by Skwawkbox here, although I’d like to see something about restricting the movement of capital. Given as someone else has said above here, that the EU will not agree to any of Labour’s demands, it might as well be added in. This is the real battle to come: May’s Brexit is Brexit in name only, the worst of all possible worlds, accepting almost all EU rules but giving away any say over them. Those who say we’d be better off staying in the EU are totally correct but that is the game: we are not supposed to leave to the EU and I suspect May is banking on her deal being defeated and if by some miracle it’s not, it won’t make a blind bit of difference. I’m posting here Michel Barnier’s speech to the EU parliament this morning (it was almost empty, I suspect they’d gone home early for Christmas) just in case anyone is in any doubt that May’s “deal” is nothing more than an abject surrender and that the Labour Party doesn’t stand a bat’s chance in hell of negotiating anything better – unless it’s prepared to play hardball rather than ping-pong. http://europa.eu/rapid/press-release_STATEMENT-18-6622_en.htm

    1. Thank you for your input labrebisgalloise.

      “…and has now started on about a European army…”

      This site has been tracking and researching EU military unification for years. It appears the term EU army is a disingenuous smoke screen for what has and is being put into place. EU military unification is apparently a requirement for full EU federalisation and single point political and fiscal control. Here’s their bullet point page on EU military unification.

    2. Interesting analysis labrebisgalloise – especially the part about cynicism mushrooming.
      I’ve always said the French give good riot 🙂
      Doesn’t growing opposition to Macron and EU neoliberalism as you describe it suggest that the rest of the EU’s peoples might also be losing patience with their own exploiters?

      It would be beyond ironic if 27 angry populations rise up against their oppressors without us – a month after we’ve Brexited and the Tories have hitched our wagon to Trump’s USA.

  4. Like these comments and then some labrebisgalloise, especially the droll one about “restricting the movement of capital … it might as well be added in”

    – not sure what you mean, though, re “… won’t make a blind bit of difference…” and of course I’m wondering what “hardball “might entail.

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: