Chuka Umunna’s Brexit Amendment

The Tory position on Brexit and Single Market access is terrible, the vagueness of their understanding of the EU terrifying. That shouldn’t disguise the fact that the Labour position is also terrible. Labour aren’t proposing to cut workers’ rights, and Keir Starmer seems like he’d be much better prepared than David ‘100 pages of notes’ Davis. Still, that’s a low bar, Labour shouldn’t be excused on Brexit just because they’re less terrible than the Tories.

John McDonnell has spoken about “tariff-free access to the Single Market”. The best way to be sure of achieving that is by being in the Single Market. An alternative could take months to negotiate, and given the UK’s weak negotiating position, would probably mean having to give up something in return. Even the best possible option would be a step down from where we are at the moment – Norway has access to the Single Market, but have to abide by EU regulations, which they have no say in shaping.

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Stoke Central: Labour vs not-Labour

The Stoke Central by-election is a conflict between Labour and Gareth Snell on one hand, and not-Labour and Brexit on the other.

paul-nuttall-by-euro-realist-newsletter-2009-09-04The specifics of UKIP and Paul Nuttall will drag down the latter – being a pathological liar and a party of clowns will not be attractive qualities anywhere in the world. Nuttall seems to be aware of this, not having attended either of the last two hustings for what is probably the biggest contest in the party’s history, and taken down his website for ‘routine maintenance’ just a week before voting.

Despite these specifics, Nuttall still has a chance of winning. In Stoke Central, 69.4% voted for Leave in the European Referendum, and there is the feeling among a lot of working class voters that neither Tory nor Labour can be trusted to make Brexit happen. This is part of a broader sense that parties don’t listen to voters.

It’s easy to laugh at Nuttall and UKIP. But as Donald Trump proves, just because a politician is ludicrous, we shouldn’t underestimate their ability to take advantage of a sense of abandonment.

 

Nothing Bad Happened on Tuesday, and the Pound Dropped Two Percent

One of our co-writers also writes for Evolve Politics, one of the bigger emerging political news sites. This first appeared there.
British political discussion since June 23rd has been dominated by the effect Brexit will have on the economy, and Tuesday’s stock market reaction has given us reason to be very fearful.
The exchange rate of the pound against the dollar dropped from just over $1.23 per £1 at 13:15 UTC on Tuesday, to hovering just above $1.21 per £1 between 17:10 and 21:40.
value-of-pound-against-dollar-2016-week

Tuesday’s headlines did include figures on the amount of tax revenue expected to be lost when the UK does exit the EU. While the £66 billion figure made a lot of headlines, it won’t have been newsworthy to the majority of professional investors – as Duncan Weldon, Head of Research at the Resolution Group investment firm has pointed out, this was a rehash of the pre-vote Treasury report, and as a result “shouldn’t move currency that much”.

Read the full article at Evolve Politics

The Incredible Incompetence of Steven Woolfe

There are currently two leadership election campaigns being ran by major British political parties. As leftwingers, the co-writers of this blog initially saw wins for Labour’s Owen Smith and UKIP’s Steven Woolfe as the worst possible scenario for the left.

Large proportions of the working class areas which voted to Leave in the June referendum were in safe Labour seats where UKIP have been growing in strength. The working class Leave vote was, in our experience as Remain campaigners, largely an anti-establishment vote. Phrases like ‘something has to change’ came up fairly often. Smith’s suggestion of a second referendum once the terms of Brexit have been made clear (as opposed to the best of all worlds mirage which was offered in June) is sensible. But the prospect of a well-off former drug company executive potentially trying to reverse a working-class rebellion against the establishment would be a dangerous one. To make this work, Smith would need to draw on reserves of charisma, persuasion and clarity of communication that he simply doesn’t have.

Labour’s ability to present themselves as being the party of the working class would be even tougher were UKIP to be led by the highly-regarded working class MEP and barrister Steven Woolfe, born and raised in Manchester’s Moss Side.

However, despite Woolfe being favourite to win, his application was submitted to the party 17 minutes after the deadline closed, leading to UKIP’s National Executive Committee voting to exclude him from the contest. So why did the man many see as Nigel Farage’s most natural successor fall at the first hurdle?

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A Brief Guide to Poll-Reading

A version of this post first appeared on our Facebook page last week.

Last week, we ran a poll on our Twitter account in response to the news that the EU had ruled that Ireland had given state aid to Apple, by allowing them to pay a lower rate of tax than other similar corporations.

There’s the obvious disclaimers to start with – the poll was conducted online, which means respondents are more likely to be disproportionately young and left-wing than among the wider population. Also, while we try to be politically balanced, our beliefs are more leftwing than rightwing, which will be reflected in our followers. So the people who see the poll will not completely represent a cross-section of the population for those reasons.

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Fact-Free Coverage of the EU Referendum

This first appeared on the Facebook page

There’s still two months until we vote, but the EU Referendum has been an absolute mess. Rather than a broad, fact-based debate about the role we play in the European Union, we’ve had personality politics and childish insults.

This weekend Boris Johnson has claimed that the American president’s Kenyan ancestry motivates a hatred for Britain, and followed it up by calling Obama ‘weird’. This isn’t so much the pot calling the kettle black as the pot calling the dinner-plate black.
Johnson is not alone in his indifference for facts.
Dominic Cummings, apparently notorious for his previous role at the Department for Education is now the campaign director of Vote Leave. When testifying before a House of Commons select committee he said that “I don’t think it’s Vote Leave’s job to provide figures”.
When told that “Vote Leave quotes numerous figures on its website … most of them misleading or inaccurate”, Cummings responded that: “Accuracy is for snake-oil pussies.”

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