UK can ‘legally’ cancel Brexit, says EU Official

BREAKING NEWS:

The EU advocate general stated that the UK can legally cancel Brexit. He claimed that the decision can be taken by the UK and does not require the approval of the other 27 member states of the EU.

The decision has come after the highest court in Scotland, Court of Session, referred the issue to the European Court of Justice. However, the decision is non-binding as it is only the opinion of the advocate general, Manuel Campos Sanchez-Bordona.

Proponents of the legal case believe that the UK would be able to hold a ‘People’s Vote’ – with the option of ‘Remain’.

Lawyers from the Council of the European Union originally suggested that reversal was possible, but would require unanimous support of all member states in the EU.

The original request was made by members of Scottish Labour, Green Party, and SNP. The request for referral was initially rejected by the Court of Sessions – but was overturned following a successful appeal.

The Advocate General for Scotland, representing the UK Government, said the case is a ‘hypothetical validity challenge’ and the proponents desire ‘political ammunition to be used in and to pressure the UK Parliament’.

The EU advocate general concluded by stating: ‘That possibility [of reversing Brexit] continues to exist until such time as the withdrawal agreement is formally concluded.’

Publishing Legal Advice ‘Not’ in ‘Public Interest’, Claims Attorney General

Six opposition parties have signed a letter requesting the Speaker of the House of Commons to launch ‘contempt of parliament’ proceedings against the Government after attorney general, Geoffrey Cox, refused to publish secret legal advice on Brexit plans to the House of Commons.

Cox, the most senior legal aid in Government, sparked widespread anger after publishing only a summarised version of the government’s legal position on Brexit instead of the full legal advice demanded by MPs in November 2018.

Geoffrey Cox, attorney general, has said that publishing the full legal advice of the deal would ‘not be in the public interest’. Cox gave his statement in the House of Commons on Monday. He claimed that the deal on offer is a ‘sensible compromise’. Jacob Rees-Mogg, Conservative MP, challenged him for not obeying the will of the House.

In response to criticism from across the House, Cox said: ‘I sincerely believe it would not be in all of our interests.’

Six opposition parties have signed a letter requesting the Speaker of the House of Commons to launch ‘contempt of parliament’ proceedings against the Government.

If the motion is followed through, Cox could face suspension or even expulsion from the Commons, a fate only a few MPs have faced over the years. This would be a disaster for Theresa May who sent Cox out today to sell her Brexit plan.

Speaking in the House on Monday, Cox urged MPs to be patient and said detaching from 45 years of European membership will take time to work out.

He told MPs the UK would be “indefinitely committed” to EU customs rules if Brexit trade talks broke down, and there was no unilateral right for the UK to pull out of the Irish backstop, which would come into force if no permanent trade deal with the EU is reached. He said: “There is no point in my trying or the government trying to disguise that fact.”

Comment from Thomas Howard-Editor

The attorney general appears to be defying the will of the House of Commons. He is refusing to publish the full legal advice issued to the Government.

It appears that the government is intent on withholding this information – despite a vote to release the legal advice in November 2018.

The People’s Vote: Why A Second Referendum Won’t Solve our Problems

Has the Remain campaign and argument really moved on at all? The Stronger In campaign was led from Downing Street and called Britain Stronger in Europe. Its Press Chief was James McGrory, who after the referendum went onto lead Open Britain, the group which now runs the People’s Vote campaign as well as many ‘youth movements’, such as Our Future Our Choice. This is what is known as Astroturfing, which is when an organisation presents a campaign as being organised by members of the public when it is in fact funded and operated by more established interests. Astroturf is not real grass at all, and Pro-EU activism in 2018 is certainly no real grassroots movement either.

Open Britain is not just the spiritual successor to Stronger In, it is merely a rebranding. It has not moved on from staging the debate as between two factions of the right, the ‘crazy’ Brexiteers with pie-in-the-sky hopes for future free trade agreements against the sensible, supposedly economically stable (2008 had been forgotten quickly), neoliberal establishment. Despite outspending Leave , it still lost to the ‘crazy’ Brexiteers.

Two years on, gone are the establishment stylings, in are the astroturf campaigns. This self-described “populist insurgency” seems to be everywhere. “For Our Future’s Sake” for example often seen all over the media. All it seems to offer a hatred of the elderly, and the argument that the debate can be won now that some of the other sides are dead.

Another tiny issue is whenever you look at the people backing these campaigns it is the same old establishment faces. The likes of Tony Blair, Michael Heseltine, Nick Clegg, and Deborah Meaden are not ordinary people themselves, nor the champions of ordinary people, or even liked by ordinary people at all. Not to mention the frequent wheeling-out of Alastair Campbell to tell the public that they have been misled and now the country is on course for a national disaster. The jokes write themselves.

For this reason alone, I’d think Remain would lose a second referendum anyway. They have learned nothing. They still talk in general terms about the economy as though it benefits everyone in the exact same way. This couldn’t be further from the truth and it’s actually a key reason people voted for Brexit. As Grace Blakeley recently tweeted:

“Especially when experts are giving warnings about GDP growth without realising that growth has been decoupled from living standards in many places for years.”

“Reminded of the response to such an economist at an event in Newcastle: ‘that’s your bloody GDP, not mine’”. 

They have shockingly little to say about what vision they have for the UK inside Europe, how would Leavers feel in control, or how could the EU be reformed.

Furthermore, if the left is seen to be complicit or even pushing to overturn a huge democratic mandate, it will open the door to a resurgent hard right. The Leave vote was based on a feeling of a lack of power and voice, so to tell normal people, who are now finally feeling as though their voice is being heard, that they are wrong and must vote again and ‘get it right this time’ is incredibly dangerous. This is the sad and very likely outcome of a second referendum: a second Leave vote, and a Labour Party utterly unpalatable to Leave voters, just as so many of the Social Democratic parties on the continent have become to their traditional bases.

 

And here is the kicker: this is all based on the false pretence that the EU is a socialist organisation that socialists should want to be part of.

I often hear friends and comrades from different left-wing traditions argue along the lines that only remaining in the EU is compatible with our internationalist values. But this is to mistake the EU’s intergovernmental politics with genuine internationalism. The EU consistently undermines genuine international solidarity within its own borders, creating a northern core and a southern periphery with disastrous consequences for the periphery. Its approach to the migration of Africans and Asians across its borders is about as far from internationalism as you could get. I am sad to report that this is not an accident. Rather, this is by design.

I have written previously about how the EU will stop us implementing our programme, I shall not go into too much detail here other than to point out that on top of Greece and Portugal, we have seen how the EU has treated Italy when a sovereign democratically elected state tried to implement a programme outside of the neoliberal mainstream. In slapping Italy down, the commission demonstrated and made an example of how it would treat a Labour government. We must proceed with extreme vigilance in this regard.

Once we begin to look at the EU critically, we quickly find that the main obstacle to genuine internationalism is not the British nation state, but the counterfeit of internationalism that is liberal supranationalism, and it’s chief institution: the EU. Far from for the many, this is an undemocratic economic union rigged in favour of the few.

However, even if this is all true, how is a British nation state a gain to an internationalist socialist? Well, as any Remainer will tell you, leaving the EU will diminish Britain’s global influence. Frankly, this is why true internationalists will embrace Brexit! Surely the curtailment of a British state which has committed such moral atrocities around the world should be welcomed. The disruptive effect of British capital on the developing countries of Europe and further afield will be stymied. Empire is long gone and no Tory fantasy will bring it back.

I’ll finish with this: the dying call of each and every remain argument goes as such: “As socialists, we should push for change and reform within the EU where it can make a real difference at a global level.” This is a fantasy akin to that of the Tory neo-colonialists. Social Democratic parties are being decimated across Europe in favour of far-right authoritarianism. Our fight to convince the people of the United Kingdom is a huge challenge in itself, so why are we pretending we can reform Europe as a whole? After all, so much of the European bureaucratic apparatus is controlled by Heads of State and their appointees. There is not yet a single real socialist amongst them.

Furthermore, we must only look again to Greece. In 2015, when it became obvious that the Greek government wasn’t willing to leave either the Union or the Eurozone, the EU imposed a third bailout plan, a brutal prescription of austerity that has cost countless lives whilst compounding the country’s economic catastrophe. It was an act that can only be described as one of economic imperialism. Even if you believe the EU is capable of reform, which I do not because its founding principles are fundamentally neoliberal, Greece teaches us that for a socialist state to stand up to the EU, it must be willing to walk away. A People’s Vote, whether with a Leave or Remain outcome, would only hinder our ability to reform the EU.

In summary, Remain would lose a People’s Vote, rally the far right, split the left, and hinder rather than help our chances of reforming the EU. It must not come to pass. It must be rejected by all good socialists.