Ireland has nothing to fear from a Brexit

Britain voting to leave could wreck the EU's neo-liberal agenda

Boris Johnson and the battlebus.

Boris Johnson and the battlebus.

"We must sow terror in the hearts of the Irish people," a senior Irish politician told Irish Independent journalist James Downey in 2001, explaining how the Republic's Government would reverse the people's No vote to the EU's Nice Treaty that year, and turn it into a Yes vote for the same treaty the year after.

Insider was reminded of what Downey told his readers when reading last week’s article on Brexit in the Galway Advertiser, the headline of which eloquently summed up its message: “Brexit – be afraid, be VERY afraid”.

According to Wolfgang Münchau in the Financial Times on Monday 'Project Fear' is what the campaign to remain in the EU has been dubbed - but this is a common tactic of the Europhiles. Back in 1999 the British people were told economic ruin was the future of Britain if it did not abolish the pound sterling and join the €uro. Fortunately for the British people, Gordon Brown was not so foolish to surrender totally his country’s economic independence as our gang up in Dublin.

Nevertheless, the various EU treaties since the 1986 Single European Act have impacted on each state’s right to determine its own economic policies.

During the post-war years, European governments had intervened to boost demand whenever economic growth slackened – in a word, Keynesianism. This produced three decades of high growth, full employment, and also secured a degree of income distribution in favour of workers.

The SEA, however, set out to change all that with the elimination of public ‘monopolies’ created by state companies; the end to public sector investment, in particular in firms or industries. This set the legal framework for the policy of permanent austerity we have today – its drafters were ministers from Thatcher’s and German Chancellor Helmut Kohl’s conservative governments.

The 1992 Maastricht Treaty was used to hammer the final nail in the coffin of Keynesianism. The right-wing economic dogma of Thatcher and Kohl took centre stage within the EU, putting big business first and working people last. The 2012 Fiscal Compact Treaty – or permanent austerity treaty as it is popularly known – put the final touches of this (neo-liberal ) dogma into EU law.

'Brexit would scupper the job-destroying TTIP'

Jeremy Corbyn Remain

Brexit would create an opening for people in Britain and the Six Counties to break away from anti-working class economics. It is true, that the Conservative Party and UKIP forces on the Leave side are neo-liberals too, so in the near future austerity will remain economic policy in Britain.

However, if the British people vote to leave the EU they would be able to re-elect a government that was anti-austerity – say under Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour Party. If they remain in the EU, irrespective who they elect to Westminster, they would not be allowed to change policy, as that would be against the EU treaties and EU law. In other words, the EU cannot be reformed from within, because even one state, such as Germany, can veto reform.

And although Corbyn is supposed to be anti-Brexit, it is no coincidence that The Financial Times is constantly berating him for his lacklustre campaign. In fact, he is not only anti-austerity he is anti-EU.

Brexit would also be progressive, as it would scupper the job-destroying TTIP, the transatlantic trade deal. Thanks to the Lisbon Treaty, the unelected Brussels Commission received “exclusive EU competence” to make trade and investment treaties around the world on our behalf, although not in our interest.

TTIP, which was negotiated in secret, will enable business corporations to sue governments whose domestic regulations on health, labour, or environmental standards, might harm corporate profits. It will also open our markets to cheap GMO-enhanced agricultural products from the USA, which would damage the health of our agriculture sector and our own personal well-being.

The same unelected Brussels Commission that is negotiating TTIP continues to make more than 70 per cent of member states laws. In 2015 the Commission imposed on EU states 134,000 laws, directives, and regulations. Three thousand working groups - operating in secret within the Brussels bureaucracy - drew these up, and 'helping' them were the 15,000 lobbyists operating in Brussels, who are employed by the large corporations and banks.

This is another aspect of the EU’s “democratic deficit”. If the electorate of any EU state is dissatisfied with the EU laws it is powerless to remove from office the unelected Commission and its working groups.

We are led to believe that the EU is based on the principle of “solidarity”, but the Greek, the Irish, and the refugee crises have exposed this to be a myth. And the EU Court of Justice showed it was on the employers’ side against workers with the Viking, Laval, Ruffert and Luxemburg rulings. These marked the first direct attack by the EU on the right of workers and national governments to take action against the super-exploitation of imported labour to undercut pay and conditions of employment.

'The EU is deeply opposed to the interests of working people'

David Cameron brexit

So the EU is deeply opposed to the interests of working people. It is not surprising therefore that most of the Irish Left parties seem to be pro-Brexit. Although for some strange reason they are not openly campaigning on the issue in the Six Counties. Instead, they want to hold nonsensical protests against Donald Trump – basically because they – just like Trump - want some cheap publicity.

Shamefully, the Sinn Féin leadership have joined the right-wing forces and are indulging in 'Project Fear'.

So let Insider reassure you if Brexit happens: our Common Travel Area between the North and the Republic predates joining the EU and will survive just as Norway, a non-EU country, has a common travel area with Sweden and Denmark. Trade between Ireland and Britain will continue as both right and left in Britain recognise its importance.

Yet if the British vote to Remain, then Irish people moving to Britain can expect to have fewer rights and fewer social welfare benefits, etc, than they have now.

However, there is an ironic twist if the Remain side wins. It will mean a change in EU Treaties, which under our Constitution should mean we will have a referendum to decide whether we agree or not. Rest assured if that day comes, the EU elites and their Irish political lackeys in Government Buildings will “sow terror in the hearts of the Irish people” to make sure we vote the right way.

If we do not, we will be forced to vote again until we get the right answer – that’s democracy, EU-style.

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