Thursday, 3 January 2019

Is Labour's failure to oppose Brexit due to Owen Smith?

Politicabetting have  given us the results of a new poll which finds just 28% of GE2017 LAB voters support the party’s stance on Brexit.

It is an extraordinary position for the leadership of that part to be in given that , that Jeremy Corbyn who was elected with a huge popular vote seems completely out of touch with his membership.

As Jason Morgan points out 
The Lexiters – from Dennis Skinner to Len McCluskey- who apparently want to create a socialist utopia outside of the capitalistic EU, are content to start that off by ripping hundreds of thousands of jobs and tens of basic workers’ rights off the very people they claim to stand up for.
And let’s not forget the media’s part in all this, consistently giving Brexiteer, liars and frauds a huge amount of publicity and airtime. They have more than played their part in leading us down this path.
However, for me, there is one person, and one party, that deserves particular derision for the facilitation of Brexit, and need to be called out on it: and that’s Jeremy Corbyn and Labour, although for somewhat differing reasons.
It’s only last week, in this Guardian article, that Corbyn finally showed his true colours regarding the EU (and then only partially). Although, to be fair, he did do that for pretty much 30 years before being elected leader of Labour, it’s just that since then getting any opinion from him about Brexit or the EU has eluded everyone. That insinuation alone makes his actual feelings clear.
I can’t be particularly antagonistic towards him for not liking the EU very much or even wanting to leave it. But his insincerity about his actual position is contemptible and his modus operandi for ensuring Brexit dishonourable. He has stalled. He has deliberately offered no alternative. He has made false claims and aimed for “fantastical” Brexit policies. He has made purposefully meaningless gestures. And all the while waited for the clock to count down to the UK leaving the EU.
That, in addition to being willing for ordinary people to pay a terrible price for possibly getting him into government post-Brexit. Ideological rabidity does not a principled person make. But it’s easy to be an ideologue when you have a massive cult backing you up and silencing dissent in the ranks, and deflecting any criticism with vehemence and blindness.
By his own standards, Corbyn’s strategy is actually quite clever. By not categorically expressing his support for Brexit (as obvious as it is), it’s left the Remainers in his own party and also Commons MPs generally with a situation where there aren’t unambiguously defined lines – in this case, the Conservative Government and the Labour leadership vs. the Commons majority.
CowardiceEven so, the actual ranks of Labour MPs also deserve a hammering for their moral cowardice in not standing up to their leadership on the most important issue of our time. Maybe the promise of forming a Labour government following a Conservative implosion is too tempting; or perhaps the fear of deselection by ordinary members of the now Corbynista-dominated grassroots Labour party if they openly criticise the leader is too much.
Yes, Keir Starmer, Chuka Umunna and many other Labour MPs have contradicted him many a time, but they have stopped very short of truly calling him out on what he’s actually doing on Brexit. Perhaps that isn’t surprising; it was ever thus that the party comes before anything else for Labour. Averting a catastrophe through collaboration with nasty nationalists or some evil Tories isn’t a price worth paying for doing the right thing.
That is possibly the most infuriating element of Brexit for me. The House of Commons has an anti-Brexit majority. However the effort to bring it together has come exclusively from Plaid Cymru, the SNP, the Lib Dems and the one Green, Caroline Lucas along with some rebellious Conservatives.
The former parties may not have anything in common with Anna Soubry, Ken Clarke or Nicky Morgan, but their willingness to cooperate on Brexit is to be applauded as a practical necessity – Brexit is not party politics as normal, it’s bigger than that. However Labour MPs don’t seem to see it that way.
You can see the full article here 
One reply poses an interesting question
Geraint Talfan Davies
While I buy much of Jason's argument about Corbyn's shiftiness on Brexit, he does not help his own case for cross-party alliances by ignoring the strong stance against Brexit (and Corbyn's line) made by Welsh Labour MPs like Owen Smith, Stephen Doughty, Jo Stevens, Chris Bryant, Ann Clwyd, Geraint Davies and Anna McMorrin.

It raises the  question to what extent did Owen Smith's ludicrous leader ship challenge for the leadership make Labour MPs  impotent in opposing Corbyn Lexit position

On 13 July 2016, Smith announced his intention to stand as a candidate in the leadership ballot. He said that he supported many of Corbyn's policies but that Corbyn was "not a leader who can lead us into an election and win for Labour."[23] He suggested that the party's MPs or NEC could choose between him and Angela Eagle, so that only one of the two would go forward to a ballot. He postponed the scheduled official launch of his campaign in Pontypridd on 15 July following the Bastille Day attack in Nice, which he described as "heartbreaking".[24] In launching his campaign on 17 July, he called for a rewriting of Clause IV of the party's constitution to make a specific reference to tackling inequality, which he said should be "right at the heart of everything that we do".[25]
On 18 July 2016, Angela Eagle pulled out of the leadership race because she had approximately 20 fewer nominations than Smith. In an interview, Smith offered the following endorsement of the former contender: "Angela is a star in the Labour firmament. She will be at my right hand throughout this contest and if I am successful, Angela will be alongside me as my right hand woman."[26][27] He explained that his decision to run for leader was partly because the future of the Labour party was at risk, stating that the "possibility of split is dangerously real".[28]
On 24 September 2016, Corbyn defeated Smith at the Labour leadership election, securing 61.8% of the vote to Smith's 38.2%.[29

This was followed by a General Election where Corbyn defied the prediction of a Tory landslide and actually won more seats than previously.

It has meant that any idea of a Remain MP challenging Corbyn on his Lexit stand which although for different  reasons to May's would have be met with outrage by the membership .

It also means that Corbyn supporters simply accuse any criticism of the "beloved leader" as being Blarite neo-liberals whilst ignoring the fact that they are allied themselves with the Hard Brexit approach  of Rees-Mogg. Boris Johnson and David Davis.

Any General Election after  Brexit  (and I suspect it will be in months) is likely to be won by a Union Jack waving Tory party and the subsequent resignation of Jeremy Corbyn.

Maybe he is content to see it believing that a Left-Wing successor  will eventually win over the populace after years of Post-Brexit  austerity .

Unfortunately many of us including Jeremy Corbyn including myself and Jeremy Corbyn will be long gone by then.

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