Naked Politics Blogger
Every once in a while someone finds themselves in the deeply unfortunate position of having to agree with Theresa May – or at least, to agree with what she might superficially profess to believe in even if her actions reveal an appeaser of a Prime Minister after Neville Chamberlain’s own heart. When our inglorious leader took to Twitter to urge Labour to “rule out a second referendum and not take us back to square one” I found myself nodding in approval. This is not something I usually do when any politician takes to social media, let alone the woman who so effectively decimated my country’s police force as Home Secretary.
When Kier Starmer, the shadow Brexit secretary decided to pompously declare to a simpering mob of drooling delegates at the Labour Party conference in Liverpool that: “nobody is ruling out remain as an option” he was met with an enthusiastic applause. How I wish that somebody could have been there to pull the self-bloviating buffoon aside and whisper into his ear that, actually, quite a lot of people are ruling out remain as an option. 51.89% of the electorate who participated in the referendum were rather vehement in ruling out remain as an option when they voted Leave more than two years ago!
Other senior figures, such as John McDonnell, insist that their intention to vote against any deal that fails to satisfy Labour’s six red lines – conditions that essentially equate to Brexit-in-name-only – is not about overturning the first “Peoples’ Vote” at all …honest! Apparently, it is about sending Theresa May back to the negotiating table and if “she can’t do it, she should move over and leave it to someone that can“, as they continue to push for yet another General Election.
Let’s assume, for a moment, that Parliament rejects the deal and that the Kier Starmer’s prevail over the John McDonnell’s of Labour, culminated in a public vote with the option to remain in the EU. At best, this will just be yet another example of an Establishment dragging its heels against the tide of the demos by further delaying the result of an already two-year-old vote. The ramifications of trying to sidestep the decision of 17,410,742 members of the electorate could be devastating. If politicians are concerned now about the growing influence of alternative media – not to be confused with “right-wing radicalisation”, Olivia Solson (Guardian) – or the tension stemming from political polarisation, then they have no idea of the amount of fury such a decision would ignite.
But let’s step away from dystopian visions of the future and get back to the dystopia of the here and now. Under pressure from far-left fanatics at Momentum, Corbyn made it clear that he would back the decision to hold a second referendum. Some might posit that abandoning Labour Leave voters in that way could be precarious for Corbyn’s leadership, but I am not convinced. A poll by the ‘People’s Vote; campaign suggests that 86% of Labour Party members would back one, I don’t see the few dissident Leavers causing much upheaval. Certainly, I don’t see the Labour Party as anymore divided than the Tories who have been engaged in a very public tussle between the Bexiteers and the Remain camp.
Ultimately, this decision by Labour is a fresh manifestation of the lack of political willpower to tackle Brexit, a lack of willpower that courses through all the mainstream political parties. It’s this limited enthusiasm to uphold the decision of the voter that is the reason I have to endure the Liberal Democrats constantly urging people on Facebook to sign a petition to give “the people” a final say on Brexit.
It’s this lack of stomach to follow the results of the referendum through that thousands turned up to a Labour rally demanding that Jeremy Corbyn show his support for a “people’s vote” and that Theresa May has shied away from any course of action that might leave us with a No Deal Brexit.
This gutless political stance has to stop. To those who voted Remain, despite what this little opinion piece might indicate, I am sympathetic to your case. No one can verify whether it will be better for us in the long term to leave the EU. The best that the talking heads can muster is vague estimations. That said, nobody knows for certain that Brexit will be the disaster that so many Remainers seem convinced it will be either. Unless this defeatism regarding our departure from the European Union is shaken off, I think the future for Brexit is bleak indeed.