Should Jeremy Corbyn have sacked Chuka Umunna and his 2 colleagues over the Brexit amendment? In one word YES.
Many people have been defending the view on the Single market and our access to it and also free movement of people so why are we against it as a party of inclusive internationalists.?
It’s complicated but worth understanding, a little history first. The Single European Act was signed in 1985 by a certain Margeret Thatcher, then PM. She was passionate about it. It carried with it the 4 freedoms but only 2 of those are contentious.
Free movement of goods and services and free movement of people.
Now I am going to quote dear Mrs Thatcher. This is from a speech she made in 1988.
“How we meet the challenge of the Single Market will be a major factor, possibly the major factor, in our competitive position in European and world markets into the twenty-first century. Getting it right needs a partnership between government and business.
“The task of government is two-fold: —to negotiate in Brussels so as to get the possible results for Britain; — and then to make you the business community aware of the opportunities, so that you can make the most of them.
“It’s your job, the job of business, to gear yourselves up to take the opportunities which a single market of nearly 320 million people will offer.
“Just think for a moment what a prospect that is. A single market without barriers—visible or invisible—giving you direct and unhindered access to the purchasing power of over 300 million of the world’s wealthiest and most prosperous people.
“Bigger than Japan. Bigger than the United States. On your doorstep. And with the Channel Tunnel to give you direct access to it.
“It’s not a dream. It’s not a vision. It’s not some bureaucrat’s plan. It’s for real.
“[Prior to 1973] Europe wasn’t open for business. Underneath the rhetoric, the old barriers remained. Not just against the outside world, but between the European countries.
“Not the classic barriers of tariffs, but the insiduous ones of differing national standards, various restrictions on the provision of services, exclusion of foreign firms from public contracts.
“Now that’s going to change. Britain has given the lead.
“We recognised that if Europe was going to be more than a slogan then we must get the basics right. That meant action.
“Action to get rid of the barriers. Action to make it possible for insurance companies to do business throughout the Community. Action to let people practice their trades and professions freely throughout the Community. Action to remove the customs barriers and formalities so that goods can circulate freely and without time-consuming delays. Action to make sure that any company could sell its goods and services without let or hindrance. Action to secure free movement of capital throughout the Community.
So the first thing we notice is that this act is a capitalis act designed not for ordinary people but for big business to take advantage of. So why then is free movement of people in all of this. Free movement of people was never about bright able people to move around Europe and work in any one of its member states, they already did and will continue to be able to. It was all about moving cheap and disposable labour around to suit big business. It is exploitation of poorer people and allows unscrupulous employers to take advantage for profit.
It is also worth remebering that in 2002 Mrs TThatcher also said her greatest legacy was the creation of New Labour and Tony Blair…….. There in her words you have it New Labour and Blairism is actually a reation of Toryism, Neoconservative and not about internationalism and equality,
Jeremy Corbyn has always accepted that getting a deal with Europe that is good for us will be difficult, but approaching Europe with humility, decency and a willingness to talk about shared values and some compromise will obvious;y stand us in much better stead than stamping our collective feet, threats and bloody mindedness.
Also in any political party that is serious about being in Government then their has to be discipline. We have our debates, argue our causes, come to a collective decision based on those debates and then unite behind that decision. Its called democracy, No no decision is absolutely set in stone, things can change causing us to revisit those decisions and we should again do it amongst ourselves, calm;y and again come to a democratic decision and unite behind it. No name calling, no secret briefings, And definitely no putting amendments that directly go against the parties agreed line. If that is something you feel so strongly about and couldn’t persuade the party to adopt your view then OUT you go, sorry but it has always been so.
Aha I hear people cry but Corbyn himself voted against the party line, Yes he did, as a back bencher frequently, but there is a world of differencce between voting as a back bencher and what a front bench spokeperson does. Look at what the Tories did to Michael Heseltine twice for dissent. So Mr Umunna, make a choice, argue your corner in private and then accept the democratic decision or leave, Wish you well but sorry if you cannot be for us then be against us somewhere else.