Dear David Schneider,
I apologize for not being Jeremy Corbyn, but maybe you’ll be interested in my attempt to address some of the questions you put to him, the ones you dropped into a tweet yesterday: here.
This letter of yours struck me as rhetorical, potentially a marker for your joining the split in the Labour Party that Stephen Kinnock is trying to cobble together, working hand-in-hand with Paddy Ashdown, the coalition partner of David Cameron, the one that’s notorious for leading the party that split the anti-Tory vote to help Margaret Thatcher form three majority Tory governments with far less than a majority of the votes. Stephen Kinnock’s new party will, allegedly, be funded by the multi-millionaire leader of Labour’s LEAVE Campaign. I trust you are not going to join those people. Anyway,…
David, your questions are legitimate. Other supporters of Jeremy Corbyn may choose to ignore them since you are clearly not singing from the same hymn sheet as Jeremy Corbyn’s most enthusiastic supporters these days. But those of us who are determined to help Corbyn succeed have a duty to persuade, at least to try to persuade those who are beginning to have doubts or who have yet to even listen to why they should want him to be Prime Minister. You have doubts? Fine. Let’s go through them one by one.
David, you pass over a set of implied criticisms of Jeremy Corbyn’s role in the EU referendum. It’s not clear whether you are critical or not, but you probably are. If so, then it is in everyone’s interest to know what your specific criticisms are. I have criticisms of Labour’s role in the EU referendum. However, I have no serious criticism of Jeremy Corbyn. It is pretty much everyone else who I believe let the side down, including every other person involved in the campaign lead by Alan Johnson.
The propaganda of the Blairite MPs and hangers on was, without a single exception truly dreadful. It was nothing more than a rehash of that dished up by Britain’s 24% Tory Prime Minister, and they don’t call that bastard ‘Dodgy Dave’ for nothing. Sharing a platform with Cameron was the kiss of death, and it happened over and over and over again. Truly disgusting stuff.. This is the useless politics that lead to the implosion of Scottish Labour which faced meltdown as voters flocked to the SNP, which stole their anti-Tory clothes, losing 40 of 41 MPs, and then going on to fall even behind the Tories in May’s Holyrood election. Alan Johnson stole this disastrous policy. Blame him for Labour’s wretched behavior; do not blame Corbyn.
Alan Johnson pushed anti-Tories in northern England into the arms of UKIP, as the only group willing to say David Cameron is not delivering for hard working people. Sheer populism. There is no question about that. But desperate people will fall for that in the absence of anything better. And Blairite MPs in the North of England offered nothing but trying to steal UKIP’s anti-immigrant bigotry. Labour MPs are digging their own graves by being utterly insensitive to the entirely legitimate anger at David Cameron’s austerity. Refusing to tap into that anger simply allowed even more reactionary forces to do so, and then redirect it onto convenient scapegoats, ones Blairites were already pointing their fingers at. Electoral suicide. Thank God Jeremy Corbyn never went down that road to oblivion.
Who among Labour politicians struck the right chord matters. It matters because the 172 MPs who have plunged Labour into chaos to topple Jeremy Corbyn cite his role in the campaign, and you appear to agree with them. Thankfully, Alex Salmond has come to Corbyn’s rescue. I would like to see others do that. No reconciliation is possible between the two wings of Labour without addressing who exactly screwed up here. I’m ready to defend Labour’s leader. Since you appear to side with the 172 MPs, then everybody needs to know if that is or is not the case. We’ll make precious little progress if we’re arguing at cross purposes.
While I will defend Jeremy Corbyn for his role in the EU referendum, I agree with you on the triggering of Article 50. This has been picked on by the 172. I am happy to concede that Jeremy Corbyn did get this wrong. However, it far from being the disasterous mistake you want to portray it as. It is opportunistic for Angela Eagle and co to pretend that particular mistake matters. There was no way the Tory Party was going to Trigger Article 50 until the new PM had formed a government, one capable of picking a negotiating team for the two years it will take to extricate the UK from the EU. Jeremy Corbyn – rightly – demanded Labour must be represented in these negotiations, with The SNP and others demanding the same rights for their respective nations.
The splits within the Tory MPs who back Brexit on what the EU referendum vote actually means allows the majority of MPs to topple any Tory Prime Minister who triggers Article 50 which starts the two year clock. This gives MPs an effective veto, even if it makes little sense for David Lammy and others to remind everybody about this. In effect, the EU referendum was either merely advisory, or the government that ignores the sovereignty of parliament falls as soon as the deal is done: Catch 22?
Theresa May is simply not going to trigger Brexit when the cost of doing it without parliamentary authority is losing a vote of no-confidence, then being plunged onto the backbenches, taking her cabinet of loyal yes-men and yes-women clones with her. While it is true that Theresa May does pretend “Brexit means Brexit,” she knows that Boris Johnson, Liam Fox and David Davis all want very different things. Those who voted for Brexit for reasons of xenophobic hatred of immigrants won’t tolerate the single market. The more ambiguous working class voters who were told – correctly – by the leader of the REMAIN Campaign that leaving the single market will raise wages as the supply of cheap labour from the EU dries up… that significant component of the Brexit vote will be outraged if Theresa May goes on to sign a deal that keeps freedom of movement for labour intact. These Labour voters and UKIP’s thoroughly reactionary xenophobes (not at all the same thing) will have been sold a pup.
On the other hand, the CBI and financiers won’t tolerate any removal of the single market. Either the voters who have not yet abandoned Brexit, or the ultra-rich Tories who can push up mass redundancies at the press of a button – who will chose to do exactly that if MPs don’t do what they’re told – will be sorely disappointed. To cut to the chase, Theresa May has neither the votes at Westminster nor votes among the electorate to trigger Article 50 without signing the death warrant of her government, as well as destroying herself at the ballot box when the next general election puts everyone out of our misery.
Unless over 60% of MPs surprise us all by turning out to be turkeys voting for Christmas, no stable government can be formed for another four years. For one thing, that means Article 50 is destined to fall off the agenda, much to the relief of most voters who now no longer want it. There won’t be a second referendum until after the general election, but the demand for such a general election is progressive, and a general election is something that Labour can win, and win quite easily.
The inevitable refusal or Theresa May to keep her promise over Article 50 will inflame one wing of the Tory Party, and all UKIP voters who are likely to form a new party. That party is likely to merge with UKIP, although probably under a new name, and possibly without Farage playing any significant part. My prediction is the Tories will have no option but to split, with either Osborne or Theresa May being the leader of the Tories and forming a short-lived coalition with Blairites. That government will prove to be a viciously anti-working class, anti-democratic, and anti-civil liberties government.
There are so few difference between the Cameron wing of the Tories and Blairites that they’ll cobble together a deal with very few problems. Blairite MPs already know that 83% of Labour members are fed up to the back teeth with these MPs. So they may as well split now and get their snouts in the trough before voters seize the chance to kick them out on their fat arses at the general election whenever it comes.
Can Jeremy Corbyn win and become Prime Minister? Absolutely. I predict he can win a landslide victory. But that won’t be possible if he has to rely on these 172 MPs who don’t represent Labour members or voters. They’ve learned nothing from Ed Miliband’s disastrous leadership. They’ve been given long enough to get their act together. And they’ve proven they’d rather simply stab the membership and voters in the back. They will prove how bankrupt they are when they prop up a Tory government within a few months, albeit dressed up with another label. National government? Grand coalition? Something like that.