I am visiting London today.
The top topic du jour is the "Brexit deal", the terms of the UK leaving the European Union, following the 2016 referendum.
The main problem is that although people in the UK voted to leave the EU, nobody knew at the time what this would actually look like. It has never been done. So it is a new thing for everyone involved.
The current deal, pushed forward by Theresa May, Prime Minister of the UK, is hated by both the Leave and the Remain camps.
Never have the words of Shakespeare - "now is the winter of our discontent" – rang more true than now.
I have been following the situation very closely and I fully support the position of Jeremy Corbyn, the Labour party leader (leader of the opposition). Ok, I admit it, I have a little political crush on Jeremy Corbyn. He is a politician whose integrity I absolutely and unconditionally admire. But that is another matter for another time...[watch this space]
If you read coverage of Brexit in The Guardian, for example, you might think that the end of the world or Armageddon is due at 1pm local time on 29th March 2019, the Brexit time. The Guardian, the metropolitan elites and the likes describe the EU as some sort of humanitarian charity that is a force of unquestionable good and that nothing is more important than being a member of it, no matter what.
The Leave camp and its leaders lied through their teeth during the referendum campaign and resorted to disgusting scapegoating of migrants in the process. They have been absolutely appalling.
This cold war style propaganda on both sides is shocking and sickening.
But let's be honest. For the bureaucrats and shareholders of the biggest global corporations the EU is nothing more than their own pet project. The main pillar of the EU is free trade without any national limitations, including national tariffs and laws protecting workers, consumers or nature. I am fully aware that the EU helped achieve a lot of good and introduced many measures that have been beneficial to the people and to life on this planet. But this is just a disguise used to ensure its true purpose.
There are neoliberal policies enshrined in EU treaties which EU countries are forced to implement even if against their will. Inequality between the EU countries has been increasing. Weaker states have been pushed deeper into crisis. Just look at Greece - and the barbaric treatment it had to endure - to see the true ruthlessness of the EU.
EU rules make it impossible for the states to introduce policies such as re-nationalisation of railways or other social justice reforms.
The supporters of the EU claim that its main benefit is the free movement of people. They are totally blind to the phenomenon called social dumping (aka a business practice whereby employers use cheaper labour than is usually available at their business sites of production or sale and migrant workers within the EU). This means lowering the wages. Sadly, the right wing parties misuse this to create anti-migrant sentiments. Failing neoliberalism is unable to address the staggering inequalities between the rich and the poor and the resulting frustration and so it resorts to right-wing party tactics and their scapegoats.
The EU is not a democratic institution. Again, the Greece example - where the EU forced the Syriza government to go against the decision of its own population - shows how impossible it is for a country to extricate itself from the EU.
So all in all, I find the UK referendum on leaving the EU to be a brave move. It is vitally important that the EU is thoroughly and fundamentally reformed. Europe deserves a much better form of organised cooperation. And I would really support the UK attempting to create an alternative for Europe.
But retreating to nationalistic tendencies is not an alternative. The only road to freedom is via a joint fight of the unprivileged. This means foreign workers included.
The current deal proposed by Theresa May does NOT offer such an alternative. It is a disaster. I am sure that I could have negotiated better conditions than this dumb deal. I have been negotiating with Hollywood for decades. I could handle Mr Michel Bernier (the EU Chief negotiator)!!
But what is the solution? How to find a good way out of this impasse?
I would love to see Jeremy Corbyn as Prime Minister, he would certainly negotiate a better deal.
I was thinking that perhaps the UK needs something like the National Government, similar to one that was created during World War II. It would have the leaders of all the major political parties in the UK working jointly towards the best solution for the people in the country.
The EU must definitely learn their lesson and reform. People from other EU countries must also stand against the true nature of the EU. And we must all keep in mind that reforming the EU is just part and parcel of the fight against global supranational institutions. Institutions that create and enforce rules that benefit global businesses, the rich and the privileged!
Don't think that this sounds like a hopeless project set to fail. Remember, as Winston Churchill once said: "success consists of going from failure to failure without loss of enthusiasm."
So it is absolutely worth it to try.