Thursday, 11 July 2019
Brexit Contingency Action Plan: Statements
Richard Boyd Barrett (Dún Laoghaire, People Before Profit Alliance)
Absolutely, and what happens in British politics will impact upon it very significantly. We should want a Corbyn government. It is the better option if we are to have any sort of sane resolution to this situation. However, if I do not trust Boris Johnson, the Tories, Jeremy Hunt, or the UKIPs of this world, neither do I trust the European Union to protect the best interests of working people in the North and South of this island. If there was any doubt that it would not do so, we have seen evidence that it will not in the past week. The EU-Mercosur deal shows that Europe is engaged in deals that will undermine the best interests of farmers in this country.
In the context of Brexit, this double threat to many working people and farmers, the EU is also saying the integrity of the Single Market must be protected regardless of what happens. That means that we will have to impose tariffs and so on, which will do immense economic damage and cause great numbers of jobs to be lost. The Tánaiste has acknowledged and detailed this and we have heard similar reports from the North. That is what it is willing to do to protect its Single Market. Tragically, the Government seems to be willing to implement this on the EU's behalf. Let us be clear; the only people who could physically impose such tariffs are us. We should tell Europe we will not do so because tariffs would have these consequences. They would lead to these job losses and we should not accept them. We should stand up to Boris Johnson and Jeremy Hunt, but we should equally tell the EU that the all-island economy and peace on this island will not be sacrificed to protect the integrity of the Single Market.
Deputy Barry is absolutely right that our contingency plans should also involve being willing to do, at the very least, what we did for the banks. When we talk about nationalisation to protect jobs and industries, we are told that it cannot be done. Despite this, we could pass emergency legislation to nationalise banks to bail them out. Through NAMA, we also ultimately bailed out the developers who crashed those banks. We can do that but it is apparently ridiculous to talk about nationalising key sectors of the economy to protect jobs. That just does not fit in with the neoliberal agenda. We cannot care about the neoliberal agenda when there is talk of the imposition of tariffs resulting in tens of thousands of jobs losses. Why on earth would we accept that? We should reject it. We should tell Europe and the Tories that people, jobs, services, and livelihoods come first for us and that we will not sacrifice those things either for the crazy extremist politics of Boris Johnson or to protect the Single Market.