Boris Johnson intends to force a ‘disaster capitalist’ Brexit on us, but Jeremy Corbyn is having none of it

Boris Johnson and Jeremy Corbyn
Tom Coburg

In an interview on Sophy Ridge On Sunday, Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn said his party was ready and prepared to fight an autumn general election. This comes as the ‘Brexit Gang’, led by Boris Johnson, is making it clear that a no-deal Brexit – sometimes referred to as the ‘disaster capitalist’ version – is looking more and more likely.

Labour prepared

On Sunday 28 July, Corbyn declared that Labour is preparing for a general election:

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Corbyn made it clear what Labour will offer in regard to Brexit:

No deal we’ll oppose and we think people should have a final choice on it. They can have a vote then between remain and whatever option Boris Johnson decides to put to them at that time.

In other words, it would provide an opportunity for the electorate to have a final choice between remain and what Boris Johnson and his cabinet offers. He added that the same will apply if a general election sees Labour assume power.

This is already Corbyn’s stated policy:

Labour would campaign for Remain against either No Deal or a Tory deal that does not protect the economy and jobs.

As for Labour’s wider policies, Corbyn explained:

fundamentally it’s about reducing inequality in Britain and about investing in good quality sustainable jobs for the future through the Green Energy Revolution.

And as for triggering an early general election via a vote of no confidence, Corbyn says he’ll examine that option once Parliament resumes in September.

Boris Gang preparing too

Meanwhile, the Johnson cabinet is making its own preparations for an early general election, despite a denial to the contrary.

It’s been reported that the government is already publishing ads on Facebook. Also, Johnson has appointed his Vote Leave chief Dominic Cummings as his special adviser who is likely to help coordinate the election campaign.

No-deal will be a disaster

Two commentators writing in Bloomberg argued that Johnson is really aiming for no-deal as first choice:

Johnson is hardening the government’s position and putting the country on a war footing for a no-deal rupture.

Columnist George Monbiot has also argued that ‘disaster capitalism‘ is probably the real goal of a no-deal Brexit.

But a no-deal Brexit would be disastrous for the UK, except for those hedge fund managers and others who could be regarded as practitioners of disaster capitalism.

In 2017, the OECD stated that if Brexit proceeds, it would:

cause a severe negative shock to the economy and weaken GDP growth for many years, equivalent to a cost per household of GBP 3200 per year by 2030 at today’s prices, and as much as GBP 5000 in the worst case scenario

Also, a leading investment bank predicted that Brexit is likely to cause a massive recession in the UK, especially in the event of a no-deal.

Or, as Corbyn put it bluntly to Johnson in Parliament:

No deal means no steel, no car industry, food prices rising dramatically and huge job losses.

And for people up and down the land, it’s likely they will see food prices increase by up to 10%, given that nearly 80% of all food imported by UK supermarkets originates in the EU.

Plot to wreck no deal

The Observer has reported that former Chancellor Philip Hammond and Labour’s Brexit spokesperson Sir Keir Starmer have discussed parliamentary tactics and devices to stop a no-deal. This would involve taking control of Parliament’s timetable and mandating the prime minister to seek an extension of the negotiations with the EU. A vote of no confidence would be a last resort.

Other senior Tories with whom Starmer has talked on similar lines include Oliver Letwin and Dominic Grieve. Greg Clark and David Gauke were also mentioned.

And writing in the Guardian, Jonathan Powell, former chief-of-staff to Tony Blair, sketched out a possible scenario for Johnson should he fail to reach a deal with the EU:

When Johnson returns empty-handed from his European tour he will – given his lack of a working parliamentary majority for a no-deal Brexit – face two choices. He can go either for a general election or a referendum. Although the latter would be the right choice for the country, it looks likely he will go for the former. The polls will show him that with the progressive vote split, with Labour down to 20% and the Lib Dems at 20%, he could win a landslide in the first past the post system with an electoral understanding – even an informal one – with Nigel Farage. And he will know that if he waits too long into next year for an election, the recession will have begun to bite.

The real issues

Like his predecessor, Johnson will have to rely almost entirely on the support of the Democratic Unionist Party to stay in power. But if we factor in the Tory rebels, he could be forced to opt for a general election prior to his Brexit deadline of 31 October. An electoral pact with the Brexit Party may therefore prove an advantage to him.

If Johnson includes no-deal as part of his election manifesto, and he wins the election, he could then argue he has a mandate via the ‘will of the people’.

But none of this addresses the myriad of other issues that affect the daily lives of the many, not the few. Corbyn highlighted such issues at this year’s Durham Miners’ Gala:

And Corbyn again pointed out the stark difference between his vision and Johnson’s on 29 July:

The choice is clear: capitalism for the few, or social justice for the many.

Featured image via YouTube – Sophie Brown / Wikimedia – Sophie Brown

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    1. The term ‘disaster capitalist’ ought not be used.

      Its first component is correct. However, market-capitalism, as understood by Adam Smith, myself, and even Karl Marx, is moribund and like to die soon.

      One cannot have market-capitalism when capital is concentrated in very few hands and buried, as with the parable of the talents, out of sight such as in fine art, luxury goods, housing property, and other things as keep it from reach by would-be entrepreneurs.

      Neither can one have market-capitalism with rigged markets; these evinced through blatant manipulation (e.g. of metallic gold spot price), high frequency trading, conglomerates peddling supposedly competing brands all owned by the same holding company, and rentiers of so-called ‘intellectual property’ with legally sanctioned monopolies based on copyright and patents.

      Call a spade a spade. The enemy is the vacuous economics underlying neo-liberalism. Neo-liberalism is not market-capitalism but rather a perversion thereof. Trumpet from rooftops that neo-liberalism is the ideology of people who admire Ayn Rand’s bleak outlook. An ideology seeking to profit through dystopia. Its high priestess the author of a tract extolling the virtue of selfishness. Its theologians being economists like Hayek.

    2. Read a very interesting article about brexit, trump, boris and the links between the right wing establishment here and the ultra wealthy libertarians and conservatives stateside who are bankrolling all this*. George was spot on with his disaster capitalism observation, what they are attempting to bring in is much worse than neo-liberalism, even pinochet rejected this economic model for being too extreme.

      I don’t think the election if it comes soon will be easy, as the right are descending into chaos to try and maintain power, fearing the rejection and failure (unless you’re well off) of their economic models, unpunished criminality that led to 2008 crash and the young especially turning away from capitalism. If lots of people get wind of the economic model they want to bring in, which will result in extreme poverty for most, including the middle classes, then their faux populism will be revealed to be the sham it’s always been.

      Democracy in chains, by Nancy Maclean goes into this model and shows how they have been planning and building up to this for 30+ years, trump, farage, boris and all the others are just opportunistic front men, we need to focus on the organ grinders and not the monkeys. One thing I’d like to see is more attention being paid on the way psychological warfare, big data and building personal profiles for individuals, has been used extensively in recent years to get to this point.

      If labour do win, which I doubt, they should make bringing in a cognitive liberty bill a priority, to try and protect everyone from the extreme manipulation, rise in division and undermining of the fragile, barely democratic system we’re in now. Unfortunately and I don’t mean to be so cynical, if labour starts doing well going into an election, psychological programs will ramp up, smears will increase, which the, ahem, liberal professional chattering classes will focus on, unstable people will be encouraged to violence and I could even see outright terrorism being used to manipulate the public into fear, with labour being accused of being terrorist sympathisers who are soft on terrorism, as per the old play book.

      *https://bylinetimes.com/2019/06/21/the-transatlantic-triumph-of-trumpism-boris-johnson-a-plan-years-in-the-making/

    3. The biggest problem is that if there is an early election the Fixed-term Parliaments Act (FTPA) empowers the sitting PM to set the date for it, which could be after the default Brexit date of 31 October, so Johnson could guarantee himself his no-deal Brexit by doing just that, then sitting back and brazening out the few weeks until Brexit has happened by default.

      The only certain way I can see to stop this is for Labour to resist the temptation to vote for a Johnson motion calling for an election (which could hand him no-deal Brexit on a plate – although, sadly, judging by Corbyn’s comments they don’t seem to realise this) but instead for parliament to carry a motion of no confidence in the government and then to vote within 14 days to form a new government, which the FTPA says would take office immediately, to take control of the Brexit process.

      This would require an enormous meeting of minds between no-deal opponents of all hues, and they can’t afford to leave such discussions until the 11th hour because if they fail to form a majority for a new government after a no confidence vote the FTPA says there must be a general election, which BJ could set of a date after 31/10, as per my first paragraph.

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