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Should Labour be leading the campaign to keep the UK in the EU?

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Should Labour be leading the campaign to keep the UK in the EU?

Post by Ivan on Sun Dec 11, 2016 1:46 pm

Before the EU referendum on 23 June, only 9 of Labour’s 232 MPs backed the Leave campaign. Analysis of the result shows that Labour persuaded two-thirds of its supporters to vote for Remain. The Labour conference in September 2015 recognised “that our membership of the EU means companies can sell to a market of 500 million people, employees are provided additional rights and protections in the workplace and everyone across the UK has the freedom to travel, live, work, study and retire anywhere in the EU”. Everything suggests that Labour is very much a pro-EU party.

It therefore seems strange that in Parliament on 7 December, Labour appears to have handed Theresa May what some newspapers are calling “a blank cheque” for triggering Article 50, as only 23 of its MPs voted against the motion to do so, while another 56 abstained. Virtually every MP who supported the UK remaining in the EU said they did not want to block Article 50 outright, merely that they want Parliament to have its say.

Simple souls will tell you it’s “undemocratic” if you don’t accept “the will of the people” as expressed in that referendum. Of course it wasn’t the verdict of “the people” but of 51.89% of those who voted, just 37.46% of the electorate. It certainly wasn’t the will of the people of Northern Ireland and Scotland, where a majority of those who voted wanted to stay in the EU, and it definitely wasn’t the will of the people of Gibraltar, where 96% voted for Remain. In any case, the so-called ‘democratic’ process was flawed. 3 million EU residents in the UK were denied a vote, as were 1.5 million 16/17 year olds (unlike in the Scottish referendum) and 700,000 UK citizens living in other EU states. There were restrictions on how much the Remain and Leave camps could spend, but no limits were placed on tabloid publicity, paid for by the UK’s 5 anti-EU media billionaires. Furthermore, the fact that there is so much argument over what people actually voted for suggests that the so-called mandate for leaving the EU isn't exactly very clear.

The referendum was only advisory, Parliament is sovereign. Parliament voted to hold the referendum, so it could also vote to ignore its practical effects. The unwritten British constitution, with all of its complexity and common sense, has never been about mob rule, the tyranny of the majority. In any event, a new referendum on the relations between the UK and the EU may well be required under the European Union Act of 2011. This Act created a ‘referendum lock’, which requires a referendum before an amendment of the EU treaties can be ratified. Because the 2011 Act has been written in very broad terms, it almost certainly applies to the treaties that the UK is likely to conclude with the EU in order to withdraw from it.  

The philosopher and author Professor A C Grayling has written: “I have heard from a number of MPs who will oppose Brexit in Parliament. I have heard from a number more who say they would like to oppose it. I wish to demonstrate to these latter that to treat the outcome of the referendum as binding on them is precisely undemocratic, and that the interests of the nation and its future lies in their exercising their responsibility to oppose Brexit if that is what they believe is right for the country.” Grayling has also said: “Resistance to Brexit is resistance to the reinvention of the UK as ‘The Mail’, ‘The Express’, Farage, Murdoch and the far right want it”.

Theresa May can waffle on about “securing the best possible deal for Britain”, but there is no right deal. All of the possible outcomes of Brexit would lead to a loss of jobs, wealth and the UK’s status in the world. There is no moral or legal obligation for MPs to collude with May’s government in bringing about a national catastrophe on the basis that a simple majority of people voted for it in a referendum. Many Labour MPs are no doubt wary of the fact that they represent constituencies where the majority voted for Brexit. So what? Many MPs represent constituencies where a majority of voters didn’t choose them. It misses the point.

Labour performed badly in the by-elections at Richmond Park and Sleaford and North Hykeham. At a time when Brexit is the issue most dividing the country, Labour is not sending out a clear message. Those who support Brexit will vote for either the Tories or UKIP, while those who passionately oppose leaving the EU may well be inclined to rehabilitate the Lib Dems, 5 of whom (along with 51 SNP MPs, Caroline Lucas and Ken Clarke) also voted against giving May a blank cheque to trigger Article 50. Labour should be leading the fight to overturn the referendum result and to stay in the EU. It’s what most of its MPs, a clear majority of its supporters and its party conference want. They have a duty to do what they believe is in the best interests of the country, and they might even gain some respect for showing integrity in the process.

Grayling says “it is not acceptable that any MP can believe that Brexit is a bad thing yet choose to stand impotently aside and do nothing”. It is even less acceptable when a political party is in that position. On what is the most important issues facing the nation for decades, Labour should show some leadership, oppose Brexit unequivocally and damn the consequences!

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Re: Should Labour be leading the campaign to keep the UK in the EU?

Post by oftenwrong on Sun Dec 11, 2016 5:28 pm

The alternative might simply be to repeat the masterly inactivity of the period leading up to 1997, and stand aside whilst the Tory Party tears itself to pieces.

All the signs are there again, n'est ce pas?

(My "Pocket Guide to British Politics" says that the Conservative Party and the Labour Party are elected to rule "by turns".)
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Re: Should Labour be leading the campaign to keep the UK in the EU?

Post by sickchip on Sun Dec 11, 2016 8:43 pm

I am beginning to think the Labour party are imbeciles.
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Re: Should Labour be leading the campaign to keep the UK in the EU?

Post by Ivan on Sun Dec 11, 2016 11:11 pm

All the signs are there again, n'est ce pas?
There are certain similarities with the Tory government of 1992-97, the regime which Norman Lamont (after he'd been sacked) described as “being in office but not in power”. There was the unexpected election victory, the small parliamentary majority, a weak PM, the fall in the value of the pound, incompetence, sleaze and divisions over Europe. However, there was one very significant difference. Unlike the gutless Cameron, who agreed to hold a referendum to satisfy the rabid right of the Tory Party, and May, who intends to trigger Article 50 for much the same reason, John Major signed the Maastricht Treaty and faced down what he called “the bastards” (such as Iain Duncan Smith) in his party.

This is not the time to stand aside and watch this country’s future be wrecked by leaving the EU. Labour’s current policy on Brexit is too vague for the average punter and falls between two stools. If voters want a party that supports leaving the EU, they will opt for the Tories or UKIP. It would give them a clear choice if the main opposition party declared that it was unreservedly in favour of staying in the largest free trade area the world has ever seen.
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Re: Should Labour be leading the campaign to keep the UK in the EU?

Post by boatlady on Mon Dec 12, 2016 12:38 pm

I am beginning to think the Labour party are imbeciles.

Me too, at times
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Re: Should Labour be leading the campaign to keep the UK in the EU?

Post by Ivan on Thu Dec 15, 2016 12:47 pm

Brexit: 40% of US firms with British offices are considering relocating to the EU

Food and beverage, life sciences and financial services firms are the most likely to consider relocating.

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Investors are pulling billions of pounds in the wake of Brexit

UK insurance companies, pension funds, and trusts pulled a collective £15 billion ($18.7 billion) worth of investments between July and September

The ONS says the investment activities of the insurance, pension, and trust sectors are important because "these institutions control £4 trillion of assets and engage in considerable volumes of investment activity to fund their operations.


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Maybe our politicians should take some advice from Fred and Ginger.....  bounce


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Re: Should Labour be leading the campaign to keep the UK in the EU?

Post by Penderyn on Thu Dec 15, 2016 1:43 pm

I think the chances of the current MPs defying the Murdochites for mere conscience and honesty are small. Pity - it might well work.
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Re: Should Labour be leading the campaign to keep the UK in the EU?

Post by Ivan on Sun Dec 18, 2016 11:13 pm


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Re: Should Labour be leading the campaign to keep the UK in the EU?

Post by boatlady on Mon Dec 19, 2016 11:01 am

~I really wish there was a way to revisit this whole question in the light of some actual facts
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Re: Should Labour be leading the campaign to keep the UK in the EU?

Post by oftenwrong on Mon Dec 19, 2016 7:34 pm

On a practical level, I'm happy to watch the Tory party keep on digging that now enormous hole in which to bury themselves.
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Re: Should Labour be leading the campaign to keep the UK in the EU?

Post by Ivan on Sun Jan 01, 2017 10:56 pm


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Re: Should Labour be leading the campaign to keep the UK in the EU?

Post by Ivan on Mon Jan 02, 2017 11:01 pm


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Re: Should Labour be leading the campaign to keep the UK in the EU?

Post by boatlady on Tue Jan 03, 2017 9:19 am

Seems a very coherent argument - is it yours, Ivan?

Given the above, I'm really not sure why there's all this argument - surely the issue of Brexit is still up for debate
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Re: Should Labour be leading the campaign to keep the UK in the EU?

Post by sickchip on Tue Jan 03, 2017 11:44 pm

Ivan,

The thing is the Labour party's line is also "we must respect the vote / will of the people". The Labour party are therefore either cowards sucking up to what they perceive to be 'popular' opinion because they imagine it will win them votes, are in collusion with the government, or are indifferent whether we stay or remain.

The trick Labour are missing is 63% of Labour voters voted to remain; and while 52% of those who voted in the referendum supported leaving that was only 37% of the total electorate. In my opinion, and if the referendum were to be considered as 'advisory', the fact that 63% of the total electorate did NOT vote to leave would indicate the mood of the country is NOT overwhelmingly to leave. Labour would do well to realise, and recognise that. However, as previously stated, they have fallen into line and are touting the 'respect the result of the referendum / the public have spoken' line. Foolish?
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Re: Should Labour be leading the campaign to keep the UK in the EU?

Post by Ivan on Wed Jan 04, 2017 11:33 pm

boatlady. No, I didn't write that article, I found it on the Twitter timeline of Nick Reeves (@nickreeves9876).

This is what the Labour manifesto in 2015 had to say about the EU:-

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Re: Should Labour be leading the campaign to keep the UK in the EU?

Post by boatlady on Thu Jan 05, 2017 8:56 am

That seems about right to me - can't understand why that position is not now being restated at every opportunity
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Re: Should Labour be leading the campaign to keep the UK in the EU?

Post by Penderyn on Thu Jan 05, 2017 2:00 pm

The Brexit vote was a nonsense, fuelled by resentment and lies, and any decent people would go all out to overthrow it. Is it any wonder that the careerist MPs, having used it to try to destroy Mr Corbyn, now grovel to the liars and hide under the bed?
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Re: Should Labour be leading the campaign to keep the UK in the EU?

Post by oftenwrong on Thu Jan 05, 2017 10:21 pm

Relentless propaganda served to make voters think that a Labour administration bore sole responsibility for the 2008 credit crunch.  It's clearly unfortunate that the calumny has passed into folklore, but the Tories are working hard to supplant it by their mishandling of the Brexit matter.  No British newspaper or broadcaster has so far managed to impart a positive spin, so perhaps the public will come to the realisation that its Conservative idol has feet of clay.
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Re: Should Labour be leading the campaign to keep the UK in the EU?

Post by Ivan on Fri Jan 13, 2017 1:03 pm

Richmond is a wake-up call for Labour's Brexit strategy

"Because the Labour Party reads the electorate today as wanting Brexit, it concludes it must deliver it. But, even for those who think a politician’s job is to channel the electorate, this thinking discloses an error in logic. The task is not to read the political dynamic of today. It is to position itself for the dynamic when it matters - at the next general election. If the economy has tanked, if inflation is rising and living standards have slumped, and the deficit has ballooned – what then?"

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Re: Should Labour be leading the campaign to keep the UK in the EU?

Post by oftenwrong on Fri Jan 13, 2017 7:31 pm

"Because the Labour Party reads the electorate today as wanting Brexit, it concludes it must deliver it."

I'm not sure that I can agree with that assumption. Jeremy Corbyn has plowed a lonely undeviating furrow during the recent past which is based upon core Socialist belief. Brexit and internal opposition have not changed his opinions nor his intentions. If anyone can interpret the latest gnomic utterances from Labour it will be the priestesses who serve the Oracle at Delphi. I can't.

The media have to report every twist and turn of daily politics, but it's my opinion that Mr Corbyn changes his views as often as he changes his tailor.

WYSIWYG

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Re: Should Labour be leading the campaign to keep the UK in the EU?

Post by Ivan on Fri Jan 20, 2017 1:16 pm

In 1975, 67.2% of those who voted opted to stay in what was then called the EEC. That was a clear result; 51.89% isn’t. Nevertheless, the Europhobes and the right-wing tabloids didn’t “move on” or “get over it”. They spent the next 43 years spreading negative stories about the largest single market the world has ever seen and which no doubt contributed to the UK becoming the fifth richest country in the world.

Brexit is a disastrous idea, to be implemented on the back of a narrow win in an advisory referendum after a campaign in which the Leave side spread lies on an industrial scale. Not one argument was put forward for Brexit which stands up to any sort of scrutiny. May’s much-trumpeted “best possible deal” will be nothing of the sort, because that would involve staying in the EU.

The referendum was only called by a weak PM hoping to buy himself time and to stop Tories from deserting to UKIP. The process was flawed; 16 and 17-year-olds were not allowed to vote on their future, as they had been allowed to do in Scotland. Citizens of Ireland, Malta and Cyprus living in the UK were allowed to vote, but not citizens of other EU countries, and not Brits who have lived abroad for more than 15 years. One million people were missing from the electoral roll, and the referendum was held when students had gone home from the university towns where many had registered to vote.

A change of this magnitude should have required thresholds, and would have done had it not been an advisory referendum. It’s also thoroughly undemocratic to force Scotland, Northern Ireland and Gibraltar to leave the EU when the majority vote in each place was to stay. The Scots were told in 2014 that the only way they could remain in the EU was to vote to stay in the UK, so they have every justification in holding another referendum on independence when faced with May’s hard Brexit. There could well be serious problems if a hard border between the two parts of Ireland becomes necessary again.

I voted for Jeremy Corbyn twice, but he’ll be making a serious mistake if he tries to force Labour MPs into not opposing the triggering of Article 50. Labour Party policy, as approved by its conference in September 2015 “recognises that our membership of the EU means companies can sell to a market of 500 million people, employees are provided additional rights and protections in the workplace and everyone across the UK has the freedom to travel, live, work, study and retire anywhere in the EU”. Only 9 of 232 Labour MPs supported Brexit, along with around one-third of Labour supporters. Yes, there are Labour constituencies where the majority voted for Leave, but there are also many constituencies where the majority of voters didn’t vote for the sitting MP under our first-past-the-post system.

We have a representative democracy, where we elect MPs to make decisions on our behalf. Parliament is, and has long been, sovereign, which is what Brexit supporters are supposed to support. Around 480 of our 650 MPs supported Remain in the referendum. They are abdicating their responsibility if they ignore what they believe to be the best interests of this country. They should not acquiesce to the close result of an advisory referendum, where millions of people were duped by liars and years of tabloid propaganda into making a foolish decision largely based on ignorance.

Labour will get back its lost working class votes by offering strong policies that will make a difference on housing, health, social care and education. It also needs an effective campaign to illustrate that UKIP is no friend of the working class and has a leader who now tries to hide the fact that he supports NHS privatisation. Labour also needs to get the message across that it is neither the EU nor immigrants who make greedy employers pay low wages, and that with stronger trade unions and more effective enforcement of the minimum wage, they wouldn’t be able to do so. There is no finite number of jobs in a country, and immigrants create work because they are both taxpayers and consumers. The 1930s showed us that you don’t defeat right-wing ideology by appeasing it.

If Corbyn doesn’t oppose Brexit, once it all goes horribly wrong (as it surely will), Labour will end up sharing the blame with the Tories. It seems that in England at least, only the Liberal Democrats are speaking up for the 48.11% who voted Remain, but with their track record in the coalition government it would require a great leap of faith to trust them again.

I consider Brexit to be the biggest threat facing the UK since the Second World War, a threat to our workplace rights, our health and safety and our prosperity in a globalised world. I see from Twitter that pro-EU Labour supporters are currently quitting the party in droves, and if the Labour leadership doesn’t oppose Article 50, I shall be tearing up my membership card. I won't stay in a party that I can't agree with on such an important issue.
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Re: Should Labour be leading the campaign to keep the UK in the EU?

Post by Penderyn on Fri Jan 20, 2017 1:24 pm

What I find extraordinary but pleasing is that so many rightist MPs favour fighting Brexit. I think our only obvious answer is to say at all times that we oppose the real enemy of working people, the capitalist press, whatever its current lies.
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Re: Should Labour be leading the campaign to keep the UK in the EU?

Post by Ivan on Sat Jan 21, 2017 3:37 pm


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Re: Should Labour be leading the campaign to keep the UK in the EU?

Post by boatlady on Sat Jan 21, 2017 5:02 pm

One might want to ask 'cui bono?' - not sure how this benefits any of the current interest groups - except of course the 1%
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Re: Should Labour be leading the campaign to keep the UK in the EU?

Post by oftenwrong on Sat Jan 21, 2017 5:24 pm

The analogy is with one of those card games in which you can elect to change all your cards and start again with a fresh hand. Seriously, Brexit is indeed taking on the character of a Coup d'Etat and we need to be vigilant.
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Re: Should Labour be leading the campaign to keep the UK in the EU?

Post by boatlady on Sun Jan 22, 2017 11:38 am

You're right - it's a terrifying scenario - I don't think any of us could predict where the next threat will come from

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Re: Should Labour be leading the campaign to keep the UK in the EU?

Post by Ivan on Sun Jan 22, 2017 10:32 pm

I don't think any of us could predict where the next threat will come from

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Re: Should Labour be leading the campaign to keep the UK in the EU?

Post by boatlady on Mon Jan 23, 2017 8:29 am

Yeah - maybe

I wonder what bomb shelters cost these days?
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Re: Should Labour be leading the campaign to keep the UK in the EU?

Post by oftenwrong on Mon Jan 23, 2017 12:32 pm

Alternate Fact #101/2017

British Army's last fighting unit could be wiped out 'in an afternoon' by Russia

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Re: Should Labour be leading the campaign to keep the UK in the EU?

Post by boatlady on Mon Jan 23, 2017 4:45 pm

Don't! I'm scared enough
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Re: Should Labour be leading the campaign to keep the UK in the EU?

Post by sickchip on Thu Jan 26, 2017 6:23 pm

Should Labour be leading the campaign to keep the UK in the EU?

Apparently not....
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Re: Should Labour be leading the campaign to keep the UK in the EU?

Post by boatlady on Thu Jan 26, 2017 7:04 pm

In the movies there's often a twist in the last reel that brings everything OK - guess we haven't got to the last reel yet - have to say I'm beginning to worry
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Re: Should Labour be leading the campaign to keep the UK in the EU?

Post by oftenwrong on Thu Jan 26, 2017 7:08 pm

"Apparently not...."  Clearly not, sickchip.  

Every MP was elected to Parliament by majority public vote.  
Brexit was the result of a majority public vote.  

ipso facto To deny the legitimacy of the referendum result causes any elected MP, of whatever party, to question the legitimacy of their own position.

Therefore won't happen, because it can't happen unless there is a Revolution.
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Re: Should Labour be leading the campaign to keep the UK in the EU?

Post by sickchip on Thu Jan 26, 2017 11:02 pm

oftenwrong,

The referendum vote was in / out vote - a choice between two things.

An mp is elected in an election that may provide four, or five, serious options for voters in a particular constituency.

Now......it is claimed 63% of Labour voters voted to Remain. Let us say during a general election a Labour mp is elected with 40% of that constituency vote - with Tory on 30%, UKIP 25%, others 5%. The Labour mp wins the seat. However during the referendum lets say all the those who voted Tory and UKIP voted for Brexit, but the 40% who elected the Labour mp vote remain. Brexit wins by virtue of combined Tory and UKIP votes........and so the Labour mp refuses to represent those who elected them to parliament as an mp, but decides to represent the Tory and UKIP Brexiteers instead.

Can you see the issue, and problem?

It should also be noted that the referendum result was a national vote - not a constituency vote. The result was 52% to 48%.......on a 72% turnout. So if mps were really representing the electorate shouldn't the way they vote reflect those figures? If 100% of mps vote for to pass this through, who is representing the 48% remainers and others who didn't feel strong enough, or informed enough, to vote either way? Only 37% of the electorate voted to Leave - 63% didn't. We now have a situation whereby it is being suggested virtually every mp should vote Article 50 through..........ignoring 63% of the electorate.
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Re: Should Labour be leading the campaign to keep the UK in the EU?

Post by oftenwrong on Fri Jan 27, 2017 11:18 am

Well argued, sickchip, and I am very pleased not to be responsible for reaching a decision on whether some nationally voted results are more equal than the results of other national votes.

One Man - One vote - many interpretations.
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Re: Should Labour be leading the campaign to keep the UK in the EU?

Post by sickchip on Fri Jan 27, 2017 7:52 pm

Thank you, oftenwrong.

I think Corbyn is at fault here, or has at least made a mistake in attempting to whip Labour mps into line. He would have been better allowing each individual to reach their own decision. The likelihood is clearly Article 50 will be voted through anyway - with or without the 'whip'.

So, imo, Corbyn has completely misjudged this and created some turmoil within the party - at a juncture when it is the last thing Labour need. His decision to call for a 'three line whip' is completely unnecessary. A very clumsy, and disheartening, judgement by Corbyn imo.
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Re: Should Labour be leading the campaign to keep the UK in the EU?

Post by boatlady on Sat Jan 28, 2017 11:43 am

Angela Rayner
13 hrs · Felton ·
As I've put this on someone else's comment on Jeremy calling for a three line whip on voting for second reading of the bill that will start the process of leaving the EU I thought I'd reiterate it on my timeline. I fully support Jeremy on his position.

We are putting down significant amendments and trying to hold the government to account with members from across the house. This will inform the public about what Brexit means to them and ensure we get a vote on the final deal. We cannot vote it down at second reading as this action is to 'block' brexit before we have even debated what it will mean and any details of a deal. This would be completely against the democratic process.

To suggest that JC could duck a whipped position on this is really absurd. We have to do our best to hold the government to account and demand the facts throughout the parliamentary process before a final vote. That is the correct way to go about scrutiny whilst respecting democracy, not to vote it down before we have even had chance to debate and see the details.

Just putting this out there as it seems to represent the Labour position, which I'm inclined to agree with at this point.
I don't know how people respond to this type of reasoning - wonder if anyone has any comments?
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Re: Should Labour be leading the campaign to keep the UK in the EU?

Post by Ivan on Sat Jan 28, 2017 2:02 pm

oftenwrong wrote:-
Every MP was elected to Parliament by majority public vote.
In the general election of 2010, not one MP received the vote of the majority of his or her constituents, and there is no reason to believe that the position was any different in 2015. By the time that you have factored in those who voted for other parties, and those who didn’t vote at all, the median MP won 30.1% of the available votes:-
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Brexit was the result of a majority public vote.
As sickchip has already explained, only 37% of the electorate voted for Brexit.

ipso facto To deny the legitimacy of the referendum result causes any elected MP, of whatever party, to question the legitimacy of their own position.
I understand the argument that by agreeing to hold the EU referendum, Parliament handed its decision-making role on this issue back to the voters. However, the legislation which enabled it to do so stated that the referendum was only advisory, which is probably why no thresholds on both turnout and the size of the majority were included for a vote with potentially such far-reaching consequences. There was also no requirement for all four countries of the UK to agree to any change to the status quo.

There is a precedent for the UK Parliament imposing thresholds in a referendum and then ignoring the wishes of a small majority:-
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What last year’s referendum showed was that the country is almost evenly divided over our membership of the EU. In such circumstances, I believe it to be the duty of MPs to do what they believe is right for the country, not to pander to majoritarianism. Parliament is supposed to be sovereign, that’s what many Brexiters campaigned for. Thankfully, MPs have sometimes led public opinion on issues, such as legalising homosexuality and abolishing capital punishment in the 1960s, when both decisions were contrary to public opinion. I suppose this comes down to what we pay MPs to do – is it to take decisions on our behalf, or merely to reflect the views of their constituents?
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Re: Should Labour be leading the campaign to keep the UK in the EU?

Post by oftenwrong on Sat Jan 28, 2017 5:21 pm

Ivan wrote: In the general election of 2010, not one MP received the vote of the majority of his or her constituents, and there is no reason to believe that the position was any different in 2015. By the time that you have factored in those who voted for other parties, and those who didn’t vote at all, the median MP won 30.1% of the available votes

HT Result:  Lions 3  Christians 0

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Re: Should Labour be leading the campaign to keep the UK in the EU?

Post by Ivan on Sat Jan 28, 2017 11:54 pm

Angela Rayner wrote:-
I fully support Jeremy on his position…….We are putting down significant amendments and trying to hold the government to account with members from across the house. This will inform the public about what Brexit means to them and ensure we get a vote on the final deal. We cannot vote it down at second reading as this action is to 'block' brexit before we have even debated what it will mean and any details of a deal. This would be completely against the democratic process.
I like Angela Rayner, and we follow each other on Twitter, but I can’t agree with her on Corbyn’s three-line whip for triggering Article 50, and I shall probably resign my membership of the Labour Party next week. “Getting a vote on the final deal” will be too late. May has said it will either be whatever deal she can get or we leave without a deal.

Is it “against the democratic process” to oppose accepting the close result of an advisory referendum? Probably, if you insist on defining ‘democracy’ in such a simple way. But isn’t it undemocratic to force Scotland, Northern Ireland and Gibraltar out of the EU against the will of the majority in those countries? Wasn’t it undemocratic not to let 16 and 17-year-olds vote on their future, as they had been allowed to do in the Scottish referendum in 2014? Wasn’t it undemocratic for 700,000 British citizens living in other EU states to be denied a vote? Wasn’t it undemocratic for strict spending limits to be put on the campaign groups, but no restrictions on tabloid publicity paid for by the UK’s five anti-EU media billionaires? Wasn’t it undemocratic that as soon as the referendum was over, the promise to give the NHS an extra £350 million a week was dropped? Isn’t it undemocratic that May plans to take us out of the single market, when the Tory manifesto of 2015 said that it would “safeguard British interests” within it?

Labour should do everything it can to try to block Brexit. The Remain campaign was supported by all but nine Labour MPs, most party members, two-thirds of Labour voters, the party conference in September 2015 and the TUC. It would also be a good long-term strategy to represent the views of the 48.11% of us who voted for Remain. If – or more likely, when – Brexit turns out to be calamitous, Labour would be in a strong and principled position to offer an alternative to a failed Tory government. By giving May a blank cheque to trigger Article 50 and take us out of the EU, Labour will share the blame when it all goes pear-shaped.

This was posted on Twitter by the team responsible for ‘Have I Got News For You’: “Despite 3-line whip, Corbyn insists Labour will hold government to account over Article 50 legislation, as long as that’s OK with Theresa.

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Re: Should Labour be leading the campaign to keep the UK in the EU?

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