Wednesday, 6 September 2017

The “Labour Campaign for the Single Market”. Is There Something Better?

Last night was the official launch of the Labour Campaign for the Single Market.  Don’t be misled.  Keir Starmer’s recent announcement is only about the transition to the Hard Brexit in Labour’s 2017 manifesto

This is confirmed by the campaign website, which states “We have until September 14th 2017 to change Labour Party policy to support keeping Britain in the Single Market.”  That is for the long term, not just the transition.

The reasons are clear, as stated in the motion they are proposing each Consituency should put to the Labour party conference.  Conference motions are the principle means of setting party policy:

This Constituency Labour Party:
Notes the August publication of the Government's position papers on a range of EU withdrawal matters including future UK-EU customs arrangements;
And believes that these recent papers reveal that the current approach risks job losses, and loss of rights for workers;
Further, notes the Treasury estimate that moving from the "soft" Brexit of the European Economic Area (EEA) (which could see tax revenue fall by £20bn) to the "hard" Brexit of a Canadian-type deal is estimated to cost an additional £16 billion each year, and that if the UK defaults to WTO trade rules, then the annual tax loss may be as high as £45 billion (four times the annual public expenditure on English GPs);
And believes that Labour must urgently campaign against austerity that has harmed our public services;
and therefore calls upon the Labour Party to adopt a policy of remaining in the European Customs Union and Single Market through membership of the EEA

But does this go far enough?

No it does not:

  1. They have not any public proposal as to how that might be achieved in practice, other than simply joining the European Economic Area (EEA) like Norway.  That has long been rejected as a desirable option
  2. They are not explicitly keeping the option open to remain in the EU as the means to remaining in the Single Market

So what does this mean for Brexit? If the motion is not tabled nor approved, Labour continues with its Hard Brexit policy, with all the drawbacks to the UK that the motion highlights.

If such a motion is approved, then there will be some degree of opposition to the Government on its “Brexit at all costs” strategy.

But if you truly believe in saving this country from a Hard Brexit then The Just Party is the only mainstream party to have an anti-Brexit policy of remaining in the Single Market or the full EU.  We have a specific proposal based on EEAplus, not just the Norway model. That might satisfy a higher proportion of UK voters than a simple Leave/Remain choice which is still polling around 50:50.  But there are complications. There’s hope they can be overcome, as it is in both the EU’s and UK’s interests to do so. But if not, then the UK must stay in the full EU.  It’s #HalfBrexit or #HaltBrexit.

We therefore invite MPs from all parties who believe in this vision and the need to have a Thriving Economy for a Caring Society to join The Just Party.  The invitation is here.

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