When Jeremy Corbyn walked up to the Pyramid Stage of Glastonbury in 2017, he was met by tens of thousands of enthusiastic and hopeful festival goers. In his speech, he drew a picture of a better future for everyone - for the many. He called for unity and advised Donald Trump to build bridges, not walls.
A year down the line, unity is nowhere to be seen and his lethargic leadership is literally building walls in his own party. Corbyn faced rebellion from both sides. His order to abstain on the vote on the Lords’ amendment on EEA membership sparked defiance from 75 pro-EU MPs, among them Chris Leslie and Chuka Umunna, who voted for the amendment. At the same time 15 Labour MPs, such as Caroline Flint and Gareth Snell, broke ranks by voting against the amendment.
Nor is Corbyn delivering for the many. His amendment to the EU Withdrawal Bill was Labour’s unrealistic try at having its cake and eating it. Much like the desperate attempt to recreate the experience of Glastonbury with the flop of Labour Live, Corbyn’s amendment tried to recreate all the advantageous aspects of the existing relationship with the EU, with none of the responsibilities.
Corbyn needs to realise that whatever trade deal the UK strikes with the EU will be less advantageous than EEA membership. UK membership of the EEA would help solve the Northern Ireland border issue post-Brexit and, if the UK must leave the EU, it would vitally protect Britain’s economy by securing its place in the Single Market, which countless jobs and livelihoods depend on.
Instead of hollow words, Corbyn should deliver on what he promised at Glastonbury - to stand united against the Brexit fiasco the Government is creating. The Tories are making a real mess of Brexit. Yet instead of showing real leadership by joining the Liberal Democrats in opposing the Government, and supporting a referendum on the final deal, Labour is idly standing by.
This left-wing ‘messiah’ needs to stop making promises to Britain’s youth and recognise his complicity in the Brexit project is sabotaging their life chances. Corbyn’s leadership is not creating a better future. His order to abstain on this crucial amendment, on one of the centrepieces of Brexit legislation was an irresponsible, prejudiced and short-sighted move, at the expense of Britain’s best interest. Our country and our people deserve better.