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Monday, 30 July 2018

Brexit Chaos - Corbyn’s Opportunity

As Theresa May staggered to the finish line of the last Parliamentary term, still in Downing Street but not really in power, the cry went up whenever the issue of Brexit was raised. Where was Jeremy Corbyn? Where was Labour’s solution to the impasse? The Tories had got us into this mess, but if Labour was to gain power, how would they figure a way out?
Those cries will only magnify, as Sky News has told todayBritish public opinion has shifted sharply against Brexit, according to a new Sky Data poll”. The headline points from that poll were all bad for the Tories and their Brexit strategy, such as it is.
The government is haemorrhaging trust regarding the Brexit negotiations … Two-thirds of the public - including a majority of Leave voters - now think the outcome of Brexit negotiations will be bad for Britain … A significant increase in the proportion who think Brexit will negatively affect themselves personally, the economy and the country overall … Most people would like to see a referendum asking between the deal suggested by the government, no deal, and remaining in the EU”.
Theresa May, tone deaf to the end, was having none of it. “No second Brexit referendum will be held ‘in any circumstances’, Downing Street said after a Sky Data poll showed most people would like to see another vote on Britain's exit from the EU”.
So how can Jezza capitalise on this mess - and offer a way out? Corbyn supporter Paul Mason, on holiday but never far from Twitter, has an insight into how that might happen.
As I said after the Chequers deal collapsed, Labour should now embrace Norway+ and offer a second referendum on the deal done: deal or Remain only on ballot paper”. Why so? “150 Labour CLPs debating 2nd Vote resolution - has to be discussed at Labour conference - front bench must take ownership of this new mood”. That’s why. The number will only have grown by the time Conference comes round.
How does he see that opportunity unfolding? “The sequence is: defeat May deal in Commons; force election & campaign on promise (not leaving open) a 2nd vote; negotiate Norway+ deal and put that deal vs Remain to a 2nd Referendum”.
OK, but why no “No Deal”? “And to summarise why my position is changed: collapse of Chequers deal leaves Tory hard Brexiteers in position of: ‘We tried, we failed’. Electorate can see that, hence Sky poll finds moral authority of May. and positivity about Brexit, collapsing”. Also, the reality of “No Deal” meaning “Cliff Edge” is coming clear.
And as to where Mason was coming from here, he had one warning. “Finally my Tory chums. Try saying the words ‘stockpile food’ to a mum hanging around the out-of-date shelf at Tesco at 5pm, waiting to see if she's going to feed her kids tonight. If it all goes to shit, that's the moral authority of your party gone for a generation”.

Remember Galbraith’s definition of leadership: “All of the great leaders have had one characteristic in common; it was their willingness to confront unequivocally the major anxiety of their people in their time. This, and not much else, is the essence of leadership”.

Theresa May’s leadership is non-existent. Time for Jezza to step up to the plate.

4 comments:

bullinachinashop said...

May's 'no referendum under any circumstance' is very much the sequel to her 2017 smash hit, 'no snap general election'. So it's a sporting certainty that another referendum is on the cards.

Hard to see how another referendum can be avoided, really. Whatever May comes back from Brussels with, Labour and the ERG will oppose it. Parliament will be gridlocked and 'no deal' will loom. But 'no deal' is not acceptable to anyone anyway, save perhaps for the loons of the ERG. 'No deal' breaks the GFA and forces Ireland and the EU to erect hard borders in NI. The alternative, a border in the Irish Sea, would lose the Tories the support of the DUP and either way would break the central principle of the party, that's the Conservative and Unionist Party we're talking about. The clue is in the name. Then there's the economic and social catastrophe 'no deal' would unleash on the UK as a whole, or what's left of it. The Tories would be finished as a political force. For good.

Plus, as long as the Tories have a majority in Parliament, there will be no general election. If nothing else, Tories are very devoted to the idea of clinging on to power. The ERG won't support a GE and neither will the DUP. Labour are wasting their time planning for one. So a referendum presents the only get-out-of-jail-free card available to the government. Extend A50 and let the people decide.

Apart from the fact that Paul Mason doesn't expand on how Labour might 'force a GE' (I think we should be told), there is much to commend in what he says but the choice, under the Tories (there will be no GE, remember) will not include Norway, as the ERG will already have nixed it. So, the only two items on the menu will be Leave with no deal or Remain?

Now, with all this talk of food and medical stockpiling and the army in readiness to... do what? -- Distribute rations? Quell civil unrest? Both? -- won't the populace be sufficiently terrified to vote the right way next time? According to the latest Sky New poll, (as the PM takes her relaxed walking holiday in Italy), they're well on their way.

Anonymous said...

When it comes to issues, for all his political life Corbyn has never been backward at coming forward. It's one of the reasons his enemies (inside and outside the Labour Party) hate him: Such mentalities always hate those they wrong just as they always hate their victims.

On the issue of Europe he has always quite properly opposed the capitalist version of European "unity". That's the version which has almost destroyed the socioeconomic fabric of Portugal, Ireland, Italy, Spain, and, most of all, Greece. The same version which actually looted personal bank accounts in Cyprus.

Now he comes face to face with realpolitik while his enemies, as usual, spit and howl away in the background and while a majority of voters opted to leave the EU.

It's the first real issue test of his "new politics" based on strong grass roots discussion and support among party members, as opposed to the loathed cynical cronyism of the current House of Commons. The leadership role is therefore quite different to the corrupt old Blair/Brown model (and God knows, look where THAT got us).

During the last century the world - but particularly Europe - showed what horrors await those who howl for "a strong man". True democracy requires participation not abdication of responsibility. If people won't get off their arses, organise and argue their case they can hardly be surprised when the despised old guard fill the vacuum.

Corbyn's decency and honesty are not in doubt. Now he and his supporters have to provide the administrative ability to go with it. The disastrous sequence of Thatcher-Major-Blair-Brown-Cameron-May shows just how much its needed. If he fails, we'll be back to the institutional corruption and downright evil which has dogged this country for nearly four decades. But maybe that's all apathy deserves.

Roy Gillett said...

Corbyn will not countenance a Norway based deal because it will mean accepting free movement of labour and capital

He's terrified of upsetting the unconsciously racist white van man segment of the "working classes" and on top of that is basically an old fashioned anti-capitalist. He WANTS a hard Brexit, no matter what.

Anonymous said...

@Roy Gillett.

You make three allegations against Corbyn.

And your supporting evidence is......?