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Sunday 6 January 2019

Labour Must Not Deceive On Brexit

With Sunday politics shows resuming today after the Christmas and New Year break, first out of the blocks was Sophy Ridge on Sky News, one of whose guests was Labour’s  international trade man Barry Gardiner. The discussion inevitably came round to what Labour would do in negotiation with the EU. His answers didn’t go down well.
Barry Gardiner

Here’s what he said. “We would have a trade policy in which we and the European Union together would be able to determine the trade agreements that we then concluded … That is what our proposal is, that we would have a customs union … where each individual sovereign nation is able to determine whether a trade agreement that they conclude jointly with other countries should go ahead”. Ms Ridge was sceptical.
Sophy Ridge

The EU is not going to give the UK a say in negotiating its own trade deals, though, is it?” she asked him. Gardiner was not put off. “The EU would be in a position … to have a situation where the EU and the UK jointly determine whether a trade agreement with another country is beneficial.” The why was, though, easier to explain.
We cannot be in a position … we cannot be simply rule takers in this situation, where, in a customs union, the EU could determine that we were forced into a trade agreement - potentially with [the USA] - which was detrimental to our interests, though perhaps beneficial to the rest of the EU … We can’t be forced into that position, and that’s why we’ve always said that a customs union that we would negotiate would be one in which we have a say. We cannot be forced into that position”.
This has not gone down well with some of those commentators who might not be pro-Labour, but certainly aren’t pro-Tory. Campaigner Femi responded “Barry Gardiner says a Labour Brexit would mean the UK would have a veto over the EU's trade deals, despite not being an EU member. More false promises about Brexit. This country deserves better”.

James Ball seconded that. “Femi is spot on: there are absolutely no circumstances in which the EU would ever offer this. It’s amazing Labour (like the ERG and co) have been able to give voters these false options for so long, without being effectively called out on it”. To a significant extent, both are right. And this is why.
EU spokespeople have warned Theresa May and her team time and again that those who are not EU Member States cannot possibly have a deal with the EU which is as favourable as EU membership - unless they actually join the EU. Full stop, end of story.

The EU does not include third party countries in its trade negotiations. So Norway - for instance - does not get a veto on the deals that emerge from those negotiations. Nor, if we are talking customs union, does Turkey. Those countries could flag up concerns, but they do not, repeat do not, repeat DO NOT have any power of veto.
Nor would the UK be given such a power as a third country. So neither Barry Gardiner, nor any other UK politician, should pretend otherwise. Labour cannot be seen to join the Tories in wanting to have its cake and eating it. That stance is not a credible one.

Labour cannot pitch an outcome to voters that they cannot achieve. What Gardiner has pitched cannot be achieved. What that means I will leave to others to conclude.
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Anonymous said...

Well, of COURSE Ridge was "sceptical".

She's a right wing Murdochised Sky employee. It's more than her mortgage is worth to be otherwise.

All the other Sky "News" garden gnomes are the same.

It wouldn't matter one iota WHAT Gardiner said, the Ridge gnome would be "sceptical". Like the rest of her "colleagues" she's too shit scared to be otherwise.

Cyclechemist said...

So give us the benefit of your insight and instead of telling us 'But Sky/Murdoch', tell us just HOW the UK is going to achieve what Gardiner claimed. I'd be very interested to know.

Tim Fenton said...


The only certain way of delivering what Gardiner outlined is to remain a member of the EU.

Anonymous said...

Tim 18:15.

Exactly right.

The problem is, both Jeremy Corbyn and John McDonnell recognise the EU has morphed into a capitalist bankers racket. It's only necessary to see and understand the disgusting thievery visited on the victim Mediterranean countries to see that. But against that - no matter how the analytic cards are cut - there was a majority to exit in a democratic referendum. It mattered little at the time that the question was inadequate and the full consequences of exit were never fully explained or understood. The unpalatable truth is hardly anybody expected a vote in favour of exit. In those circumstances there can be no surprise the manufactured nonsense about "immigration" was enough to carry the day in a country as fear-ridden as this.

The Labour Party is as split as the tories, but for different reasons. Corbyn and McDonnell have to take all of that into account whether they like it or not. That's how a democracy is supposed to work, even one as blatantly inadequate as ours.

Staying in the EU is, strictly relatively speaking, the better of two bad options. It holds together a disparate group of nations and provides an opportunity, however seemingly thin, to eventually get shut of the scoundrels and thieving mountebanks who currently run it. There has never been such an opportunity in the blood spattered genocidal history of Europe.

In these circumstances, expecting the Labour Party to have a magic solution is more than absurd, it is intellectually dishonest. This might suit the notorious dishonesty of the New Labour gang, but it does no good service to the future of Britain. Especially with the entire EU in grave danger of disarray caused by far right crazies, including our own version.

Nor, of course, can the tories be expected to deliver anything other than lies and hypocrisy. It's all they ever do. This becomes more evident every time the wretched May woman opens her mouth.

Britain will survive Brexit but eventually it will be much diminished morally and economically because of it.

We are still an island people with all the drawbacks that entails. Even the British Union is now endangered. What price a desensitised spiv nation without conscience and any sense of unity?

It almost goes without saying WHATEVER the Labour Party said on the issue would be attacked by far right monopoly owned media. Nothing new there.

Unknown said...

Remove May's red lines, a lot of things will fall into place then.

Unknown said...

"We would have a trade policy in which we and the European Union together would be able to determine the trade agreements that we then concluded"

What? That mean about as much as "Brexit means brexit"

Waffling bullshit word salad means waffling bullshit word salad.

Anonymous said...

Anon 19:17
"... the EU has morphed into a capitalist bankers racket."
There's no morphing. What has happened is that governments are now controlled by the large investment banks with the big company auditor firms assisting. It's not solely an EU issue; It's worldwide.

Andy Blatchford said...

Norway makes it's own trade deals. It is not in a CU with the EU so not relevant,