Maybe I’m just a hard-left, champagne-swilling Corbynista but I’d argue blaming Jeremy Corbyn for Brexit makes about as much sense as voting to invade a foreign country based on nothing other than cynical US propaganda; which is an appropriate comparison considering the current revolt appears to be coming from Labour’s Blairite wing just a few days before the Chilcot Inquiry is released. Let’s assume that’s a coincidence, though, and take dissenters at their word: they’ve lost faith in Jeremy’s leadership. How well does that loss of faith sit with the facts? Because it seems pretty simple to me, where the blame lies within the Labour party:
- The Labour Leave campaign—which sold the referendum as a vote against the Tories while being bankrolled by conservative donors. Shilling for the Tory right by reposting Vote Leave’s propaganda with a red background seems a far graver betrayal of the pro-EU shadow cabinet than anything Jeremy Corbyn did, but in fairness to Labour Leave, with or without a party voice for Euroscepticism a number of Labour voters would have voted Out anyway, thanks to…
- New Labour ideologues (and other establishment types) after failing to tackle the problems of globalisation and inequality while in power — these being the very same problems that have lead to the majority’s rejection of the EU despite elites warning them against doing so. People who feel they’ve been left behind by the economy aren’t going to be cowed by warnings that the economy will implode, obviously. And further more, there’s something to be said for Michael Gove’s assertion that “people in this country have had enough of experts.” Experts have repeated the mantra that the rising tide lifts all boats while millions of people have watched their communities go under. Was Vote Leave’s opportunistic exploitation of working class anxieties justifiable? No. But Corbyn did not create the vacuum that allowed it to happen.
- If we’re picking out a single figure in particular: Gloria De Piero — previously Shadow Minister for Young People and Voter Registration before resigning in protest of Jeremy Corbyn’s “failure” to secure the Remain vote. With youth turnout estimated at 36%, however, it doesn’t seem unfair to argue that if Piero had done her job properly a Remain vote would have been secured. Then there’s Alan Johnson.
I understand the frustration that pro-EU lefties are feeling at the moment, especially young Labour supporters who are angry at the result and feel like Corbyn should have done more. But criticisms of his performance are hard to prop up. Those who say he should have put aside “party differences” and shared a platform with David Cameron would do well to remember the toxification that Labour suffered in Scotland after campaigning with the Tories against an independence vote. Those who say his refusal to propose a cap on immigration was a death warrant for the Remain campaign would do well to remember that unachievable Tory pledges on immigration lead us to the referendum in the first place.
At a time where the ascendent Eurosceptic wing of the Tory party will soon be facing backlash from voters who believed Vote Leave’s lies, the Left whatever that may mean now needs to offer a unified, credible opposition; especially in the event of a snap general election. The shadow cabinet’s decision to throw the Labour party into crisis now, rather than work with the leadership to present a party ready to steer Britain out of the EU as safely as possible, may well be disastrous for us all.
“Our country faces a huge challenge following Thursday’s vote to leave the European Union. And the British people have a right to know how their elected leaders are going to respond.
“We need to come together to heal the divisions exposed by the vote. We have to respect the decision that has been made, hold the government to democratic account over its response, and ensure that working people don’t pay the price of exit.
“Neither wing of the Tory government has an exit plan. Labour will now ensure that our reform agenda is at the heart of the negotiations that lie ahead. That includes the freedom to shape our economy for the future and the necessity of protecting social and employment rights.
“One clear message from last Thursday’s vote is that millions of people feel shut out of a political and economic system that has let them down and scarred our country with grotesque levels of inequality.
“I was elected by hundreds of thousands of Labour Party members and supporters with an overwhelming mandate for a different kind of politics.
“I regret there have been resignations today from my shadow cabinet. But I am not going to betray the trust of those who voted for me – or the millions of supporters across the country who need Labour to represent them.
“Those who want to change Labour’s leadership will have to stand in a democratic election, in which I will be a candidate.
“Over the next 24 hours I will reshape my shadow cabinet and announce a new leadership team to take forward Labour’s campaign for a fairer Britain – and to get the best deal with Europe for our people.”
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