The Politics of Displacement

Theresa May is the latest example of a British Prime Minister who is desperate to renew the illusory ‘special relationship’ between Britain and America. Any trade deal with the US and Britain might entail swapping the tyranny of the EU for the tyranny of US companies who want to devour our public services such as the NHS and Education for private profit. The Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) would still be alive and well for Britain.

In contrast to May’s obsequiousness in the US, her speech to EU foreign ministers at Lancaster Gate a week earlier, gave a clear outline of what leaving the EU would mean for Britain and the EU. Sadly, MPs in all parties continue to peddle the same myths about what we in Britain voted for in the Referendum. We voted to leave the Single Market, the Customs Union and against the ‘Free Movement’ of workers, goods, services and finance.

Meanwhile, the Labour Party continues to write a succession of suicide notes addressed to the labour movement, on whom it has turned its back. Corbyn may be the party leader but he is not in full control.

Similarly, outside of Parliament many ‘remoaners’ still deny that the British people knew what they were voting for. Some trade unionists and ‘leftists’ prefer to shout slogans to each other demonising Trump. Have they forgotten how murderous other US presidents were, as indeed were some British Prime ministers such as Blair and Cameron? It is always safe and cosy to take the moral high ground about a foreign leader and congratulate each other in the conviction that protesting is actually political work; it most certainly is not.

Workers in Britain face many problems that we are still failing to address. The American people must deal with Trump. We in Britain must deal with our own employers, government and parliament, not least to ensure there is no backsliding on our exit from the EU. As trade unionists we have to be in the forefront of rebuilding Britain, not waiting for a politician to make another speech.

We do not have the luxury for ‘displacement politics’. Our country’s future is too important.

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