Tim Walker has been very critical of Jeremy Corbyn’s actions around brexit. This particular tweet attracted many likes, retweets and comments.
This is how I responded in a Twitter thread posted on the 6th May 2018, reproduced here for easy reading.
If that’s the case then you really haven’t been paying attention. We now can’t leave the EU. It’s not happening. It can’t. Because the absolute worst that can happen is leaving while staying in the single market and customs union. So BRINO. (This is) about how that’s down to Corbyn.
Firstly, why we can’t leave. Single market and customs union membership while out the EU won’t be a lot different to now. Fiscally, almost identical. So in that respect, remainers and people who are defined by the single issue of brexit should be rejoicing.
Whoop, let’s have a party, brexit is over. Don’t believe me? Work out a way May can move on the Irish border with Barnier saying the only acceptable way to keep open is SM and CU membership. Irish sea border? Nope, the DUP said they’ll bring down the government.
So it’s either a general election or staying in the SM and CU, which is remaining but losing our veto. Not as good as now but nothing to get in a flap about in comparison to hard brexit May’s ERG cronies want and she’s trying to facilitate.
Agreed so far? Assuming yes, how did we get to this point? Corbyn, Momentum, Labour members and Labour voters. If you’re a remainer you should be very grateful to all of them, they’ve stopped brexit for you. And for Corbyn, not even accidentally.
Corbyn has been a lifelong EU sceptic. But as the UK has moved right and the EU has stayed where it is, the EU is actually pretty socialist. Lots of worker protections that people like Corbyn love. So he campaigned to remain and reform.
65% Labour voters voted remain, 35% leave. A highly effective remain campaign. May’s was the opposite, she managed to make Tory voters all vote leave. So onto article 50. Lots of people use this as evidence of ‘corbyn wants brexit!!’
Except it’s not. Can we agree here that if Corbyn and Labour’s popularity drops then May will call another general election, get more seats and she would then have the numbers in parliament to do what she wants?
So when the entire Tories and DUP voted to trigger article 50, Labour had to go along with it. No choice. Couldn’t have won the vote so all that would happen was Labour lose support and have right wing newspapers rabidly baying for blood.
Since then, what have Labour done to stop brexit? Lots. The first part of the strategy was Starmer’s 6 tests. An ingenious way to go against brexit but not have the northern Labour heartlands who voted out think they’re going against their choice to leave.
The 6 tests are obviously unachievable without remaining. That’s their point. Labour can vote against any withdrawal deal and say “sorry, we accept the result of the referendum but your deal doesn’t pass our tests.”
Then the next part of the strategy was to ensure parliament could vote down the withdrawal deal. A magnificent victory for Labour and remainers later (with a 3 line whip Labour side) and they got that vote back.
Credit also to Tory rebels for that. The final part of the jigsaw is the amendment about to be voted on which May looks set to lose (like almost every brexit vote recently, rebels are emboldened) is the remain in the EU if deal is voted down
(N.B. that amendment vote was averted but many have passed since which achieve a similar result)
There are plenty of other examples of the Labour strategy of undermining brexit by undermining the Tories on it. The forced release of the impact reports by Labour, the policy of remaining in the customs union etc.
So Labour have stopped brexit and you’re staying you loathe the architect of that process. That’s pretty low. History will judge Corbyn very kindly on this (as usual). We should all be very grateful to them.
Updates on 24th June, 2018
As the withdrawal bill has gone between the commons and the Lords, amendments have been made by both sides and most of the attention has been on the meaningful vote. The meaningful vote stops May blackmailing parliament on the final deal with ‘accept it or there’s no deal’.
All of Labour’s strategy listed so far is dependent on this meaningful vote. With the meaningfully vote in place, the hard brexiters in May’s cabinet can’t control her. Everything so far assumed the meaningful vote amendment was going to pass.
Enter Dominic Grieve the shrinker. Grieve led the Tory remainer rebels which we’re all dependent on due to the slight majority the Tories have. He talked a good talk.
Then didn’t walk the walk. Inexplicably gave in when victory was in sight. Labour did absolutely everything to ensure they gave the Tory ‘rebels’ every opportunity to rebel. Naz Shah in hospital with back pain dragged out for an 8 hour round trip.
Heavily pregnant MPs brought in, every Labour MP bar 4 ultra leavers obeyed the whip to vote for the meaningful vote. Dennis Skinner ringing up every other leave seat MP to impress how important it was. Grieve let them all down. He let us all down.
But it’s not over. The agreement with May put the power in the hands of the speaker to decide if parliament can decide what happens next. Watch for the Tories bringing up more dirt on John Bercow.
There’s still a worry that because it’s highly likely parliament will vote down May’s deal, whatever it is, parliament won’t get to stop no deal. While it is a bit dangerous, it’s all down to the speaker. And John Bercow has shown he won’t let the gov get away with any crap.