Thursday 12 October 2017

Labour and the Single Market: facing both ways.

My MP  Tracy Brabin (Labour) states in her election literature (I kept a copy) that she would "fight for . . .full  access  to the single market."  (I quote her exactly).

Consequently, when she failed to vote vote for  Chuka Umunna's single market amendment to the Queen's Speech to achieve just that, and failed to sign an open letter from 40+ Labour stalwarts also demanding the policy she said she would fight for, I asked why?

 I now have a response, (addressed to "Dear Peter," though I've never met her.)

As our trading relationship with the EU changes it is vital that we retain unrestricted access for our goods and services. However remaining in the single market and the customs union once we have left the European union would not be advantageous for us.

This is "double-think" worthy of Orwell's 1984.

Most traders will have access to the single market, but we shall only  retain "unrestricted " access if we  remain a member of it.

Yesterday on the BBC's "Today" programme a manufacturer argued that the EU's  Common External Tariff (CET) would not be  a significant barrier  because the 15% depreciation of the £ as a result of the Referendum more than compensated for it. (So much for the scorn that the Tories used to heap on Labour as "the party of devaluation.")  

But in international trade today tariffs are relatively minor impediment compared with non-tariff  barriers (NTBs) that is that goods and services must comply with certain standards regarding origin,  contents, labelling (remember the fuss about weighing things  in grammes and kgs  rather than lbs and ozs?) safety , environmental impact etc. 

If Brexit is not stopped the Briexiteers will doubtless hail a trade deal with the US.  This will almost certainly  be on US terms and allow access to the UK market  for  items such as chlorine washed chicken and   beef products raised with excessive use of hormones.  These are the ones there's been publicity  about: there will be many more that Europeans. find unacceptable.

The EU is not going to allow "unrestricted " access to these products.

Labour's current stance is therefore  completely illusory, and no different from the the Government's "have your cake and eat it" delusion .

It is shameful that, with a government living in a "land of let's pretend" the official Opposition occupies identical ground.  Their duty is to propose a viable alternative.  

There are Labour MPs who recognise thisAnd there's a Labour Campaign for the Single Market.  All power to their elbows, and I urge Mrs Brabin to stand by her election promise and join them.


  1. Double standards in Labour!! what a surprise. They are both the same. All lib dems should keep past leaflets to hold the U turners to account in our leaflets and internet comments or example Sobel said he was for the EU then he later abstains a position he castigated Mulholland for.

    1. Sadly you're right: it is really no surprise. Let's hope Liberals can manage to keep the faith, though equally sadly, our record is questionable at national level. I think we're pretty good at local level.