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04 May 18 10:24
Date Joined: 03 Dec 15
| Topic/replies: 5,846 | Blogger: PorcupineorPineapple's blog
I'm increasingly of the opinion that politics as we know it in this country is broken. Brexit is such a huge and divisive issue that it has changed the landscape completely.

Tories now are the party of brexit. This is good. They caused it, they own it. It's their project and their responsibility.

Labour right now stand for pretty much nothing. A bit of shouting from the sidelines but not really offering a practical alternative. "Boo! You're making brexit bad." "What would you do?" "The same thing but nicer."

Lib Dems. Bless em. At least they're trying to be the alternative but they'll be forever tainted by enabling the tories a few years ago and have a hell of a long climb to get relevant again.

Right now, we need a new party. An opposition to toryism, brexit, little englanders, xenophobia and the idea of a low tax, low regulation country that would be a disaster for 99% of us. And it's pretty obvious right now that Labour aren't it.

I didn't vote yesterday. Think it's probably the first time in my adult life that's happened. But I just didn't fancy any of the candidates. Not one. I didn't want my vote for Labour being misrepresented into a vote supporting Brexit and as long as they do support it that can happen.

So come on someone, give us an alternative.
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Report anxious May 4, 2018 4:05 PM BST
The Guardian ive not quoted the Guardian , anyway the Guardian is not left wing or radical these days
Report johnizere May 4, 2018 4:14 PM BST
PoP..'not counting however many voted for Brexit thinking we'd stay in the Customs Union.'
When I voted leave, I certainly voted to leave the CU, along with everything else to do with the EU. So did just about everybody else.
Report bigpoppapump May 4, 2018 4:16 PM BST
ppl never mention losing power over those we were pooling sovereignty with when making "positive" claims about taking back sovereignty.

pooled sovereignty = just that, lose something to gain something.  Take something back? Fine, but you give something back to take something back.

Thus we lose influence over our biggest strategic fear (German domination of Europe).  Ironically a factor used by Brexiteers as a reason for leaving...

Just my opinion.  Probably guff - someone will know...
Report jed.davison May 4, 2018 4:17 PM BST
Please explain to me why German domination of Europe is our biggest strategic fear?
Report jed.davison May 4, 2018 4:18 PM BST
German domination - and subsidisation - of the sclerotic economies of Europe is a problem for Germany, not us.
Report jed.davison May 4, 2018 4:21 PM BST
PorP just will not accept that for a majority of Leave voters, leaving the Customs Union was the precise reason for their decision. Of course though, how could he understand people's reasons for voting Leave when he did not vote Leave himself?
Report bigpoppapump May 4, 2018 4:22 PM BST
if the physical world didn't mean we are located 22 miles from the European coast I expect I'd agree with you.
Report jed.davison May 4, 2018 4:27 PM BST
Whether you agree with me or not is immaterial, in fact I'd be concerned if you did.
Report bigpoppapump May 4, 2018 4:32 PM BST
Please explain to me why German domination of Europe is our biggest strategic fear?

you like sovereignty for the UK right?  by that, do you mean actual power, or ceremonial, pretend to be in control power?

if you want the UK to actually control it's own destiny you do not (or wouldn't if you thought about the consequences) want a mighty near neighbour calling the shots on everything.

Geography cannot be ignored.  The world is out there, and we are a European Island.

If the EU has lots of faults - of course it does - it also has some utility and one of the utilities is to tie ze Germans down.  We leave and the EU big 3 becomes a big 2...
Report bigpoppapump May 4, 2018 4:35 PM BST
as a side point - this is one of the features of our current political malaise.  People have drunk the koolaid on the propaganda and actually believe everything negative about something way too complex to be entirely good/bad right/wrong.

The strategic influence of our primary position in the EU is something we are giving up in order to "regain sovereignty"

worth remembering when talking about reclaimed sovereignty in an abstract fashion.  power isn't about names or abstracts, it's about your ability to do stuff.
Report jed.davison May 4, 2018 4:39 PM BST
It is a preposterous notion to suggest that we had any kind of primary position within the EU.
Report bigpoppapump May 4, 2018 4:40 PM BST
New Zealand probably rightly do not care about German domination of Europe in the offhand manner you dismiss it.  They are 12,000 miles away, but we are not.

That's the simple point being made.  We've had a strategy of containment.  Now we are trying something different and I'm not saying it's right or wrong, just that it gets forgotten that we are giving more away than just the headline £40billion or whatever it is.
Report jed.davison May 4, 2018 4:43 PM BST
Again, your condescension - 'drunk the koolaid' - is very irritating.

You appear to believe that one could not have voted Leave unless one were an imbecile susceptible to malign influences. There really is no point debating with you.
Report bigpoppapump May 4, 2018 4:44 PM BST
It is a preposterous notion to suggest that we had any kind of primary position within the EU.

it's the result of propaganda that people genuinely hold these feelings. 

The UK has been able to punch above it's weight globally despite it being 70 years since the last of the Empire was given away because of a sophisticated use of our European policy alongside our US relationship.  Obviously, defense spending and historical global factors have also played into this. 

But I know - it's been stated so long that Europe issues diktats to the UK that people actually believe it.
Report bigpoppapump May 4, 2018 4:46 PM BST
no need to get nasty.  I agree with lots of the reasons for leaving.  I planned to vote leave until fairly late in the day.

I'm just saying, regain sovereignty has a cost.  I'm not saying anyone is stupid.  You're just faced with a well made point and are starting to melt down again.
Report jed.davison May 4, 2018 4:54 PM BST
Yes, and I'm saying that the cost is irrelevant. Everybody knew the decision to Leave would have a cost, ffs how could they not be aware of that when Project Fear was rammed down the nation's throats? It's no good you telling us now that leaving will have a cost, because that was factored into the decision that everybody made.
Report bigpoppapump May 4, 2018 4:55 PM BST
You appear to believe that one could not have voted Leave unless one were an imbecile susceptible to malign influences.

not really talking about the vote aspect, as much as the passion/belief that UK membership of the EU is entirely negative.  The positives are never remembered, or (as on this thread) are denied as preposterous. 

And the leap to the binary position "he's calling us stupid" is unnecessary and, ironically, makes you exactly what you're accusing me of - somebody who cannot be debated with.  You're dying to see offense where none is being made. 

I'm simply making a point I believe to be true about the nature of pooled sovereignty and what leaving the EU means in terms of UK's ability to exert influence over Germany.
Report bigpoppapump May 4, 2018 4:59 PM BST
Yes, and I'm saying that the cost is irrelevant. Everybody knew the decision to Leave would have a cost, ffs how could they not be aware of that when Project Fear was rammed down the nation's throats? It's no good you telling us now that leaving will have a cost, because that was factored into the decision that everybody made.

I'm not suggesting this is a reason that people have made a bad decision (although for many the more nuanced concepts of pooled sovereignty will not have been considered at all).  you can go reread the thread - I came in to point out that regaining sovereignty is generally used as a positive aspect that goes unchallenged.  I'm saying there's a generally ignored bigger picture.

now please don't get angry.  It's Bank Holiday weekend and the sun is shining.

Report jed.davison May 4, 2018 5:01 PM BST
I'm not angry mate, just sick and tired of re-running a debate which, for you at least, is already lost.
Report donny osmond May 4, 2018 5:06 PM BST
if we worry about german domination of europe why would we be stepping aside
to allow them even more dominance?

do folk think we will outcompete them from outside the eu?

as for customs union, a majority of leavers may well have thought they were
voting to leave it but the majority of voters didnt realise it was being voted upon
as it did not appear on ballot.....would 3% of leavers have changed vote if they
thought they were leaving customs union, who knows? but it wasnt debated

yestedays vote seems to suggest at low voting levels we are headed for another
hung parliament with dup unable to get tories over the line.

there is, of course, a long long way to next election, with rees moggs supposed
blackmail of may looking less likely given the circumstances

maybe yesterdays vote will sink in over next fortnight, and maybe it will not.
Report jed.davison May 4, 2018 5:07 PM BST
as for customs union, a majority of leavers may well have thought they were
voting to leave it but the majority of voters didnt realise it was being voted upon
as it did not appear on ballot.....would 3% of leavers have changed vote if they
thought they were leaving customs union, who knows? but it wasnt debated

The usual lie. Of course the majority of voters knew we would leave the CU in the event of a Leave vote, it was made clear at all stages by Gideon and Dave, and in the Government's own propaganda pamphlet.
Report donny osmond May 4, 2018 5:11 PM BST
those that voted to remain...48 % probably never considered leaving and if we would be in or out of customs union

that doesnt leave many remainers to produce a majority

still you can jump onto your pre programmed responce whenever it seems required
Report bigpoppapump May 4, 2018 5:11 PM BST
the referendum result isn't a right/wrong indicator for whether the UK gives up influence over Germany by leaving the EU.

This particular debate/point is clearly of interest to you.  you've asked me questions about my point.  then you've called it preposterous.  and you've disagreed.  all fair enough, and you've run out of ammo and rather than simply exit, you've gone all "I've won you've lost anyway" which is pointless in itself (whilst accepting a the betfair forum is an acute example of man's ultimately futile existence.).

good day.
Report donny osmond May 4, 2018 5:11 PM BST
*** that doesnt leave many leavers to produce a majority***
Report jed.davison May 4, 2018 5:12 PM BST
Just as simply donny, how many of your Remain voters would have voted Leave if they hadn't been told the sky would fall in if they did?
Report jed.davison May 4, 2018 5:13 PM BST
It is disingenuous in the extreme to suggest that Leave propaganda won the day, and Remain proganda was ignored.
Report donny osmond May 4, 2018 5:15 PM BST
but .....thats not the debate here, its how many considered leaving the customs union was
being decided

you may well be correct but you are saying one thing and then when a line of thought is pointed
out to you, you are avoiding that by saying something else that has no meaning to the debate
Report jed.davison May 4, 2018 5:22 PM BST
OK, well my position is that 99% of voters would have known a Leave vote meant a departure from the Customs Union, because it was clearly spelt out to the electorate beforehand. In fact I would go further and say the rejection of the Customs Union and its (please note bpp) requirements was  the main plank of many people's objections to the EU.

Again though, these points are impossible to argue with any certainty either way, but as I said above, the amount of people ignorant of the Leave/no Customs Union question would have been more than matched by those who were worried into voting Leave by a relentless campaign of doom-mongering which has - so far admittedly - turned out to be utter nonsense.
Report donny osmond May 4, 2018 5:27 PM BST
i dont think anywhere near 99% thought that

and clearly tory cabinet are evenly split over it still
Report donny osmond May 4, 2018 5:28 PM BST
it doesnt matter what there motivation to vote was, you may as well argue that
some were chewing gum at the time

it did not increase their knowledge of the consequence of their vote
Report jed.davison May 4, 2018 5:36 PM BST
Again. And again and again. We didn't know what we were doing. When will you even begin to understand that it is precisely this attitude which cost you your membership of the sainted European Union in the first place? You wouldn't engage on any kind of even-handed basis with your opponents in the build-up to the vote because we were all racists and little Englanders, and now we are all idiots who didn't know the consequences of our actions. It does become a little wearing after a while.
Report enpassant May 4, 2018 5:43 PM BST
We all know  sh!te lot more now than we did then. The Tories are clearly picking up leavers vote regardless of their traditional patterns of voting. So the picture is obviously distorted. I think if brexit was not clouding issues the tories would be run out of office in a thrice. There are of course two Labour's now, PLP and the masses. Corbyn is no friend of the EU and should have gone to leave in the run up to the Ref' and the picture would have been clearer for it.
A problem for me is the amount of PLP MP's that have shown themselves to be snakes in the grass and of low integrity.
But a rancid, always divided Tory party is the answer to nothing.
So I have real sympathy with the OP's lamentations of the political environment.
Report donny osmond May 4, 2018 5:44 PM BST
i have faith the vast majority of people voting to leave wanted to leave customs union

thats not the same as the terms of the referendum or the thoughts of those voting to stay

until you realise that you can pound away with your argument to no avail
Report johnizere May 4, 2018 5:44 PM BST
jed.davidson.. 'It is a preposterous notion to suggest that we had any kind of primary position within the EU.'

Report flushgordon1 May 4, 2018 5:46 PM BST
Thanks porky if you can't take a bit of rudeness on a betting forum there is something written
Report flushgordon1 May 4, 2018 5:47 PM BST
written -wrong
Report jed.davison May 4, 2018 5:47 PM BST
Had our Prime Minister been able to wring any sort of concessions out of the EU prior to the vote, perhaps the result would have been different. But we will never know, because despite our 'primary position' within the EU, they told him to **** off.
Report donny osmond May 4, 2018 5:49 PM BST
it is also possible we do not leave customs union so how folk could know for certain back then
seems a leap of faith
Report jed.davison May 4, 2018 5:56 PM BST
The Government's position is clear - we will leave the Single Market and the Customs Union.
Report jed.davison May 4, 2018 6:00 PM BST
And as I have been trying to point out to you people ever since the vote, Mrs May will act according to the electoral interests of the Tory Party, and now more than ever her and her party's fortunes are inextricably tied to her ability to deliver a full and final Brexit.
Report donny osmond May 4, 2018 6:01 PM BST
why then is rees mogg unhappy with mays plan ?

you seem to confuse  intent with deed
Report jed.davison May 4, 2018 6:03 PM BST
I wouldn't know why Jacob Rees Mogg was happy or unhappy about anything, I'm just informing you that the Govertnment's position on the Customs Union has been made clear on several occasions, and last night's results are a massive push to remain on that path.
Report donny osmond May 4, 2018 6:05 PM BST
well if you listened to his latest interview you would know

it seems a push that folk are so well informed about what they are voting for but not aware
of mr rees moggs latest rant
Report jed.davison May 4, 2018 6:08 PM BST
Pardon me Donny, but JRM is a mere backbencher - and not a very loyal one at that - his fevered rantings are no concern of mine.
Report enpassant May 4, 2018 6:09 PM BST
The hard brexiteers are just waiting for their moment to punt May into the long grass. They wait for the prime time, as they see it, or when the mood music changes to a softer tone than they can abide. Mogg and Gove are what they are but Boris is a twisting slime fish that has no convictions of his own just adopted notions of the populist kind.
Report enpassant May 4, 2018 6:10 PM BST
donny - that was amusing
Report donny osmond May 4, 2018 6:10 PM BST
fair enough, jed
Report jed.davison May 4, 2018 6:12 PM BST
More regurgitation of Guardian nonsense I'm afraid. Mrs May will serve a full term, and at the end of her full term we will have left the European Union, the Single Market and the Customs Union. The hard Brexiteers you speak of will not oust her, because she is going to deliver exactly what they want.

And you will just have to get used to it.
Report donny osmond May 4, 2018 6:19 PM BST
how can she fight another election campaign having turned a 200 majority
into a hung parliament with her strong and stable campaign

and then we get back onto the original purpose of the thread

what happens in 2022, and who bids for centre ground ?

there must be nearly 20% of vote up there to be had, at least
Report enpassant May 4, 2018 6:21 PM BST
She can't and she won't.
Report jed.davison May 4, 2018 6:24 PM BST
We will see I guess.
Report enpassant May 4, 2018 6:25 PM BST
Claiming generalisations was wrong and done in such a way as to make sweeping generalisations again and again
Report donny osmond May 4, 2018 6:30 PM BST
non of cable, may and corbyn can take centre ground because of their baggage

but i dont see a macron around the corner

maybe somebody is being lined up....a new gang of four ?
Report jed.davison May 4, 2018 6:33 PM BST
The point is that any new force must be opposed to Brexit to gain any traction, and it would then be routed by the Tories, and Labour sidelined completely, at the next election.
Report donny osmond May 4, 2018 6:48 PM BST
no, brexit will be finnished, complete, an ex issue

it will be a post brexit election

we had a post war election and that ever so nice mr churchill who saved
our skins got landslided....
Report donny osmond May 4, 2018 6:50 PM BST
i think some remainers ( remoaners) know they have a chance at glory, but must wait until brexit is complete

thats all in play for 2022.,,,,and if not then next time ...
Report Pleasegivemeanailedontip May 4, 2018 6:52 PM BST
Surely theres room for a centre ground opposition to the tories that can deliver brexit?
Report enpassant May 4, 2018 6:54 PM BST
I don't think the Tory party understand that politics has passed them by. They are only relevant as long as brexit is alive and twitching......perhaps that's why they are making such a b0iiocks of it ie not incompetant but very shrewdly keeping it going for the next 10 years to keep power !
Report donny osmond May 4, 2018 7:03 PM BST
how can a centre ground party delever brexit without an election to gain power?

of course some mps could get together , form a new party, but they would need 325
mps and that must be longer odds than engerland beating brazil 25-0 in world cup final
with rooney notching 24 of them with a red white and blue syrup
Report Pleasegivemeanailedontip May 4, 2018 7:15 PM BST
Was more of a hypothetical in response to the idea that the only credible opposition at the moment has to be anti-brexit.

Labour for example could move back to the centre, support brexit and gain votes. They wont but hypothetically.
Report donny osmond May 4, 2018 7:17 PM BST
but they still would not have any power to do so, but point taken
Report donny osmond May 4, 2018 7:18 PM BST
corbyn has always been pro brexit !
Report enpassant May 4, 2018 7:20 PM BST
What if they moved back to the centre, opposed brexit and gain votes ?
Report PorcupineorPineapple May 4, 2018 7:26 PM BST
Interesting catching up on this.

I think the idea of a new party being one of the centre isn't necessarily relevant.

I'm not sure our politics are going to be as defined by left and right issues for a while. Brexit is everything right now. Everything else depends on that.

I do think though a new party based firmly on a pro-EU basis  (either remain or re-join) could potentially catch a lot of defectors from Labour who are against Corbyn and if the tories continue to polarize themselves over our future relationship then they could offer a viable alternative there too.
Report Pleasegivemeanailedontip May 4, 2018 7:31 PM BST
A centre-ground anti-brexit labour might score well but if were talking about fixing politics it might not be a good idea. Making deals with the EU once in power wont go down well with a large portion of the electorate and it will divide more than unite imo.

Donny, my use of the word deliver was crap, youre right to pull it up
Report flushgordon1 May 4, 2018 7:36 PM BST
To the victor the spoils ,poytics is only broken for the losers ,
Report enpassant May 4, 2018 7:39 PM BST
We're divided anyway and that will not change for a long time I suspect. So rather the talk of some about another Ref' route, a pro remain stance at a GE by the Labour party would tell us all once and for all, with the better understanding we have of the issues what the country wants.
Report Pleasegivemeanailedontip May 4, 2018 8:02 PM BST
Where does that end though? Anti EU party comes in 5 years later and were back out. In/out every 5 years.

Wouldn't it make more sense to decide our place in europe every few generations with one simple referendum..
Report enpassant May 4, 2018 8:53 PM BST
Would it have even been considered but for the crash, I suspect not. From the margins perhaps. History dictates where people go in hard times and I'm afraid we showed we have not learned from history. It is rather damning on humankind that each generation has to revisit the mistakes of the past.
We are not out yet and with the transition period element, it may yet be some time before we are out of those arrangements that make us in. So a clear cut choice at a general election would in effect be a a Ref' before we leave. Much less problematic than being out and unpicking that to get back in !
Report lfc1971 May 4, 2018 9:16 PM BST
Almost everyone who voted,  both leave and remain ,thought that a vote to leave the EU meant a vote to leave the customs union and the single market

it only became an issue after the result was known
Report lfc1971 May 4, 2018 9:18 PM BST
so it was not just 99% of leave voters who thought this, it was 99% of all voters.
At least
Report lfc1971 May 4, 2018 9:26 PM BST
The intention was to leave first , nothing should have been negotiated until the years after leaving
We would or should have treated Europe on exactly the same terms as any other country and in no preference regards time spent or when the trading deals had to be done
Report lfc1971 May 4, 2018 9:36 PM BST
If we had left as soon as possible, and that means not having negotiated anything, payments to the EU should have stopped, freedom of movement should have stopped,  nothing needed to change regards trading deals at that point
Then at that point negotiations could have begun, and if the EU wanted a different trading arrangement that's fine
negotiate one
Report lfc1971 May 4, 2018 9:40 PM BST
if they were happy for the present trading deal to continue, and so was Britain that's fine also
But at and before that point we would have left everything,and would have already stopped payments and stopped sending British EU politicians and stopped freedom of movement etc
Report lfc1971 May 4, 2018 9:48 PM BST
Trade deals between Britain and the EU must in the future be just that, trade deals, and nothing else
Report moisok May 4, 2018 10:25 PM BST
the wreckers are still hard at it

it it was 1734  they would be in the tower
Report lfc1971 May 5, 2018 7:33 AM BST
The op is based on a false premise and a misunderstanding of the nature of a referendum
The referendum had nothing to do with party politics, that is why you had conservative voters and labour voters etc split in how thy voted

It was a personal choice , nothing to do with how you might vote in general elections
Report lfc1971 May 5, 2018 7:59 AM BST
If you look at the replies from enpassant and pineapple they are determined to put forward the fiction that a new general election would and should be enough to overturn the result of the referendum
That is a very dishonest thing to believe, and they don't believe it
that is dishonest as well.
Report anxious May 5, 2018 10:12 AM BST
This i think is quite a lot of Working class Labour voted to leave , and a lot of tories voted to remain
Report PorcupineorPineapple May 5, 2018 10:16 AM BST
The op is based on a false premise and a misunderstanding of the nature of a referendum
The referendum had nothing to do with party politics, that is why you had conservative voters and labour voters etc split in how thy voted

Jesus lfc, that's the whole point. Tory/Labour isn't as relevant any more because of brexit.

I'm a traditional labour voter but am peed off at having my vote for them last year as being supportive of their stance on brexit. Right now I feel pretty unrepresented in party politics.

What's the point? Why talk about funding the NHS when it's so dependent on brexit? Why talk about social care when it's also dependent? Fair taxation? Funding of local councils, the police, security, industry? The usual Tory/Labour dynamic of discussing these important issues is rendered pretty inconsequential in light of the effect of brexit on each of them.

And right now labour's role as opposition, to challenge the government andhold them to account is massively neutered by them barely challenging their position on brexit.
Report lfc1971 May 5, 2018 10:30 AM BST
nope,whether to vote tory or labour or any other party remains the same, nothing changes on that, it doesn't change if we had voted to remain and it doesn't change after we leave
Report PorcupineorPineapple May 5, 2018 10:34 AM BST
Well I disagree
Report lfc1971 May 5, 2018 10:42 AM BST
why? the decision has been made , why do you think it is not important whether you vote labour or tory or any other party
Report lfc1971 May 5, 2018 10:45 AM BST
if you had said it was not important who you vote for when we are part of the`EU, then that might have made more sense
Report lfc1971 May 5, 2018 10:47 AM BST
you see that was one of the arguments that the brexiteers were making
Where you not listening?
Report enpassant May 5, 2018 1:59 PM BST
Porcupine...- I cannot read some of the posters due to choices I have made but I am in near total agrreement of the points you are making. JC (as no doubt you know of course)is a leaver at heart and that is clouding the situation greatly. I want him as PM but being out of the EU will be more damaging long term than his policies will be beneficial, as any tory government can reverse them all with a mandate. My heart and head are at odds over this but my head often wins that battle - the party and the country may be better off with a leader that comes out firmly with a party line of remain.
Report Pleasegivemeanailedontip May 5, 2018 6:33 PM BST
Porcupine, your problem that nobody is representing your view doesnt mean politics is broken. It means not enough people agree with you.

Proportional representation is #1 on my political list but it got voted down. That isnt a broken system its just not a popular enough idea for a party to push.

Staying in the EU seems to be #1 on your list but no party represents it because it isnt what the majority of people want
Report flushgordon1 May 5, 2018 7:00 PM BST
Limp dumbs do old Vic says that's why they did so well in locals
Report enpassant May 5, 2018 7:01 PM BST
Not what the majority of people that voted on a particular day wanted. The vehemency of reactions to the mention of another Ref' from leavers gives the impression they fear a big defeat not a resounding mandate.If a proper PR was put to the people in a Ref, not the watered down version nonsense the the LD put forward in coalition, it would get more than a miserly 2% margin.
Report moisok May 5, 2018 7:03 PM BST
as soon as it goes against them the 'progressives' and the supporters of globalism want to rewrite the rules of democracy

the gruniad seems to support this - don't like the idea of the thick and stupid voting the wrong way so now suggesting they shouldn't have a vote
Report flushgordon1 May 5, 2018 8:03 PM BST
But isn't that a natzi kind of thing along the lines of hating the early morning dews?
Report PorcupineorPineapple May 10, 2018 12:00 PM BST
Yesterday's vote was shocking. Just before 8pm, the House of Lords defeated the government by 245 votes to 218 and demanded that Britain stays in the single market. Eighty-three Labour peers resisted Jeremy Corbyn's demand that they abstain - nearly half the party's backbenchers. They were joined by 17 Tory Lords, who'd been whipped to reject it. It now goes back to the Commons, alongside the other rebel amendments.

These are unpredictable times, so people are starting to get their hopes up about what might happen. No-one expected yesterday's vote to pass - not political journalists, not the Labour leadership and not even the people who organised it. But even with that degree of volatility and momentum, it's hard to imagine that a vote for single market membership could pass the Commons.

The reason why is simple: Jeremy Corbyn. Unlike the customs union, he will whip his MPs against it, or at least to abstain, which adds up to the same thing. To defeat the government you need all wings of the Labour party united, alongside the other opposition parties, and a few Tory rebels. That just about gives you the numbers to defeat the Conservatives, DUP and handful of dyed-in-wool Labour Brexiters.

There will be other chances to fight for the single market, but that's probably where this amendment will die. Despite their current Che-Guevara-like rebellions, the Lords are still going to be pretty cautious about how much they interfere with this process. They see their job as asking questions. If their amendments are rejected once by the Commons, it's very likely peers will let them go. We're unlikely to see them stand firm and keep ping-ponging this stuff back-and-forth until the bitter constitutional end.

But last night's vote does have one very useful attribute, even if it won't outright secure soft Brexit. It shines a very harsh and unforgiving light on what the Labour leader is doing. He is going against the wishes of Labour peers, Labour members, Labour voters, and the public. And he is doing that because of an ideological commitment to hard Brexit.

The Lords proposal was for a specific form of single market membership. They want the UK to stay in the EEA agreement. This is sometimes called the Norway option, because it would mean us joining an organisation called European Free Trade Association (Efta) alongside that country, Iceland and Liechtenstein. Then through Efta we'd sign the agreement.

This would mean that we sign up to the four freedoms - movement, capital, services and goods - and take on EU rules. Trade would continue smoothly. We'd be snuggled tight into the European ecosystem, but we'd be formally out the EU, throwing out the bathwater of ever-greater-union but keeping the baby. We'd have achieved the arms-length transactional relationship which most Brits instinctively want when they think about Europe, but without sacrificing the economy or cutting ourselves off completely, in a fit of mad pique, from our closest and largest partner.

The Labour argument against this idea is identical to the Conservative one: staying in the EEA means you're a rule taker, not a rule maker.

This is about half true. You do lose your place forming laws, scrutinising them in the parliament and from some agencies, in some capacities. But there are avenues for democratic control. The Efta states have their own court in the EU system, called the Efta court. It is supposed to follow the European Court of Justice (ECJ) but because it's smaller it often reaches cases before it and then rules on them. The ECJ then follows its lead.

Efta states can also affect EU rules at the top end and the bottom end. At the top end they reach over the head of the EU and influence the global web of standards - informal rules set up in various sectors which then fossilise into regulations at the WTO, EU and in national parliaments. Britain is particularly well placed to do the same because it is a world leader in standards setting. Then they do the same at the bottom end, using their powers to have civil servants control the way in which EU laws are implemented domestically.

It's not ideal. None of the post-Brexit solutions are ideal. It involves the kind of compromise and complexity which populists on the left and right detest. But it is possible, it is democratic, it reflects the 'will of the people' in the referendum vote, and it would preserve the material conditions of this country's population.

Nevertheless, both Labour and Tories reject this model on the basis Britain could no longer influence the rules. The only difference is which rules they say they want to change. In the case of the Tories, they're honestly not sure anymore. They've been so turned around they don't really know which way is up. Maybe they want to deregulate and turn us into the Singapore of Europe, or maybe, as Michael Gove says, they want higher standards, so we can turn into some kind of animal sanctuary. For Labour it is more simple. It comes down to state aid.

These are rules which guide how countries can interfere in their economy. Corbyn supporters say it is an obstacle to fundamental change. In reality, it allows for anything between radical left social democracy and Thatcherite neoliberalism. It is Britain, obviously, which has usually pushed at the neoliberal end of that spectrum. And there's a stupefying irony to the fact that is Britain which now might leave the single market because it thinks the EU is stopping it reaching the other end.

In reality, state aid rules allow you to nationalise whatever you want. In some limited areas it means tendering for services must take place - this is to maintain continent-wide economic base-blocks, like rail freight and electronic communication - but even there, you can apply whichever social democratic conditions you want, such as environmental responsibility or workers’ rights. Only the most faded, 1970s, brown-suited, top down approach to full state ownership is ruled out.

State aid is actually quite a left wing initiative. It prevents multinationals going around the world, demanding governments give them cash so they'll stay put. By forcing governments to say why they are giving money to companies, it enforces transparency and prevents corporations setting up a welfare system for themselves.

If anything, the Labour position is less rational than the Tory one (quite a feat) because the EU are making state aid a condition of the final Brexit deal regardless of whether we are in the single market or not. So Labour is rejecting a single market deal because it involves a condition which they'd anyway sign away when they agreed to a deal outside the single market. It is madness.

Failing to support this amendment is a betrayal of everything the Labour leadership say they stand for. They say they want a democratic party which reflects the will of its members, but 87% of Labour members want to stay in the single market. They say they have solidarity with immigrants and against the injustices of Windrush, but rejecting the Lords amendment ends free movement and throws three million European citizens into the chaos of Theresa May's immigration system. They say they believe in workers’ rights, but they are demanding we leave the part of the European project which most protects them. They say they will defend jobs, but rejecting the EEA puts manufacturing and agriculture in particular at risk. They say they stand for the young but they ignore the 72% of them who say they want soft Brexit.

None of this is likely to change. The leadership remains immune to evidence or argument on this issue. But at least now, after a brave showing in the Lords yesterday, they have nowhere to hide. Everyone will be able to see clearly that it's Corbyn who'll deliver the Tories' hard Brexit.
Report PorcupineorPineapple May 10, 2018 12:08 PM BST
Decent piece this, and highlights the fact that Labour are now at a crossroads.

I was having a discussion on twitter with a few Labour members the other day. One thing that struck me was how "conditioned" they seemed. It was all about fighting the tories. That was it. And all of them were Owen Jones style clappy-happy patting themselves on the back for mobilising people to vote and getting a good vote in the locals etc etc. And, crucially, that brexit isn't that important. It's all about winning power from the tories. I think I may well look back at that conversation and realise that was when I could no longer vote for that party. We'll see.

Anyway, as the article states at least now Labour have been forced into the game. No more sitting on the sidelines, quietly watching the tories rip themselves apart, coming up with proposals each one less plausible than the one before. Jeremy now needs to properly state his case. If he whips his MPs to abstain - the true sh!thousery of politics - then I'm done with them. If he actually states a case for leaving the Customs Union then he needs to be grilled. He needs to stand in front of Labour members and voters and explain how his plan protects jobs and people's rights. "Not one job lost". Let's see how quickly he drops that pledge.

I do think though that we are starting to see real divides opening up and a huge gap for a new party to potentially pinch around two dozen MPs from either side of the House. This may very well be going on behind the scenes. They're not going to place an ad are they. It'll just be a stage managed coup.
Report donny osmond May 10, 2018 12:34 PM BST
there are going to be different opinions within the same parties, and
folk will look to stir up problems between factions within a party

brexit and the coalition government has polarised politics somewhat

lib dems should be surging as the anti brexit party, but they were badly
wounded by coalition so surge from very low base, but signs from locals
were broadly good for them

its tough to start a new party without a figurehead, and i just dont see
anyone around at the moment

having said that...malaysia has just voted for a coalition led by a 92 year old
ex anything may well be possible
Report enpassant May 10, 2018 4:27 PM BST
I'm not sure how JC can whip a hostile PLP into doing anything at all. They don't attack him from the shadows but in plain light.
Report enpassant May 10, 2018 4:31 PM BST
A more likely a scenario than a new party emerging, would be JC being replaced as leader (someway or other)and Labour becoming the anti brexit party.
Report flushgordon1 May 10, 2018 4:41 PM BST
Ein Reich,ein fuhrer ,ein Volk  let's call it the auntie semity party.
Report PorcupineorPineapple May 10, 2018 5:24 PM BST
I think Corbyn projects an image of a friendly uncle, but behind the scenes he's mobilised the party to ensure he's secure. The rank and file will overwhelmingly support him and he's happy to stick the knife into those who oppose him. I just don't see him being toppled until he walked after an election defeat.
Report enpassant May 10, 2018 9:51 PM BST
Yes I think he is very secure but correct me if I'm wrong, it wasn't him that passed one member one vote. I think he is far more sinned against than sinner in terms of infighting in the party. Some members of the PLP have shown themselves to be of low character during the Corbyn years as leader. Mann and Woodcock are low lives imo and have no place in any Labour party of any era.
Report PorcupineorPineapple July 8, 2018 9:50 AM BST
Seems a good time to re-post this thread.

Can't remember a time when the two main parties went out of there way to alienate so many of their core support. We need something new.
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