Socialist Worker

Backing ‘soft Brexit’ and cross-party talks would spell disaster for the left

by Tomáš Tengely-Evans
Issue No. 2559

Racist Gideon Osborne was one of the directors of the right wing Remain campaign

Racist Gideon Osborne was one of the directors of the right wing Remain campaign (Pic: Gareth Milner)


Jeremy Corbyn gained support among people who voted Leave and those who voted Remain in the European Union (EU) referendum last June.

But now a catalogue of right wingers and rogues within the Labour Party want to work with the Tories and bosses.

They want to use the upset for Theresa May to derail her “hard Brexit” and push for a “soft” one instead.

They are talking about holding “cross party” talks on Brexit to stop a “hard Brexit”.

The argument between “hard” and “soft” Brexit is an argument within the ruling class about how best to protect bosses’ interests.

The real dividing line is a Brexit based on protecting profits, or one based on protecting workers.

But there are also pressures on the left. Some anti-racists such as Diane Abbott see a “soft Brexit”—for example, staying in a version of the single market—as a way of protecting freedom of movement for migrants.

But the real agenda of those who want cross party talks is not to defend freedom of movement.

As Rebecca Long-Bailey from Labour’s soft left said, “We accept the fact that, if we are going to have impediment-free access to the single market, then there will have to be some element of free movement.”

This is about defending the single market—migrants’ rights are optional, an unwanted addition.But with its free market rules the EU’s single market blocks policies, such as rail renationalisation, that Corbyn wants to implement.

There is nothing progressive about it—that’s clear by its establishment backing.

Rehabilitate

Having lost the referendum, David Cameron is trying to rehabilitate himself by calling for the talks.

George Osborne, now editor of the Evening Standard, newspaper, runs front pages attacking Theresa May and arguing for cross party talks on Brexit.

He’s the architect of austerity and was at the head of a right wing Remain campaign because it was in the interests of big business.

A stitch-up like this would undermine support for Corbyn. There should be no unity with the likes of Osborne.

The real dividing line is between those who want to fight for workers’ and migrants’ rights and those who want to attack them.

We have to unite working class people, whichever way they voted last June, around socialist and anti-racist politics.


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