One of the biggest shifts in British politics after the Scottish referendum was the announcement of the EU vote. I was surprised by the result. How could the Tories make such a mistake? Some of my more conspiratorial friends thought that was impossible. Yet there was always a hubris about the British Imperialists. This was excellently captured by “Carry on Up the Kyber” . In which the British ruling elite sat through the bombardment of their colonial palace, drinking tea and exploring their stiff upper lips.
The gamble was to keep us in Europe indefinitely more or less. Staying in the EU was such a no-brainer that surely that even the bottom rungs of society would get it.
Yet we saw a large difference between Town and countryside in the referendum. Little England became defiant and largely for the wrong reasons, not least racism. Yet there was some good reasons for leaving the EU. The Bankers treatment of Greece was imperialistic. Baited by Goldman Sachs into bad debt then given impossible and inhuman austerity measures to impose.
Yet the UK was not Greece. It was a privileged member of the EU and was forever trying block anything progressive that moved in The EU,. Playing at being the US junior partner. Even going to war with Iraq did not have the approval of France and Germany initually. The UK could even maintain its own currency within the eurozone.
Despite everything Greece stayed in the EU. The main reason for this was the single market; The largest trading bloc in the world. As Michael Moore put it the UK had voluntary demoted itself from the premiere league. One of the things to plague the left was the idea of the common market . This supposedly gave too much power to Brussels. Hence protectionism became a badge of hard leftist faith. Something that would have been frowned upon by Karl Marx. https://www.marxists.org/archive/marx/works/1888/free-trade/index.htm
What is clear about protectionism is though it may be a tempory fix for this or that industry it will hurt most industries. This is why when Corbyn says “As he said in his letter back to Ian Blackford, the summit (Blackford proposed a summit for the Single Market)rests on the falsehood that the single market is a membership organisation which you can join, which it is not. Our approach for a jobs-first Brexit, which involves retaining the benefits of the single market, is through negotiation with the EU.”
He is effectively saying we want both protectionism and the free market. The best I can think of this is that it is a stalling mechanism. The SNP are trying to force his hand seeing the recent report from the Labour List saying 75% of the Labour party membership want to remain in the single market as members.
The political long play which I gathered was also the SNP’s strategy up till now who seemed to want to let the Tories sink with brexit. The hubris of the Tories is indeed sinking if not drowning. The show of strength by Dublin seems to have pushed hard brexit at least sideways towards the mainland hurtling towards a vote in parliament of some sort. Perhaps towards a new referendum on a deal that will by its very nature will be worse than brexit.
The Tories are in a death agony. If the leadership of the Labour party emerges from hard brexit it has a much better chance playing to its strengths in Metropolitan areas than in Middle England Tory heart lands. Another reason for stalling is to keep a hold of labour voters who voted for brexit.