European Union

Ireland: the border is the problem

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One of the ways that Brexit negotiations are breaking down is over Ireland. Yet much of the discussion ignores both imperialist history and the consequences for working people.

At first glance the shape of the border between Northern Ireland and the rest of the country makes no sense. It is a squiggly line stretching 310 miles from Lough Foyle in the north west to Carlingford in the east. It follows no natural boundaries and cuts across 180 roads. Donegal is indisputably in the north of Ireland, but not part of Northern Ireland. Neither was the border based on the division of Ireland into four historical provinces with Ulster as the northern one. Three counties of Ulster — Monaghan, Cavan and Donegal — were excluded from the newly created statelet.

Labour must hold the line against pro-remain centre

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Pressure is building on Jeremy Corbyn and the Labour Party leadership to agree to backing a second referendum on Britain leaving the EU. Several trade unions, including the GMB, are either balloting members over the issue or preparing to take motions to this month’s TUC conference in Manchester calling for Labour to adopt the policy.

In an email sent to GMB members, the general secretary, Tim Roache, wrote: “GMB wants to hear from members about your views on Brexit, and whether you think there should be a public vote when we know what the deal looks like.”

May's government hits the rocks

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As the government appears to be heading for a no-deal Brexit, Ian Taylor reports on the conflict at the heart of the Tory party, and the dismay and anger this has caused among its big business backers.

Theresa May’s attempt to resolve the issue of British capitalism’s future relations with its biggest trading partner, the EU, plunged the government into crisis in mid-July.

‘Talking about the displaced as people changes perceptions’

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Socialist Review spoke to Hsiao-Hung Pai about her new book, Bordered Lives, which exposes the failings of the refugee system in Europe.

Why do you begin Bordered Lives by questioning the term “refugee crisis”?

I think the media language that we have accepted (and often adopted as our own) has in many ways shaped the way we understand issues relating to refugees. “Refugee crisis” has been the media term by which we’re made to think about displaced people in the world. My biggest problem with the term is that it suggests “us” and “them”, refugees being the “problem” for “us” to find solutions to. That seems to be the way many in this country look at migration and movement of people.

Tories out before 2022?

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Theresa May’s government is staggering from crisis to crisis, yet no likely replacement for May is apparent. Charlie Kimber assesses the political landscape as Corbyn’s Labour Party waits in the wings.

Theresa May keeps finding new ways to have a worse week than the one before. Don’t think this process will end in 2018. New lows will be reached, regarded as the bottom of the pit — and then even deeper depths discovered.

But it’s a great danger to think this means the inevitable demise of the May regime. No Tory wants to risk Jeremy Corbyn in Number 10 and the spectre of a Labour government promising change is what saves May. There is no unifying alternative to her for the Tories, and she acts as the useful scapegoat who could be replaced later on.

Linguistic juggling can’t hide Brexit woes

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Brexit has become a classic example of how public discourse is designed to obscure meaning. As May’s “triumph” at reaching the “end of the beginning” begins to look somewhat premature, metaphors of divorce have become stretched to breaking point. Donald Tusk, president of the EU Council, clearly auditioning for the role of marriage guidance counsellor, sets the ball rolling: “Breaking up is hard, but building a new relationship is harder.”

Tories Brexit Blues: A European crisis

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The dominant narrative of the political establishment and its various media echo chambers is that the European Union has Britain over a barrel as the Brexit negotiations stumble towards the end of their first phase.

The reality is more complex. The Tory crisis is real enough, but it is to some extent mirrored by the situation of Europe as a whole, if not in its economic manifestations then certainly in its political ruptures.

Fight for EU nationals' rights

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With negotiations over Britain’s future relationship with the EU now under way, Theresa May still hasn’t spoken out to unilaterally guarantee the rights of EU nationals currently living in Britain. Instead the Tory government has stated that it wants to wait until it gets an offer from EU member states securing the rights of British nationals abroad. People’s lives, their relationships, homes and future plans, are all being used by politicians as bargaining chips.

Can the left shape Brexit?

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Now that Britain’s exit from the European Union has been triggered, there will be a battle over terms. Joseph Choonara assesses the strengths of the different forces at play.

Theresa May has enacted Article 50. Her letter has been despatched, and so the two-year process of Britain leaving the European Union has begun. Where does British politics stand on this occasion? Not quite, perhaps, where some had expected. A few days before the referendum, one left-wing blogger spoke of a Leave vote paving the way for an “incoming government headed by Johnson, Gove, IDS [Iain Duncan Smith], and Farage”. Such claims were commonplace in the run-up to the vote.

Splinterlands

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The world of 2050 is a frightening, unstable place. The European Union has collapsed, having “hit a wall of Euroskepticism, fiscal austerity and xenophobia”. The United States is beset by environmental disasters, with Washington having been destroyed by Hurricane Donald in 2022.

A great uprising has fragmented China, and Russia has disintegrated along ethnic lines. Nationalism and terrorism are rife and the few centres of “order” are authoritarian safe havens where capital and the super-rich can carry on as before.

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