JEREMY CORBYN is right to resist the blandishments of pro-EU Labour members to back the pipe-dream of Britain remaining inside the internal market and customs union after leaving the EU.
His preference for wanting continued friendly relations and friction-free bilateral trade in the interests of all current EU members is more honest and more workable.
Signatories to the Observer letter know that membership of the internal market and customs union brings with it accepting EU directives and European Court of Justice rulings.
In other words, Britain would remain in EU membership in contradiction to the 2016 referendum result.
That suits the Liberal Democrats, who make no secret of their contempt for democracy, mirroring the time-dishonoured European Commission tendency to demand repeat ballots whenever electors in member states vote the wrong way.
But this “EU membership whatever the voters say” position was trounced at the general election when both major parties asserted that the referendum position must be respected.
Former Liberal Democrat leader Nick Clegg, who is always assured of an unchallenging interview on BBC TV, had the temerity to tell Andrew Marr that it is impossible to oppose austerity without rejecting Brexit.
This charmer, who drove the Tory austerity agenda with David Cameron and George Osborne, also suggested — “And how can I put this politely?” — that another referendum was necessary because “the high point of the Brexit vote has already passed,” meaning that older voters who backed Leave most strongly are dying out.
He also claimed a second bite was justified because the Leave campaign told lies to win the vote.
Clegg could revisit Project Fear’s warnings by political, banking and other corporate leaders forecasting erroneously that the roof would fall in immediately following a Leave vote.
Politicians have a tendency to overstate the benefits of their own policies and exaggerate others’ shortcomings — what’s new? Some even lie about tuition fees.
The Observer open letter stresses that “migrants are not to blame for falling wages, job insecurity, bad housing and overstretched public services” — a point made constantly by Corbyn.
But Corbyn insists correctly that Labour’s economic plans, involving state aid to industry and returning privatised services to public ownership, would fall foul of the EU “four freedoms” founding principle that individual states cannot interfere with free movement of goods, capital, services, and labour.
Many workers from the other 27 EU states already live and work in Britain and there should be no change to this.
But the Labour leader is clear that there must be no persistence of the dirty deals whereby employers bring workers to Britain to suffer poor pay and conditions and thereby undermine trade union-negotiated rates.
Both Corbyn and the Morning Star wanted a residency guarantee offered to EU citizens immediately after the referendum rather than the Tories’ heartless decision to use them as bargaining chips.
Internationalism is at the heart of left-wing rejection of the neoliberal EU project, yet propagandists for the EU superstate have succeeded in conning too many people into believing that EU free movement of labour equates to internationalism.
Tell that to the hundreds of thousands of people from Asia and Africa seeking political asylum in Europe and denied entry because Fortress Europe buys off Turkey and Libya to clamp down on them.
Labour should leave attempts to subvert the referendum vote to the Liberal Democrats and support the party’s anti-austerity programme that has so enthused members and supporters.