Not my usual stuff but came out of a conversation following announcements from Corbyn. Warning: May contain rants.
This is a story with 2 versions.
The start of the 2 versions is exactly the same. A man called Jeremy is a politician of principle who has believed in Nuclear Disarmament, wide-scale social housing, rail and utilities re-nationalization and a whole set of things his entire political career, even when some of these policies, such as being anti-Trident, were unpopular even in his own party. As such he is seen as a solid man of honour & principle. One of these key beliefs however is a dislike of the EU which he has decried, like his hero Tony Benn, for many years.
Then he is elected leader of the Labour party. This is when the 2 versions diverge.
In the first version of the story he keeps all of his old beliefs except that he now realises that he believes, on the whole, in the EU. Shortly after his election one of his shadow cabinet, Chuka, resigns over what he thinks is a less than 100% commitment from Jeremy however when he says:
It is my view that we should support the UK remaining a member of the EU, notwithstanding the outcome of any renegotiation by the prime minister, and I cannot envisage any circumstances where I would be campaigning alongside those who would argue for us to leave; Jeremy has made it clear to me that he does not wholeheartedly share this view
he is completely mistaken, because Jeremy is in fact now very supportive.
Jeremy gathers in 200K and more new mostly pro-remain supporters. When the referendum is called he makes
122 about 10 speeches in support of the EU, however as he is only the Leader of Her Majesty’s opposition he finds it difficult to get on TV during the single largest political event of the last 40 years. When he does get on TV he supports the EU by saying things like “7 – 7.5 out of 10” & by referring to the problems in Greece caused (in his view) by the EU. He also spends some time on the challenges of re-nationalising under EU rules. However these statements are made because he is a realist and not a blind EU supporter. Jeremy is in tune with the mood of nation and has no intention of undermining the case for Remain.
Unfortunately for Remainers, the referendum result is for Leave by a very small margin. Jeremy appears on TV the morning of the result and says “Article 50 should be triggered now” but of course he didn’t mean “now” as in “now” but as in “at the appropriate time”. Later on his supporters go to great lengths to explain why the context & tone used for the word “now” show he didn’t mean “now” at all, although really this should be obvious because of course if “now” really had meant “now” that would have been incredibly damaging and stupid.
But 20 Blairite plotters seize their chance, and they persuade 160 others to betray Jeremy, using the flimsy excuse that a project central to their political beliefs has just been thrown away through duplicity and incompetence and that a possible snap election might wipe out the party. The truth however is that the 20 are incredibly persuasive and the 160 Labour representatives, from all wings, are weak, stupid and malleable.
Yet Jeremy stands tall, his supporters are behind him even though they are crushed by the referendum loss. They believed in the EU, but they also believe in Jeremy, because he is not like other politicians, who only say what needs to be said to stay in power. They believe that he appeared 122 times (even though it might have been 10) and they believe that he worked incredibly hard for Remain, almost as hard, in fact, as he worked on his leadership campaigns. And so when subsequently Jeremy says almost nothing whatsoever about Brexit, other than saying “the people have spoken”, concentrates instead on train seats and housing and other issues and shows absolutely no sign of trying to turn around the result or even question the direction, these pro remainers still plan to support him in the upcoming leadership campaign.
I could go on and detail the 2nd version of the story, but you don’t really need me to, because only one version of the story ends up with Jeremy completely ignoring Brexit in his 5 PMQ questions, trying to ignore it in his G20 review questions and essentially talking about anything other than the fact that the government is in total Brexit disarray.
The 1st version also breaks the bonds of credibility when we see the response from Corbyn’s aid when asked for clarity on Jeremy’s Single Market position.
How exactly do you reconcile a belief in the EU with this pick and mix “single market lite” proposal that can only end with us being out of that single market? How is it that someone can campaign for something yet simultaneously campaign against some of its fundamental aspects?
How does someone who apparently went up and down the country on the campaign trail now find themselves almost exactly aligned with the Far Right Tory Brexiteer wing, pitching a fairy tale position that can only lead to a hard Brexit?
When do people realise they’ve been sold down the river?