New Statesman Correspondence
23-29 JUNE 2017
Jason Cowley (Editor’s Note, 16th June) is right to call for someone to say “No Brexit”. That someone should be the Labour Party. During the election, Labour was able to get away with a Boris-like “cake and eat it” approach by saying it wanted to have managed migration and have all the advantages of access to the Single Market without membership. That probably succeeded in ensuring that the flow of voters who had shifted from Labour to Ukip did not vote Tory. Instead they liked Labour’s manifesto and it sounded like the party was anyway going to do something about controlling immigration.
This studied ambiguity won’t survive a new election and to strengthen its position it should take note of Michael Heseltine recent suggestion that Macron and Merkel might team up to offer a deal on immigration such that the UK could stay in the EU. Were Labour to champion such an approach, the party could show its support for internationalism by bringing to an end the permanent theft of the brightest and the best from generally poorer European countries.