What would be worse than Labour losing the next election?


What would be worse than Labour losing the next election?

The answer to the above question is: Labour winning the next election.

I am no friend of the Tories, the right, Brexiteers. But I can tell you one thing, observing recent history teaches us that when the likes of Corbyn and his team take power, bad things happen.

The obvious parallel with Corbyn’s Labour Party is Greece’s Syriza. The hard left that we thought extinct is alive and kicking. Not only that, but in dire circumstances, like the Greek crisis, or the Brexit coming rupture, it is capable of taking power.

Why should we fear Corbyn and his brand of reactionary, resurrected hard left? Again, Greece is a good example. While the left says the right things and pretends to want the right things, it is both incapable of delivery on its promises and more often than not dishonest.

Behind the facade of interest for the common man often hide people hungry for power. Not only are they hungry for power and privilege, they are so sure of their own ‘goodness’, they will stop at nothing in taking for themselves what they think they are owed. Add to this a belief that the system is corrupt, that the traditional elite is illegitimate and the usual Marxist mumbo jumbo and you have the perfect mix: A group of people who will wreck havoc on the very people they claim to represent.

Tsipras and his comrades in Greece have demolished the western, modern character of the state (there was one, albeit flawed) in their year and a half in power. They have stolen and pillaged with the belief that they are better than anyone that came before them, purer, newer, more correct. When faced with the consequences of their hypocrisy they replied: The others have been doing this for 40 years, it is our turn.

To add insult to injury, they are incompetent even in their piracy. There is corruption and dodgy dealing everywhere, but there is a difference in level, extent and (if you want) finesse. There is a difference between an overweight gourmet and an obese glutton. I am not trying to excuse the ill-takings of previous administrations here. I am trying to show that the hard left does the same, more of it, worse of it, with less attempt at hiding it. It steals and robs and gloats about its moral superiority. Oh, and it cannot govern on a very basic level. It is staffed by people who are rabid ideologues, yet incompetent in administration. See Varoufakis as a great example.

Greece’s Syriza left is an abomination. Further more, it is undemocratic. We learned in practice what was predictable in theory, that people who disdain the institutions of the state, that see everything in terms of conspiracies and plots, have little respect for democracy itself. Ask Minister of Propaganda Pappas.

Corbyn’s ground-up, ‘movement’-led operation is staffed by people of the same mentality. Agitators cannot govern. They do not even want to, most of the time. Hopefully they do not get the chance.

The reaction of supporters of Corbyn’s win has shown what they are made of. There is a lot of the familiar, we won, you shut up attitude you get from the victorious Leavers (people of similar mind-frames). You do not want this newly energized mob coming anywhere near Downing Street.

What should the PLP do? It should defect to the LibDems and help build an anti-Brexit (or in any case anti hard-Brexit) coalition of centrists. What should sensible center left voters do? They should quit Labour and also join forces with the LibDems in opposing any plans for a catastrophic hard Brexit. Everything else can wait. The future of the Labour Party is irrelevant. The future of the country matters to all.




Revealed: May’s secret plan for a spring election

may laughing

Got sick of the uncertainty that has plagued the economy, society, our lives since the infamous Leave vote on the Brexit referendum on the 23rd of June?

Fear no more. I have looked into my crystal ball and here is a point for point explanation of what will happen from now on.

  1. The brand new Brexit government will finalise its ‘plan’ for Brexit by the end of the year. The negotiating lines and aims will be revealed with much fanfare in January when the government will formally notify the EU of its intention to leave the Union under Art. 50. This will be done as an exercise of the Royal Prerogative without a vote in Parliament (the Court hearing a case on this is likely to consider a vote is necessary at the point of actual exit, not at the point of asking for it).

What will the Brexit plan consist of?

“The government will give effect to the democratically expressed will of the people to leave the European Union as expressed in the referendum on 23rd June 2016.

The government will negotiate a deal with the EU that protects British interests, the economy and the rights of citizens.

The government will make Brexit a success by opening up a new chapter in British history, expanding its relations with the world as an independent power”.

Applause all around. What this means is that the UK will no longer be an EU member state in January 2019. Also, this means that the ‘good of the nation’ and the ‘interests’ are left undefined. The government will seek a soft-Brexit and remain part of the internal market. It will not insist on an end to free-movement of people. It will say that the mandate of the referendum was to leave the EU, on which it has delivered. Everything else is determined in the national interest, and immigration does not trump economic considerations.

You doubt that this will happen? The City has boycotted a hard Brexit, and for all the talk of industrial plans, equality, state-directed-development, digging up Mitterand and making him Chancellor etc etc, Britain does not do what the City does not want. Also (and this is important) there is no factual basis to the immigration obsession. EU migration has been a net benefit to the UK economy and as regards stress on the ‘social fabric’, those areas most in favour of Remain were the places where most migrants live. May is clever to play the hard-as-nails defender of the natives, but can tell the difference between what is actually beneficial to the country and the ‘concerns’ of old ladies in the Midlands who once saw a brown person.

How will May pull off a soft-Brexit? How can she declare success in delivering what the right has been after for 30 years and slay the immigration dragon at the same time? For this see point 2.

  1. Fresh from the ‘success’ of delivering on the public demand of Brexit, May will call an early election for the spring of 2017. She will do this for the following reasons: The country in its majority either wants Brexit of some form, or has made its peace with it. The Tories will not split and the anti-Brexit forces may boost a bit the LibDems, but not in a way that makes any real difference. The important thing is the implosion of Labour. Labour is dead and there will never be a better chance for the Tories to clean up than an early election as soon as possible in 2017. And May is the only one who can technically call an early election (see here for details).

May will win big time (see here for latest polls). She will use this win as a mandate for a soft-Brexit and in the new cabinet she will do away with the Brexit band of fools of Boris-Fox-Davis. She has nothing to fear from the far-right, as UKIP has in all effect disbanded and it will not emerge from its farcical leader elections as a living political force. I repeat: May will clean up.

You don’t think this is plausible? Come back and read this next summer and if things did not play out according to my text, I will smash my crystal ball on YouTube.

Is there anything the remaining Remainers amongst us should or could do about it?

Propping up the Labour corpse with Corbyn in charge is not an option, nor would it do anything to change the above anyway. Propping up the Labour corpse with anyone else in charge is equally pointless. Voting Green sounds nice and cuddly, but in the post-Brexit era the Greens seem to be going all Varoufakis; ditto pointless to support them.

We should do whatever we can to transform the LibDems into a single-issue party dedicated to being the European voice in the UK while we go through the divorce interlude. A party to protect the rights of migrants in the UK and to oppose the Thatcherite Armageddon planned by May.

A shitty menu of options I agree, but one has to play the hand one is dealt.

crystal ball


Welcome to post-Brexit Dystopia

I have explained in an earlier post that the only way around the Referendum result is to have a General Election that offers a renewed mandate to Remain. This can trump the Referendum, which in any event is of no legal consequence. The political weight of course is something else, but an election could be sold to the Leavers, if done carefully.

How can an early election happen?

The Fixed-Term Parliaments Act prevents early elections unless a motion for an early general election is agreed either by at least two-thirds of the whole Parliament or without division; or a motion of no confidence is passed and no alternative government is confirmed by the Commons within 14 days.

Is it possible that the leadership of the Conservative Party seeks an election?

I do not think so, as the only reason for a early General Election would be to prevent Brexit, and the Tories seem to have made their peace with it. It is difficult to see how the establishment can benefit from it though. This seems to be a lose-lose situation whichever way you see it. See the following diagram.


What this shows is that there is no possible resolution to the Article 50 negotiations that pleases British voters and the other 27 European countries — without tanking the UK economy: Quantian‘s chart points out that there are basically three possible ways the negotiations could turn out — and each has major flaws.

1) “Clean break”: In this scenario, the UK just leaves the EU without negotiating any sort of alternative arrangements in place. This option could be disruptive for many EU citizens and businesses, but EU leaders wouldn’t have any way to stop it. And Brexit supporters in the UK would find it acceptable.

The problem: Just quitting would trigger a severe recession in the UK, as the British economy depends on free access to the European common market. Forty-four percent of British exports go to the EU, and the UK financial sector depends on free movement of capital between Britain and Europe. No British leader would knowingly crash the UK economy, so they won’t agree to a “clean break.” (There is a chance one could be forced into it, however. If Britain triggers Article 50, a clean break automatically happens in two years absent an exit deal between the UK and EU.)

2) “EEA + deal”: In this scenario, the UK negotiates a deal with the EU, which would allow it to remain in the EEA but would exempt it from other EU rules — most notably, free migration rules — that Brexit supporters hate.

The problemEU leaders seem unlikely to agree to this. They don’t want to reward Britain’s vote with favorable exit terms, for fear that voters in other countries (like Greece, France, or the Netherlands) will take this as a sign that they could get a similar deal. So while this solution would work for British voters and leaders, it’s unacceptable to European leaders.

3) “Annul vote”: In this scenario, British leaders call backsies on the referendum results and simply refuse to ever submit Article 50 notification. This would prevent the UK leadership from owning the disastrous economic consequences of Brexit, and European leaders would celebrate it as a step away from the brink.

The problem: “Leave” supporters in the UK would feel betrayed and very, very angry — and even some “Remain” supporters might see it as undemocratic. The political backlash against a UK prime minister who calls “Bracksies” could be immense.

So every option available to the UK leadership right now is either politically unviable or economically disastrous. Nobody in British politics has a good answer to this dilemma, which partially explains why Brexit hasn’t happened yet

But, where do the parties actually stand? It is no good us imagining a General Election as an escape hatch, if no one opens it for us.

The Liberal Democrats seem to wish to use the Election as a way to prevent Brexit.

Tim Farron for the Liberal Democrats

“I think it is right that in a general election we say to the British people that if you want to get out of the increasing economic mess that we find ourselves in, where we have lost control, [where] we are at the mercy of markets, people’s jobs are going, people’s livelihoods are being destroyed and we are not taking back control … And the fact that the key tenets of the leave campaign are now proved to be lies … it would prove legitimate for the Liberal Democrats to go into the next election and say we offer you a chance to reconsider,” he said.

To the suggestion that this was undemocratic, he replied: “On that basis we would never have re-run the 1975 referendum”, when the UK voted to remain in what was then the European Economic Community. With the Labour party imploding and the Tories at war, Farron is also looking to a realignment of progressive forces in British politics.

The SNP is against Brexit, but seems disinterested in UK wide politics, or saving the country beyond Scotland.


Nicola Sturgeon claimed (post results) in a press conference at Bute House, her official residence in Edinburgh, where she was flanked by the Saltire and the EU flag, that it was “democratically unacceptable” for Scotland to be taken out of the EU against its will. Every part of the country voted to remain, and she said her government would now begin preparing legislation to enable another independence vote if the Scottish Parliament decided it was appropriate.

The Greens want a progressive alliance, but not cleanly against Brexit, which is rather disappointing.

The message of the Green Party

Britain is in crisis and people are scared about the future. Never have we had a greater need for calm leadership to be shown by politicians. We have a UK Government in chaos, an economy facing a crisis and people up and down the country facing serious hardship. There is an urgent need to make a stand against any austerity and the slashing of environmental legislation, human and workers’ rights, that may come with Brexit.

With the growing likelihood of an early General Election, the importance of progressive parties working together to prevent the formation of a Tory-UKIP-DUP government that would seek to enact an ultra-right Brexit scenario is ever more pressing.

Irish Republicans aren’t much help either both because they do not take their seats at Westminster and because they don’t care about Union wide politics.

Sinn Féin

Martin McGuinness has said that Sinn Féin will veto Brexit if the party can find a legal method to do so. He said that Sinn Féin is looking at the legal options available.

“Yes, we are looking at it at the moment, and our legal advisors are also looking at it also in the context of the implications for the Good Friday Agreement,” he said.”And you can be absolutely sure – if there’s a way to veto it, we in Sinn Féin will veto it.”

Labour is the big unknown. A successful coup against Corbyn, or a split of the party might create a strong constituency against Brexit, but there is no clear sign of this at the moment. There are precious few that support some reaction.


Labour MP David Lammy has called on Parliament to “stop this madness” and to vote against the referendum decision to leave the EU. In a statement on his Twitter feed, the MP for Tottenham and former Higher Education and Skills Minister said: “Wake up. We do not have to do this.

“We can stop this madness and bring this nightmare to an end through a vote in Parliament. Our sovereign Parliament needs to now vote on whether we should exit the EU”. “The referendum was was an advisory, non-binding referendum. The Leave campaign’s platform has already unravelled and some people wish they hadn’t voted to Leave”. “Parliament now needs to decide whether we should go forward with Brexit, and there should be a vote in Parliament next week. Let us not destroy our economy on the basis of lies and the hubris of Boris Johnson.”

Could we expect something from within the Conservatives themselves? I do not think so, there are even fewer of them with any desire to resist.

The Conservatives

Ken Clarke (one of few high profile Europhiles in the party) called on MPs to ignore the EU referendum result and follow their own judgement. The former Chancellor said  the vote was not legally binding and MPs shouldn’t have to follow it, despite a majority voting to Leave.

Lets look at the numbers:

Party Seats
Conservative 330
Labour 230
Scottish National Party 54
Democratic Unionist Party 8
Liberal Democrat 8
Independent 4
Sinn Fein 4
Plaid Cymru 3
Social Democratic & Labour Party 3
Ulster Unionist Party 2
Green Party 1
Speaker 1
UK Independence Party 1
Vacant 1
Total number of seats 650
Working Government Majority 16

Two thirds of the Parliament are 435 MPs. Even if Labour, the SNP, the LibDems and the Greens joined forces, it still would not be enough to trigger an election (293 MPs).

For the government to lose its majority, it would take a revolt of about 20 of its own MPs, presuming that the DUP and UKIP would side with a Brexit pursuing government.

Therefore an election cannot happen without the Conservative government wanting one.

The sad result of this analysis is that even though its crazy, Brexit is really happening, and there isn’t much we can do about it. I figure the only way to prevent it now is a serious economic catastrophe which brings the Conservatives back form the brink and convinces the country’s elite that a way out needs to be found. And why am I so insistent in arguing that Brexit cannot morph into an EEA deal everyone can live with? That’s because I saw the Venn diagram above.

I fear that Theresa May (due to take over from Cameron) wants Brexit and the party (with a core of hard-liner supporters in business) wants a stab at implementing Thatcher’s craziest fantasies. Welcome to post-Brexit dystopia.



How to avoid Brexit in a few uneasy steps


We have a problem. The conservative party has for decades been rotting inside due to the cancer of Euroscepticism. Cameron, seeing how Labour was disintegrating post-financial crisis, saw the opportunity to settle the matter and consolidate his position (and that of Osborne as the heir presumptive), by pulling the rug from under the Eurosceptics via holding a referendum.

On the morning of 24 June we discovered what a horrible idea that was. The country has voted by a narrow margin (52%) to leave the EU. As every single expert and institution worldwide has already pointed out this is a very bad idea. I have made my position clear on the issue aplenty. The purpose of this post is not to convince you that Brexit is a bad idea, it is to see how it can be avoided with the least minimal disruption.

A few things we need to be cleared up first. The current parliament was elected in May 2015 (it is at the beginning of its 5 year term). Out of the 650 MPs, about 160 have declared their support to leave the EU. The EU Referendum Act of 2015 makes the referendum advisory to parliament (it is advisory as opposed to binary as it is said). A core UK constitutional principle is Parliamentary supremacy. Actually this was one of the main slogans of the Leave campaign, to give Parliament control. Well, Parliament does and always did have control, and is hugely in favour of Remain.

The question is how to ignore the referendum result without creating a popular revolt and constitutional crisis. Here we can learn a lot from the ultimate political volte-face of recent years, the transformation of Mr Tsipras of Greece from EU basher to EU poodle. Greece held its referendum on a deal with its creditors in the summer of 2015 (summer seems to be the time for referenda all around). This was a defining political moment in Greece where the forces of independence and dignity and self-determination were pitted against the purveyors of a discredited status quo (this was the spin anyway). Does this ring a bell? The Greek people, in their naivety, bought this load of codswallop and obliged Mr Tsipras by handing him a decisive victory (it wasn’t even close, 61% voted to reject European ‘demands’).

What happened next is where this gets interesting. Mr Tsipras armed with a renewed mandate went to Brussels where he quickly, completely and utterly capitulated, accepting a much worse set of terms than the ones previously on offer. He is still in power. This tells us two things about the Brexit situation. First, the Europeans do not negotiate under duress. One can yell and blackmail, but this gets no reward from Brussels. In the same way that Tsipras was threatening Europe holding a gun to his own head, Leave is threatening national implosion to cajole Europe into something. This has not and cannot work. Second, it is possible to run a massively damaging fiesta (banks closed and capital controls were introduced due to Tsipra’s fun referendum idea), divide the nation, stir up age old hatreds, and then at the drop of a hat change your mind. People will go for it.

You must be thinking now the Brits are not as stupid as the Greeks. To that I am telling you not to worry. People who heard demonstrably false claims and chose to believe them are equally stupid to everyone else who goes through the same nationalistic, jingoistic, prideful experience. But things are not going the same way as Greece surely you may say, Cameron has already resigned, while Tsipras stayed on. Ok, I’ll give you that Cameron has more shame than Tsipras (or perhaps is less in control). But there is nothing to say that Parliament cannot ignore the EU referendum result the same way that the Greek government immediately forgot about its ‘victory’.

The issue as we said is how to back away from the referendum without this appearing like disregarding the popular will and solidifying the division in the country by introducing allegations of a coup. The answer is to exploit the disconnect between the ‘supposed’ will of the people as expressed in the referendum and the will of the people as expressed in May 2015. In other words, we can get out of this mess via a general election. People have pointed this out already, but here is how it could work without undermining democracy in the country. Parliament is being asked to respect the referendum, while having been elected on a different basis. Also, leaving the EU is not the same thing as nuking the economy by losing access to the single market. One could legitimate argue a series of things therefore: 1) You cannot expect the vast majority of Remain supporting MPs to vote for Brexit 2) You cannot expect a Remain supporting government (PM aside) to negotiate Brexit 3) You cannot assume that the people who voted for Brexit indeed support the hard core, hard landing that appears now to be the only option. This creates a legitimate demand for a new general election where parties reconfigure themselves along Brexit/Remain lines and a Leave government proposal is put to the people. They would never win enough MPs to actually form a Leave government and if they did, well good riddance to them.

Sounds plausible? Well, you could always drag things on, let people forget what happened this June and as they are suffering a recession caused by uncertainty say that you won’t go for Brexit anyway due to adverse economic impacts. But, a general election would be a better way of dealing with things and keeping discontent on track. Will people buy it? Yes, because it happens to be correct. Is disregarding the Referendum result offensive to the democratic process? Maybe, but it is more offensive to me that people voted for Brexit on the basis of lies, racism, bigotry and fantasy. The duty of Parliament is to preserve the nation, not to pander to the idiotic fantasies of people like Farage. I was hoping that the British were better than the Greeks. They are not.

On a side note, the Fixed-Term Parliaments Act prevents early elections unless a motion for an early general election is agreed either by at least two-thirds of the whole Parliament or without division; or  a motion of no confidence is passed and no alternative government is confirmed by the Commons within 14 days. Because of this we need the help of the Labour party. The Parliamentary Labour Party should remove Corbyn and work together with Remain MPs from other parties to trigger an election. Is this a God awful mess? Yes it is, but the alternative is years long economic mayhem and eventual Brexit. Time to stop pussyfooting around and come up with a viable solution. Time to instigate a ‘coup’.





Three reasons to dislike Corbyn


You would think I would be the perfect Corbyn supporter. Lefty pretence, academic writing on the evils of neoliberalism, anti-Tory, blah blah blah. Yet I am not. Here are the three main reasons why:

1) Man-of-the-people BS

Because fanatical corbynistas keep telling you what a nice working class boy Jeremy is, doesn’t mean it’s true.

I had the chance to see the man in the flesh at the latest UCU conference. Apart from everyone slobbering over him (he is in fact closest than most to our Union’s positions), I did not see much that distinguished Jeremy from every other career politician.

Polished, professional, lifeless performance. On-message soundbites. No questions. Because Jeremy is so friendly, he wanted to chat with the audience rather than take questions. Better shaking hands Bono style than answering Brexit questions, hey?

Natalie Bennet was way better then Jeremy, period.

2) The damn Referendum

Jeremy now supports Staying-In does he? He speaks about it with such conviction (not). He has been dragging his feet because he is not a friend of the EU. You know what Jeremy? I am not a friend of the EU either, but leaving is a horrible deal for the nation. Grow some and go out and say it- every day- all the time.

If Leave wins I will blame Corbyn.

3) Government is like porn

The experience of the ‘first left government’ of Greece has taught us there is a pronounced gulf between what the radical left thinks it can do once in government and what actually happens.

Think of it this way, one may enjoy watching porn, but would find actual participation a bewildering, nasty experience. Ask Mr Tsipras.

The fact that Corbyn is accosted by the likes of Varoufakis and Mason worries me no end.

Mr Corbyn may be well meaning, or not, but if Labour wants to survive 2020 it needs a different leader.

Today’s election results being a not-as-bad-as-everyone-thought ‘success’ tells you what you need to know.



Lefty zika-heads and Brexit

lefty idiots

The lack of a positive message:

The ‘stay’ campaign in the EU referendum is having difficulty finding its feet. The reason for this is the lack of a clear, easily transmittable positive message about the EU. It is possible to win on the basis of fear, scaring voters about the consequences of an exit. This seems to have been the strategy of the stay campaign in the Scottish referendum. The issue is however that this is a dangerous strategy for two reasons. First, negative campaigns do not work very effectively. Second, negative campaigns do not settle the issue conclusively.

If pro-Europeans want to win this referendum and stop the demagogues of the right from demanding another one in a few years, they need to offer a positive narrative about Europe. Can one be found however that will work for the ‘leave’ leaning British voter?

I am not so sure. We can all come up with a fairly convincing list of arguments on why Brexit is a bad idea, but can we think of reasons why staying in the EU is good, other than the velocity of existing arrangements?

EU law is positive in protecting the consumer as most lawyers know. This is unlikely to have much impact on a public ‘disgusted’ with ‘health and safety gone mad’ and other such tripe.

Should we try and convince the public that EU immigration is good for the country? It is, but good luck with that argument. So far as third country immigration is concerned and the refugee crisis, best not go there at all.

Let’s show how EU institutions have effectively dealt with economic crisis in the Eurozone… Eh, maybe not.

You get I hope the nature of the problem. The ‘stay’ campaign needs a positive narrative, for sure. How to come up with one is less sure.


Lefty zika heads:

An additional problem is the attitude of the left towards the EU

There is a problem with the Corbynite Left. Actually there are many problems with the ‘grassroots’ non-Parliamentary left, but I will focus on just one.

They are an unpredictable danger for the In-camp in the EU Referendum. The reason for this is that the condemnation of the EU as a neoliberal, pro market Leviathan, may lead significant numbers of young, newly energized voters (by the Corbyn effect) to vote for Brexit. They may do so thinking that this enables more discretion and more options in their attempt to re-balance the state-market relationship in Britain.

The idea that a Britain outside the EU may allow socialist type alternatives is a fallacy for two reasons.

Reason one is that Socialism in One Country (Социализм в одной стране in Stalin’s words) does not work. The theory held that given the defeat of all the communist revolutions in Europe in 1917–1921 except Russia’s, the Soviet Union should begin to strengthen itself internally. That turn toward national communism was a shift from the previously held Marxist position that socialism must be established globally (world communism). The British hard left seems to think that while leftist movements have failed in Europe (Syriza abandoned its leftist pretenses in Greece, Podemos is fizzling out etc), a left alternative could be built in Britain, starting with Corbyn taking power in 2020.

It will not, because Corbyn cannot and will not win in 2020. No pollster, or betting shop or academic who has looked at the numbers think that Corbyn has a better chance of winning than a snowball materializing in hell.

Reason two is that in the short term defeat in the EU Referendum and Brexit will launch the country sharply to the right. In the mayhem that will ensue, the left message will be lost in the nationalist fervor and right wing anti-immigrant, racist politicking that will dominate between 2017 and 2020.

As Corbyn will have forfeited the higher ground (pro-immigration, pro-internationalist) by not supporting clearly and unequivocally  staying-in, he will suffer even worse in the General Election.

Voting for a Britain outside the EU for the working class is equivalent to turkeys voting for Xmas. Voting for Britain outside the EU is voting for a 1000 year Tory rule (if you will excuse the unpleasant analogy).

Does the working class really want to align itself with the Hedge Fund managers who will support the Leave campaign out of unashamedly expressed self interest? Really?

Now is the time for the working class, the left, to come out strongly in support of the EU.

Thinking people of course do not like what the EU has become. Nonetheless, the interests of the working class and the left are best served by Britain staying in and working for a better future for everyone.

Socialism in One Country did not work too well for the Russians either.

Despite the obvious nature of the above, groups of fantasists like LabourLeave are digging the grave of the working class campaigning for Brexit. In what follows I try to explain why they are wrong, without becoming too offensive.


Hello, I am Kevin:

Let us explore the position of a fictional left leaning voter, currently in the (persuadable) leave group. We shall call this chap Kevin.

Kevin works as a teaching assistant at a University. He is on modest pay, but aspires to an academic career which will see a steady improvement in his salary, coupled with the security of a permanent job. He is a self-proclaimed lefty and supported Jeremy Corbyn in the Labour leadership contest.

Kevin hates Europe. For a lot of the more ‘radical’ British left, Europe is a neoliberal nightmare. The ever-closer Union by stealth is building a market based leviathan that sucks away sovereignty and effectively outlaws any policy incompatible with economic orthodoxy. Kevin always held this view, but two recent events have solidified his position as an enemy of the EU.

The first is the crisis in the Eurozone and the treatment of Greece. The depression in Greece, Kevin argues frequently, gave birth to a left alternative. Syriza came to power in 2015 and fought valiantly against the forces of Euro-neoliberalism under the command of Prof. Varoufakis. The Syriza rebellion however was crushed by Merkelism and the unrelenting neoliberal fiends of the Eurogroup. Varoufakis was ousted and Tsipras capitulated after being blackmailed into submission. The EU was always seen as undemocratic, but the latest events make it worse than that. The EU, at least in its Eurozone part, will go out of its way to undermine and subvert democracy, to crush dissent. Schaeuble will roll over anyone who objects to German ordo-liberalism.

The second event is the TTIP negotiation. For decades Europe, while pursuing a liberalising agenda, had resisted American influence on full scale marketisation. Some protection remained for certain market sectors and a European welfare state survived to a degree. While this was not optimal in Kevin’s view, it was still better than the do-or-die American culture. Then the European Commission embarked on secret negotiations on a grand trade deal. A trade deal that would bring the worse of Anglo-saxon capitalism to Europe, a deal that would even lift corporations out of the jurisdiction of national courts, creating ‘special’ investment tribunals tasked with protecting the expectations of the market against the rights of citizens.

All this was too much for Kevin. He will vote for Britain to leave the European Union. His last act of solidarity to the Greeks will be to drop his ballot in the box and stick it to Schaeuble.

Hang on a second….

What would the day after the referendum be like for our friend Kevin? All polling suggests that Corbyn is set to lose in the 2020 general election, and lose badly. If Labour lost in 2010 (being accused of the financial crisis), lost in 2015 (where it tried to advocate for the poorest in society), will it win in 2020 on a classical left agenda?

Lets assume that it will not (at least the bookies do).

Kevin has proudly rejected the ‘neoliberal’ EU, so that he is tormented at home by a Thatcherite right? The Tories, if ‘leave’ wins the referendum are likely to lurch further to the right. Kevin will be left with a country turning right, lose social protections guaranteed by EU norms, lose access to the European Court of Justice, probably lose the Human Rights Act to a reduced Bill of Rights created by a revanchist right. Kevin will have shut himself off, not only from the market lovers of Brussels, but also from social movements and progressive parties that are trying to argue for a more socially inclusive Europe in the European Parliament.

Kevin will be alone, at the mercy of a domestic predatory elite that cares nothing for him.

The message for Kevin and all the Kevins of the Corbynite left out there is this: Yes the EU is flawed and neoliberal and in need of serious change. Leaving the EU will leave you at the mercy of Mr Cameron, Mr Osborne and their ‘business’ friends.

Perhaps Kevin should think about where the biggest threat to any left alternative comes from. It does not come from Europe.



PS. I will be happy to come explain this in person (at my own cost) to any LabourLeave supporters and help them come to their senses.



Surrealist Governance and Opposition


What happens to a democracy when the government of the day faces no opposition? Nothing good is the answer and Greece is a case at hand. I will attempt to substantiate this and offer a warning to the British Labour Party.

Syriza in Greece won the September election and then a strange (albeit predictable) thing happened. All and any opposition to the government dissipated. How is this so, you may ask. Hasn’t Syriza denounced its leftist pretensions, betrayed its programme in favour of a new Bailout?

Yes it did, but no one says a word about it. The right (ND and -apologies- PASOK and Potami) with the policy of Euro uber alles cannot complain about attempts to implement the Bailout terms. ND tries some complaining about choices in the consolidation measures, but lacking leadership (especially after the botched internal election) it is becoming irrelevant.

The left? Surely if Tsipras moved to the right a gap must have opened on the left? No it didn’t. KKE remains in Stalinist obscurity and the Syriza splinter faction has all but died, as the Greek people are a nation of have-your-pie-and-eat-it that wouldn’t countenance the Grexit they were advocating. As to movements and unions, they have been co-opted by a government that feels no shame encouraging people to join general strikes against it, with the argument that it strengthens its position against the hated creditors with which it is eternally ‘negotiating’.

The result is a farcical unopposed governance of stupid stunts (eg. Tsipras tweets) and utter incompetence in every single area of activity. One watches with morbid fascination daily lashings of daliesque surrealism, as if the whole administration were an experimental comedy show worthy of Noel Fielding.

What is the warning to Labour? Corbynistas increasingly reveal themselves as detached from reality, fanatical, dogmatic and so, so very righteous. This is exactly the mix of horrors that breeds monsters (or monuments to comedy, depending on your perspective) like Tsipras’ Syriza. As Labour degenerates into introspection and infighting it offers no opposition to the Tories, in the same way that the midgets of ND offer no opposition to Tsipras. The UK is a mirror image of Greek politics with the same result, no opposition. A bad outcome for everyone involved.