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October 4, 2019

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"The real fear is state subsidies under a Jeremy Corbyn government"

July 30, 2018

An interesting report in The Express over the weekend shows that even some on the right can see the Chequers deal and White Paper for what it is: an attempt to retain the EU's neoliberal straitjacket after Britain formally leaves.

 

The report lifts a quotation from an article in The Times in May, co-authored by Bruno Waterfield, a founding supporter of The Full Brexit. A senior EU official involved in the Brexit negotiations is quoted as saying:

 

“The idea that Conservatives would legislate a race to the bottom is a myth and no one really believes it, even if some Tories have helped create it. The real fear is state subsidies under a Jeremy Corbyn government. British policy has remained unchanged for generations but now there is a real chance of a left-wing government reversing it. We have to protect ourselves and the single market.”

The EU fears Britain could steal a competitive advantage by subsidising manufacturing industries and that a shift to public ownership could damage European companies involved in privatised public services or utilities such as energy. Included in the EU’s armoury will be a “non-regression clause” that, in effect, fixes Margaret Thatcher’s privatisation and free market policies into a withdrawal treaty.

 

Now, the Express points out, this "non-regression clause" has been joyfully accepted by the Conservative government:

 

Theresa May’s controversial Chequers plan has essentially killed off Jeremy Corbyn and John McDonnell’s dream of a socialist utopia built on huge “state aid” subsidies and attempting to renationalise a number of industries.

 

Her White Paper effectively prevents a future Labour Party government led by Mr Corbyn from pumping millions of pounds of public money into British industry by promising to remain on a “level playing field” with the European Union.

 

This is precisely the argument made by The Full Brexit's Richard Tuck three weeks ago, when he called the Chequers deal "a trap for the left".  

 

When even right-wing tabloids can join the dots like this, why can't so many on the left?

 

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