Monday 25 February 2019

Corbyn's Bombshell: The Independent Group has achieved more in a week than the SDP achieved in 7 years

Well I was wrong. The departure of the Independent Group from Labour was not pointless. 

They have persuaded Jeremy Corbyn to demand the British government either ask the EU for customs union plus plus plus or hold a second referendum. 

This is in defiance of the Labour manifesto at last year's election which backed Brexit.

The Independent Group has achieved more in a week than the last right-wing Labour spin-off, the SDP 1981-88 RIP, achieved in seven arduous years.

The man to blame for the mess Britain is in is Michael Gove.  Had he stood as Tory leader at the start of the contest and won in 2016, or had not sabotaged Boris Johnson's candidature, we should have a Leave supporter for Prime Minister.

Nigel Farage should not have resigned as UKIP leader in 2016, though at the time it seemed very reasonable and clever of him - he seemed to have achieved Brexit. We were all very, very naive about that. 

Mrs Rod Liddle wasn't though. She told her husband, when on the morning after the referendum he admitted being having some qualms about Leave's victory,
“Don’t worry, they won’t let it happen.”
She might well be right, one way or another.

Were Jeremy Corbyn asking for the Norway deal that would be fine, for now. Instead, he has made his demands so steep that Theresa May cannot meet them. And remaining in the customs union as opposed to close alignment would be disastrous, for reasons I have explained several times. 

A second referendum may happen, but it will cost Labour a lot of Leave votes.

I think Leave would win a second referendum, but no-one knows. 

We know what Leave's slogan would be. 

"Tell them again.'

Will there be another general election in which Labour loses seats, before a second referendum?

Mrs. May could ensure we leave the EU by suspending Parliament for five weeks, but she won't - because she does not want to leave with no deal any more than any of the Remainers, of whom she is one. 

Corbyn doesn't have that excuse - he is a Leaver who pretends, unconvincingly, to be Remain.

It was always obvious that Jeremy Corbyn had a decisive say over Brexit - but only in the sense that he can probably bring about a second referendum - how the electorate votes is up to them, if they have a free vote. Which might be a big if. 

Such a vote should not, of course, include Remain as an option but will. 

Will it include leaving with no deal as an option? 

Jonathan Freedland in the Guardian thinks that to do so would be irresponsible, as if anything could be achieved by negotiations with the EU were leaving with no deal no longer possible.

Mr Corbyn has not said how he will advise electors to vote. He'd be wise to give no advice at all.

I would like us, at this point, to leave with no deal, but this cannot happen with this House of Commons. I always knew that. 

I'd like the Norway option or the Canada option. 

I think I'd prefer staying in to either Theresa May's or Jeremy Corbyn's proposals.

Staying in would only be for a time. As Mr Gorbachev's spokesman said, when asked whether glasnost and perestroika were permanent

 "You can't squeeze toothpaste back into the tube "


  1. "For the truth, read the whole story, not just the headline. Predictably the headlines are all that Labour will support a second referendum. The full news appears to be that Labour will support a second referendum if their own alternative Brexit proposal is rejected. That proposal will be rejected, of course, so the effect is the same, but the timing is later – bearing out my expectation that Labour would voice support for a second vote as late as possible, and preferably once they believe it is too late to actually hold one."

    Mark Wallace

  2. A Facebook friend commented: I hear that the 'Independent Group' is actually being funded by Blair - who is the 'front' for the EU Commission, who are the real people behind it...Independent it is not!

    1. I hear that the 'Independent Group' is actually being funded by Blair - who is the 'front' for the EU Commission, who are the real people behind it...Independent it is not!

      I had a strong suspicion that there was someone, or some group, in the shadows pulling the strings. Someone with enough money and influence to make sure that these rebel MPs got rewarded for their treachery. It doesn't make sense that these MPs would throw away their political futures without expecting a payoff.

  3. I believe the manifesto put the Labour position somewhere between Customs Union and Single Market, so I am not sure much has changed.

    "We will scrap the Conservatives’ Brexit White Paper and replace it with fresh negotiating priorities that have a strong emphasis on retaining the benefits of the Single Market and the Customs Union – which are essential for maintaining industries, jobs and businesses in Britain. Labour will always put jobs and the economy first."

  4. I think the most logical approach would have been to exactly copy the Swiss deal, for the following reasons:

    1. Free trade without a hard border in Ireland.

    2. Increases the sovereign control, including on immigration when needed.

    3. Financial services - whatever deal the Swiss have seems to work very well as they do a lot of financial services for the EU and the World.

    May and her stupid red lines resulted in a very bad deal for the Uk and for Europe. This deal is not as bad as no deal would be, but is bad enough that it will do slow damage to the economy that will result in slow decline. It would be preferable to have a more quick, visible decline so that it is noticed and corrective measures are taken immediately.

  5. Afterwards, Cockburn managed to catch a word with Blair to ask what he thought about Labour’s announcement. He said that he thought:

    ‘It is significant but I don’t know if we’ll get there…’

    Asked if that meant he did not trust the Labour leadership, Blair replied:

    ‘No it’s not that — it’s just the parliamentary arithmetic is pretty complicated.’

    Cockburn has to say that Blair didn’t look particularly happy when asked about the latest turn of events. Could it perhaps be that Corbyn’s shift to Remain has scuppered his plans to depose the current leader?