The real Brexit agenda and what it means for the working class

20 December 2017

Now that May has “single-handedly” wrested a deal over the conditions for Britain's "divorce" from the EU, the way is supposed to be clear for the really serious business to start.  And by this, they mean the horse-trading over Britain’s future trade relations with the EU, in other words, over the future profits of British big business.
    But is the way really as clear as they say?  Because it seems that neither side of the table can agree on what this "done deal" actually means.
    On the British side, May's chief Brexit bigot, David Davis, insists that it was just a "statement of intent", which was conditional on a future trade deal.  Never mind that one of the very few things on which this "divorce deal", is crystal clear, is that it is NOT conditional on the outcome of the next round of talks!
    Meanwhile, the EU side announced that there would be no trade talks before March 2018.  And, quite logically, they added that May's government would have to sort out its internal quarrels first and to clarify a number of the vague commitments made in the "divorce deal".

Back to the old delusions

But never mind.  This hasn't stopped the Brexit fan club in Westminster from producing yet more hot air.  Harking back to the "good old days" of the British empire, these Tory Brexiters have nothing to offer but the same old delusions.  Apparently they have not noticed that Britain has long since ceased to be “the engineering workshop of the world” that it once was... back in the 19th century!
    So, May's Trade secretary, Liam Fox, another Brexit bigot, went on record hailing the fabulous "free trade agreements" that Britain would be able to sign up to, with the rest of the world, once it was finally free from the shackles of Brussels.
    Ironically, the same Fox is also a vocal supporter of a "hard Brexit" which would end the present free trade agreement between Britain and the EU single market - an entity which is over 7 times larger than Britain itself, and accounts for more than half of its trade!
    That the Westminster Brexiters are living on another planet was highlighted by the EU chief negotiator himself, in advance of the March trade negotiations.  Just three days after the divorce deal was announced, Barnier made a point of hammering out the fact that without remaining in the Single market, there was no way that British companies would be able to carry on selling their services - especially financial services - freely across the EU, as they do now.  And there would be no way for British companies to carry on selling and buying products in the EU, without facing custom tariffs.  And that says it all, doesn't it?

Beware of the Brexit bulldog

Unless, of course, what the Westminster Brexiters really have in mind is something else: for instance what environment minister Michael Gove, spelt out in his latest newspaper interview.  According to him, leaving the EU will be an opportunity for the government at last, to free itself from the EU Working Time regulations; for workers to have the "freedom" to work longer hours (and forget about breaks and paid holidays) and - although Gove stopped short of saying this in so many words - for the bosses to have the "freedom" to turn the screw much further on the working class.  Significantly, when challenged over Gove's statement, May refused to disown it.
    And, of course, lest we forget, the Working Time Directive is only one of the many EU regulations which have resulted in new rights being introduced into British law for workers.  Given the treatment imposed on workers in the so-called "gig economy" today, it is not hard to figure out what will happen to those of us in temp jobs if the provisions of the EU Temporary Workers' regulations were also repealed!
    So, there we are.  Gove may well have inadvertently let the Brexit bulldog out of its bag.  Indeed, whether soft or hard, the Westminster Brexiters know full well that by leaving the EU and the Single Market, British capital would lose a large chunk of its markets and would not have a chance in hell of retaining its fat profits.
    That is, not without orchestrating a massive increase in the exploitation of the working class, in order to make British companies "competitive" against all their rivals in the EU and in the low-wage countries of Asia and South America.
    This means that what the Westminster Brexiters have in store for the working class is an intensification of the bosses' class war against workers.  A war is a war and it can always be fought - and won by us, the working class.  But to this end, we need to prepare ourselves, strengthen and reinforce our ranks, so as to be ready, when the time comes, to go on the offensive against our capitalist class enemies and their politicians!