The Context – “The major recession of the early 1980s, which destroyed much of Britain’s ‘smokestack’ manufacturing and heavy industry, had been exacerbated by purist market ‘monetarist’ policies and unemployment rose to over 3million. The privatisation of the major utilities (coal, gas, electricity and water) had also led to much unionised job-shedding. Union membership had contracted from its 1970s peak of over 13 million to 7-8 million and collective bargaining was on the retreat across British industry. The process of ‘reforming’ (i.e., abolishing or severely restricting), traditional union activities and practices with three separate pieces of legislation (1980-84), was pressed home with the far more legalistic Employment Act 1988. This was after the defeat of the union ‘shock troop’ miners and printers’ in bitter and protracted disputes. In this polarised situation, the TUC were being marginalised by a government who had abandoned the last vestiges of the consensual ‘corporatist’ tradition of all post-war administrations (‘no more beer and sandwiches at Downing Street’). It was in this context that the unions’ and TUC, sharp pro-European turning of 1988 must be understood. It was also a sign of their recognition that unions and their members now needed a European ‘social dimension’ to face the profound industrial changes occurring.”
A story told in quotes on the Labour Party & Trade Union movement role in Brexit:
We’re experiencing a very traumatic rebirth. Labour is broadly in the right place on the issue. Tories are at the wrong end of ten years of austerity, and are the midwife of this traumatic process. In 2022 the big question will be; now that we stand in front of the future, looking at the tabula-rasa before us, what kind of society do we want to be?
What makes Renew Labour any different from the New Labour that failed in 2010 and 2015?
Dangerous things, predictions. But what the hell. The first one on the status of EU migrants is looking pretty good after last night, will that success continue…
Made early April, lets come back in two years and see if I’m anywhere near the mark.
In light of Theresa May’s crashingly incompetent General Election campaign we’re forced to contemplate the end of the current strategy of a high stakes negotiation for a the most advantageous bespoke arrangement that can be negotiated. She called for a mandate to negotiate on these terms… and did not receive it. She is now left without the majority she needs to to negotiate a difficult and bespoke deal, and to compromise where necessary to achieve such a finely balanced result.
And in fairness to JC, he ran a campaign as well judged as hers was poorly so!
It has long been my contention that while history is characterised by relentless and disruptive change, society and culture are sticky accretions perpetually damned to seek a fixed point of stability. The desire for a reference point around which agreement can be built and compliance measured being the natural condition of a social animal. I further contend that the nations that are most successful are those actively seek ride the change, and even shape external events, where others at best endure and worst erode. The analogy I like to describe the effect of relentless change on culture and society being plate tectonics; where active faults can either slip easily to the new equilibrium, or stick…
It is in this context that Brexit is interesting, for we have to hope for something better than an ugly counter revolution where we begin burning Brexiters for their heresy.
I voted out, and I want you to understand why:
1. I simply don’t consider it to be a legitimate form of governance, in being neither representative of, nor accountable to, any useful definition of a collective ‘us’. I respect that you may feel differently.
2. The noble ideal of increasing harmony and wellbeing between european nations reached its high water mark pre-Maastricht, and that since then it has been working in reverse. I will not condone what has been done to an entire generation of young people in Greece, Portugal, Spain and Italy. Life chances ruined by the Euro with endless 40% youth employment.
In what universe was I going to tacitly support an institution I didn’t believe in, carrying out actions that I abhor?