Comment and Blog

This section of the site contains blog and comment articles written by party members and some pieces from other organisations.

ALLOWING immigration to overshadow the EU referendum debate is not only bad for community relations — it’s bad for those who want the public to make an informed decision on June 23.

EU membership should be about much more than how many people can or should enter Britain every year, however important that question is.

Thus the Morning Star makes no apology for asking other important questions: how and in whose interests does the EU function?

What does this mean for people’s jobs, living standards and quality of life?

Does EU membership help or hinder strategies to develop a balanced, sustainable economy that serves the interests of working people, their families and communities?

We have condemned the neoliberal, free market and monetarist economics cemented into the basic treaties of the EU.

As the late Tony Benn once pointed out: “The EU has the only constitution in the world committed to capitalism … it destroys the prospect of socialism anywhere in Europe, making capitalism a constitutional requirement of that set-up.”

Such a set-up also requires that enormous powers lie in the lap of unelected and — in practice where not in law — unaccountable bodies, namely, the European Commission, the European Central Bank and the European Court of Justice.

Remain campaigners point to the powers of our own unelected Civil Service, Bank of England, House of Lords, Supreme Court and monarchy.

But the crucial difference is this: in Britain, these institutions are not constitutionally beyond the reach of our elected representatives. They can be reformed and even abolished.

The recent Queen’s Speech raised the prospect of Britain having a Bill of Rights in the near future, drafted by this Tory government.

What if this Bill were to specify that Britain shall have a “competitive market economy” based on the free movement of capital, goods and services? Any steps towards a planned economy would, in effect, be unlawful.

Neither the Westminster, Edinburgh or Cardiff legislatures would be allowed to direct or impede the movement of capital in, out or within the countries of Britain.

What if clauses in the Bill made it unconstitutional for elected governments to run an “excessive deficit” in their public finances, or to subsidise public or private enterprises for strategic economic, social or environmental reasons?

What if another clause banned governments from using our central bank to fund investment projects through the purchase of public-sector bonds (what shadow chancellor John McDonnell calls “people’s quantitative easing”)?

Indeed, the Bill would make clear that the central bank must be independent of Parliament and government altogether, guaranteed by a constitution that can only be changed by near unanimous agreement.

Furthermore, this Tory draft Bill would also grant sweeping new powers to the Civil Service, including the sole right to propose legislation, draft the national budget and monitor the compliance of the British, Scottish and Welsh governments with strict limits on their borrowing and debt.

The Civil Service would also have the right to intervene in the legislative process, address MPs on its own insistence and prevent the establishment of a parliamentary committee of inquiry.

Henceforth, too, as a matter of constitutional imperative rather than government policy, security and defence policy would have to be compatible with Nato policy. Indeed, it must “contribute to the vitality of a renewed Atlantic alliance.”

Who on the left in Britain would vote for such a Bill of Rights? Yet such clauses are to be found in the two basic treaties of the EU and apply to all member states. This is what socialists and trade unionists will be endorsing on June 23 if they vote to remain in the EU.

This article is from The Morning Star, Monday 30th May

 In light of the disgusting comments made by the leader of Austria's 'Freedom Party' Norbert Hofer; here is a call to stand up against right-wing brutality and inhumanity.

 

 

Solidarity not Charity

 

Compassion is not pity

Solidarity not charity

We are humanity

Earth is our city

I am not better

This does not make me sick

Nor a terrorist sympathiser

Because I sympathise with others

Solidarity is not an enemy trick

I am not a spy because I cry

For the suffering of “the other side”

The Mediterranean now a deadly moat

Our fortress Europe

An arc that offers no hope

All would chose to live, not die

Yet here we also decide

To kill or let them die to survive

To end their suffering is the charity of the west

Eradication is for their best

Selfish, elitist, hateful, fearful

Our Fortress rots from within.

We are not better

True solidarity is the only medicine

 

Comrade BJ Treglown

 

 

 

BRITAIN’S empire is dead, but the imperialist mindset lives on.

It’s the mindset that blames former colonies and semi-colonies for corruption, when the chief corrupters are transnational corporations and governments based in Britain and other imperialist countries.

Thus Prime Minister David Cameron blithely tells the multi-millionaire queen of Britain and its crown dependencies and overseas territories that Nigeria and Afghanistan are “fantastically corrupt.”

It is as though British oil, mining, armaments and food corporations are not up to their necks in bribing and bullying politicians, civil servants and business people in Nigeria, which has been almost a fiefdom of companies such as Shell-BP, Unilever and Lonrho.

It is as though Britain and the US didn’t fund, arm and train semi-feudal warlords and Islamic fundamentalists to overthrow the progressive secular government in Afghanistan in the 1980s, before launching a full-scale military invasion of their own to install a thoroughly corrupt pro-Western puppet regime in Kabul in 2001.

As the spider at the centre of a global web of banks and tax havens which dodge taxation and launder dirty money from Bermuda to the Cayman Islands, from Jersey to Singapore, Britain has the least right of anywhere on Earth to lecture other countries about corruption.

It’s the same imperialist mindset that believes only British membership of the EU prevents the continent’s regression into bloody warfare. Yet Britain has bombed or invaded more countries over the past 20 years than every other state in Europe combined.

It must surely grate on the ears of peace-loving Dutch, Danish, Irish, Portuguese and other citizens to hear sermons from Cameron about how Britain holds back their innate belligerence. It is as though our own military escapades in the Falklands, Afghanistan, Yugoslavia, Iraq, Libya, Syria and Sierra Leone never happened.

This ruling-class arrogance also finds its reflection in a labour movement which has never fully confronted its own collaboration in British imperialism, past and present.

For example, ex-prime minister Gordon Brown proclaims “Britain’s worldwide reputation for fair play and stability.”

Impersonating Colonel Blimp yesterday,reciting a list of imperial battles, he also told Daily Mirror readers: “We should demonstrate that in war, under Churchill and Lloyd George, and in peace, Britain always was, already is and can continue to be a leader.”

Thus Brown wants Britain to be “leading, not leaving, Europe,” labouring under the delusion that a reformed EU will defend jobs and security against climate change, Russian aggression and terrorism.

Likewise Alan Johnson, Labour’s cheerleader in chief for staying in the EU, tells the Sun that voting to stay in on June 23 will “ensure that Britain remains Great.”

Then there are those further left who believe we would be abandoning Europe’s workers and socialists to a grim fate should Britain leave the EU. As though workers in France, Spain, Portugal, Italy, Greece or elsewhere rely on the British government to win their battles!

International solidarity between workers and on the left does not demand that we all accept membership of an anti-democratic imperialist alliance, designed irreversibly to promote the common interests of monopoly capitalism.

On June 23, the biggest single blow to imperialism — whether British, German or French — will be for us to reject the near unanimous advice of big business, the bankers, Nato commanders and intelligence chiefs and vote to leave the EU.

 

From The Morning Star 12 May 2016