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Political and Economic Analysis of Brexit and the EU

The Full Brexit does not have a "party line"; posts reflect the views of their authors only. We welcome contributions from anyone sharing the values of our founding statement. Click the accompanying image to read an article.

HIGHLIGHTS

The EU's democratic deficit and popular sovereignty

How exactly should we understand the EU? What makes it undemocratic? And why is restoring popular sovereignty so important?

Why the EU cannot be reformed

Neoliberalism is "locked in" by the EU's rigid constitution, which has been made deliberately impossible to change.

“Remain and Reform” really just means “Remain”

Remainers have no concrete plans to reform the EU. All they care about is ensuring we never leave.

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Philip Cunliffe and Lee Jones

Ostensibly called to resolve Britain’s Brexit crisis, the 2019 general election is primarily reminding us why the crisis exists. The Leave parties lack real vision for Britain’s post-Brexit future, while the Remain parties refuse to seize the democratic opportunity offered by Brexit to transform the country.

14 November 2019

#41 - This “Brexit Election” Exposes Britain’s Political Malaise

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Peter Ramsay

Long Read: The wrangling over the Irish backstop proves that Britain lacks the political authority in Northern Ireland that it needs to make a success of Brexit. If British Leavers want to strengthen popular sovereignty in Britain, they should join the campaign for Irish reunification.

11 October 2019

#40 - The Flaw in the Crown: Why Popular Sovereignty in Britain Means Reunification in Ireland

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Peter Ramsay

The Supreme Court’s prorogation decision is clearly based on pro-Remain political judgements. But, even more importantly, it is part of a relentless struggle to transform Britain’s constitution into that of an EU member-state – which we will have to fight against even after Brexit.

28 September 2019

#39 - A Delinquent Parliament Begets the Rule of Lawyers

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Danny Nicol

In reversing Boris Johnson’s prorogation of parliament, the Supreme Court has acted as the legal wing of Remain. The judiciary’s wings must now be clipped.

27 September 2019

#38 - The Supreme Court Against the People

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Sean Shirley-Smith

The class divide on Brexit is stark. In my working-class home town, young people support Labour and back Brexit, and people discuss politics civilly, regardless of how they voted. At my elite university, I’m called a racist for wanting to leave the EU.

4 September 2019

#37 - A Student Perspective on Brexit and the Class Divide

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Richard Tuck

By asserting their right to ignore repeated popular mandates, Remainers in the House of Commons are defying the spirit of Britain's democratic constitution and turning their back on centuries of history.

3 September 2019

#36 - Parliament has No Sovereignty Higher Than a Popular Mandate

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Lee Jones

Anti-Brexit forces committed to making the Labour Party into a defender of the neoliberal status quo are gearing up to bully socialist party members to back Remain. Here's why all the arguments they are using are wrong.

28 August 2019

#35 - Dear Corbynistas: Don’t Be Blackmailed into Thwarting Brexit

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Lee Jones

The shadow cabinet's decision to back a second referendum and campaign for Remain has killed off Corbynism. It has destroyed Labour's electoral chances, and Corbyn's radical platform cannot be implemented within the EU.

19 July 2019

#34 - Labour’s Brexit Capitulation is the End of Corbynism

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Danny Nicol

The EU’s liberalisation directives make it illegal to renationalise key sectors, blocking a key Corbyn manifesto pledge. These directives have been made deliberately impossible to change. “Remain and Reform” simply means remaining locked into neoliberalism.

10 July 2019

#33 - Nationalisation and the fraud of “Remain and Reform”

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Richard Tuck

“Remain and Reform” is a mindless slogan akin to Tony Blair’s “Tough on crime, tough on the causes of crime”. Just as Blair only ramped up incarceration without addressing the societal drivers of crime, so Left Remainers have no chance of reforming the EU – indeed, they have no idea how to do so.

7 July 2019

#32 - “Remain and Reform” Really Just Means “Remain”

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Michael Crowley

The Left has always been divided over whether democracy is a cardinal principle, or – as the Stalinists proposed – just a disposable means to an end. Today’s anti-democratic Leftists dislike democracy because they see ordinary citizens as an obstacle to socialist transformation, rather than its vehicle.

3 July 2019

#31 - Democracy and the Left: A Marriage of Convenience?

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James Hodgson

Political theorist Sheldon Wolin’s ideas are a useful guide to thinking about the EU’s “managed democracy” and Brexit as an instance of “fugitive democracy”, a sporadic rebellion against elite control. This helps understand why Brexit is hard to achieve, but also provides lessons for the left on future organising.

3 July 2019

#30 - Brexit as Fugitive Democracy

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Danny Nicol

Having tacitly accepted that “Remain and Reform” cannot change the EU, some desperate Remainers are urging a strategy of “Remain and Revolt”. This betrays deep ignorance. EU law is supreme in member-states’ domestic courts, making it practically impossible to revolt against it.

5 June 2019

#29 - “Remain and Revolt”: A Lame Variation on the Bogus “Remain and Reform”

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Peter Ramsay

Our Parliament of Liars must be stopped in its tracks: all democrats need to vote for The Brexit Party at the European elections. But this can only be a stop-gap. The Brexit Party is not a solution to the underlying sclerosis of democratic politics that led us into the European Union in the first place. It is itself a product of this sclerosis.

13 May 2019

#28 - The Brexit Party: Vital Stop-Gap, But No Solution

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Lee Jones

By threatening the established parties, The Brexit Party now provides the only meaningful counterweight to a Remain establishment intent on neutralising or cancelling Brexit. However, its severe political limitations will prevent it playing any more meaningful role in resolving the crisis of representation and transforming British society.

13 May 2019

#27 - The Brexit Party: Creature of the Void

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James Heartfield

A signatory of The Full Brexit’s founding statement explains his decision to stand for The Brexit Party. All of Britain’s major political parties are committed to a feeble Brexit in name only, or cancelling Brexit altogether. TBP is the only major force fighting to defend democracy by carrying through the referendum result, and deserves the support of everyone committed to a Full Brexit.

13 May 2019

#26 - Why I’m Standing for The Brexit Party

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Danny Nicol

Brexit has exposed the fact that it is not only the Labour Party's right wing that has succumbed to neoliberalism. By embracing the European Union, so, too, has the party's left.

16 April 2019

#25 - The EU, Corbyn and the “Hollowing Out” of Labour’s Left Wing

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Philip Cunliffe

Amid talk of a “Brexit betrayal”, Revokers are again whipping up fears of “far-right” reaction. But it is their own authoritarianism, not fascism, that is the greater threat in Britain today.

11 April 2019

#24 - The Myth of “Weimar Britain”: Why Soubryism, not Fascism, is the Future

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Lee Jones

Remainers offering a sop to Leavers have admitted the EU's imperfections but argued Britain can reform the EU from within. This claim is nonsense. The EU's constitutional structures deliberately make change virtually impossible, reflecting the pro-business agendas hardwired into the Union from its inception.

5 March 2019

#23 - The Folly of “Remain and Reform”: Why the EU is Impervious to Change

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Philip Cunliffe

The constitutional crisis precipitated by Brexit is without precedent since the seventeenth-century English revolution. But, unlike then, there are no revolutionaries able to seize the moment. Instead of turning the world upside down, it's the actors themselves that are upside down, with the left clinging to the status quo while conservatives champion its destruction.

4 February 2019

#22 - Who Shall Rouse Him Up? Brexit: The World Turned Upside Down

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Maurice Glasman

The EU referendum has plunged British politics into an interregnum, a deep crisis of the prevailing political and economic order. Grasped properly, this offers the British left a route out of its longstanding malaise, by re-engaging working-class voters and pursuing policies outlawed by EU treaties.

17 January 2019

#21 - Why No Deal Is the Real Deal: Brexit and the Politics of the Interregnum

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Peter Ramsay

With parliament now approaching its moment of decision, a second referendum, not a “no deal” Brexit, is the true “cliff edge” facing Britain. Parliament's authority rests on its representation of the people. If MPs repudiate their repeated promises to implement the EU referendum result, their already tattered authority will be destroyed.

8 January 2019

#20 - Parliament at the Cliff-Edge: Why a Second Referendum Could Destroy its Authority

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Philip Cunliffe

Claims persist that voters backed leaving the EU out of nostalgia for Britain's imperial past. In reality it is Remainers who most bemoan Britain's post-Brexit loss of standing, reflecting the fact that the EU was long seen as a new form of “empire”, capable of extending British influence after its colonies gained independence.

8 January 2019

#19 - We Already Had Empire 2.0: It’s Called the EU

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Lee Jones

The crisis and chaos engulfing British politics is not simply a symptom of incompetent leadership or bad policy choices. It expresses a deep crisis of representation in the political system, which Brexit did not cause, but only revealed. British elites have lost the capacity to represent societal interests and their authority has, accordingly, imploded.

12 December 2018

#18 - British Politics in Chaos: Brexit and the Crisis of Representative Democracy

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Lee Jones

In March 2017, the Labour Party announced “six tests” that it would use to evaluate any Brexit deal struck by the government. This was always a flawed approach, betraying the party’s cowardice and incapacity to lead the country. And now, Labour stands badly exposed, because Theresa May’s Brexit deal largely meets Labour’s tests.

26 November 2018

#17 - Labour Stands Exposed on Brexit

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Luke Telford

Working-class Leave voters are often accused of being stupid - duped by a slogan on a bus - racist, or both. Rather than sneering, researcher Luke Telford went to listen to them. What he found, talking to Leave voters in the deindustrialised north, was that they backed Brexit in a bitter rejection of the status quo, after years of political abandonment and economic decline.

23 November 2018

#16 - Understanding Leave Voters’ Motivation in Northeast England

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Danny Nicol

Although the EU places enormous limits on democratic control over the economy, so do various alternatives to full EU membership. Indeed, a “no deal” Brexit may be the only option to enable socialist policies in future.

24 October 2018

#15 - Is No Deal the Only Socialist Option?

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Anshu Srivastava

For many, deciding how to vote in the EU referendum was a “no brainer”, given that voting Leave was portrayed as being strongly associated with racism. However well intentioned, this stance leads to contradictions for progressive Remainers, as they struggle with ambivalent sentiments towards the working class and anxieties around the “benefits” of global capitalism.

22 July 2018

#14 - Rhetorical Anti-Racism and the EU Referendum

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Mary Davis

One of Remainers’ great fears is that Brexit will undermine workers’ rights. This rests on a total misunderstanding of the EU. As labour historian Professor Mary Davis explains, Far from gifting rights to British workers, the EU has systematically undermined the rights workers won for themselves in domestic struggles.

15 July 2018

#13 - The Chimera of Workers' Rights in the EU

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Steve Hall

How did immigration become such a flashpoint in British politics and the EU referendum? Drawing on his new book, The Rise of the Right, an anthropolitical study of the English Defence League, Steve Hall explains how the abandonment of working-class communities by the political left has created a vacuum in understanding and representation, which the right has moved to fill.

28 June 2018

#12 - When the Left Abandons Workers, They Are Easy Prey for the Right

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Philip B. Whyman

Remainers' "Project Fear" is heavily based on doom-laden economic predictions about the impact of Brexit. But there are three key reasons to doubt these predictions: their dubious assumptions, their reliance on outdated "gravity models"; and their exclusion of many potential benefits of Brexit.

13 June 2018

#11 - Why We Know Less than We Think About the Economic Impact of Brexit

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Lee Jones and Chris Bickerton

Many forecast doomsday scenarios for universities if or when we leave the EU. This is nonsense. British universities are not dependent on the EU for their survival and are far more susceptible to British government policy. With the right policies in place, there is no reason why our universities cannot thrive outside the EU.

11 June 2018

#10 - Brexit and UK Universities: Apocalypse? No!

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Chris Bickerton and Richard Tuck

Efforts to implement Brexit have been shambolic, yielding precious little progress. This is not because of the intrinsic impossibility of the task. Rather it reflects the legacy of Britain’s integration into European structures, which has left the political and bureaucratic establishment unable to imagine a future for Britain outside of the EU.

11 June 2018

#9 - Why is Brexit Proving so Hard to Implement?

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Philip Cunliffe

For many Remainers, the EU stands for internationalism and openness, while Brexit can only mean nationalism and a turning-inwards. This is misguided. The EU does not offer genuine internationalism but a thin, phoney cosmopolitanism. Jetissoning the myths around the EU is required to rebuild the national solidarity upon which genuine internationalism can be refounded.

11 June 2018

#8 - Phoney Cosmopolitanism versus Genuine Internationalism

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Lee Jones, James Aber and Richard Tuck

Today it seems that being “left-wing” means being pro-EU, while wanting Brexit can only be “right-wing”. In reality, there is a strong tradition of left-wing Euroscepticism, reflecting core values of popular sovereignty and democracy. The British left’s retreat from these values, and the working classes it once represented, underpins its disastrous embrace of the EU.

11 June 2018

#7 - Why Does the British Left Love the EU?

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James Aber and Lee Jones

Since 17.4 million Britons voted to leave the EU in June 2016, they have been persistently slandered as dupes, xenophobes or worse. In reality, Leave voters were no worse informed than Remain voters and, while concerned over immigration, they are not, by and large, intolerant of foreigners. They were primarily driven by hunger for political change, after decades of being ignored and scorned by the political elite.

11 June 2018

#6 - Why Did Britain Vote to Leave the EU?

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Chris Bickerton, Maurice Glasman and Richard Tuck

The left often thinks that the UK is a neoliberal island in a social democratic Europe, making Brexit a retrograde step. In fact, the EU has locked in neoliberal policies across Europe. Brexit is essential to break away from these policies and revitalise Britain’s lacklustre economy.

4 June 2018

#5 - Why Brexit is Essential For Economic Renewal

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Maurice Glasman

In an essay written during the referendum campaign, Maurice Glasman set out the evolution of the EU from a cooperative confederation into a capitalist club. The EU has become an alternative to Labour having a serious politics of national transformation, of building the coalitions necessary to constrain capital and strengthen democracy. Brexit is an opportunity for Labour to think anew.

2 June 2016

#4 - Why Labour Should Embrace Brexit

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Richard Tuck

In an essay published during the referendum, Richard Tuck argues that the British left's embrace of the EU risks throwing away the one institution which it has, historically, been able to use effectively—the democratic state—in favour of a constitutional order tailor-made for the interests of global capitalism and managerial politics.

6 June 2016

#3 - The Left Case for Exit

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Chris Bickerton and Richard Tuck

Today, sovereignty is widely derided and demands to “take back control” sneered at as mere code for populist, xenophobic attitudes towards immigration. In reality, for ordinary voters, “taking back control” means re-subordinating politicians to them. It is so essential precisely because the EU has allowed political elites to avoid democratic accountability for decades.

11 June 2018

#2 - Popular Sovereignty and “Taking Back Control”: What it Means and Why it Matters

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Chris Bickerton and Lee Jones

The EU is anti-democratic - but not in the way that right-wing Eurosceptics think. It is not a supranational body, with "unelected bureaucrats" running things from Brussels. The EU is a network of national governments, which have retreated from their own populations into making closed, secretive agreements among themselves. Restoring democracy requires withdrawing from the EU.

11 June 2018

#1 - The EU's Democratic Deficit: Why Brexit is Essential for Restoring Popular Sovereignty