Sep 06 2019

Because I Never Get Tired Of Writing About Brexit!

If you’re looking for a General Election don’t hold your breath. Current Opposition strategy is to vote against on Monday, the last working day before suspension.

The deadline that bites in what is being called the Benn Bill is October 19th by which time Johnson must have communicated a request to the EU for an extension, using language practically dictated by Parliament. Boris could do it tomorrow if he liked. He could also call off the suspension.

Failure to meet this deadline really is a (unwritten)Constitutional crisis. In any event Parliament is likely to call for Elections in November and after a 25 day campaign there will be a vote. You already know my predictions (Tories Tank, Nothing changes for Labour, Liberal Democrats Zoom but not enough to overtake Labour). An anti-Brexit coalition on the Left? Corbyn will try a totally different approach that emphasizes continuity, the Germans will love it. Britain will give up what little leverage they have in the EU for basically nothing but a nebulous U.S. Trade Deal that will absolutely include chlorinated chicken.

I don’t think at this point you dare pass it without a separate referendum, though the Election will be a good proxy. Some advocate going ahead right now with No Deal, May’s Deal, and Remain as the choices. I think May’s deal is a bad deal, wrongheaded, and Labour and Corbyn should get a chance. There are Left criticisms to make, one being that the EU stifles regulatory innovation (in that California Clean Air Standard kind of way). Also their Austerity Policy (since Britain is not part of the Eurozone this effects them less).

This is not exactly on topic, but it’s an interesting piece by Fareed Zakaria on the history of the Post Modern Tory Party.

The end of one of the world’s most successful political parties
By Fareed Zakaria, Washington Post
September 5, 2019

Britain’s Tories are arguably the most successful political party of the modern age. The Conservatives have ruled Britain more than 50 of the 90 years since 1929 (the country’s first election with equal suffrage for men and women). But this week, we watched the beginning of the end of the Conservative Party as we have known it.

Like most enduring parties, the Tories have embraced many different factions and ideologies over the years. But in the post-World War II era, they were defined by an advocacy of free markets and traditional values — a combination that was brought to its climax in the person of Margaret Thatcher, the Tories’ most effective prime minister since Winston Churchill.

The free-market orientation made sense. The second half of the 20th century was dominated by one big issue — the clash between communism and capitalism. Throughout the world, parties aligned themselves on a left-right spectrum that related to that central issue: the role of the state in economics. In the United States in the 1950s and 1960s, the Democrats included Northern progressives and Southern segregationists, but they generally agreed on the need for an interventionist state.

You can see the breakdown of the old order by looking back at Britain’s previous five prime ministers, two from the Labour Party and three from the Tories. All were in favor of Britain staying in the European Union. (Theresa May had voted to remain in the E.U. , but once the “leave” side won the referendum, she promised to carry out the will of the people and take her country out of the union.) By contrast, Prime Minister Boris Johnson is remaking the Tories into the party of Brexit and this week expelled 21 members of Parliament from the Conservative Party, including very senior figures, who disagreed with the new party line.

Many commentators in Britain have pointed to the analogies between now and 1846, when Prime Minister Robert Peel pushed through a free-trade agenda that split the Conservative Party and kept it mostly out of power for a generation. No analogy is perfect, but when a party divides over a big issue — as did, for example, the U.S. Whigs over slavery — it usually narrows its political base and electability. There hasn’t been a Whig president in the United States since Millard Fillmore left office in 1853.

More significant is the fact that whatever the views of the new Tory leaders, the people who voted for Brexit — and who would presumably support what would essentially be a new Tory-Brexit Party — largely embrace a closed ideology. They are suspicious of foreigners and resentful of the new, cosmopolitan Britain that they see in London and the country’s other big cities. They want less immigration and multiculturalism. They are more rural, more traditional, older and whiter and want some kind of a return to the Britain in which they grew up.

The United States, of course, has a similar constituency. While many of the Republicans who support President Trump might well be free marketeers, his base is largely animated by the same suspicions and passions that motivated the Brexit voters. Trump himself is an ideological omnivore — supporting free markets while simultaneously imposing the biggest tariff hikes since the Smoot-Hawley Tariff Act of 1930. The most likely future for the Republican Party is one that conforms with its voters’ preferences — for limits on trade and immigration and greater hostility toward big technology companies.

In Britain, there is confusion on the other side of the aisle as well. The Labour Party has moved leftward and still contains elements that are skeptical about the European Union. Over time, Labour will probably move more robustly in a pro-Europe direction and, with the Liberal Democrats, try to create a new “open” governing majority. In the United States, the Democrats have to resolve similar differences mostly around trade, an issue on which many Democrats are as protectionist as Trump.

But what is happening now in Britain is a telltale sign. One of the world’s most enduring political parties is cracking — yet another reminder that we are living in an age of political revolutions.

Fareed’s notion that Labour is getting any more Neo Liberal is a pipe dream, Alf Garnett votes Labour and is a member of Unite.