Brexit is no right-wing coup, but the means of escaping the EU’s neo-liberal economics that are harming our planet

Brexit is no right-wing coup, but the means of escaping the EU’s neo-liberal economics that are harming our planet

The mainstream media, New Labour, the Yellow Tories and the Establishment would have you believe that Brexit is somehow a right-wing coup.

These siren voices of the Establishment want you to forget that we had a “once in a lifetime” (former Prime Minister David Cameron) referendum that produced a clear result. The biggest single vote for anything in UK electoral history. The UK voted to Leave the European Union, including most of the constituencies represented in Parliament by Remain-backing MPs who got elected in 2017 by promising to honour the referendum result, but who are now breaking that promise.

These siren voices want you to forget that there are many left-wing reasons for leaving the EU and that many of the giants of British socialism like Barbara Castle, Tony Benn, Bob Crow and Peter Shore campaigned for the UK to leave the EU. Indeed, as a union leader Bob Crow, wrote in 2013:

“The EU is largely a Tory neoliberal project. Not only did the Conservative prime minister Edward Heath take Britain into the common market in 1973, but Margaret Thatcher campaigned to stay in it in the 1975 referendum, and was one of the architects of the Single European Act – which gave us the single market, EU militarisation and eventually the struggling Euro. After the Tories dumped the born-again Eurosceptic Thatcher, John Major rammed through the Maastricht Treaty and embarked on the disastrous privatisation of our railways using EU directives – a model now set to be rolled out across the continent.”

Supporters of Extinction Rebellion should note that it is the EU’s neo-liberal economics that makes it impossible to make the required changes to combat climate change in the UK. As was noted as early as the 2013 Climate Change Conference in Warsaw (COP19):

“If the world wishes to avoid exceeding the two degrees rise in global temperatures that will trigger non-reversible climate change, then the wealthiest countries, including the UK, have to adopt a de-growth strategy.”

Also at the Climate Change Conference in Warsaw in 2013 we were told that “continuing with economic growth over the coming two decades is incompatible with meeting our international obligations on climate change”.

But the UK cannot change this as the EU dictates UK economic policy. The EU is a neo-liberal economy committed to economic growth, designed to make the rich richer and the rest of us to pay for it. It shows its true form when you see the EU put austerity into action; in Greece, in Ireland, in Portugal, in Spain, in Italy and even in relatively rich countries like Denmark. In Greece, for instance, EU diktat has meant a 42-year plan of austerity, which the Greeks cannot get out of until the year 2060.

Measures taken by the EU in Greece include:

  1. Right to evict families from their home
  2. Privatisation of all saleable state assets and a ban on re-nationalisation in the future
  3. Reductions in pensions and pension funds
  4. Curtail rights to trade union representation
  5. Further cuts to wages
  6. Right to overrule Greek court decisions.
  7. EU control of Greek central bank and economics ministry

As Green peer Jenny Jones once said, before she was seduced by the dark side:

“The EU has become a dictatorial imposer of austerity and deregulation, uncaring about its impacts on the wellbeing of people and planet, and determined to derail any elected government that dares to dissent from its neoliberal ideology.”

The four pillars of the EU, ironically called its “freedoms”, actually mean the freedom of multi-national corporations to move people, capital, goods and services to wherever makes them the most money. Invest your capital in sweatshops where the labour is cheapest to make the goods, move people to ensure wages are kept low and ensure contracts are kept short and temporary to avoid giving labour rights. Provide your services from tax havens and allow profits (as capital) to freely flow back to those tax havens, whilst paying as little tax as possible.

The European Commission currently dictates Britain’s trade policy with the world. Despite the internationalist rhetoric of the EU’s proponents, its trade agreements with some of the poorest nations on earth have a modernist colonialism at heart, imposing free market dogma (i.e. “Free Trade”) to extract natural resources in the 21st century from the same countries colonised with military force up until the 20th century.

After the UK leaves the EU, we could help the developing world to develop their own economies with bilateral fair trade, thereby reducing in part the push factor that is forcing so many developing world citizens to swell the migrant crisis.

Achieving this is unlikely whilst we follow the European Commission in imposing programmes such as the Raw Materials Initiative, which prevents developing nations such as Zambia and the Democratic Republic of Congo from raising investment through export taxes or regulating conditions in their dangerous raw minerals sectors.

This is yet another humanist left-wing policy that will become available to the UK after we leave the imperialist EU. It would create a new model of fair trading that could then be followed by other countries in Europe and other developed economies, without the need for “Free Trade” agreements.

Because here is the crux of the matter: Brexit is simply a means to an end, not the end in itself.

After Brexit we don’t have to have a Boris Johnson-led Tory government.

After Brexit, the British people will be free to choose an alternative government that puts forward left-wing priorities like re-nationalisation of utilities and transport, currently illegal under EU’s competition rules; be free to reverse the privatisation of the NHS introduced by New Labour using EU competition rules and developed by the Tories and their yellow running dogs, the Lib Dems; be free to favour local producers and not have to put everything out to tender under EU procurement rules; be free to support and encourage UK manufacturing in exciting new industries like electric vehicles and put tariffs on gas guzzling automobiles from Germany; be free to develop a more highly skilled labour force, by investing in training for UK citizens, not poaching talent from abroad.

Or to put it another way, like another left-wing hero of mine (Martin Luther King), “Free at last, Free at last, Thank God almighty we will be free at last.”