This week the leader of the Labour Party appeared to rule out any continuing UK de facto membership of the single market (SM) because it would prevent a future Labour government re-nationalising the railways, the water and electricity utilities, and the Royal Mail.
Corbyn appears also concerned that continuing UK involvement in the SM would likewise prevent the provision of selective state assistance or aid as part of a more interventionist industrial policy. This could possibly involve a state investment bank taking equity stakes in firms or supporting research and development expenditures, especially across new technology and medical research areas.
The detail of these plans, which were outlined in its 2017 GE manifesto , however, remain hazy, particularly with in connection with how will be financed without undermining confidence in the public finances.
Each element requires focused and objective debate and scrutiny measured against strategic social democratic ends. That requires potential and likely gains to be balanced against realistically-assessed costs. Otherwise Labour will risk being portrayed – not only by the Tories, but also by responsible and informed elements of the mainstream media, as economically naive, at best.
Crucially it is doubtful whether most – if not all – of Labour’s proposals will infringe current EU state aid rules, as discussed in , and https://d3n8a8pro7vhmx.cloudfront.net/in/pages/14074/attachments/original/1517224151/lexit_paper_finalONLINE.pdf?1517224151.
It is perplexing that at this crucial juncture in the brexit negotiation process that the leader of the opposition party is resurrecting a particular historic and ingrained left-wing concern about EU membership that is not informed by the actual underlying situation.
This is at a time when Labour needs to crystallise its brexit position in tune with the national interest, in order to effectively challenge and expose the government’s self deluding ‘let us have cake and eat it’ approach to the impending stage 2 negotiations.