Monday, 12 March 2018

Would Jezza make a good leader of UKIP?

We all know Jeremy Corbyn's political history when it comes to the EU i.e. he was among those on the british left who regarded it as a 'capitalist club' and who think that if the UK left the EU it would lead to the creation of a british socialist utopia. Complete infantile bunkum of course but unfortunately believed by people like Jeremy Corbyn, the tankies of the CPB and assorted british trotskyist groups. In truth there's more likelihood of brexit enabling the hard right of the British tory party to "finish what Thatcher started" as Nigel Lawson gleefully exclaimed the day after the EU referendum result. So given his longtime affiliation with the eurosceptic wing of the British left it was no surprise to see that come the EU referendum Jezza was at best lukewarm in promoting his own party's policy of staying in the EU, even to the extent of not participating in any major televised debates on the issue. Indeed two years on it's still astonishing to reflect that the leader of the Labour party in the UK didn't participate in a televised national debate on arguably the most important political decision of many of our lifetimes.

And no surprise either that in the two years since the referendum Jeremy Corbyn has to all intents and purposes lined up with the Westminster tory government to ease the passage towards a hard brexit i.e. not just leaving the EU - but ending free movement of workers and leaving the single market and the customs union also (in fact i wrote about this last June). And again it has come as no surprise to see he has used his position as UK labour leader to peddle falsehoods about the EU and its single market. His favoured untruth being that being in the single market prevents public ownership - which of course is simply not true. Furthermore in this apparent eagerness to see a hard Brexit Jezza seems oblivious to the massive importance of the single market to the economies of parts of the UK like Wales and Scotland (over two thirds of both countries exports are to the EU single market).

But while his support for a hard brexit shouldn't come as a shock to any of us who have followed Jezza's political career what has come as a shock was seeing and hearing a politician with a such long and good record of opposing racism trotting out bogus right wing propaganda about EU migrants at the recent Scottish Labour party conference. It's simply not true as Jeremy Corbyn asserted in Dundee that workers from EU countries 'undercut' wages in the UK.There have been numerous independent and academic studies showing such claims are a myth, among them a study published in the run up to the referendum by the London School of Economics https://www.theguardian.com/money/2016/may/11/eu-migrants-had-no-negative-effect-on-uk-wages-says-lse. More than that misleading claims that people from other EU states drive wages down smacks of the kind of racist myths that were propagated in the 1960s by supporters of Enoch Powell about people from afro caribbean countries.

The satirical website Newsthump published a droll article yesterday declaring that Jeremy Corbyn had been elected the new leader of Ukip http://newsthump.com/2018/03/11/jeremy-corbyn-elected-leader-of-ukip/. That's probably being a bit harsh on Jeremy Corbyn, and i'm of course not seriously suggesting he would make a good leader of Ukip. But it has to be said that when you read his comments on EU migrants and on the single market (and his vitriolic attack on the Scottish government worthy of  'project fear' during the 2014 Scottish indy Referendum) you have to conclude the next leader of Ukip would have no problem in endorsing some of the things Jeremy Corbyn said in Scotland on Friday. 



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