Friday, 30 June 2017

A hard Brexit it is then

As news emerged last night that Jeremy Corbyn had sacked MPs from his Labour front bench who supported an amendment to the Queen's speech which would have kept the UK in the Single Market and the Customs Union it finally confirmed that there isnt a cigarette paper between the positions of the British PM Theresa May and Jeremy Corbyn on brexit are both committed to ending 'free movement' and to leaving the single market and the customs union. Yes the likes of Keir Starmer and John McDonnell - and even Jezza himself - have spoken of 'access to the single market on the best possible terms' but that is exactly what Theresa May and the Tory Brexit Secretary David Davis have been saying for months.

The fact of the matter is if you want to have access to the single market on the 'best possible terms' and a trouble free customs arrangement with the EU you wont get any better terms than the terms which come with staying in the single market and the customs union. Yes people in the UK as a whole voted to leave the EU last year but you can stay in both the single market or the customs union and not be a member of the EU - Norway is a good example of this. But what's extraordinary and so very disappointing about the UK Labour leadership's support for a hard brexit is that it means both the main parties at Westminster now have a position on brexit which is harder even than the position of the official Leave campaign during the EU referendum last year and others who campaigned for brexit.

For parts of the UK like Wales the hard brexit which both the tories and labour are now officially supporting will be a disaster. Two thirds of welsh exports are with the single market area and tens of thousands of jobs in Wales are reliant on this trade. And for some industries in Wales - like agriculture - 90 percent of its exports are to the single market. Clearly you dont have to be a havard economist to work out the loss of this trade or the imposition of tariffs and customs charges will be catastrophic and hit an already fragile welsh economy very hard.

I applaud the 49 Labour MPS, the 12 Lib Dem MPs, the 4 Plaid Cymru MPs the 34 SNP MPs the one Independent MP and the one Green MP for supporting the amendment.

Oh and those xenophobes who for some unfathomable reason want to leave the European Convention on Human Rights as well ought to remember that the long running campaign for justice for the families of the Hillsborough disaster wouldn't have succeeded without the aid of article 2 of the ECHR


  1. Leigh it seems once again we are in agreement. How many will see through Corbyn's old fashioned London Centric Socialism time will tell.

  2. Yes Glyn for all his progressive positions in other areas i fear some of our friends on the left have a blind spot when it comes to jezza's shortcoming on matters like his stance on brexit - and also his less than satisfactory approach to devolution and the ongoing scottish indy question.

    He is alas part of that old style 'brit left' which saw the EU as a 'capitalist club' and which regards the claims to nationhood of scotland and wales with deep hostility (yet many of those same people wont hesitate to support the reunification of ireland or the right to full statehood of the palestinians for example).