This is a new dialogue over the consequences of Brexit following the Corbyn-led Labour Party helping Theresa May get the second reading of the Tories’ Immigration Bill through on Wednesday 29th January

see an earlier dialogue at:-


This dialogue came about in response to a posting Allan Armstrong made on the Republican Socialist Alliance list. It was also taken up by Phil Vellender (Editorial Board of The Chartist) on his Facebook page.

1.    Allan Armstrong (Republican Socialist Alliance list and Phil Vellender’s Facebook page)

          2. Reply from Jeffrey Lever (RSA list and Phil’s Facebook page)

3. Reply to Jeffrey Lever from Allan Armstrong (RSA list and  Phil’s   Facebook page)

4. Phil Vellender, Corbyn and Project Truth (RSA list and Phil’s Facebook page)

          5. Response from Allan Armstrong (RSA list and Phil’s Facebookpage)

          6. The Immigration Bill Fiasco shows that Labour’s Left-wing principles   are on the slide in the New Statesman         

 7. Sue Sparks, A response to The New Statesman article (RSA list and Phil’s Facebook page)

 8. Response to Sue Sparks from Allan Armstrong (RSA list and Phil’s Facebook page)

           9. Statement from Joe Healy on the Left Unity blog

           10. Response from Allan Armstrong to Joe Healy’s statement (RSA list and  Phil’s Facebook page.  A reply from ‘Resist’ to a Brexiteer troll claiming that the 2016 Referendum was   democratic  (on RSA list and Phil’s Facebook page)

11. A Response to ‘Resist’ from Allan Armstrong (RSA list and Phil’s Facebook page)

          12. Robert Peston, What Corbyn’s meeting with May reveals about

13. LabourBrexit plan in The Spectator

          14. A response from Allan Armstrong (RSA list and Phil’s Facebook page)

          15. Allan Armstrong (RSA list and Phil’s Facebook page) 

 1. Allan Armstrong on the Republican Socialist Alliance list, 29.1.19

In recent submissions to the blog, I have pointed out how Corbyn’s policy on migration is now to the Right of Cameron’s before the Euro-referendum. Tonight on May’s new Immigration bill, Corbyn backed the manouevres to allow her to get the second stage of this draconian new anti-migrant bill  through. see:-

Anna Soubry and Ken Clark voted against.

For some time I have argued that Corbyn and co would help the Tories bring in a new gastarbeiter system. Tonight is  the lowest that Corbyn & co have sunk, even one stage lower than saying they could come to a deal with the DUP. You have Weekly Worker arguing that the danger of supporting a new Euro-referendum is that it would prepare the ground for a National Government.  The Tories have said they are preparing for the use of troops. Rees-Mogg has called for the suspension of parliament. Corbyn’s response – silence! As far as opposing the Tories goes (and the DUP) on Brexit, we already have a National Government with Corbyn as junior partner.

As I have also pointed out there is little difference between Corbyn and the neo-Blairites over migration. Furthermore, Corbyn refuses to challenge them, except when he is supporting May over Brexit. It would seem to be a small mercy if the neo-Blairites did finally move against him, taking direct responsibility themselves for attacking migrants. However, from another viewpoint, maybe we have to live through a continued Corbyn leadership to show genuine Socialists just how miserable British Left social democracy really is.


2. Reply from Jeffrey Lever (contribution on RSA list), 29.1.19

The Swawkbox posting below disagrees with your critique.


Why Labour wasn’t whipping MPs on immigration bill – and why it then did

3. Reply to Jeffrey Lever from Allan Armstrong 29.1.19

This is a just a piece of apologetics. There are 256 Labour MPs, yet only 178 were present at the vote. And even that needed pressure. A one-line whip – and no come back – come on!

The role of Diane Abbot in all this was despicable, although on a par with John McDonnell (one time supporter of a united Ireland) being used to make overtures to the DUP to prop up a future Labour government.


4. Phil Vellender, on RSA list and Phil’s Facebook page, 29.1.19

Corbyn and Project Truth

Apparently, those of us who support Remain and, as in my case, are calling for a Ratification Referendum, rather than a People’s Vote or, worse still, the misnomered Second Referendum, must not put Labour’s electoral hopes at risk by demanding Corbyn calls a public vote on all our futures. The reason: to do so would lose a shed load of votes in the north. Of course, I want Corbyn to come out for Remain, but given he backs the delusional Lexit position, there’s not hope in hell of him doing so.

However, the current Labour strategy constitutes a lie, or at best, a deliberate masking of the facts, about the reality of what Brexit will mean, for Labour’s northern power base. In courting these ‘left behind’ votes, Labour is observing the people’s will/ democratic (majoritarian) vote, but in so doing Labour has effectively jettisoned the only true USP Corbyn claimed: his honesty and integrity.

What will those campaigning for Labour on the doorsteps say to Labour supporters in the ‘northern power base’? Tell them not to worry, Jeremy/Labour are about more than Brexit? Getting a Labour government will be the answer to all their concerns? Well, naturally I’d trust Corbyn’s Labour with the NHS and policies for the poor over the Tories any day. But is this enough?

For a start, nearly all the manifesto policies that chime with those who are really struggling in May’s Britain, and those  Corbyn’s Labour are campaigning around, actually relate to specifically *British /UK*, Tory-created ills; for example, bedroom tax, austerity, UC, child poverty and many more.

But how does leaving the EU, an act universally accepted by most authorities on the subject as being equivalent to mass self-harm for our economy, address or ameliorate those aforementioned, Tory-inspired social evils? Did the EU demand Osborne and Danny Alexander (remember him?) embark on austerity, bring in the bedroom tax and all the other instruments of impoverishment that Cameron and then May joyfully soiled their pants over?

Moreover, did the EU demand that May deal so cruelly with the Windrush community, create wholesale insecurity through her ‘hostile environment’, demand an anti-immigrant campaign be stoked up by a non-dom owned, xenophobic, Tory press, show disdain for the Grenfell community?

If, as I believe, Brexit was a predominantly an English nationalist uprising against Westminster, one which the Referendum provided an outlet for – by deflecting the responsibility away from the Tories/ UK on to Brussels, migrants, Polish or Eastern European workers – then the answer has to be ‘no’. A friend has labelled my attribution of the Brexit voting phenomenon to English nationalism as ‘patronising’. It is a serious charge and deserves an answer.

I would suggest that it is, in fact, Corbyn and his Morning Star Lexiteer advisors and supporters who are patronising the electorate. I do not pretend the ‘EU is Europe’ nor that the EU is perfect. I lived in Europe for a total of13 years so I have some insights into its shortcomings. However, selling voters a poisonous Labour-Lexit version of Brexit snake oil based on disingenuous pandering to anti-migrant prejudice, one whipped up by rightwing newspapers that Corbyn himself detests, is not a socialist message, at least not one I recognise. It is the message of the untrustworthy, those willing to say whatever will get them grubby votes.

Corbyn and his Eurosceptic acolytes are lying to the electorate by uncritically bolstering their Leave beliefs, rather than giving leadership and challenging them. Which views would their doorstep campaigners not seek to challenge? And how many of these possibly socially conservative Labour (?) voters would ever support a Labour Party in any case, when most of them, as likely as not, feel as alienated from today’s ‘middle class’ Labour as they do from a high street with all those foreign languages being spoken and that burgeoning number of foreign shops? Seriously?

Corbyn has made it clear he supports a euphemistic version of Tory policies around what he terms ‘managed migration’. Many potential Labour voting EU citizens outside Labour’s northern power base get little reassurance from that formulation. Why would any Labour leader with Corbyn’s socialist credentials be prepared to add to the insecurity of hundreds of thousands of EU citizens by cavilling on his position on the EU?

The fact is that a Corbyn government would not be prevented from carrying out its nationalisation programme by the EU. However, Corbyn has no idea how he will replace the jobs and investment we currently enjoy through our EU membership. He has no real idea about which economic order he will join up with post the EU.

Corbyn could have made the arguments to his northern power base about the many positives of EU membership, which are too many to list here, but, instead, he has, in effect, capitulated to the Tory Brexit story by not going out and arguing the case for Europe. Instead he has joined with those peddling clichés and untruths about the EU ie the ones Lexiteers have peddled. And if he hasn’t actually articulated them, he has silently assented to them. That is his style.

Allowing voters to cling to a prejudice-wracked, revived English nationalism, one growing more dangerous by the day, even via a message clothed in socialist phraseology, is not leadership. Instead of accommodating the misconceptions about Europe, or seeking to explain that the reasons why these constituencies might feel so ignored stem from UK misgovernment, Labour has opted to sit on its political hands.

May and the Tories shut down opponents of her deal by holding up the spectre of the wrath of the fascist mob. We are saboteurs, traitors, snowflakes. Now it appears that for many of us of the 48%, who earlier had joined Labour in those heady days of 2015, voted for Corbyn twice (as in my case) argued for his leadership in multiple conversations and phone ins (as in my case) we are being shut down the Corbyn way.

Having ignored Remain voters totally since 2016, remember Milne and his Stalinist advisors didn’t think we Remain Labour voters were of any further use to their Corbyn Project, Remain Labour voters still came out to campaign vigorously for Labour in 2017.

Now it appears we must shut up lest we get blamed for alienating voters from whom Labour’s leadership has concealed the truth of the disaster that awaits us post Brexit. Instead of challenging the multifarious myths of the Leave campaign, post 2017 Corbyn has continued to let them go unchallenged. Now who will these same northern voters blame in turn, when the economy tanks in the next few years?

Corbyn and his narrow, conservative, Lexit cabal cannot blame those leaving the Party if they feel all he wants is their votes without paying any attention to their aspirations or needs, while they see he will happily accept, unchallenged, the price of keeping his northern power base Leave votes is permanent evasion. Northern power base  voters mustn’t be told the awful truth about Lexit/Brexit: that whatever the deal,  they will be hit hardest.

That is neither honourable not leadership.


5. Response from Allan Armstrong (RSA list), 29.1.19

An excellent piece, and I would agree with you that Right wing English nationalism is very much at the core of Brexit. However, Brexit is able  to project itself further in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland by appeals to reactionary Scottish-British, Welsh-British, ‘Ulster’-British identities, promoted  by the UK state. The Orange Order and Loyalists are the most organised core of the Leave vote in Scotland and Northern Ireland, and anti Welsh-language speakers are the core of the leave vote in South Wales.

The Tories lost their all-UK status, when the UUP finally broke with the party in two stages over Sunningdale and the Anglo-Irish Agreement, but UKIP managed to recreate an all-UK reactionary unionism, with representation at Westminster, two of its devolved assemblies, Brussels and many local councils. With the Tories having appropriated UKIP’s Brexit agenda, May’s alliance with the reactionary unionist DUP now plays the same role.

I would also draw a distinction between Left Brexiters like the CPB and trade union bureaucrats, e.g  Len McLuskey on one had, who support the fiction of non-racist immigration controls and Lexiteers like the SWP and their various spin-offs on the other hand, who oppose migration controls on paper, but tend to drop this demand whenever they join an organisation where upholding this principle might cause them problems, e.g. in Respect.


3. Phil Vellender posted the following article from The New Statesman, 29.1.19



 The Corbyn project needs to face down anti-immigration narratives, not triangulate against them.

On 21 July 2015 Harriet Harman, then acting Labour leader, whipped the party to abstain on the second reading of the Welfare Bill. It became the turning point of the ongoing leadership election. Andy Burnham argued that the bill would “penalise working families and increase child poverty”, but then still abstained. So did Yvette Cooper and Liz Kendall. Only Jeremy Corbyn stood firm with 47 other Labour MPs and voted against the Tories’ benefit cuts. The old Labour establishment thought it was being canny and “sending a message” to the electorate; but in the voting lobbies that night it was breathing its last breath.

Last night, the Corbyn project narrowly avoided the same fate. Having opposed every line of the government’s Immigration Bill, Labour was set to abstain on it. At the last minute, the front bench U-turned to oppose the bill, though with only a one-line whip. The result was a government majority of 63, with 78 Labour MPs absent and, probably, a number of Tories holding back from rebellion on the basis that Labour wasn’t going to show up properly.

One of the big lessons of the Immigration Bill fiasco, from the perspective of the Labour grassroots, is the power of members and moral pressure. The sudden switch in the Labour whip was driven by a storm of online outrage, internal fighting from various MPs, and a flurry of desperate private lobbying from anti-Brexit and pro-free movement activists. Those of us who will rely on Labour to one day whip in favour of a new Brexit referendum should take heart, if not confidence.

How did this happen? There are all kinds of “clever” arguments to abstain. Was Labour just trying to hide the numbers and force the Tories to negotiate over amendments? Was this about trying to end indefinite detention? (Well no, because there is nothing to stop you from whipping against and then amending later anyway.)

Labour’s plan to abstain was certainly not at the behest of Diane Abbott, a long-time defender of free movement. Neither was it indifference to the bill’s contents. Here was a piece of legislation that threatened to extend the hostile environment, introduce an income threshold that would exclude millions of people, and create a system of short term visas which would, according to the Joint Committee for the Welfare of Immigrants, “create an underclass of workers open to exploitation by employers”.

The truth is that core parts of Labour’s principled left-wing offer under Jeremy Corbyn are now on the slide, driven by a mixture of triangulation towards right wing arguments against free movement on one hand, and Westminster bubble syndrome on the other.

Among some parts of the Labour leadership, there is now an ingrained obsession with needing to “deliver Brexit” and be seen to do so. Against the weight of party members and Labour voters, who overwhelmingly now want a new referendum, a small group of politicians and strategists are briefing incessantlythe other way, seeking to construct a narrative that Labour might lose front benchers if it follows through on its own policy. Last night, the same tendency tried to use the Immigration Bill to “send a message” to voters that Labour would deliver the end of free movement. The thundering condemnation of the grassroots held them back.

All of the left-wing party activists who were outraged at the possibility of Labour abstaining on the Immigration Bill now need to take a long, hard look at where we are headed. What we are witnessing is a race to the bottom – both in terms of the rights of migrants in the wake of Brexit, and in terms of the left’s principles. The most radical Labour leadership since George Lansbury is standing aside from crucial questions of principle that Corbyn would have died in a ditch over just a few years ago. Unless its supporters wake up to that fact, we will lose.

Brexit has cut deep divisions across British politics, including on the left. But what we need now is radicalism: the determination to reject right wing narratives on nationalism, immigration and “the will of the people”, and put forward real solutions to Britain’s social crisis instead. Corbyn’s Labour will not get through this moment with its activists on board and its soul intact, by triangulating in the hope that difficult issues will just go away. That is, after all, what Harriet Harman was trying to do in 2015. And look where that got her.


6. A response to The New Statesman article from Sue Sparks on Phil Vellender’s blog, 29.1.19 –

Excellent piece which makes the point that a radical Labour government would face similar problems over a number of other key issues like crime and defence. So it’s not just Brexit and immigration, it’s in other areas too where electoral calculation dictates caution in direct contradiction to what Corbynism is supposed to be about. It illustrates the problem that in reality Corbynism is very much a minority perspective which has fooled itself into imagining it represents the majority.

It possibly could do so but only if it fights for these unpopular positions, including being pro immigration, and every fibre of its electoral instinct cries out against arguing with the electorate.’

“But as the chaos sparked on Monday night by the Immigration Bill shows, despite all the talk of Brexit being caused first and foremost by economic deprivation, the leadership clearly interprets the vote to leave the European Union as a public call to strengthen border controls. That brings us uncomfortably close to the logic followed by the Prime Minister.

At the second reading of the Immigration Bill last night, Diane Abbott stood at the despatch box and told the House of Commons that Labour had decided not to oppose the bill because the party was committed to ending free movement of people, as it pledged to do in 2017. Although Diane went on to criticise many aspects of the Immigration White Paper in her speech, the underlying argument was consistent with that of Conservative members sitting on the opposing side of the chamber: respecting the Brexit vote means controlling immigration and strengthening borders.

This is a disappointing statement from a left-wing Labour Party – and in particular from Diane Abbott, a life-long champion of migrants’ rights. It has exposed once more one of the fundamental problems of Corbynism: as the leadership prepares for a general election, former radicals turn to triangulation to appease what they think the electorate wants. This is understandable, given the significant pressures on Jeremy Corbyn, Diane Abbott and John McDonnell at the helm of a mass party such as Labour. But these pressures will only intensify if we ever make it into Number 10.

There is only one way to tackle this challenge. We must politicise the movement behind Corbyn, finally break away from the ‘loyalist’ approach that says the leadership can do no wrong, and argue within society and the party for what is right. After all, if we don’t buy into our own progressive ideas, why would the general public?”


7. Response to Sue Sparks from Allan Armstrong, 29.1.19

I think Sue has got to the essence of any viable socialist strategy in England, which wishes to relate to those many thousands who joined up when Corbyn stood for leadership of the Labour Party. It must abandon a Corbyn loyalist stance and develop its own independent politics.

I remember AWL-leaning Michael Chessum speaking at the Another Europe Is Possible (AEIP) meeting in London on 8th December, criticising the SWP’s and SP’s cynical support for Lexit. He said that they had adopted this stance so they could cosy up to Corbyn. Then I looked around the conference, and saw all those ‘Love Corbyn, Hate Brexit’ T-shirts! Which only goes to show that in jumping on to the Jeremy-idolising bandwagon, the AEIP leaders have even greater illusions in Corbyn. The SWP and SP are at least more in tune with the specific politics of Corbyn’s entrenched ‘British social democratic road to socialism’, buttressed by the CPB, and more significantly by sections of the trade union bureaucracy led by Len McCluskey. . The AEIP’s leaders seem to think that their Left own social democratic politics offers some sort of alternative, and Corbyn can be persuaded to change his political spots.

To justify this, the AWL attribute Corbyn’s politics to the influence of a small stalinist clique, when in reality they both draw upon the longstanding ‘British road to socialism’ tradition established in Hyndman’s  SDP and transferred to the CPGB and most dissident communists, whether maoist or trotskyist. The AWL’s social unionist stance on Ireland (pro-Loyalist) preceded their social imperialist pro-Zionism. They have called their front organisation within the Labour Party – Clarion. This was the name given to Robert Blatchford’s paper before the First World War. He went on to give his support to that war. Blatchford also wrote England for the English, and later Britain for the British. And the AWL take Clarion as an inspiration for their politics!

Corbyn’s and Abbot’s miserable role over May’s Immigration Bill highlights the need to adopt a politics independent of both advocates of a ‘British social democratic road to socialism’. The next step that any independent-minded socialist grouping in the Labour Party needs to take, is to recognise the anti-democratic nature of the UK’s unionist state, with its Crown Powers and subservience to the City. This requires a political leap to a socialist republican, ‘internationalism from below’ politics, which understands the political situation in Scotland, Ireland And Wales, as well as England.

The AWL, which seems to want the AEIP as a front organisation for its own social unionist and social imperialist politics, is the least able to understand this. The SWP and SP largely left IndyRef1 to their local Scottish branches (SWP) or their SPS satellite (SP). They organised no real international solidarity in England. That has left rumblings of dissent amongst some of their members. The very best support in England at the time of IndyRef1 came from those, like yourself {Phil Vallender},  who organised practical support in England, (and also from those in Wales and Ireland). I was very gratified that you were able to get The Chartist to publish my republican analysis of the situation.  The work done by those who provided such practical support means they can now factor the political situations in Scotland, Ireland and Wales  into their wider analysis. The AWL, though, was as Unionist over IndyRef1 as George Galloway or the Red Paper Collective. But whereas these two’s  politics are informed by a specific Left Scottish unionism, the AWL’s social unionist politics often seems to represent little more a combination of Little Englanderism and London metropolitan ignorance.


8. Statement from Joe Healy on the Left Unity blog, 30.1.19

My statement on Labour and the Immigration Bill. Please spread widely – it is also on LU Twitter account. Many people now disillusioned with Labour. We need to get the word out that we have a very different stance!


Joseph Healy (Left Unity Party)

Link here:

“The confusion and abject failure of the Labour Party in opposing the Immigration Bill is a disgrace and indicates a real failure on the part of Labour to support EU citizens living here who are already victims of the hostile environment culture. Furthermore the Bill,  by removing freedom of movement, one of the cornerstones of any progressive policy on migration, toys with the fantasy of Fortress Britain, with its drawbridge firmly shut. Labour should have opposed this Bill tooth and nail and indicated its support both for the rights of young people in this country to free movement, the rights of EU citizens living here and an open and progressive policy on migration. By first instructing its MPs to abstain and then later only imposing a line whip it has responded to the worst instincts of some of its MPs and the Lexiteer faction in the party.

Left Unity calls for the continuation and defence of the right to free movement of all in the UK and for the protection of the rights of EU citizens living here. We will continue to resist the hostile environment created by this government both legislatively and in the streets where Brexit has led to an explosion of hate crime and xenophobia.”

Joseph Healy, Principal Speaker


9. Response from Allan Armstrong to Joe Healy’s statement. 30.1.19

It’s a pity Left Unity were so quiet at the Another Europe Is  Possible conference, which was dominated  by  Love Corbyn/Hate Brexit  sentiment, and the Left British unionism of the AWL. As I have written earlier, the SWP and SP have a more accurate understanding of the Left chauvinism of Corbyn, and have hence adopted positions which allow them to cuddle much closer to him than the AEIP.  Despite the fact that the AWL is even more British chauvinist (and in their case also social unionist) than the SWP and SP, does not disguise the fact that Brexit was always going to be part of Corbyn’s DNA. And from this Corbyn’s and Abbott’s stance on the Immigration Bill flows quite naturally.


 10. A reply from ‘Resist’ to a Brexiteer troll claiming that the 2016 Referendum was democratic, posted on Phi Vellender’s Facebook, 30.1.19

“The first part of your post is perfectly accurate. Yes, the electorate voted in Cameron’s government with a mandate to hold a referendum. But that’s where your analysis starts to break down. The fact that he was right to call a referendum does not mean that the subsequent attempt was legal, binding or democratic. We are still waiting for that referendum.

First, Cameron stated on the ballot paperwork that the result would be implemented but the Parliamentary Act stated it was ‘advisory’ which gave some of the electorate the impression that it may not be implemented.

Second, he allowed serving Cabinet members (Gove & Johnson) to make public claims that he knew were not accurate. The £350m per week claim was implied on the side of the campaign bus and stated explicitly on door to door leaflets throughout the country. His lack of censure was regarded by many as support for the legitimacy of the claims.

Third, under his watch, the referendum was conducted with significant overspending by at least one side with compelling evidence of Russian funding to use illegal social media targetting.

Fourth, and most importantly, any referendum requires choice. It is not enough to ask ‘vote for x or vote not for x’. You must state what ‘not for x’ means, in other words, what ‘y’ is. Not doing so allowed many different interpretations of what ‘y’ meant. You wouldn’t have a general election that asked ‘vote for the conservatives or not for the conservatives’.

The fact that so many people have differing views on what ‘leave’ meant, fuelled by various statements over time such as Boris saying we’d be mad to leave the single market, Davis claiming the deal would be the easiest in history, and Mogg playing fast and loose with the serious implications of a hard border in Ireland – reneging on the Good Friday Agreement and risking the entire peace process, all of these conflicting opinions were only allowed to circulate because Cameron failed to state what voting ‘y’ actually meant.

We should still have a Brexit referendum but the leave proposition should be agreed beforehand by the Leave side (not a Remainer) it should be singular and it should be open to scrutiny. Two choices should be given (x or y) vote to remain or leave on these terms (even if the Leave side declare they want a No Deal Brexit).

If we hold such a referendum, the public could get behind whatever the result would be – that is what should happen in a democracy.”

11. A Response to ‘Resist’ from Allan Armstrong, 30.1.19

 It’s interesting that this (English-based?)  commentator misses out the most significant reason why the Brexit referendum was not democratic- it excluded EU residents and 16-18 year olds. Yet both Cameron and May laid down this franchise for IndyRef1.


12. Robert Peston, What Corbyn’s meeting with May reveals about Labour’s Brexit plan in

The Spectator, 30.1.19

Almost more interesting than what Corbyn and the PM said to each other this afternoon was who accompanied the Labour leader to the meeting.

He was joined by his chief of staff Karie Murphy and his director of strategy Seumas Milne (as well as the chief whip Nick Brown) but not by his Brexit secretary Keir Starmer.

Why does that matter?

In the battle over whether Labour should ever back a Brexit referendum or People’s Vote, Murphy and Milne are implacably opposed, and Starmer is battling to keep that option alive.

So it matters that in choosing to explain what kind of Brexit deal Labour would support, Corbyn was accompanied by the two influential aides who are convinced that Labour should deliver Brexit and not ask the views of the people again.

This was a signal, his colleagues say, of Corbyn’s own clear preference to avoid another referendum.

What also matters is that Corbyn felt – I am told – that the meeting was more than a going through the motions, that the Prime Minister genuinely listened and probed, as he and his colleagues outlined their plan for membership of the customs union, partial membership of the EU’s single market, and further protections for workers’ rights.

In terms of the technical nitty gritty, Corbyn and team said they wanted dynamic alignment with the EU on employment regulations – as opposed to the standstill written into the so-called backstop – and non-regression or a standstill on state aid rules.

This seems to me all of a piece with a pincer movement by Milne and Murphy with Len McCluskey, general secretary of the Unite union, to try to engineer a Brexit deal before 29 March that Labour could officially fall in behind – since McCluskey too, who is close to Corbyn, is set against a referendum.

McCluskey, for example, on Monday met the business secretary Greg Clark – who as it happens is on my show tonight – to discuss legislation to protect and extend workers’ rights after Brexit.

And tomorrow more junior officials from Unite, the TUC, the GMB and Unison will meet Sarah Healey, the director of economic and domestic affairs at the Cabinet Office and Chris Thompson from the business department to take the agenda forward on what the government can do to secure trade union support for Brexit.

For what it’s worth, my understanding is that Corbyn sees the failure to secure a majority yesterday of the Cooper and Grieve motions – and Labour’s own one, which explicitly mentions the possibility of a referendum – as proof that MPs really don’t want a People’s Vote.

Even more striking is that those close to Labour’s leader tell me they can indeed envisage a moment in the coming weeks when it will be official Labour policy to vote for a Brexit plan.

Those at the top of Labour, and in the grassroots, who want a referendum should fear they are being properly outmanoeuvred.’

13. A response from Allan Armstrong on the Republican Socialist Alliance List, 20.1.19

Yes, this is a  good article. The only link it misses is that Karie Murphy is Len McCluskey’s partner. He sacrificed the whole INEOS workforce at Grangemouth to manouevre her into a Labour candidacy.



14. Allan Armstrong, 30. 1. 19


I asked yesterday if Labour could stoop even lower. The answer was provided last night when May got through an even harder Brexit, with extremely damaging implications for Ireland (and of course the wider working class),  thanks to the support of Labour’s UKIP-Lite wing, including Corbyn Labour leader nominator, Kate Hoey.

The idea that by facilitating Brexit, (and constantly appeasing the Right, whether over Israel and refusing to support the deselection of neo-Blairtites) Labour can then win the next election seems unbelievably short-sighted to me. If May can get Brexit through, in whatever form in March, she will be able to fight the election on her ‘achievement’, portraying Corbyn as a vacillator, only ever raising nit-picking points, and unlike May, having no plan of his own. Brexit and immigration are likely to be the main topics of the next election, and in the battle to see who is harder on these, May’s steely determination and open racist record, in the Home Office, will win over Labour vacillators, even if Corbyn reproduces Miliband’s notorious mug, Controls on Immigration, with his own face on it (and I’m now only half joking on that!)

If May gets away with this, and I’m still waiting to see the British ruling class, which the Lexiters claimed are  opposed to Brexit, make their move, she could well be resurrected as Tory heroine, She has been the subject of much scorn by both the liberal and socialist media, but in her assessment of the powers given to the Right by the UK state, she is a lot more astute than Corbyn, who is completely blind to this. Of course, the hardest Brexiters will still not be satisfied with a No Brexit or May-type Brexit deal, but there would be a better chance of the Tory party holding together, with these two wings of the party continuing their symbiotic relationship, and moving politics ever further to the Right, than the Labour Party, if, as seems increasingly likely ,it loses the next election.




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