European Union

Election briefing: Freedom of movement

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The terrible deaths of 39 Vietnamese migrants last month once again brought to the fore just how murderous are the government’s anti-migrant policies. They are policies that have seen scores of Syrian, Iraqi, Afghani and others having endure untold miseries — sometimes ending in severe injury and even death — in their attempts to reach this country, as witnessed in the dreadful scenes around Calais and northern France and, indeed, across the continent.

Break the Tories on the streets

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Boris Johnson, within weeks of taking over as (unelected) prime minister, has outraged everyone by suspending parliament in the run-up to the Brexit deadline. Ian Taylor analyses the forces at work around Johnson, while looking for signs of strength on the left to take the Tories on.

Boris Johnson challenged MPs opposed to a no-deal Brexit to a showdown by suspending parliament for up to five weeks from the week of 9 September.

It meant MPs must move to topple the government the week of 3 September. The move wrong-footed Labour, Lib Dem and Tory opponents who had been groping towards a strategy to prevent no deal without backing Jeremy Corbyn and called their bluff. Crucially, it invited the 40 or so Tory MPs opposed to no deal to fall on their swords.

Let’s kill off the divided Tory government

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The Labour Party National Executive Committee is right to have rejected an attempt by Tom Watson, the deputy leader, to tie Labour to a confirmatory vote on any Brexit deal that may be cobbled together in talks with the Tories.

Any attempt to concede to such a demand or to support a second referendum would have been an electoral own goal and would have damaged Labour’s attempts to campaign on policies that would attract both Leave and Remain voters.

Brexit shambles and EU crisis

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There could be many twists and turns in the Brexit melodrama in the hiatus between my writing this article and you reading it.

To speculate on what may or not happen is futile, but there have been enough developments to date that help us unpick some of the fundamental issues at stake.

The most obvious starting point is that the government’s paralysis as a result of Theresa May’s inability to put her deal to the vote for a third time does not mean that there is likely to be an agreed alternative.

Tory impasse: how can the left intervene?

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After two and a half years of negotiations, it is still absolutely unclear what will or will not happen with Brexit. Joseph Choonara looks at the scale of the crisis for Theresa May’s government, but also at the potential opportunities for the left to shape events, rather than simply spectate.

It is astonishing that, as I write this article, two months before Britain was scheduled to leave the European Union (EU), and after two and a half years of negotiation and planning, it is entirely unclear what fate awaits us.

Back in summer 2016, few people predicted that one of the greatest stumbling blocks would prove to be the Irish question — an issue fusing the legacy of Britain’s colonial past with the EU’s determination to police its external borders.

Brexit: Very little confidence in the Tories

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Theresa May survived the attempt to get rid of her from within her own party in December. But it was a sign of her abject weakness that she won the no-confidence vote by promising to go before the next scheduled election.

The fact that 200 Tory MPs backed her did nothing to resolve the crisis her government, her party and the British ruling class face over Brexit. It merely ruled out a switch of Tory prime minister for at least a year, unless May is ordered out by Tory grandees, and confirmed most MPs have no stomach for Britain to leave the EU with no deal.

The left and the European Union

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In the light of debates about how the left should relate to Brexit, Joseph Choonara discusses a new book examining the structural problems of the EU.

The People’s Vote march in London on Saturday 20 October, which, whatever the exact numbers, was one of the largest protests since the start of the new millennium, marked a strange fusion of social forces. On the one hand, many of the speakers at the march, along with those bankrolling the publicity and transport, were firmly part of the establishment.

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.

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