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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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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