This pamphlet will look first at the likely course of the negotiations themselves: how options are currently being defined by the British government and what their implications are for workers’ rights. Next, it will examine the EU: its positive achievements but also its neo-liberal economic framework and the consequences both for the crisis of social democracy and the rise of right-wing populism. The third section will look at the objectives of British big business and the City of London, the relationship with the US, and most important of all, why British big business and the City will not and cannot resolve the basic problems facing the British economy and why public sector intervention is essential.
The pamphlet will end by considering the opportunities and dangers posed by the negotiations for working people in Britain. It argues that the opportunity now exists for restoring democratic control over the economy, for addressing the structural problems of stagnation and job loss and for re-establishing workers’ rights. A campaign for such an outcome has the potential to galvanise a wider movement across Europe and constitutes the best chance for winning the battle against right-wing populism.
The alternative, of the Conservative Government creating a new right-wing populist base for neo-liberal economics, is one that should persuade every trade unionist of the necessity to campaign for a progressive settlement.