Behind the Brexit delusion, a corrupt, crisis-ridden, profit system!

13th February 2019

This January, after over 20 months of negotiating with her party's warring factions in order to reach a withdrawal deal with the EU, May suffered a first bruising defeat, at the hand of these very same factions.

    Since then, the whole Brexit saga has been in a state of suspended animation. May has been digging her heels in, while claiming, primarily for the benefit of Tory hard-Brexiteers, that "further negotiations" are taking place with the EU to amend the "Irish backstop". Everyone knows this to be a lie. But never mind! For the government, it is a convenient lie: it allows May to blame the EU for her own failures.

    May now appears to have decided to "run down the clock". She seems to think that she can drag out parliamentary procedures to the point where, sometime in March, MPs will be left with only two options: either they endorse her withdrawal deal or else they will have to take the blame for allowing the economy to crash out of the EU.

    Ironically, this barefaced blackmail will be taking place as part of the great Brexit project of "allowing the British Parliament to regain its sovereignty from Brussels" - but obviously not from the irresponsible, factional, overbidding of self-serving British politicians!

May and... workers'rights

Before choosing to go down this road, though, May did pull a few tricks out of her conjurer's hat, in a series of attempts to poach the votes of a few MPs here, and a few MPs there.

    So some Labour MPs were promised exceptional funding for their constituencies - although no-one knows whether these funds will even make up for the post-Brexit loss of existing regional grants which were so far paid by the EU.

    Meanwhile, May went through the motions of seeking Corbyn's support for her withdrawal deal. But, of course, her real aim was not to find some sort of compromise with Labour, but rather to drive a wedge between Corbyn and his own Labour hard-Brexiteers, in the hope of getting their support!

    At the same time, May embarked on a charm offensive towards trade union leaders and the Labour MPs they sponsor - this time, by posing as the ultimate guarantor of workers' rights after Brexit, including of those introduced by the EU.

    Except that Britain's "sovereign" Parliament will be responsible for protecting and improving workers' rights after Brexit. Which says it all! First, because if it was not for the EU's social chapter, workers would have a lot fewer rights in this country today. And second, because if it was not for the cross-party, pro-business bias of British politicians, things such as zero-hours contracts, for instance, would be illegal in Britain, just as they are in most comparable EU countries!

    In any case, whether May's charm offensive will succeed in persuading Labour MPs or not, it certainly won't cut any ice with those workers who are at the receiving end of her low-paid, over-worked, casualised, "flexible labour market"!

The true face of Brexit

But May's posturing is even less credible at a time when the economy is contracting.

    Of course, in this fundamentally unpredictable capitalist economy, no-one can be absolutely sure that this contraction is only due to Brexit. It may also be due to the on-going world crisis.

    But either way, the reality is that this world crisis continues and it makes the world economy all the more unstable. By undoing the complex economic links created over more than 4 decades of Britain's close involvement in the European economy, Brexit is a major contributor to instability. And no-one is able to say how far the effect of this instability will extend, nor how deeply damaging it will be.

    In any case, today's economic contraction is certainly a better indicator of what the future has in store than the hard-Brexiteers' fairy tales of Britain's "bright future" outside the EU!

    The fact that, quarter after quarter, business investment has been going down in Britain is, in and of itself, both an indicator and a warning. It indicates the level of mistrust for their own system that the bosses feel - and it is a warning that whatever form Brexit takes, the bosses will use all the means at their disposal to boost their profits at the expense of the working class.

    In fact, they have already started attacking jobs and conditions in some industries, using Brexit as a pretext. This sets the real scene for the battles to come: they won't take place in the comfort of parliamentary institutions, but in the workplaces and in the streets. If workers are to defend their rights and interests in the coming period, Brexit or not, they will need to use the weapon of class struggle!