Catch 20 EU: Why Labour Is Stuck In The Middle On Brexit
If you believe the polls, the Labour Party faces annihilation at the next general election. Trailing the Conservatives by a dismal 14% nationally, and hitting its lowest rating in Wales since Gordon Brown’s notorious tenure, it has hit a political brick wall with all the force of Boris Johnson bulldozing a small child.
It’s ironic that an issue which has traditionally debilitated the Tories – The European Union – has mutated into a support splintering form of euthanasia which threats to relegate Labour to the periphery of British politics.
The double-edged sword – support Brexit or sustain the 48% – has allowed UKIP and the Liberal Democrats to ‘cannibalise’ the party. Haemorrhaging support from either side of the debate, simultaneous situations impossible to reconcile have arisen:
Advocate controls on immigration? Lose the floating Liberal.
Propose holding the government to account when negotiating Brexit? Risk being branded ‘Bremoaners’ and forfeit the vote of the hard-line Eurosceptics.
Every angle is riddled with pitfalls; each decision the subject of scorn and ridicule.
The Conservatives, for all their flowery rherotic, are not the heralds of social justice. Nor the champions of the working class. But what they are is a party set on Brexit.
Red, white and blue.
It evokes wonderful imagery of the cabinet sat at meetings with a blank map and crayons, but nonetheless offers a brand of confident patriotism which Labour is distinctly lacking.
For the Liberal Democrats and UKIP, life has never been so straightforward. Clarity is an increasingly rare commodity in modern politics, and they each have the luxury of one word answers: In or Out.
If, by acknowledging Brexit, Corbyn loses 48% of his potential supporters, a crisis is indeed inevitable.
But this shouldn’t dissuade the party from offering a clear – genuine – vision for Britain outside of the EU; existing in perpetual fear of consequence will render the party a static, outdated irrelevance.
For every person who regrets voting for Brexit, there is another who voted remain but respects the mandate of the result. Slim, yes. Tough to take, perhaps. But undemocratic? Few would argue so.
Labour’s policy, therefore, should be based around two concrete points:
- What the Brexit deal should, and will, entail.
- How Britain can flourish outside of the European Union under a Labour government.
Pressuring the Conservatives to deliver a sustainable Brexit whilst propounding the benefits of an alternative government.
Until Corbyn’s frontbench can react to these points with synchronised conviction, the party will continue its death-spiral into obscurity.
Image: Wikipedia Commons