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Jan
2017
Wednesday 25th
posted by Morning Star in Editorial

JEREMY CORBYN’S reaffirmed decision to respect the EU referendum result and to amend the impending government Bill to oppose Britain becoming a corporate tax haven is the right approach.

The Supreme Court has confirmed that triggering Article 50 to set in train Britain’s exit from the European Union is the province of Parliament rather than of government.

The Tory government approach has been to restrict decision-making over its negotiating stance to a small group of ministers.

This is to ensure that the terms of exit do not affect its overall economic approach of prioritising corporate profits over working-class living standards.

Theresa May’s crass threat to transform this country into an offshore tax haven in competition with the EU if Brussels negotiators don’t accept her proposals was meant to strengthen her bargaining position.

It made her look silly and justifies broader democratic input into the scenario for EU-UK relations after British withdrawal.

Corbyn is correct to declare that Labour must not frustrate the clearly expressed vote of the electorate by attempting to block Article 50’s implementation.

It is no secret that the Liberal Democrats are determined to obstruct the people’s will. Nor that they are bent on obfuscating their goal.

The Liberal Democrats have always been the most enthusiastic EU zealots and, had they been heeded, Britain would be locked into the eurozone now.

Whenever a member state has voted against an EU treaty, it has been compelled, usually with the connivance of its own political elite, to hold another referendum to correct its mistake.

That is the patter now from Liberal Democrat leader Tim Farron and his Tory collaborator predecessor Nick Clegg who dishonestly relabel a second referendum to be the first referendum on approving the final case for exit.

They should be told bluntly that the referendum terms were clear, asking simply whether the UK should remain or leave the EU.

Negotiating terms are details, albeit extremely important, but they cannot be used to overrule the basic decision taken.

Scottish leader Nicola Sturgeon and Green MP Caroline Lucas have taken a similar anti-democratic line as the Liberal Democrats and are concentrating their fire on Corbyn — presumably because they see Labour as the source of their future electoral support from alienated pro-EU voters.

They and any Labour MPs tempted to play political games to undermine the Labour leader should think long and hard because the main beneficiaries of parliamentary “we know best” elitism will be the Tories and their Ukip allies/competitors.

Many people pay little heed to what happens on a daily basis in Parliament, but so-called Brexit has attracted much public attention.

A Labour amendment pointing out the role of tax havens used by big business and many Tory supporters to dodge tax, and highlighting the need for investment in jobs, infrastructure, NHS, essential public services and so on can spark a major debate.

But it would need a Labour Party — indeed a labour movement — united in ensuring that this is at the centre of discussions.

No individualist playing to the gallery, no preening in a TV studio during yet another “Corbyn must do better” backstabbing interview and no following SNP, Liberal Democrats, Greens, Kenneth Clarke et al as they flounce into a sterile oppositionist posture.

The decision to leave the EU has been taken.

The question of whether a post-Brexit Britain will benefit tax-dodgers and big business or working people’s needs — our NHS, education, social care, council housebuilding, extended public ownership — confronts us all starkly.

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