PWB will develop strategies and policies of a ‘win-win’ patriotism for the left. PWB will start a conversation on how to build a consensus where there is no contradiction between the strong instinctive connection of people, their cultures, communities and homelands and the mutual benefits of collective prosperity, security and freedom.
The United Kingdom Post-Brexit
Having left the European Union, the UK’s body politic – exhausted by a three-year war of attrition – for the moment wishes to discuss neither the conclusion of an interrupted Brexit nor the country’s future relations with its closest trading and political bloc.
But this hiatus doesn’t alter the fundamental question of Brexit.
The UK will either choose to follow the EU’s rules in order to minimise economic damage but have no say over them; or it will choose a complete divergence from the EU that inflicts enormous damage to the UK economy and our communities. Every indication is that the UK Government will follow the latter course, abandoning the mechanisms for influencing the world around us for an illusion of sovereignty, where today’s true power lies in working with others.
Whatever arrangement emerges after 31 December 2020 it will not be the end of the matter. The inconvenient truth is the UK will have little choice but to engage with the reality of the European Union next door. The critical mass of a market many times larger than the United Kingdom and the action in consort of 27 countries covering the bulk of the European continent makes it inevitable that what happens in Brussels, Berlin and
Paris matters in London. It always did and it always will.
PWB will start a conversation about how the UK re-engages with
the world, and how we repair the damage to our reputation that Brexit has wrought. The focus for the short term will build arguments for case-by-case re-engagement around areas of common challenge. In the longer term PWB will build on the internationalist movement awakened during the Brexit debate to create the cultural context to end the UK’s isolation.
The European Union post-crisis
The crises of 2008, the Eurozone and the refugee crisis exposed failings, not of the European Union’s ideals and aims, but of its institutions and politics. The member states, who often rely on the EU at times of crisis, do not feel comfortable endowing the institutions with the powers they need. Yet the crises themselves demonstrate the necessity of the EU – it has to be re-invented – given greater capacity to act where needed, but at the same time reformed.
The threats that exist are not just externally driven. Member states that flout the EU’s stated values of the rule of law and freedom of association face little to no credible sanction owing to the structures being inadequate and the need for unanimity among all member states. There needs to be an honest conversation about how the EU can safeguard its integrity going forward.
PWB will not exist to ignore the failings of the EU. We will argue
for a Union that is not afraid to assume greater responsibility whilst still affording its cities and regions more say over the policies that govern it. We can demonstrate the effect that co-operation and genuine solidarity can provide. The left can dismantle the populists’ claim to have the answers.
However, it is worth remembering that the EU has proved a great deal more resilient than many of its detractors have predicted. At every stage of its development monetary union was written off as doomed. Yet two decades after its launch the single currency has proved more robust than many economists believed possible and it did so in the face of the most serious financial crisis in a century.
There are signs that the genuine issues with the governance of the Euro will be addressed incrementally, however, new internationalist solutions will depend upon the Union renewing both its confidence and its common purpose. That will depend upon EU politicians understanding that the social market bargain at the heart of EU policy making remains essential to the future, acquiring renewed purpose in addressing economic, social and cultural change.
PWB will start a conversation about how Europe can reconnect with its citizens, how it can rebuild its purpose and show the next generation why it is as relevant to today’s generation as it was to the World War II generation who built it.