May’s Commons fiasco only shows Corbyn right all along – only a GE will solve this


MPs return the result of the Commons vote on the ‘Brady amendment’

Theresa May has succeeded in making the country a laughing stock again, by scraping through a Commons vote on her deal – by scrapping the deal she told the UK was the only one possible.

May, her supporters and the tame media are already spinning it as a victory, but it’s like winning a card-game by throwing her chips into the fire.

May, her supporters and the tame media are already spinning it as a victory, but it’s like winning a card-game by throwing her chips into the fire.

One by one, every significant amendment to carve out more time for actual negotiations with the EU or otherwise resolve the Brexit deadlock fell this evening – and the only one that won was the ‘Brady amendment’, which says May can have approval for her deal, but only if the Irish ‘backstop’ is removed.

But the EU has flatly refused to even consider the removal of the backstop, because of its importance to continuing EU member Ireland – and to the ‘Good Friday’ peace agreement.

So May has torn up her deal, burned it and then trampled the ashes – before throwing them in the face of the EU leaders she wants to accommodate her – and she’s claiming it as a win.

There is no prospect of Theresa May being able to obtain any meaningful changes from the EU – so her ‘win’ has only won her another opportunity to humiliate herself and the country again by going to Brussels to beg for something she knows the EU won’t give.

She is burning the days remaining to do anything useful, for the sake of a short cheer by barely half of MPs and a few meaningless headlines in tomorrow’s press.

And then she has nothing – and the only other successful vote tonight was the ‘Spellman amendment’, which though non-binding was a clear message from MPs that they will not accept nothing: that no-deal is not going to do.

Some of the Labour MPs who supported the government to defeat earlier amendments then voted for the amendment telling May they won’t accept no-deal. There is chaos among centrists.

Pro-referendum figures such as Chuka Umunna fumed impotently, but there is no majority in Parliament for another referendum either – and they know it. The referendum campaign has been reduced to pouting and pointing – and effectively claiming it would all be ok if it wasn’t for the stupid people who don’t see things their way.

So the net result of all the Tory and centrist theatre this evening – although you won’t hear it from ‘MSM’ pundits – has in fact been to put beyond question that Corbyn was right all along to reject May’s deal and to refuse to back another referendum.

Corbyn’s amendment was defeated tonight – but his vision of Brexit received 296 votes, 94 more than May’s last week in spite of the Tories’ theoretical numerical advantage.

But the inability of Tory and centrist MPs to even agree with themselves this evening made it clear that the only remedy is a change to the mix of personnel in the Commons – and that requires a general election, not a so-called “people’s vote” or a ‘deal that’s no deal’ con.

The Tories can only agree on the impossible – and every single internal enemy in the Labour Party has tonight been proven wrong. A second referendum was never a starter and they wasted a year smearing and undermining Corbyn for it.

Which is what Corbyn and his team have insisted all along.

The Tories can only agree on the impossible – and every single internal enemy in the Labour Party has tonight been proven wrong. A second referendum was never a starter and they wasted a year smearing and undermining Corbyn for it.

And as we saw earlier today, it seems even Downing Street knows it as well – if only in private for now:

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  1. I wish I could share your optimism. Why should she call a general election? The not leaving without a deal thingy is not even binding.

  2. The no deal scenario is the best option for the next Labour Government as they will be able to renationalise any industry in the country with no possibility of sanctions from the EU.

    1. I agree Joe, my only niggle is that the EU’s war against public ownership does not merely apply to REnationalisation (i.e. of traditional utilities) it would also apply to any fresh extensions of public ownership of sectors that have traditionally been in the private sector.

      If, for instance, there were a second banking crisis (as is frequently predicted) we could not have a publicly owned banking sector no matter how much damage the private-sector plutocrats have done to our economy, since nationalisation would contravene competition and free trade provisions. The crux is that public monopoly is unacceptable to the EU.

      The problem is, however, there is so little socialist analysis among the Corbynistas that they do not really care about nationalisation. They have no strong beliefs other than hero worship of Jeremy plus a vague wish to mingle capitalism with anti-austerity, despite all the recent evidence that retaining capitalism and leaving the economy in the hands of the super-rich is, to say the least, unconducive to anti-austerity.

    2. Even if we do get a deal, we should just call the EU’s bluff and nationalise everything in sight anyway.

      What are they gonna do, throw us out after all the trouble everyone went to to strike that deal?

  3. Hoping GE will happen. Only the way things could move on. Why? Why? Why? It has not happened??????

  4. I wonder if a second PV is the loser tonight?
    It is like a game of poker, 14 Labour mainly euro sceptics opposed Cooper’s amendment and I understand their concerns.
    Perhaps they saw a 12 month extension from Right Wing technocrats like Cooper was really a cunning plan to give time for a second PV hence the move to make it 3 months by the Leadership which would hopefully not have given this time?
    But perhaps if the Left had ruled an extension out the Right would have voted against it and a much bigger loss?
    Hopefully with No Deal apparently ruled out JC can meet May and when he said this and pulled the rug from under her, May’s face was a picture!
    I still wonder if we could allow individual companies to trade with the EC tariff free but Govt pays a collectively to EC and offer £10b? (c) Labour.
    Tory Fake Unity (GE pose) amusing.

    1. Oh and free access to EC for individual UK companies could eliminate the need for a Backstop and protect the Peace Process?

  5. Joe Public so you want to crash out without a deal? And how do you want to finance thing without there being jobs, money, etc? It’ll be an island with most people being unemployed and the few who benefit from brexshit will have gone to sunny climes.
    And there is no EU law that outlaws nationalisation.

    1. Yes there is S-E-F

      The EU’s guiding principles are clearly espoused in the prefix to the chapter on economic policy, where it says that the EU and its member states must conduct economic policy ‘in accordance with the principle of an open market economy with free competition’ and to comply with the guiding principles of ‘stable prices, sound public finances and monetary conditions and a sustainable balance of payments’. Other relevant articles of the TFEU include: Article 81, which prohibits any government intervention in the economy ‘which may affect trade between Member States’; Article 121, which gives the European Council and European Commission – both unelected bodies – the right to ‘formulate … the broad guidelines of the economic policies of the Member States and of the Union’; Article 126, which regulates the disciplinary measures to be adopted in case of excessive deficit; Article 151, which states that the EU’s labour and social policy shall take account of the need to ‘maintain the competitiveness of the Union economy’; and Article 107, which prohibits state aid to strategic national industries.” https://braveneweurope.com/thomas-fazi-and-william-mitchell-the-eu-cannot-be-democratised-heres-why

      1. Plus the multiple liberalisation directives governing such sectors as post, telecommunications, gas, electricity, and rail. They forbid public monopoly in those sectors.

        Plus the right of Freedom of Establishment which gives corporations established in any Member State a fundamental right to establish branches or subsidiaries in any other Member State, thereby prohibiting public monopoly in any economic sector.

        If Labour even tried to create a public monopoly in any sector, the private companies would merely go to court and obtain an interim injunction, gumming nationalisation up in the court hierarchy until Labour were out of office. Bit of a contrast with 1945-50!

      2. Yes, Danny, Maurice Glasman’s latest article on the EU and Brexit is indeed excellent. https://www.thefullbrexit.com/no-deal-real-deal . I particularly liked his acute identification of our current period of complete political dislocation as mirroring what the great Italian Marxist ,Antonio Gramsci ,described in the 1920’s (as fascism grew apace), as “an interregnum” , ie, a time “when the old is dying and the new cannot be born…in this interregnum a great variety of morbid symptoms pertain.”

        This all too accurate description of today’s broad ideological confusion on the Left and much more widely, may also explain the ideological malaise on our largely middle class, Left Liberal so-called-Left , obsessed with identity politics, often of a distinctly self-obsessedly kind – never mind it’s almost complete ignorance of traditional socialist, never mind Marxist socialist, analysis and traditions.

      3. Much as Gramisci is an interesting read, he wasn’t exactly successful in turning back the tide, or on the side of history when history shortly revealed itself, was he?

      4. Just had a look at the piece by Baron Glasman. It sort of fits into the same framework of his ‘Blue Labour’ project – long on assertion and selective truth about the competition rules , but short on practicalities , and on the massive negatives that a WTO crash entails. The hurdles created by the need for alternative trading relationships – and their likely similar constraints – are totally ignored.

      5. That vast intellectual , RH, writes off the profoundly insightful works of Antonio Gramsci, because those writings didn’t in themselves defeat Italian fascism ! sad, sad, stuff, RH. I think the multiple failures of the post WW I “Red Dawn” of pan European socialist revolutions and the directly related rise of the Stalinist bureaucracy in the USSR might be worth looking at for a reason. And no doubt we can dismiss the vast works of Marx because we don’t live in a global socialist society yet ? You must try a lot harder with your trolling – you just embarrass yourself .

        And whilst I too view Maurice Glasman’s overall oeuvre of political output as politically dodgy in many places (ie, the Blue Labour stuff), RH’s dismissal of the Full Brexit article at issue is just his typical ignorant sneering. It is a fact-filled analysis well worth reading for it’s many useful insights

      6. Oh dear, jpenny – you do devalue your own currency by this inability to address an argument and resort to playground stuff when someone doesn’t agree with you.

        Sorry that I don’t agree with your religious bent and need for heroes to worship – I’m interested in politics, not flights of fancy such as the crash-out Brexit impoverishment being a necessary flagellatory step towards a purification of the neoliberal devil-worship.

        Do get a grip and stop just chucking rattles out of the pram.

        (And, for information and possible – if doubtful – enlightenment, the term ‘troll’ isn’t a word for people who don’t agree with you.)

      7. So, RH reveals his name. (The identical avatar rather gives it away, Richard.)

        Got any other pseudonyms you’d like to tell us about?

      8. Glassman is only saying what a number of us have been saying but perhaps he doesn’t sufficiently quite nail hid interregnum?
        The latest New Left Review recently argued that Neo-Liberalism in the USA is in structural decline and perhaps we are beginning to see the beginning of the end of the old order of Neo-Liberalism?
        As a poem I wrote goes:
        ‘The old order, Neo-Liberalism is dying.
        But the new cannot yet be born.
        Perhaps we are all being tested.
        And only the stars will ride the storm.’
        This offers opportunities for the Left but we need to be wary of the Right too and I wonder if this is why Far Right US Billionaires are funding far right groups around the World and as one socialist wrote “Fascism is the emergency committee of capital.”
        Perhaps JC’s Labour can be part of the new order with its programme?
        One almost wishes ours could be piloted but the Left Govt in Portugal seem to be doing what we want to do with some success.
        Re Brexit perhaps May has to please the Tory Brexiteers in their rank and file, most Tory MPs plus big business and the City of London and thus perhaps from the Tories we have a mirage of Brexit (Half Out – Half In) when we should have a Brexit for working people with democratic control of labour supply (we could take workers we need from any country – internationalism) and capital supply.
        Bring back migration adjustment funds for councils to ease pressure on services.
        Trade unionise migrant workers to build community solidarity.
        You can do a lot with socialist theory, imagination and planning.

    2. This “being in the EU doesn’t prohibit a Left government nationalising services like the railways, or water, or banks, etc”, claim has been a constant Right Labour bogus mantra for a few years now. But if you even just read the posts from Danny and Rob here you will see this is utter bunkum – as are pretty much ALL of the claims about the EU from the PV brigade.

      And yes, Bazza, I too suspect the entire point of the ludicrous nine month Article 50 extension demand of Yvette Cooper’s amendment was to allow yet more time for the Labour Right to agitate for a “People’s Vote, destabilise Jeremy’s leadership, and stave off a General election which Labour would win (but with them previously de-selected as candidates in many cases !

    3. Sabine – You are absolutely right about the WTO crash-out scenario. Of course, Ivan Rogers may be dismissed as ‘one of them’ (the ‘elite’- the usual label employed to get round having to argue a case. However, his recent speech contains a forensic demolition – by someone who knows the technicalities of trading arrangements.

      As you say, such would be a massive hit to the economy, which would impact on any government’s ability to implement their program – let alone turn around the current austeritarian agenda, turn around the fundamental economic weaknesses, and rebalance years of inequity. Such would be difficult enough in the best of economic circumstances.

      It really stares one in the face – the fact that such a scenario is the child of the fevered imagination of the right-wing swivel eyes – because the hedge-fund plutocrats etc. are the only ones that will benefit. It’s hardly privileged knowledge of what Redwood and Mogg etc. are doing with their interests in the hope of idiocy happening.

      Beyond that is the delusion that leaving the EU in such a fashion alters the neoliberal agenda and rules that govern trade agreements. In such a weak position, the UK might be paddling its own canoe, but it will be a flimsy, leaky craft, subject to all the winds and weather of its isolated mid-Atlantic position. A state that will, in one fell swoop (or dive) have become much more a subject than an agent – much more so than in its alliance with Europe. It’s an absurd proposition.

      There is a real problem for the notion of public – or communal – ownership under EU trading constraints. But, as others have said, there are ways of working with the situation, even if they aren’t perfect.

      Then there is the basic fact that the means of controlling the interests of capital, and re-distributing wealth, is not sorted by a vague concept under the heading ‘nationalisation’. The overwhelming focus on what is essentially a totem word is a distraction.

      Then, of course, we have all the other downsides that leaving a well-established co-operative framework will entail, beyond the economic specifics. Amongst all the chaos of this three-year shit-show is the obvious fact that leaving the EU has little rationale in the real world, and such upsides that there might be pale into insignificance in contrast with the downsides. The ‘Remain’ case was pretty poorly mad, but was correct; the deceptive fantasy of the ‘Leave’ case has been blown out of the water at every turn, with the ‘Crash Out’ scenario having as much intellectual substance as the Beano, by any criterion.

  6. Am I the only one who’s taken a look at the January 2019 IPPR pamphlet, ‘State Aid Rules and Brexit’. Still no comment/critical perspective from anyone on this?

    1. Interesting pamphlet paulo, light on rhetoric but clearly supporting the Left case for remain.
      I’d be very interested to see an equally rhetoric-free challenge – on any or every one of the IPPR’s claimed facts – from our resident or any other Brexperts.

      I only skimmed what appeared to be a rhetoric-heavy piece by Mr. Glasman that Danny linked to so it’s possible I missed a fact or two hiding under the unsupported assertions.

      1. Yes, the IPPR doc. provides a basis for arguing that the manifesto, particularly with regards to state aid and intervention, can be implemented irrespective of remain or leave.

        This has been done before of course, but far less convincingly, with too much recourse to single examples of temporary/ emergency nationalisations.

        This is a lot more detailed and much wider ranging than anything I’ve previously come across. An interesting aspect was the suggestion that some of the current restrictions are in place to prevent some of the negative/unintended consequences, or abuses of state aid, rather than in place to prevent state aid per se.

        Given that the Lexit view tends to be predicated on the rather drastic notion that only reversion to WTO rules or perhaps Canada +++ can implement the manifesto, I think Danny and Lundiel might find it an interesting read.

        Interesting enough for me to look again.

  7. Corbyn’s amendment didn’t pass because there were no Tory supporters for the bill as well as two Labour voting against and around ten abstentions. A Labour bill or no confidence motion will always come up against the brick wall of Tory loyalty. Although the numbers suggest it’s close it might as well be a hundred short.

    A PV might have as many 30 Tories voting for it, it needn’t be promoted as a single party ideology. It would depend on the Labour benches being whipped though. CLPs could also pressure them with threat of deselection. It could be done with the will, but that will is missing.

    Labour seem oblivious to the danger of support Brexit on public support, All polls have suggested their share would drop to between 10 and 20 points behind the Tories if they support Brexit in any way. It shouldn’t be even considered. A PV is the only chance for Labour to win the next GE

  8. I fear that whistling in the dark is not the same as being pro-actively optimistic.

    Yesterday was no triumph for Labour. That would have entailed an extension of the time scale and a ruling out of ‘No Deal’.

    What can be seen is the early stages of the Tories getting their shit-show together – I cannot see that they will jump into a general election unless they are pretty sure that Labour is on the back foot.

    So what now?

      1. Somewhere around there. They certainly aren’t into self-sacrifice. It’s against their main policy thrust 🙂

        … and that includes the ERG maniacs.

      2. With a ten day Campaign….. or on second thoughts, maybe a week would be better, just to be on the safe side.

    1. RH, the magic Brexrabbit May pulls out of the magic Brexhat is only in her dreams.
      It’s hard on the victims of austerity (of whom I’m one) to have to wait but I don’t think an election now would give us the majority we need.
      To make permanent, meaningful political and economic change we have to outnumber everyone including the dregs of Blair – and with a fuck-you majority.
      Brexit meltdown may offer that opportunity for Tories to be wiped out in the polls – if not the next chance might not come for another ten years when massive AI job losses finally wake people up.

      1. David : I too don’t think that May will be pulling any rabbits. She’s more into pulling plonkers. But I reckon that the Tory Party will – as they do – unite around some apparent disaster-minus position.

        I also agree (offend who it may) that Labour’s position in a current GE would not be very healthy, with the current divisions over Brexit overlaying party considerations and splitting the vote on another dimension. I’m not automatically a pessimist, and I’ve often been at the other end of the argument – reassuring jittery colleagues that they are actually going to win (and been right); but not in this theoretical scenario.

        Even given a narrow win in a GE, Labour would be put into the the position of shovelling the shit for Brexit, trapped in an unfavourable economic scenario and pre-occupied with keeping the country afloat. Meanwhile the Tory propaganda press will be chucking the usual propaganda bricks – the sort that gave Leave a notional majority. If we end up with a customs union of some sort, *that* ‘concession’ will be the cause of the country’s ills, with the Tory press claiming that all would have been well if the country had crashed over the cliff.

        Further into the future, there is the question of how the Brexit economic decline will play out for the Tories. Again, I’m not optimistic that it will necessarily work against them – although the situation is different in many respects, one only has to look at their success in pinning the blame for the 2007/8 crash on Labour.

        Behind it all, I fear that the economic consequences of Brexit, coupled with the profound pre-existing structural weaknesses will inhibit Labour’s room for manoeuvre in addressing/rebalancing the austerity/neo-liberal agenda. I fear the scenario that I have seen in various situations where aspirations are throttled by lack of resources and the consequent crisis management.

        Perhaps I am too pessimistic, but I’d rather that were the starting point than, as some seem to think, closing eyes and whistling the ‘Red Flag’ is a recipe for success.

    2. With a ten day Campaign….. or on second thoughts, maybe a week would be better, just to be on the safe side.

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