Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Tsipras: Brexit ‘Crisis’ A Wake-Up Call To EU
Morning Star

European leaders seek Britain’s swift departure from bloc

GRIM-faced European Union leaders met in Brussels yesterday to deal with the “crisis” of Britain’s exit from the bloc.

Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras said as he arrived: “Europe has reached a predictable crisis because of the democratic deficit, because of the absence of social cohesion and solidarity.”

He hoped “that the outcome of the British referendum will work as a wake-up call for Europe.”

Danish PM Lars Loekke Rasmussen said Eurosceptic­ism was not an exclusively British characteristic.

“What we have seen in Britain, it could have happened elsewhere,” he said. “We need to take this seriously.”

German Chancellor Angela Merkel vowed to use “all my strength” to prevent the EU from disintegrating.

She said it was in Britain’s interest to maintain “close relations” with the EU but cautioned:
“Whoever wants to leave this family cannot expect to have no more obligations but to keep privileges.”

Ms Merkel added that no formal talks could begin on the exit process until Britain formally invoked article 50 of the EU constitution — the never-used exit clause.

French President Francois Hollande said: “The process for the United Kingdom to leave the European Union must start as soon as possible.

“I can’t imagine any British government would not respect the choice of its own people.”

Hungarian PM Viktor Orban took the occasion to reiterate his anti-refugee stance, saying: “If the EU cannot solve the migration situation, then the challenges we experienced now in the case of the United Kingdom will grow.”

In Strasbourg, European Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker told a special session of the European Parliament: “I want the UK to clarify its position not today, not tomorrow at 9am, but soon.

We cannot allow ourselves to remain in a prolonged period of uncertainty.”

Dutch Defence Minister Jeanine Hennis-Plasschaert, whose government holds the rotating EU presidency, told the parliament that “no-one, no-one, will benefit from a period of prolonged limbo.

The ball is in London’s court.”

And French PM Manuel Valls said: “Now is not the time for diplomatic prudence. We have to lance the boil.”

US President Barack Obama warned against panic in a TV interview aired yesterday.

“There’s been a little bit of hysteria post-Brexit vote, as if somehow Nato’s gone, the transatlantic alliance is dissolving, and every country is rushing off to its own corner,” he said. “That’s not what’s happening.”

But Nato secretary-general Jens Stoltenberg, attending the summit, said: “What Britain does matters.

Britain is the biggest security provider in Europe.”

We Must Not Let This Cowardly Coup Succeed

Morning Star

A small number of self-indulgent and irresponsible MPs are threatening to damage Labour beyond all repair, writes MARK SEDDON

BARELY 10 months ago, I urged my branch, the New York City Labour Party Branch, to first nominate and then vote for Jeremy Corbyn as leader of the Labour Party and for Tom Watson as his deputy.

In this I was supported by longtime New York Labour activist, journalist and Tribune columnist Ian Williams.

I cannot speak for the reasons of others in doing so, but for me, Corbyn represented the best chance for Labour to finally move on from the New Labour years, to campaign against austerity, instead of meekly accepting it and to re-engage with the many traditional Labour voters who had turned their backs on us.

I supported Watson because I believed that he represented another and honourable wing of the party and would be loyal to the new leader.

Harold Wilson would always maintain that Labour needed “two wings to fly.”

Before any attempts are made to pigeon-hole such support, neither Corbyn or Watson come from the Tribune stable.

There were many good reasons why Corbyn won such a compelling and overwhelming victory and brought so many new people, especially younger ones, into a party that in many areas had become a hollowed out empty shell.

His candidacy represented a hope that Labour could regain the moral authority it had lost so badly during Tony Blair’s reckless and illegal war in Iraq.

One of the reasons Corbyn also ended up doing so well was the constant cacophony of shrill and ever more dire warnings from a range of Labour grandees.

The more they sought to dissuade, the more powerful the intent became to defy them.

Perhaps David Cameron and George Osborne might have learned something from the same tactics that have so predictably backfired on them.

Fast-forward to today and many of those who first sought to deny Corbyn a mandate and then rejected it once it had been given, have launched possibly one of the most self-indulgent, irresponsible and deeply damaging of coups that has ever been launched in the Labour Party.

They have deliberately pre-planned each deliberate and damaging resignation at a time when the government is in turmoil.

Their irresponsible recklessness risks wrecking Labour’s chances when it is strongest.

Today we have the irony, the grotesque irony, of many Europhile MPs, whose constituencies often voted heavily for Brexit, using that as a threadbare, barely believable excuse for turning on a leader who campaigned for Remain. By their lies we shall know them.

The charge that the Labour leader did not to do enough to persuade traditional Labour to voters vote to remain in the European Union does not survive a moment of scrutiny.

Nor can the revolt of many of Labour’s traditional voters be put down to this one, albeit seminal, referendum vote.

The revolt has been building throughout the decades of growing inequality, industrial closure and poverty wages.

This squalid coup aimed at destabilising the new leadership has been planned from the get-go — a self-fulfilling prophecy from false prophets, many of whom owe their careers in Parliament to the Tammany Hall politics of provided parachutes or well-connected parents.

This parade of mannequins are dancing to the tune of yesterday’s men, Tony Blair and Lord Peter Mandelson.

And the same procession of baleful professional malcontents who cannot yet offer a pretender, nor any policies, have staged a secret ballot of no confidence to protect them from the ire of the members.

They want to keep Corbyn’s name off any ballot paper in case he should win again with an increased majority.

What contemptible cowards. We cannot let them succeed.

Mark Seddon is a former member of the Labour Party NEC and a former editor of Tribune. He recently worked as a speechwriter/communications adviser for UN secretary-general Ban Ki Moon.

This article first appeared at

Corbyn Is Right To Stand Firm

Morning Star Editorial

JEREMY CORBYN’S resolution to stand in any leadership contest despite the results of yesterday’s vote by MPs is as admirable as it is correct.

Corbyn has been placed under extraordinary pressure over the past few days because parliamentary colleagues have decided Labour should commit hara-kiri rather than seek to provide unity and leadership for a deeply divided country.

We know that the plot to oust the democratically elected party leader was hatched before the referendum, since the Telegraph reported on June 13 that MPs planned a “24-hour blitz” to topple him once it was out of the way.

While commentators such as Owen Jones believe the coup attempt is “knee-jerk,” he himself notes the careful timing of Sunday and Monday’s resignations, staggered to ensure Labour’s troubles dominated the news all day despite the momentous issues facing the country following the vote to leave the European Union.

The party should be putting pressure on a lame duck government to maximise the voice of working people in exit negotiations — a voice the Tories are determined to prevent being heard, as Sajid Javid’s disgraceful exclusion of trade unions from yesterday’s roundtable on the consequences of the vote shows.

Rebel MPs are trying to break Corbyn emotionally, shouting “resign” as he attempted to hold the Prime Minister to account in Parliament and guffawing along with the Tories at Cameron’s cheap dig about shadow cabinet resignations, when if the referendum was the real cause of their anger the PM would be their target.

And they have the temerity to accuse Monday night’s 10,000 pro-Corbyn demonstrators and hundreds of thousands of Labour members sticking up for their leader of bullying.

The response from trade unions and the left to the attempted coup has been strong and immediate, from the declaration of 12 affiliates that this was no time for a leadership contest on Friday to those union leaders speaking at or sending greetings to Monday’s demonstration.

We must ensure that resolve does not weaken in the face of MPs’ threat to make the party ungovernable if Corbyn doesn’t go.

We should see this sabotage for what it is — an Establishment revolt to cut off any possibility of a socialist government.

Some might be tempted to give in, despite being unhappy at the behaviour of the rebels, on the grounds that the party is gravely weakened by the rift between the leader and the PLP.

It is and that’s what makes the coup plotters’ actions so criminal. But Corbyn’s election was not some weird anomaly.

It was part of an anti-Establishment upsurge that is still with us.

And he was backed by so many trade unions because we realised that business as usual wasn’t an option any more: Labour was haemorrhaging support and a Tory Party determined to kill off our movement for good had just scraped a majority thanks to the bankruptcy of Blairite politics.

We do not have a hope of meeting the challenges Britain faces or delivering a future that works for our working-class communities without a radical change of political direction.

It’s that change Corbyn represents and that change MPs are seeking to suffocate, which is why even if Corbyn was replaced by someone with a leftish record, such as Lisa Nandy, his overthrow would be a shattering blow to the left.

Yesterday’s vote by MPs is a deeply distressing development among many over the last few days, but we always knew a big majority of the parliamentary party were against him.

It does not alter his mandate for leadership or the fact that Labour was on a slow train to the wilderness before his election.

His courage and principle in adversity shames his accusers. The lesson of the last few days is that Labour members and trade unionists have work to do to make the parliamentary party more representative.

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