THE ‘leader’ of the Trade Union Congress, Frances O’Grady yesterday stabbed millions of workers in the back when she declared on The Andrew Marr Show that she was in favour of a second referendum, to achieve an ‘acceptable deal’ that would mean the UK remaining in the single market and the Customs Union, and the EU.
Not only did she stab the working class in the back she also knifed the Labour Party’s 2017 general election manifesto that got enough votes to remove PM May’s majority, and make her dependent on the DUP. The Labour manifesto pledged to carry out the referendum result, and noted that this would mean leaving the single market and the customs union, and proved to be very popular!
The TUC leader told Andrew Marr that unless the government struck ‘the deal that working people need’ with the EU, she would demand a ‘popular vote’. O’Grady urged the government to extend the UK’s EU membership to allow longer for negotiations.
She said: ‘We should focus on getting a deal that is actually good for this country and that means good for working people. But if the prime minister is not prepared to do that then I think it has to go back to the people and if there isn’t going to be an early general election the only way is a popular vote.’
She added: ‘I want to serve notice to the prime minister today that if we don’t get the deal that working people need, then the TUC will be throwing our full weight behind a campaign for a popular vote,’ a second referendum. The TUC boss told Marr: ‘We think if we stayed in the Single Market and Customs Union, like Norway has stayed in the EEA, then that would be good enough – that would be the best way to protect people’s livelihoods’.
What we have here is more than a hint of what a motion to the TUC Congress proposed by the Unite union makes clearer. It states: ‘Our movement cannot countenance a cliff-edge Brexit. The economic and social shockwaves would echo the financial crisis of 2008, leaving no one in our movement untouched. No measure can be ruled out to avoid this outcome.’
The motion goes on: ‘If, despite itself, the government reaches a withdrawal deal that is put to parliament before March, the prospects that it can meet the tests set by Congress or the Labour Party are remote. When this happens, our movement must be prepared, politically and industrially, to mobilise against it.’ What Unite and O’Grady are hinting is that if May, another remainer, develops the gumption to insist on remaining in the single market and the customs union then the TUC will support her with all its power.
This TUC leadership that has not called a single strike against the Tories accepts that if May refuses to call a general election they just have to accept it. However, they are prepared to call industrial action to stay in the bosses and bankers EU, and the single market and the customs union after all the outrages that the EU has committed against the working class of Greece, Europe and the UK.
There is going to be an attempt at this TUC Congress to mount a right wing coup to support the EU and then to carry a resolution into the forthcoming Labour Party conference to try and scupper the referendum result by an agreement to go forward to a second referendum.
Meanwhile, project fear is working overtime, with the police talking about calling in the army to put down food riots if there is a hard Brexit. The end of the world is now being forecasted on a daily basis. In fact it is the capitalist world that is in its death agony, with its trade wars, with a new and greater banking crash on the horizon and the ongoing moves to make war on Russia. The working class of the world will not accept a Greece-style solution to the capitalist crisis.
The TUC Congress must stand up and fight for the working class. The first thing to do is to sack O’Grady. The second to call a general strike to bring down May and the Tories to bring in a workers government that will quit the EU and expropriate the bosses and bankers. This will signal more than the beginning of the end for the EU. This is the way forward!