When an estimated 600,000 march for a Peoples Vote then something significant is happening. The Crown is not going to take any more notice than they did with the Iraq war demo. Add to this the equal pay strike by women in Glasgow and we can see a serious crisis is brewing up. Divisions at the top and people on the streets are a significant combination.
In previous Weekly Workers three democratic demands were highlighted.
• For a democratic exit
• For a ratification referendum
• For a democratic England in a democratic Europe
There is a sharp distinction between “Democratic Exit” and “Remain” (and “Left Remain”). Even an idiot can recognise that. There is also a clear difference between a ratification referendum and a second-repeat referendum. The former says “do you support or reject the Tory deal”? The latter says for a second time “Do you want to Remain in the EU”?
A democratic exit means carrying out the democratic mandate from 2016 when Scotland and Northern Ireland voted to remain and England and Wales voted to leave. This has been called the Denmark-Greenland option. The Tories never had any intention of respecting the democratic mandates given by the people of England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales.
English chauvinists do not recognise “Northern Ireland, Scotland or Wales” as having any political meaning. The Tories recognise their chums in the DUP, helping them to steal the referendum result with the slogan “Brexit means Brexit”. It means whatever they want. May is now desperately trying to construct a deal which satisfies Big Business and the City of London and keeps the Tory Party from destroying itself.
For May and the Tories it is a ‘Deal’ or ‘No Deal’. If ‘No Deal’ then she has failed and must hand over the keys of Downing Street. That will surely mean a new Tory leader and the demand for a general election would become unstoppable. If the Tories then refused a general election the working class would surely take to the streets.
If May comes up with any Deal then there will be a ratification process. Labour and the CPGB have placed their trust in parliament to decide. No democrat would trust a rotten parliament. On democratic grounds, the people have the right to scrutinise the Tory deal and ‘recall’ the government. Any deal with the EU must be made accountable to the people, the vast majority being working class people.
The Labour leadership thinks parliament will block the deal and thus force May out or a general election. But who might back May’s deal and sabotage Corbyn? The answer is surely some Labour MP’s on the Peoples Vote march. In the Evening Standard (23 October 2018) Anne McElvoy says “the opposition, rather than the Government, will decide the endgame of Brexit negotiations”.
She explains “a sizeable number of Labour MPs regard Brexit as too important to be left to the mercies of a leadership (i.e. Corbyn) whose only interest in negotiations is as a tactical tool to bring about a quick general election”. Hence the Tories are counting on securing enough Labour support to get the deal through parliament.
If the Tory Deal gets through the Commons then it is goodbye to a Corbyn government for a few more years. May will be declared a hero who saved the country. Surely Labour MPs would not betray their leader? Downing Street only needs about 20 or 30 Labour traitors who would ‘save jobs’ as an act of patriotic duty and torpedo Corbyn at the same time.
The Israeli embassy could not have come up with a better plot than that. McElvoy reports that “Camp Corbyn is starting to realise it cannot rely on MPs it has treated with disdain to vote down any imaginable deal”. It is naive for the CPGB to support parliamentary ratification against the right of the people to decide. This is why a ratification referendum is the people’s democratic backstop.
The Tory government and the Brexit gang have ruled it out. Labour has not ruled it out but has kicked it into the long grass with much vacillation and confusion. Labour is calling instead for a general election. This is not going to happen unless May is overthrown, either by Tory MPs and the DUP, or the Commons or by defeat in a ratification referendum.
If May gets a deal she is safe from the Tories until the deal is put to parliament. If it gets through parliament she will likely make it to the next scheduled general election. Hence there are three hurdles for May’s survival. The first depends on the Tories and DUP, the second hurdle depends on Right wing Labour MP’s and the third depends on the people, the majority of whom are working class. A ratification referendum will not reverse the 2016 result but it could be the best or last chance to defeat May.
A democratic exit recognises the different mandates given by England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales. This is compatible with the battle for a more democratic Europe. The democratic aim is a united states of Europe – a fully integrated democratic federal republic which includes the right of nations to self determination. There is no place in a European republic for the Kingdoms of Spain, Denmark, Holland and Sweden. Catalonia, which has voted for a republic, would be welcome.
British liberals are all (constitutional) monarchists and some are even royalists. There is no way they want a federal republic of Europe. They stand for remaining under the undemocratic EU constitution and rule of the EU neo-liberal bureaucracy. Weekly Worker is wrong to ‘big up’ the liberals and fudge the distinction between a liberal and democratic approach to the 2016 referendum.