I am pretty annoyed about Starmer's statement about FoM on the Marr Show today, but I'm still not sure what the thinking behind it is. If it's just that this is not the time to talk about EU allignment, fair enough, but it could have been expressed in a more nuanced way.

Because, rest assured, there will have to be a reallignment with the EU. This will be necessitated not only by the economics but also, most likely, by unfolding events in Scotland and Northern Ireland.

I am not convinced that complete endorsement of the Tory's Brexit is required to win back the red wall seats; its not what a careful analysis of polling says and it's, frankly, treating red wall voters as idiots while pandering to their supposed idiocy (pretty patronising).

Given the well-documented harms caused to border trade, UK-based European hub distribution centres, manufacturing (e.g. BASF) and fishing that have emerged just in the first week, it's pretty obvious that THIS Brexit can't be a success.

Indeed, given that these problems have emerged in a period when cross-border trade has been at a minimum we can bet that things are going to get much worse, as the odious Gove has admitted.

This economic puncture will be accompanied by hundreds of stories of the misery caused by small Brexits (e.g. people held up at the Dutch border today, SMEs being unable to export, cost of sending stuff to friends in the EU, pet passports etc.); some we're seeing already.

There will be also other Brexit insults: refusal to join Erasmus (which the defective Turing scheme will not adequately replace) and the troubles experienced by artists wanting to perform abroad - all wounds inflicted in the name of nationalist ideology.

And let's not forget events in the United States. Biden is a strong friend of Ireland; who knows what dirt will be found when his team takes over the White House? Trump and Farage were like evil twins; Trumpism and Brexit are part of the same ubernationalist project.

For all of these reasons and more, it is vital that Labour positions itself so it can hold the Tory government to account for the damage it has caused. Ok, give Brexit as an idea conditional support but certainly not unconditional support for THIS Brexit.

Which takes me to what Europeans should be doing and the attitude they should have to @UKLabour. I left the party under Corbyn and rejoined under Starmer. Right now I'm hold my nerve.

We know that lots of Labour members and MPs are pro-European: huffingtonpost.co.uk/entry/rosie-du…

We also know that Labour policy can be influenced by its members and that public opinion can change - very rapidly under some circumstances (hardly anyone wanted to leave the EU in early 2015).

So a plausible way forwards involves a three-prong strategy:

1) I agree with @nicktolhurst that no party can campaign to rejoin right now. Instead we need to identify an intermediate step. It is not difficult to make a strong case for joining EFTA/EEA and/or customs union

2) We need a national nonparty pro-European campaign group which will openly make the case for (1). I see lots of interest in forming such a group, and fragmented groups already existing. How do we come together?

The campaign group should make a big fuss about every loss and f*ck up caused by THIS Brexit and should argue for piecemeal changes to the treaties which ease border problems and allign us more with the EU. This can be done while accepting 'Brexit' (but not THIS Brexit).

The campaign group needs a social media strategy. The far right have shown that Twitter, Facebook etc can be used to drive public opinion. Let's do this (while striving to be ethical). We need something like the US Lincoln Project. This requires funding - from where?

3) Pro-Europeans need to stay in Labour and use our influence to change the party from within. This shouldn't be too hard as more and more Brexit f*ck ups become evident, especially given that most Labour members are already there.

What we SHOULD NOT do is undermine Labour's chance of winning GE2024 - even a Brexit supporting Labour Party is infinitely better than the current extreme right Trumpian Tory Nationalist Party.

We must do the groundwork this year. We need to be energetic, canny, careful and, above all, persistent.

We can take back control. We can get our country back.

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More from @RichardBentall

25 Dec 20
1/20 This is a Christmas message to my wonderful pro-European friends, especially but not exclusively #FPBE. This is a difficult time for our movement, as it is at last confirmed that the UK will be leaving the EU customs union and single market in a few days time.
2/20 Maybe you are feeling demoralised. Maybe like me you acutely feel the pain of having your European citizenship and identity stolen from you in an act of naked vandalism. Maybe you feel that a hole has been torn in your heart that will never be repaired.
3/20 At this time, it would be easy to rant about the economic lunacy of cutting ourselves off from our nearest, biggest market, or about huge losses that we will suffer in excluding ourselves from EU projects like Erasmus, Galileo and REACH. But that can wait for another day.
Read 21 tweets
6 Dec 20
1/ This is a completely dishonest account of the events that led us to this point, but (I will give Barrister's Horse this) cleverly crafted. At each stage, the pathway is misrepresented to blame remainers for the catastrophe that is about to be inflicted on the UK by leavers.
2/ For example, in tweet 5 we are told that the Benn Bill was 'allegedly' drawn up by EU lawyers. Nice conspiracy theory. Which EU lawyers?

What is the argument against the content of the bill (none presented that I can see)?
3/ In tweet 6 the issues surrounding prorogation are completely misrepresented. It was a deliberatey antidemocratic attempt to suppress Parliamentary debate on the most important issue of the age and found illegal by the Supreme Court (but, hey, Barister's Horse knows better?).
Read 14 tweets
5 Dec 20
1/4 At this point in the Brexit process, when we remainers can only wait in horror, like passengers in a bus with defective breaks that is hurtling towards a cliff, it’s important to remember three simple but utterly fundamental truths.
2/4 Truth #1: The only possible way of maintaining our economy, our individual rights, peace in Ireland, our global reputation and the Union was to stay in the single market and customs union.
3/4 Truth #2: We could have stayed in the SM and CU while leaving the EU (and possibly had more control over fishing), although there would be some small (to my mind trivial in the scheme of things) sacrifices over sovereignty.
Read 5 tweets
11 Sep 20
So here is where we are now:

Johnson has told the world he intends to break international law and jeopardise the GFA while, at the same time, Herr Führage is literally trying to organize malitas to patrol our beaches while demanding that the WA must be completely repudiated. 1/
Meanwhile, EU Parliament says that it will veto UK FTA if Johnson does not back down, and the Americans are saying no trade deal with them if GFA is jeopardised. The twin effects will be economically and politically catastrophic. /2
Johnson is in zugzwang but I doubt whether he can face up to the humiliation of backing down or that many Tories will have the balls to stand up to him or Führage and his neofascist mobs. They will whine but ultimately comply. /3
Read 10 tweets
10 Sep 20
Brexit is a cult beyond reason; more like a religion than a serious policy initiative. To see that this is true, it just has to be noted that in Brexitier ideology EVERYTHING is the EXACT OPPOSITE to what it is claimed to be. EVERYTHING! 1/
For example, Brexitiers claim to be for free trade, and to achieve this they are imposing massive and expensive trade barriers with our nearest and biggest trading partners. These will increase costs of imports/exports and intoduce delays, wrecking just-in-time production. 2/
(I've been trying to find a historical precedent for this. the only one I know of is the tariffs imposed by the Smoot-Hawley Tariff act of 1930 in the USA, which are thought to have contributed to the Great Depression. Let me know if you think of any other precedents.) 3/
Read 13 tweets
6 Sep 20
Yesterday, Sept 5th, I gave the first political speech of my life - about the threat of fascism in Britain today - at the 3.5% meeting on the steps of St George's Hall, Liverpool. This is what I said. 1/13
Yesterday, Sept 5th, I gave the first political speech of my life - about the threat of fascism in Britain today - at the 3.5% meeting on the steps of St George's Hall, Liverpool. This is what I said. 2/13
Yesterday, Sept 5th, I gave the first political speech of my life - about the threat of fascism in Britain today - at the 3.5% meeting on the steps of St George's Hall, Liverpool. This is what I said. 3/13
Read 15 tweets

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