Britain’s Communists have sounded a sceptical note about the extension of post-Brexit trade talks between the British government and the EU. Addressing the party’s executive over the weekend, Alex Gordon said the continuing talks have ‘an air of confected theatre about them, although these are performances that not many people might pay to watch’.
He said it was ‘frankly incredible’ that the capitalist world’s largest trading bloc and fifth biggest economy could not agree to frictionless trading arrangements, especially when their ruling classes share such common interests. Mr Gordon rejected the whole basis of a ‘level playing field’ reported to be the main area of disagreement between British and EU negotiators.
‘The EU Commission is demanding a mechanism to ensure that governments in London, Edinburgh and Cardiff abide by restrictions in state aid to industry or risk punitive EU sanctions’, he pointed out
‘This is in line with the free-market pro-monopoly ethos of right-wing British governments and the EU, although they have always been prepared to make exceptions in order to subsidise arms manufacturers or bail out the banks and financial markets’, he argued.
‘The contentious issue is whether governments in Britain should be allowed to decide for themselves when and where to hand over public money to big business’. However, Mr Gordon added, Boris Johnson’s government would almost certainly sell out this right and others such as fisheries in order to maintain City of London access to the Eurobond and other EU financial markets.
The Communist Party executive, on the other hand, warned that continuation of a European ‘level playing field’ and state aid rules would be used – as in Scotland in the past and Spain today – to block progressive policies for public investment, public ownership and balanced economic development.
‘Both sides in the current talks want to centralise vital economic powers in their own hands and ensure that they are used to promote big business profits’, the Communists insist.
In an end of year membership report, Alex Gordon announced a 30 per cent increase in CP membership since the party’s 55th congress in November 2018.
The Communist Party executive agreed to send a solidarity message to shop stewards at Rolls Royce in Barnoldswick, Lancashire, where workers have been taking strike action for almost two months against the threat to transfer hundreds of jobs to Singapore.