.comment-link {margin-left:.6em;}

Monday, January 07, 2019

Will Corbyn listen to his members on Brexit?

There was a damning piece by Andrew Rawnsley in yesterday's Observer in which he argued that if we are to stop Brexit, then Jeremy Corbyn will have to be dragged kicking and screaming to support a referendum on the final deal.

It is not a new sentiment. It has been clear for some time that Corbyn is actually in favour of us leaving the EU. As Rawnsley says, the clearest thing the Labour leader said in a recent interview was when he attacked the EU’s rules on competition and subsidies: “I don’t want to be told by somebody else that we can’t use state aid in order to be able to develop industry in this country.”

As the columnist says, this is a variation on one of the ancient arguments from the 1970s against Europe:

It was often heard from Mr Corbyn’s antecedents on the left who opposed what was then the EEC because they saw it as nothing better than a capitalist club constructed to do down the workers and thwart socialism. It is highly disputable whether EU membership would prevent a Corbyn government from pursuing a state-directed industrial strategy. What matters in understanding him and his motivation is that he clearly believes this to be true. It is an argument he often returns to whenever asked about Brexit.

In this Corbyn is out-of-step with his own party and with Labour voters. Some 73% of people currently identifying as Labour supporters think that the UK was wrong to vote to leave the EU. That rises to a massive 89% among Labour members. The ESRC-funded Party Members Project led by Professor Tim Bale of Queen Mary University of London found that in another referendum, 88% of Labour members and 71% of Labour voters would cast a ballot to remain within the EU.

And yet, despite being elected on a platform of listening to Labour Party members, Corbyn continues to dig his heels in, and in doing so offer sustenance to the Tory-led Government.

Rawnsley's conclusion is clear: Sometimes, the simplest explanations for human behaviour are the best ones. The Labour leader is not making any effort to prevent Brexit because he doesn’t want to prevent Brexit. 

No wonder so many Labour members are leaving the party to join the only UK-wide party opposing Brexit, the Liberal Democrats.
I know quite a few people are leaving to join the Lib dems. Although I think Corbyn is a massive electoral liability, and is making a pig's ear of tackling the Tories over Brexit, I won't be doing so. If people leave in their droves Labour will remain stuck as a permanent protest party.
Post a Comment

<< Home

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?