All posts filed under: Brexit

Main Street, Brexitland

Tony Sutton People in England’s northern towns and cities are scared. Their fears stoked by xenophobic right-wing media, they hate Europe, and they hate migrants. But, most of all, they hate the way they are being squeezed into poverty by a post-industrial society that has turned dreams into nightmares and replaced hope with despair. Tony Sutton returns to South Shields, a place he once called home. British Prime Minister Theresa May has committed herself to a scheme to arrest the economic decline of the north of England. However, the plan, originally proposed by George Osborne, who was axed as Chancellor of the Exchequer after the exit of David Cameron as PM following June 2016’s Brexit vote, is still in a state of incoherence, doubletalk and indecision. Nothing has yet been agreed, other than the setting up of a think tank – the Northern Powerhouse Partnership – by Osborne, who raised few hopes for speedy action when he said at its mid-September launch: “Trying to turn around 100 years of relative economic decline is not going …

Why is Theresa May still Prime Minister?

Theresa May’s government has a strong argument for being the worst in the history of our democracy. So why is it allowed to continue?

Discuss: Brexit deal vote looms

Tonight, any time now, the UK Parliament will vote on whether or not accept Prime Minister Theresa May’s Brexit “deal” with the EU. The deal, which essentially keeps us in the EU without any democratic say in how it’s run, has achieved the startling feat of displeasing everyone, remainers and leavers, from both left and right. The vote is expected to be a grim defeat for May.

The EU: From Social-Democratic Dream to Neoliberal Nightmare

Frank Lee Reviews The Left Case Against the EU by Costas Lapavitsas Britain, in the shape of Conservative Prime Minister Edward Heath, initially joined the EEC in 1973, after Charles de Gaulle’s resignation in 1969. De Gaulle had always been opposed to the Anglo-Saxon axis, regarding the UK as a ‘Trojan Horse’ for US geopolitical objectives, and consistently blocked the UK’s attempted entry into continental Europe. According to DG Britain ‘was not European enough’. With the General out of the way the path was clear for British entry. However, this was not an altogether popular move with much of the electorate and some quite solid opposition from elements in both main political parties. This being the case the then Labour Prime Minister, Harold Wilson, opted for a referendum on continued membership in 1975 to settle the issue. The electorate voted ‘Yes’ by 67.2% to 32.8% to stay in Europe. As I recall I voted ‘Yes’ and even wrote a pamphlet in support entitled: “EU the unfinished project.” However, I was then blissfully unaware that the …

How a Second Referendum would reach beyond Brexit

Prof. Gloria Moss Voices are braying again for a Second Referendum, adding a familiar chorus to our Seasonal celebrations. We take a break from end of year festivities to look at the arguments advanced and look at what these might mean for the worlds of Sport, Education, Politics and the Law. They would make 2019 and the years following like no other, and make it life as we know it today a distant memory. First, let us take a look at the arguments for a Second Referendum (SR). Second Referendum Arguments There are nine prominent voices, five arguing for a rerun on the basis of the difficulties and controversy now facing Parliament and four on the basis of changing circumstances and voters’ ignorance. Problems in Parliament to blame Of the six arguing for a SR on the basis of a messy situation in Parliament, the most recent voice is that of Dominic Grieve, former Attorney General, Conservative MP for Beaconsfield. Writing in the Guardian on 29 December, he wrote of the need to hand the …

To whom was Her Majesty referring in her Christmas broadcast?

Ian Fantom Professor Carrol Quiqley in his now famous book The Anglo-American Establishment wrote in the book’s Preface, “The ability of Englishmen of this [Establishment] class and background to leave the obvious unstated, except perhaps in obituaries, is puzzling and sometimes irritating to an outsider”. One such example arose in the Queen’s broadcast to the nation on Christmas Day, in which she stated: Even with the most deeply held differences, treating the other person with respect and as a fellow human being is always a good first step towards greater understanding.” The BBC reported: “Her message comes as Parliament remains divided over Theresa May’s Brexit deal, as the UK prepares to leave the EU in March” The Guardian stated: “With parliament deeply divided over Theresa May’s Brexit deal and military conflicts raging in parts of the world, the monarch’s words are likely to resonate with many. … The broadcast was recorded on 12 December, before Theresa May and Jeremy Corbyn’s angry Commons clash in which the Labour leader was accused of calling May a ‘stupid …

The EU and the warning signs of Fascism

Things are spiralling out of control in Europe, faster than many predicted. Outside of Brexit, there is strong anti-EU feeling in Hungary, Spain, Italy, Greece and France. The EU is in danger of crumbling, and people afraid of losing power are prone to extreme acts of dictatorial control.

How long before the EU truly becomes the authoritarian force that people from both ends of the political spectrum have always feared?

From GM Potatoes to Glyphosate: Regulatory Delinquency & a Toxic Post-Brexit Trade Deal

Colin Todhunter Food and environment campaigner Dr Rosemary Mason has just produced the report ‘Shockingly high levels of weedkiller found in popular breakfast cereals marketed for British children’. In this 68-page document, she draws from new research in the UK that mirrors findings from the US about the dangerous levels of glyphosate found in food, especially products aimed at children (glyphosate is the active ingredient in Monsanto’s weedicide Roundup). Readers can access this report here (which contains all relevant references). Mason begins by reporting on research that significant levels of weedkiller were found in 43 out of 45 popular breakfast cereals marketed to US children. Glyphosate was detected in an array of popular breakfast cereals, oats and snack bars. Tests revealed glyphosate was present in all but two of the 45 oat-derived products that were sampled by the Environmental Working Group, a public health organisation. Nearly three in four of the products exceeded what the EWG classes safe for children to consume. Products with some of the highest levels of glyphosate include granola, oats and …

Behind Your Back: How the new “anti-stalking” bill could silence online dissent

John Ward MP Sarah Wollaston quite rightly wants the police to do more about (and tighten up the prosecution of) potentially dangerous stalkers. But now the crime includes “Cyber abuse”, her Private Member’s Bill is too lax in its definitions about what stalking is, and police guidelines on priorities. Equally worrying, a majority of those sponsoring the legislation have dubious elements in their pasts. In a special investigation, The Slog raises the alarm. Viewed in the round, it’s hard to avoid the conclusion that the Tory MP Sarah Wollaston is a good egg. She isn’t Party voting fodder, she had a real job as a doctor before entering Parliament, she is suspicious of private sector health rip-offs, and she’s enormously popular in her Totnes constituency, where her ability to double and then treble majorities seems immune from the whimsical winds of electoral change as a whole. She espouses radical reform (in favour of the citizen) in how UK politics operate, and rebelled against the Government to vote against setting up a Royal Charter to regulate …

Has Jeremy Corbyn “gone full Trump”? Well, what if he has?

David Lindsay Has Jeremy Corbyn “gone full Trump”? Well, what if he has? In 2016, the American Democratic Party was defeated in the person of the most economically neoliberal and internationally neoconservative nominee imaginable. The lesson needs to be learned. The workers are not the easily ignored and routinely betrayed base, with the liberal bourgeoisie as the swing voters to whom tribute must be paid. The reality is the other way round. The EU referendum ought already to have placed that beyond doubt. There is a need to move, as a matter of the utmost urgency, away from the excessive focus on identity issues, and towards the recognition that those existed only within the overarching and undergirding context of the struggle against economic inequality and in favour of international peace, including co-operation with Russia, not a new Cold War. Working-class white areas that voted for Barack Obama did not vote for Hillary Clinton, African-American turnout went down while the Republican share of that vote did not, and Trump took 30 per cent of the Hispanic …

Reforming the EU – Waiting for Godot

by Frank There is a human tendency to cling on to cherished beliefs even in the face of overwhelming evidence to the contrary. There was a time, during the heady days of Jacques Delors and the Social Chapter, when the EU appeared to represent a social-democratic and neutral geopolitical bloc; a third force between the USSR as it then was and the US/NATO – this, however, is no longer the case. The EU has long since transmuted into part of an aggressive neo-liberal and neo-conservative imperial alliance under US command. The liberal, centre-left remainers such as Yanis Varoufakis seem to think that it is possible reverse this development and get the EU back to its original prototype, presumably by dint of political will. In view of historical developments this view seems increasingly difficult to sustain. In particular since the ratification of the Lisbon Treaty of 2005 the EU Defence and Security Policy has been aligned with NATO. Indeed, EU membership has become a stalking horse for NATO membership and vice versa. NATO’s geopolitical drive to …

Why I’m Ashamed I Voted Remain

by Stephen Durkan, via XXY I voted Remain on June 23rd, 2016, and now I am ashamed of it. Weird, is it not? Especially since, being Scottish, I should be trumpeting my own intellectual and spiritual superiority over the fascist morons, the xenophobes and all those other knuckle-draggers. So why am I ashamed? To explain, I need to take you back to the day of the referendum. It was raining, of course. I had accepted that I was going to cast my Remain vote with as much enthusiasm as Boris cast his. I trawled through the endless opinions on Facebook, and I began to feel uneasy about the comments I was seeing from fellow Remainers. There were two comments in particular that caused me to pause. One was from the usually brilliant science writer Ben Goldacre, who wrote a long, self-righteous, patronising and downright insulting post explaining how the Leave campaign was using language for ‘losers’ and how Brexiteers were intentionally harming families economically – which, of course, he has no proof for (as a …

Avaaz once again telling us what the Establishment wants us to think?

Any doubt that might have remained about how a certain section of the elite want to spin Brexit is now put to rest as that most entirely fake of all fake “grassroots activist” sites Avaaz is herding its obedient fandom to sign on and “stop the hate.” This is the wording of its latest touchy-feely petition, already signed by 90,000 well-meaning clicktivists. We, the people of the United Kingdom, stand against hate. We call on those editors who tar our country’s reputation by fuelling xenophobia and racism to step down, and pledge to confront racists wherever they are. “If enough of us call for it, we can make it untenable for newspapers like the Daily Mail and The Sun to fan the flames of hate,” runs the accompanying blurb. “And editors will know their jobs depend on responsible journalism.” (our emphasis). I’d be the first to agree the Sun is an open sewer of lowest common denominator ordure, and of course any rational person deplores racism and “hate.” But equally we all should deplore – …

Has Brexit triggered an anti-democractic “Color Revolution”?

The Prime Minister didn’t want it. The Chancellor didn’t want it. The Queen didn’t want it. The opposition didn’t want it. The President of the United States didn’t want it. JP Morgan didn’t want it. Goldman-Sachs didn’t want it. Parliament didn’t want it.

…and yet it happened.

The Ashcroft Poll – Is This Why Jeremy Corbyn Must Go?

by Rachel Bridgeland from truepublica.org.uk Jeremy Corbyn is right to urge us to see through the media’s attempts to divide us. The media has encouraged those who voted to Remain see Leave voters as, at worst, a venal mob and at best misguided and stupid enough to think a government under the likes of Boris Johnson or Nigel Farage would be an improvement. Against the wishes of many Labour MPs who hope to find a way to delegitimise the referendum and remain in the EU, Jeremy Corbyn has given a clear commitment to invoke Clause 50. Anger did indeed motivate some Leave voters. During membership of the EU the division between rich and poor has increased, with the poorest suffering a fall in living standards. A UCL study has shown that the poorest 20% of British workers have indeed been affected adversely by immigration, so it was easy for the Leave campaign to focus discontent on this point instead of giving a voice to constructive and positive reasons people had for wanting to leave. Polling …

Did the UK Independent actually say democracy isn’t working?

By Catte Yes. It did. or at least it published a WaPo piece (by “Emily Badger”), which says exactly that, albeit in slightly more MiniTrue wording. “Brexit reminds us some things are too important to be decided by the people…” Let’s just look at a screen cap to make sure we aren’t imagining things… Yup, there it is. Right there. Voting, you see, is now “messy”…. Since British voters elected to leave the European Union, signs have quickly emerged of the flaws in holding a referendum on such a messy, massive, far-reaching decision….” She then cites an example of this “messiness” – viz. Boris Johnson’s allegedly overturned “promise” of £350 million to the NHS. Which is an odd example really, since the only obvious conclusion to draw from it is not “voting is messy” but that Boris Johnson is a liar. Are we really supposed to be blaming the electorate for believing what he said (supposing they did, I’ve yet to see any data on that)? For Emily’s next bullet point she predictably pushes the …

New Labour emerges from hibernation sooner than expected…and unready

The unwillingness, on behalf of the Labour right, to unite with the rest of the party and attack the Conservatives at a time when they are politically divided and publicly humiliated neatly demonstrates the unacknowledged truth of British democracy – in fact, most Western democracies: We do not have an “opposition”, we do not live in a “two-party system”. The centre-right Tories and centre-left Blairites are really just two halves of a depraved whole.

Brexit and the Diseased Liberal Mind

by Jonathan Cook The enraged liberal reaction to the Brexit vote is in full flood. The anger is pathological – and helps to shed light on why a majority of Britons voted for leaving the European Union, just as earlier a majority of Labour party members voted for Jeremy Corbyn as leader. A few years ago the American writer Chris Hedges wrote a book he titled the Death of the Liberal Class. His argument was not so much that liberals had disappeared, but that they had become so coopted by the right wing and its goals – from the subversion of progressive economic and social ideals by neoliberalism, to the ethusiastic embrace of neonservative doctrine in prosecuting aggressive and expansionist wars overseas in the guise of “humanitarian intervention” – that liberalism had been hollowed out of all substance. Liberal pundits sensitively agonise over, but invariably end up backing, policies designed to benefit the bankers and arms manufacturers, and ones that wreak havoc domestically and abroad. They are the “useful idiots” of modern western societies. Reading this piece …

Why the British said no to Europe

by John Pilger The majority vote by Britons to leave the European Union was an act of raw democracy. Millions of ordinary people refused to be bullied, intimidated and dismissed with open contempt by their presumed betters in the major parties, the leaders of the business and banking oligarchy and the media. This was, in great part, a vote by those angered and demoralised by the sheer arrogance of the apologists for the “remain” campaign and the dismemberment of a socially just civil life in Britain. The last bastion of the historic reforms of 1945, the National Health Service, has been so subverted by Tory and Labour-supported privateers it is fighting for its life. A forewarning came when the Treasurer, George Osborne, the embodiment of both Britain’s ancient regime and the banking mafia in Europe, threatened to cut £30 billion from public services if people voted the wrong way; it was blackmail on a shocking scale. Immigration was exploited in the campaign with consummate cynicism, not only by populist politicians from the lunar right, but …

Graun finally admits the sad truth about the ” 2nd referendum petition”

Well, the Guardian has – finally – acknowledged the reality of the hapless and discredited “2nd referendum petition”, but only after an indecent interval, and when the Telegraph, HuffPo and other mainstream outlets already picked up the story. And regrettably, they are still doing their best to sell us the flagging narrative of a “grassroots” response. “Overall, close to 2.5m signatures had been garnered from within the UK by Sunday lunchtime, making up an overwhelming proportion of the whole,” reads their last para… ……although it’s difficult to tell how many of these were genuine…..” Hmmm. Sort of makes the first part of that sentence a bit redundant doesn’t it. Meanwhile, in another part of the forest, the entire media and establishment have united to try and remove Corbyn before an early election is called and there is even a remote chance of a genuine anti-austerity pro-humanity prime minister in No 10. More on that soon.