As the debate surrounding Jeremy Corbyn and his views on Europe are debated in the media, it’s worth discussing how he’s arrived at this position. Rather than lobbying the leader of the opposition, who has no majority in the Commons, it might be worthwhile asking and understanding how the Tory’s and Labour have arrived at Eurosceptic views.
Consider the core of Corbyn’s political plan. Nationalisation of key industries, trains, energy, water etc. Jeremy Corbyn realises the European Union law enforces competition within all such industries. As member states brace themselves for such changes and begin to implement neoliberal reforms, see, Corbyn stands to see himself on the right side of history once again. Although national ownership isn’t forbidden, private companies often undercut the state in the bidding for franchises or contracts to provide public services in a competitive tender. Subsequently slashing wages, eroding their rights and providing a lower standard of public service, in order to make it profitable. Few would argue that the quality of service in Germany, France and Spain on the railways is not value for money, at least now while it’s in the safe hands of the state but under EU law contracts must be on offer to private companies and go to the cheapest provider. Neoliberal laws that would hold back Corbyn’s
Secondly, free markets often lead to the exploitation of workers, to increase profits, costs must be lowered. Corbyn, a long-standing advocate of worker rights, said this in 2017, “What there wouldn’t be is the wholesale importation of underpaid (EU Migrant) workers from central Europe in order to destroy conditions, particularly in the construction industry.” Not only does Corbyn see the single market as a method of exploiting British workers, but also EU workers. Particularly in low-skilled industries, where advertising agencies attract workers from low-pay countries. This is an area of much debate, and whether EU migrants have genuinely caused a decrease in the wages of U.K. workers is something I could not judge on, as many reports have shown the impact has apparently been minimal. The principle remains.
The problem is, Brexit in any form will make us worse off, and we live in a globalised world, so it’s unrealistic to expect to cut ourselves off completely from the single market. Yet, EU rules will allow Corbyn to implement a socialist agenda, something that otherwise would’ve been difficult.
Two steps left, three steps right.
How will the right utilise Brexit then, for decades now just as Margret Thatcher had envisioned successive governments have stripped workers of their rights, and the ‘free market’ has depressed wages, in the United Kingdom wages still haven’t recovered to pre-crisis levels, the EU has in many cases intervened to support citizens. In the same instance as Corbyn will be free from EU rules, so will the Tory’s, expect deregulation like no other, I quote Charles Koch, ‘Restaurants should be permitted not to force employees to wash hands, if they display this is the policy openly.’ Bon Appetit. The Tory’s will continue to implement a vision of business free from government oversight, as citizens, as consumers, that should worry you.
Such policies of deregulation led to the Flint Water Crisis, and will lead to the next crisis and the one after that. Don’t be surprised if we crash out of the EU without a deal, a crisis would inevitably follow, and shock therapy would likely be used again. For example, in a recession, a government often asks for concessions from the electorate, i.e. Further cuts to public services, to ‘cut the debt’, which has ballooned, by the way. Or tax cuts for business designed to ‘attract investment’ and ‘stimulate the economy.’ Such policies lead to further transferring of wealth to the elite, fulfilled by all too willing Conservative representatives, who often have conflicts of interest in such cases.
Analysis comparing the vote share of the Leave vote in U.K. Counties and the Strength of the Import Shock in such counties shows direct correlation between one another, which gives basis to Corbyn’s argument that Free Markets have a negative impact on workers.
Corbyn supports Brexit for the right reasons, it doesn’t necessarily make it the right decision. Unfortunately, we live in a globalised world and we do need companies to invest in our economy and our people, leaving the single market and customs union will have a negative impact on our economy, which is the great deliberation.
Corbyn may yet leave the Tory’s to implode as part of his cunning plan, but the road to socialism is, ironically, filled with pot-holes.