Remain & Reform

I’m impressed with a Paul Mason article in the ‘New Statesman’ in which he suggests that Labour should coalesce around remain and actually have a radical agenda for EU reform.

Hurray for that.

Remain and reform is what so many of us have wished for…

He suggests that reform would be easier if we revoked article 50 – we’d be seen as having viewed the darkest depths –  that most did not want, and having encountered that, we have also seen the difficulties that ensue.

But, having encounterd these difficulties, the UK has acquired, necessarily, a mandate for reform.

So we’re prepared to stay but we need reform in order that we silence the Brexiters.

As a large EU economy I think that would hold weight.

It should be a savvy Labour policy.

Actually I fervently hope it will be followed regardless – if only, at the very least, for the sake of future generations.


  1. Neil Robertson -

    Agree completely with this.

    First part of answering the concerns of people that supported brexit is to acknowledge that they have a point – i.e. the lives of many people have become incredibly difficult over the last decade or so. This acknowledgement needs to be absolute and sincere, and untainted by evasion over which particular level of political organisation was responsible. If people think they are being listened to they will more likely listen to the solutions that one might propose to their problems.

    The solution/offer of a brighter future in the EU can then be made. From a progressive perspective the majority of this offer is under UK control but can then go on to expand on how being in the EU makes this easier and some concrete targets for EU reform.

    Crucially, the offer regarding the EU needs to have some emotion/narrative attached to it and should not repeat the “you will be poorer, stupid” approach of the original remain campaign.

  2. Peter May -

    Much agree with last para. There are some facts that were not highlighted by the remain camp such as the EU being world’s regulatory superpower and the world’s largest trading block which are important. The emotional bit is for me that the last two world wars have started in Europe and by ensuring Europeans have a big talking shop that is less likely to reoccur. A more cuddly emotional idea is allowing all our students to study in each others country’s and indeed freedom of movement itself. A simple job abroad for youth for six months or a year – perhaps fruit picking or even social care – can open minds and horizons and be life changing.It presents an interesting and easy opportunity for our children and grandchildren.
    Of course none of these things are dependant on the EU but they are a result of it.

  3. Peter Dawe -

    The idea that Brussels will ever countenance any change that impacts the current power of the incumbents is crazy. They have ignored democratic pressure for decades, they won’t give up now. Ironically, only the far right have any chance of de-railing their Junta. So take care what you wish for!

    1. Neil Robertson -

      @Peter Dawe

      At the moment “Brussels” is (or is influenced by) us. We have a hand in what it does and what its priorities are. Some of its more unpleasant priorities are a reflection of what this country (UK) has become – so no real joy or optimism to be found in leaving on that score!
      One of the reasons for the perceived “democratic deficit” is the need to be careful to avoid the EU parliament subverting national democracies to an unacceptable extent.

  4. Peter May -

    Except over the Euro, of which we are happily not a part I cannot see where the EU has ignored democratic pressure….

  5. Jennifer (aka Jeni, Havantaclu) Parsons -

    103 days to disaster – I can’t see May allowing either a second referendum, or a last-minute withdrawal of Article 50 notification.

    And she’ll croak “Brexit means Brexit – you’ve got what you wanted” as the mire swallows the rest of us.

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