OK, so Jeremy Corbyn has taken a position over Brexit you disagree with. However, how can he always do politics exactly the way ‘you’ want. He is leader of the opposition for the entire country…not just you…or just for Remain constituencies. He’s also a democrat who doesn’t sneer arrogantly at others for getting it ‘wrong.’ He just deals with the hand he’s been dealt in a democratic socialist way.
If people stop supporting Corbyn over this and that lack of support goes on to cost us his leadership, he’ll be replaced by a right-wing or centrist Labour MP (which amounts to the same thing because centrists always bow to pressure from the strong willed right). I personally will NEVER forgive those who walked away. I fully expect not to agree with everything Corbyn says or does. Politics – especially Labour Party politics at this point in time – is messy and complicated and will involve compromises I won’t always like.
However here is the crux of this: Labour does not have the numbers to block Brexit due to an overwhelmingly united Tory party. Therefore aiming to block it is both undemocratic and futile. It would be empty gesture politics which could potentially cost us all our Brexit supporting seats.
Yes, it would be a gesture which would give some Remainers a temporary high, but that high would last only until they realised the Labour party was electorally finished and they’d be ruled by the Tories forever! If you want to ensure we avoid the hardest of Brexits, signing Labour up to electoral suicide is not the best way to do it.
Under Corbyn’s leadership this country could get a socialist Brexit with renationalisation, good wages and jobs, as well as decent transport, council housing, schools and hospitals. If people want to throw that away over an empty gesture then I absolutely despair!
So please, don’t walk away without asking yourself this very simple question…do you want us to go back to being a Tory-lite Labour party? And if so, why? Do you think a Right of Labour leader would have done anything different to Corbyn on Brexit? If you do, bear in mind that 80% of Labour MPs support Corbyn over this, many of whom are on the party right. This degree of unity is rare in our party at this present time.
Naturally some MPs who represent strongly Remain constituencies are faced with a dilemma. They risk losing their seats if they don’t represent their constituent’s views. However, the majority of Labour MPs support Corbyn’s position because they know if they don’t we’ll be wiped out by UKIP in England, the way we’ve been wiped out by the SNP in Scotland.
Then there is the rarely mentioned issue of hypocrisy, which would be mentioned plenty if Labour MPs had voted against Article 50. The majority of Labour MPs voted yes to an EU Referendum. The Referendum bill carried with it no provisos on the outcome of a Leave vote…no second Referendum…no ‘only if it means staying in the single market’…nothing. Therefore, how can those MPs who supported that Referendum bill now say…”hmm..er..this wasn’t the way it was supposed to turn out…we had no idea our decision to support a Referendum would backfire…oh I know we’ll just try in vain to block it.”
So the bottom line is this; if a right-wing Labour leader was in charge right now they would still respect the Referendum result. However they’d also still support austerity, still try to out UKIP UKIP on immigration (which fanned the flames for a Leave vote in the past), still support military intervention as a rule rather than an exception, still support the further privitasation of our NHS and schools, and still fail to address the housing crisis; we’d basically still be offering the electorate the political equivalent of wishy washy sludge.
Yes there would be no coups, and the press would give us an easier ride (at least in the short term if they were rewarding us for ditching Corbyn) so we would probably be polling better, but is that truly something to aspire to?
The General Election is three years away. If we can pull together we can win. At least we would be giving the voters a clear choice in 2020…a banker’s brexit or a people’s brexit.