Labour needs to give up its infantile Euro-enthusiasm and return to its roots standing up for the workers

Labour needs to give up its infantile Euro-enthusiasm and return to its roots standing up for the workers

It’s time for Labour to stop maundering miserably in the back blocks of politics, give up its infantile Euro-enthusiasm and understand that its job is to build Britain’s economic strength, not preach a naive internationalism. Instead we must speak for England, and enthuse our people for the fight, not make them miserable by horrible projections. That would mean fighting for Scotland too, if we’re to win it back from a Euro-daft SNP who’d rather be ruled from Brussels than share power with London.

As Britain embarks on the negotiations for withdrawal, my party should ask itself not what Mandelson, Blair and the sycophants of Finance want but “what about the workers?” What’s good for jobs, a strong Britain and the rebalancing of an economy which is becoming a bubble sustained by ever rising debt?

What’s the single market ever done for us? It’s led to a horrendous deficit in trade with the EU. When we went in we had a surplus. Increasing every year, it’s now become a deficit of £90bn, much of it with Germany. British exports to the EU falter because the euro imposes deflation and has made the Eurozone the world’s blackspot for low growth and high unemployment while our imports, particularly from Germany, increase – all of them jobs exported from Britain.

Its principle of free movement of labour, agreed in an age when that meant small transfers between advanced economies, now permits an uncontrolled flood from Eastern Europe. This drives down wages in Britain and imposes severe strains on our underfunded social, educational and housing sectors and has generated widespread concerns. These may be naughty, unsocialist, even populist, but they come from Labour’s people more than the Tory-voting classes.

And the single market’s insistence on the free movement of capital allows multinationals and British companies to dodge their obligations to this country and benefit from a race to the tax bottom, which Ireland and Luxembourg are winning to our great cost. They then have the cheek to accuse us of aiming to outbid those EU tax fiddlers if we leave.

That same freedom which we impose more effectively than anyone else allows large numbers of British firms to be taken over by foreigners in the EU’s freest takeover market. Our railways are now run by nationalised European competitors making big profits here to keep their own domestic fares down while pushing ours to ridiculous highs. Their national champions take over our markets but ours such as GEC, ICI, Leyland and Courtaulds are dismantled and sold off. And we’re not allowed to aid or help British firms to fight back.

Because its basis was a dirty deal to help German industry and French agriculture, we are not only prevented from buying food from the cheaper producers we used to trade with – thus increasing our costs – but we’re required to drag French agricultural protectionism into every trade deal the EU negotiates for us. This makes it more difficult and time consuming to get any.

A party of the people should recognise the damage being done to them by playing a more powerful opponent on an unbalanced court and not leave it to UKIP to voice concern. Instead, Labour prevaricates. Our first reaction after the referendum was to suggest that the decision of the people should be reversed by the elite. Realising that this was hardly democratic, we began to moan about the cuts in EU support for regions, institutions and those strong Labour supporters – the landowners, failing to recognise that this was our own money being sent back with heavy costs taken out.

Now we’ve moved back to defending the single market and giving aid and succour to the other side in the negotiations. That’s now being softened by the realisation that our supporters want something done about immigration and that telling them it was for their own good wasn’t exactly working. So we began to consider controls, having proclaimed the fact that they’re impossible in the single market. Now our fallback position seems to be that the Government should give away its negotiating position and tie its hands to a soft Brexit while our demands must be kept secret – because we don’t know what they are.

More sensible than all that obfuscation would be to reflect both the interests and the instincts of our people and take a far more overtly pro-British line. Demand the best possible deal for Britain, stop maundering on, stop condemning patriotism and fight for Britain’s real interests.

Brexit has already produced the first essential step for dealing with our crippling balance of payments deficit. The devaluation which wouldn’t otherwise have happened now brings the pound to a more sensible and competitive level at which British industry can begin to complete and grow. Nothing can be achieved without that: devaluation is the only way to deal with deficit.

So let’s stop moaning miserably about Brexit as if it were an economic Bubonic plague. We should demand that the Government seize the opportunity it provides and urge it to build on that by the best possible exit terms. That would be a settlement which serves our real interests in jobs and in rebalancing a failing economy, rather than those of Germany and France. Most of us joined the Labour Party to build a more equal society and better the lot of those down the heap, not to become part of the Juncker Tabernacle Choir.

Photocredit: Adrian Scottow