LABOUR’S decision to oppose the government’s European Union (Withdrawal) Bill encourages Tory claims that the opposition has reneged on Jeremy Corbyn’s insistence that the EU referendum must be honoured.

Whatever amendments Labour proposes, the Bill’s bottom line is repeal of the 1972 European Communities Act — an essential requirement to Britain leaving the EU.

Blocking a second reading of the Bill would not represent a victory for parliamentary scrutiny. It would create a chaotic situation beneficial only to die-hard opponents of the electorate’s referendum decision.

That pro-Brussels fanatic Kenneth Clarke pronounces himself minded to back Labour’s position, as do the Scottish nationalists, speaks volumes for the anti-Leave thinking behind it.

The voters’ decision in June last year was achieved despite an overwhelming parliamentary majority against leaving the EU, led by David Cameron’s proCity Tory government and supported by broadcast media, liberal capitalist papers, the Confederation of British Industry, most trade unions and key bastions of the Establishment.

Whatever weasel words are voiced about accepting or noting the people’s voice, the pro-EU Establishment has not altered its position.

It will champion a supposed “Brexit” position that involves Britain remaining subject to EU jurisdiction through the single market, a customs union, the European Court of Justice (ECJ) or any other EU-compliant mechanism.

City of London FTSE 100 companies’ chief executives’ refusal to sign up to Theresa May’s letter of support for her government’s approach, as revealed in yesterday’s Financial Times, the City Bible, indicate that they don’t believe the game is over yet.

They know that she was a strong supporter of Cameron’s Remain stance and believe that her position can yet be resuscitated, especially with support from pro-EU true believers in the opposition.

Labour’s “nuclear option” amendment risks portraying the party as the potential core of such a tendency.

Those wishing to frustrate the people’s voice on leaving the EU have been assisted by the May government’s foot-dragging that saw almost a year dissipated on unfocused chatter, indicating a dearth of political preparation and possible mandarin-level procrastination.

EU officials and politicians reacted far more quickly to the referendum result, pouring derision on it first as though expecting the traditional follow-up of a reballot until voters get it right.

When this didn’t materialise, they set ongoing financial contributions to the Brussels budget, postexit rights for EU citizens living in Britain and Irish border arrangements as issues on which major progress must be made before substantive trade terms are discussed.

There is no reason why David Davis and company should have swallowed these conditions, but they did.


This article appeared in The Morning Star, Friday 8th September 2017

After softening-up offensives based on extravagant and unsubstantiated financial claims and demands that the ECJ retain judicial superiority in an independent Britain, Ireland is the current focus.

Michel Barnier’s team insists that the onus is on the UK to find a way to avoid a hard border even though only Brussels threatens such an outcome.

Britain and Ireland have shared a common travel area for nearly a century and both Dublin and London want ongoing close relations and a frictionless intra-Irish border, but Barnier rejects a compromise to benefit all Irish people and is intent on imposing EU authority on Northern Ireland, effectively extending the bloc.

Labour’s legitimate opposition to Tory Party austerity policies must not translate into giving succour to EU power grabs or undermining the electorate’s clear choice to leave the tottering EU superstate.

DOES Communities Secretary Sajid Javid believe that his ethnic origin gives him a free pass to pretend that Jeremy Corbyn’s acceptance of Sarah Champion’s resignation amounts to a gag on discussion of child abuse?

Child abuse is an abominable crime that must be tackled much more effectively, but it is not the province of one community.

Nor is it acceptable to tar “British Pakistani men” as having a particular proclivity for “raping and exploiting white girls,” as Champion asserted in her notorious Sun article.

High-visibility trials have taken place across the country where networks of mainly south Asian men have preyed on under-age girls, grooming, raping and further exploiting them.

Where the authorities have learned from previous justice failures to listen to the young victims and act accordingly, convictions and appropriate prison sentences have followed.

This is not an occasion for self-congratulation, but it is a straw in the wind to indicate greater awareness of a scourge endemic in all communities.

Compartmentalising this crime and portraying it as a speciality of British Pakistani men is not only dishonest but betokens another insidious and sinister agenda.

That agenda resurfaced immediately after Champion’s ill-advised piece in Rupert Murdoch’s gutter rag when its columnist Trevor Kavanagh rushed to support her, asserting: “Muslims are a specific rather than a cultural problem.”

He concluded by asking Sun readers: “What will we do about The Muslim Problem,” posing the issue in a manner redolent of 1930s Germany or the Russian empire decades earlier.

Bradford West MP Naz Shah’s response in nailing the threat implicit in the Sun comment and organising a letter signed by over 100 MPs from several parties, backed strongly by Corbyn, was both timely and relevant.

She pointed out that, unfortunately, “there is no community where men don’t rape girls and we must face up to it,” noting that nearly 90 per cent of child abusers are white men.

When “celebrities” Jimmy Savile, Stuart Hall, Rolf Harris and their ilk are arraigned for sexual crimes, neither their racial origin nor their religion is mentioned.

Politicians and the mass media accept that these men have committed vile deeds and must be punished, but their crimes are judged as their personal responsibilities and not reflective of their background or community.

Yet we are told that the common denominator of British-born rapists of Iraqi, Bangladeshi, Pakistani, Indian, Iranian and Turkish roots is “Islam.”

Since when did Islam call on believers to supply alcohol and drugs to children and force them into sexual activity? Are we to believe that the large numbers of Christian clerics who abused children also did so because of a shared religion?

It is a nonsensical suggestion that serves a nefarious Islamophobic agenda, as does the baseless claim that grooming and abuse by south Asians was ignored by police because of some variant of “political correctness.”

Police failure to take victims’ complaints seriously owed more to disregard for vulnerable working-class girls and contempt for what the authorities viewed as a lifestyle choice rather than a particular form of exploitation and domination.

Champion’s commitment to fighting child abuse ought to have guided her away from Sun-style sensationalism. Her judgement let her down. She had to resign. She was also wrong to write in Murdoch’s rag.

All Labour MPs must understand post-Hillsborough, Orgreave and several lying campaigns against their party and its leader that the Sun is no friend of the labour movement.

This article appeared in The Morning Star, Friday 18th August 2017