Britain resisting globalisation – better in the EU or alone?

Whilst agreeing with Grace Blakely of the IPPR that Brexit gives us a chance to resist financial globalisation, I still think she fails to take account of the high price involved in leaving the EU, and I’m very doubtful that leaving the EU, in fact, gives us a better chance of resisting globalisation. There are ways to do this that are much less impoverishing and disruptive for the British electorate.

She writes:

‘Leaving the EU could provide the left with an opportunity to build an economy that does not rely on capital extracted from the rest of the world to ensure growth and prosperity. If the UK could build such an economy outside of Europe, it would act as a beacon of hope to countries like Greece and Italy, currently struggling under the weight of the EU’s neoliberal technocracy. The British left has the opportunity to create a significant dent in the armour of financial capital by showing, once and for all, that there is an alternative. We must seize it.’

I’m sure we should. Yet she seems to think the UK is outside International Law:

What’s more, the implementation of EU law depends upon EU jurisprudence – international law, we must remember, is socially constructed and therefore strongly influenced by existing power relations.

UK – well English, law certainly oversees a disproprortionately large number of the world’s contracts.

Whilst state intervention as a passive shareholder is perfectly permissible under EU law, interfering with capital mobility by directing capital through industrial policy, public loans, and strategic investment, is not.

Her evidence is an American article which outlines the problems but forgets that Sweden is a member of the EU and suggests obstacles which are not there, certainly as I understand it. Nationalisation is allegedly no longer possible, yet President Macron has recently nationalised a St Nazaire shipyard without penalty (albeit on a supposedly temporary basis, but how long is temporary?)

If we consider the reverse scenario and Britain opted to stay, would the EU of the future be keen to pick a fight with Britain?  Particularly if it was able to point to improving youth employment, which would be obvious, with the better apprenticeships and local and National Investment Banks, as proposed by Labour.

I suggest we use UK Brexit trauma – and EU members’ Brexit frustration – to show that we need the EU to work better. Because the corollary of us not being able to leave, is them not being able to get rid of us – and that is a very much more difficult scenario for our EU colleagues.

Any attempt to limit capital flows, either through direct restrictions on capital movement, or through a prohibitive tax on financial transactions triggered during a crisis, would also be interpreted as an infringement of the four freedoms.

But it has already occured in Cyprus in 2013-2015. So that’s another temporary matter but, on the precedent, gives a full two years to negotiate (now where have I heard that before?)

If, finally, Labour get around to offering another election – sorry, referendum – on Brexit (as I’ve mentioned before if voting for something meant no change for ever then we’d still have Walpole as Prime Minister – or at least Major) then we can actually resume our place in the EU. We would be something of a disrupitve force, for sure, but constructively so, with any Labour government endeavouring carefully to dismantle the neoliberal barriers that have been gradually and dogmatically erected within the framework of the EU.

We would undoubtedly sometimes have some unlikely allies – I suspect Austria and Hungary amoung them, but we would have to get used to declaring that we agree that 2+2=4 in the company of absolutely anyone who agrees.

Or, in this World Cup month, go for the ball, not the man.