SIR Keir Starmer, Labour’s Shadow Brexit Secretary speaking at a Chatham House conference, has said that Labour will not support any Brexit deal negotiated by the government unless it meets Labour’s new ‘six tests’.
Any deal must include a strong relationship with the EU and the same benefits the UK currently has from the single market, he said. The UK should ‘honour our obligations’ regarding any ‘divorce bill’, he continued. A sum of £50bn has already been mentioned as the required alimony.
Starmer said that the prime minister ‘should be under no illusion’ adding that Labour would not support a deal ‘that fails to reflect core British values and the six tests I have set out today’. These he summed up as: a fair migration system for UK business and communities; retaining a strong, collaborative relationship with the EU; protecting national security and tackling cross border crime; delivering for all nations and regions of the UK; protecting workers’ rights and employment protections; and ensuring the same benefits currently enjoyed within the single market.
Not so long ago Starmer and Labour leader Corbyn were singing a different tune, when both decided that Labour would not obstruct the will of the people as expressed in the June 2016 Referendum that decided that the UK would leave the EU, with Labour voters in their millions voting to ‘Leave’.
Starmer said at Chatham House: ‘While Labour did not support leaving the European Union and I campaigned passionately against it, we have accepted that that choice was made and that it will now be delivered. That is why we voted in Parliament for Article 50 to be triggered.’
In fact Corbyn and Starmer, influenced by the millions of workers that voted ‘OUT’ in the North, the Midlands, the South West and the Eastern region, issued a three line whip instructing Labour MPs to vote for the Bill in its third reading, but a massive 47 Labour MPs broke the whip and voted against blocking with the Liberal Democrats and Scottish Nationalists, with Labour Shadow Cabinet members quitting, and Corbyn favourites like Dianne Abbott going sick and missing the vote.
After this mutiny, the right wing stepped up its drive to dump Corbyn hoping, for good measure, that Labour would lose all pending by-elections. It also launched a witch-hunt on the Momentum movement that had brought tens of thousands of new members into the party, while encouraging Unite Leader McCluskey to tell Corbyn that he has 18 months to put the Labour Party ahead of the Tories otherwise he will have to go.
The reaction of the Corbyn leadership to the sharpening witch-hunt has been to capitulate to the right wing threat that they will split and destroy the party, and not to fight it. This rout was signalled when Labour, after issuing a three line whip to set the Bill on the road then voted to amend the Bill in its other readings in the House of Lords and the House of Commons, before producing their six points to confront the outcome of the negotiations with the EU.
The Labour right wing now rules, tolerating Corbyn until the time is right to dump him, creating a bloc with the Liberal Democrats, Scots Nats and the Osborne-Cameron Tory group – which now has its own daily paper by kind permission of the Russian oligarchs to try to defeat Brexit and remain in the EU, with the working class reduced to a prisoner of war.
The hundreds of thousands of young people that joined the Labour Party because they thought that the Corbyn leadership would fight for socialism have been betrayed. No doubt there will be a major effort headed by the right wing to drive them out of the party as the Labour Party reorientates itself to be an ally of the LibDems, the Scottish Tories and the Cameron-Osborne gang, to put an end to Brexit by showing the working class that their 17 million-plus vote did not mean anything.
All this manoeuvring and backstabbing will not save the EU, which is collapsing of its own accord, neither will it drive the UK working class back. Workers know that it was Blair and then Cameron that exported their jobs, and began the privatisation of the NHS. The working class will not be denied. It will insist that Brexit is carried out and that the Labour right wing is defeated and the British capitalists expropriated.
World and British capitalism is now in its greatest crisis and workers know that the only solution for them is to carry out a socialist revolution and spread it throughout Europe. This year is the 100th anniversary of the Russian revolution. This revolution was the beginning of the world socialist revolution. The task of the working class today is to complete it and put an end to capitalism worldwide!