Early last week our contributor and correspondent Roger Arthur sent me this correspondence which we publish with kind permission. Perhaps having Corbyn as PM is not so clever after all:
1. Letter to Corbyn from Roger Arthur:
Along with brave colleagues such as Kate Hoey and Frank Field, you have pointed out the serious shortcomings of the EU many times over the years. The 408 (62.8%) constituencies which voted to leave will be very grateful for that.
When EU leaders who are not directly elected tell us that the era of our nation state is over, then no doubt you find that offensive, as will the £17.4m who voted to leave the EU.
Now isn’t it truly bizarre Jeremy that Mrs May who campaigned to remain in the EU, will not say how she would vote in another (3rd) referendum, while your good self as a long time Eurosceptic, leads an Opposition which insists on keeping us in a Customs Union (CU)? Surely you must see the irony in that.
Sadly many suspect that you will use your CU demand to undermine the Government’s proposals, in the hope of engineering a General Election, after which you will reside in No 10. That would leave 17.4m disenfranchised voters to conclude that the democratic system has failed and that voting is pointless. The EU would of course be delighted.
But the mandate given by the above constituencies was bigger than any government ever received in a General Election. So are you going to put the interests of your party and your own career above the referendum outcome, thereby thwarting the will of the people, reneging on your own Eurosceptic values in the process.
Or are you going to fight for a return to government for the people by the people, so that we no longer have to follow the EU rule book?
Only if the UK leaves the EU will the occupant of No 10 Downing Street actually matter and being an EU Quisling in No 10 is surely unattractive to a man of principle? Because if the UK doesn’t leave the EU, the Prime Minister won’t matter much at all.
At this historic moment, all that matters is that the UK actually leaves the EU such that the era of our nation state and our democracy itself, shall not be brought to an end.
Which side of history will you be on Jeremy? Will you be in the same league as past Labour giants, such as Peter Shore and Tony Benn, or will you be just another pigmy, who managed to creep into No 10? Please let us all know.
Yours sincerely, R.A.
2. Reply from Jeremy Corbyn’s assistant, via email:
Many thanks for getting in touch about exiting the European Union.
After 18 months of failure in Brexit negotiations, it is clear the Tory Government cannot deliver the Brexit deal we need to protect jobs, the economy and rights.
The Chequers proposals are nowhere near the comprehensive plan we need to protect jobs, rights and the economy.
The customs proposals are complex and unworkable; there is nothing to protect our service industries; it does not protect workers’ rights and environmental standards, and it will not prevent a hard border in Northern Ireland. Labour will not support Chequers and there is no majority for this approach in Parliament.
Labour will not give the Tories a blank cheque to drive through a destructive Brexit deal. That is why Labour set out six tests at the start of the Article 50 process.
Labour’s tests were based on the promises Theresa May and members of her Cabinet said they would deliver from Brexit. If those tests are not met, then Labour will vote against Theresa May’s Brexit deal in Parliament.
Labour has never accepted this is a choice between Theresa May’s deal and no deal. No government has the right to plunge the country into chaos because of their own failure.
In the event Parliament rejects Theresa May’s Brexit deal, that is not a mandate for Theresa May to crash out with no deal.
If Theresa May’s deal is voted down by Parliament, Labour’s priority would be for there to be a general election, but all options should be kept on the table to break the impasse and avoid no deal – including campaigning for a public vote on the terms of Brexit.
The Labour Party’s policy on Brexit was agreed by consensus among Labour delegates at Annual Conference, and reflects a united Labour position on Brexit. Contrast that to the Tories, who remain fundamentally split on Brexit and the Chequers proposals.
Labour’s approach to Brexit is based on our values: internationalism, solidarity, respect for human rights and social and economic justice. Labour will seek a close and cooperative new relationship with the EU – not as members, but as partners.
Lee-Ann, Membership Services and Correspondence, The Labour Party
3. Follow up response from Roger Arthur:
Many thanks for your prompt reply Lee-Ann
We were told that if we voted to leave the EU, we would be leaving both the Single Market and the Customs Union and that ”it is for the people to decide”. The Labour Party undertook to respect the referendum outcome.
Jeremy made clear that we would be leaving the single market, while Shadow International Trade Secretary Barry Gardiner reiterated that “in voting to leave the EU the British people voted to leave both the SM and the CU.”
But the Labour party has since reneged on such promises by deciding that we must remain in a CU, knowing that that would likely leave us complying with the EU rulebook, prejudicing our ability to negotiate our own trade deals.
You should know that continued compliance with EU regulations is not without cost, bearing in mind that 93% of UK companies don’t even export to the SM but must comply with EU regulations.
In addition to the UK’s £9 billion pa EU membership cost, is the compliance cost, which in 2015 your colleague Gordon Brown estimated at up to 7% of GDP pa, as seen here.. Did you not know that?
Now, 7% of GDP equates to around £140 billion pa. Taken with the direct cost above, that equates to around £3,000m (yes £3bn) per week, which is many times higher than the figure on the red bus. That shows just how important it is for the UK to be removed from ECJ jurisdiction, including the Customs Union, the Single Market and the EU rule book. Have you grasped that?
You will also be aware that EU tariffs on food are around 20%, which means that the UK is paying through the nose for imports from beyond the SM, while denying developing economies free access to UK markets. Why would you want to do that?
Indeed, nothing has emerged since the referendum to detract from the case to remove us totally from the EU, including the SM and CU. Thus it is totally inexplicable that Labour has decided to ignore such fundamentals while leaving us to comply with the EU rulebook indefinitely.
Of course EU leaders want to control what we do, because they fear that we will otherwise become ever more competitive. But why is the Labour Party working for them, instead of the 408 (62.8%) constituencies which voted to leave the EU. Why are you undermining trust in the democratic process itself?
For the first time in many years, both of the major parties are working against the wishes of the majority of the British people and the democratic process itself. Labour party giants from the past will be turning in their graves. Your members and so called “leaders” should be ashamed of themselves.
Yes you can ignore all of that and leave history to judge your party’s failure when it counted most. I don’t doubt that you will take that option, as it is a much easier than fighting for the British people. But it would be nice to get a response from the man who has pointed out the shortcomings of the EU so many times – ie Jeremy Corbyn. But will he have the courage to reply?
Yours sincerely, R.A.
(No reply received so far – if there does come one, we’ll publish it.)