by Costas Lapavitsas
If the next Labour government is to be truly transformative, it has to free itself from the constraints of the single market.
n recent weeks there has been intense debate in Britain about the Labour Party and the ongoing Brexit process. Advocates of the European Union have sought a range of concessions from the party leadership ranging from another vote on Brexit, to continued membership of the single market and Customs Union, and focusing on Brexit at party conference.
Underpinning this campaign to change Labour’s position on Brexit has been a barrage of articles arguing that European Union or single market rules would not impinge on Jeremy Corbyn’s program for government. These have come from a wide range of sources including the journal Renewal, the New Statesman, the Fabian’s website, the New European, LabourList, Open Labour, OpenDemocracy and Open Britain. But are they correct in their assertions?
In three interrelated areas EU rules would place severe restrictions on a future Corbyn government: State Aid, public procurement and nationalization. These are not minor issues. They lie at the heart of any attempt to transform Britain’s economy in a socialist direction, especially when it comes to industrial policy. As the debate over Brexit rumbles on it is clear that the EU would place unique barriers to a Corbyn-led Labour government—making even a reversal to WTO rules more advantageous than either EU or Single Market membership in these respects.
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