Tuesday, 4 July 2017

Keynesian Liberal: Corbyn, Labour and the Single Market

Keynesian Liberal: Corbyn, Labour and the Single Market

"The curious thing is that both Corbyn and the Labour hierarchy, including their responsible shadow minister , Sir Kier Starmer, have consistently argued that we should make the economy and jobs in the UK a priority in the Brexit negotiations, and clearly full access to the single market would be a considerable help.

Some Labour big-wigs could be anxious that some of their support could be disgruntled if access to the market involved a bit of a trade-off on immigration, but Corbyn himself has been refreshingly and , in my view admirably, relaxed on immigration, stressing the enormous benefits that past immigrants have brought to our economy, culture and society, and being reluctant to follow the Tories in their quest for draconian and unsustainable reductions.

It may be that the Labour establishment are timid about being seen to go against the so-called "will of the people" as expressed by by a narrow majority in a seriously flawed referendum. But even senior Brexiteer Boris Johnson assured us during the referendum campaign that voting to leave the EU did not imply leaving the single market.

So Labour don't have that excuse.

Yet Labour MPs were officially instructed to abstain on the Umunna amendment. 49 of them defied the whip and voted for it, along with all our gallant band of Liberal Democrat, the one Green and I think most if not all of the SNP and Plaid Cymru. But not the doughty Mrs Brabin.

I am saddened but not surprised by Mrs Brabin's lack of fight, but genuinely puzzled by Labour's stance. It is becoming increasingly clear that public opinion is moving against a hard Brexit. Here was a golden opportunity to run the government close if not actually defeat them and Labour just didn't take it."

While Labour lack the combative approach to the EU that affects some of the Tories, their stance on Brexit is a mess.

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