Wednesday 28 Feb 2018
The Labour leader’s first tremulous steps towards a “cosy Corbyn Brexit” (Corbyn’s cosy Brexit pitch is a gamble. But he’s beating May, Rafael Behr, 27 February) need rather more work to turn it into a credible pathway to becoming prime minister. Most people haven’t a clue about arcane questions of customs unions (“a” or “the”) and single markets. People are worried about the NHS and local effects of austerity, but when they think about Brexit, most potential Labour supporters want something done about the reason leave won, the need to take back control of immigration.
To address this, Jeremy Corbyn will need external expertise to help rewrite Labour’s present job-rich Brexit fudge. Firstly, Labour must start a debate with Europe about the game changer of amending freedom of movement. A good starting point would be to listen to the pro-remain German industrial bosses who propose “A new deal for Britain” giving us more autonomy over immigration, which they think the European governments can be persuaded to support. Also key will be involving the young activists of Our Future Our Choice, who are at the forefront of organising to stop Brexit. Lastly, input will be required from the “No Brexit” MP Chuka Umunna, at present leading the real Westminster opposition to the Brextremists.
A resulting Labour campaign for no Brexit plus some constraints on EU migration, would then provide a reason for the majority of both leave and remain voters to put the party into No 10.
ALSO VERY RELEVANT
The only way to beat the kamikaze Brexiters? Fight for no Brexit
The hard right has met every reasoned objection with a more extreme stance: there’s a problem with Ireland? Scrap the Good Friday agreement. Complexities around transition rules? Take no rules; make new rules; sod transition. There is no pragmatic thinking here; it’s a to-do list with one bullet point: “destroy everything”. But that does not mean there is no practical impact: while it looks as though there’s nothing happening but a scrum, underneath they have frozen all progress so that their Brexit becomes the only option left. The longer they hold the government in this confected deadlock, the more inevitable their agenda becomes. They will not be coaxed into a softer stance: they have nothing to gain from it. If they want a freeze, give them one: fight not for soft Brexit, nor Brexit postponed. Fight for no Brexit.