THE BLOG
19/12/2018 11:24 GMT | Updated 19/12/2018 11:24 GMT

Has Labour's Brexit Policy Always Been Borne More Out Of Opportunism Than Opportunity?

ASSOCIATED PRESS

If the current leadership roles were reversed and Jeremy Corbyn suddenly found himself in Theresa May’s shoes, although admittedly they might pinch a bit and a leopard print kitten heel really isn’t his style (he’s more the red wedge type), would the chaos surrounding Brexit be hugely different?

The answer is probably not. Because while Tory policy is unquestionably all over the shop, Labour policy remains pretty much the same as it’s always been. Namely, no real policy whatsoever.

Even at the 11th hour, with everyone’s back against the wall, and despite the tabling of some sort of cod motion of no confidence in May personally, it’s practically impossible to tell what it is Labour genuinely wants. Is it a second referendum? Is it another election? Is it a renegotiation of what’s already been negotiated? Or is it simply whatever option will get them back into power as quickly and easily as possible and to heck with the eventual consequences, as they’ll presumably face those, if and when they happen?

The phantom of Labour’s past, who can’t help rattling his chains, insists another referendum is the only solution.

What is it with Tony Blair? As if he’s a character from a politicised version of the movie, Ghost, the former Prime Minister is fast in danger of being seen as an earthbound spirit who’s so emotionally attached to something in this world to the point that he cannot let it go and thereby pass freely into the afterlife. Frankly, for all our sakes, the sooner he realises that his Westminster career is dead and buried, the better.

Surely the present socialist led hierarchy can’t want to listen to a tainted leader whose time in Number 10 is a haunting and painful reminder of how far the party managed to veer to the right during his Premiership. Or can they? The problem with coming out in support of a People’s Vote, or, as I prefer to term it, Completely Unacceptable National Treachery (no acronym necessary) is that it is quite plainly a dereliction of the democratic principles we hold dear by the very individuals we rely on to uphold them. No doubt though, Labour are buoyed by indicators which strongly suggest that the outcome of a second vote would result in a victory for the Remain camp.

The Best for Britain survey conducted in October this year asserted that 1.4 million Labour voters - approximately three in ten - who originally decided to leave would today choose to reverse their decision.

Furthermore, according to a November YouGov poll aimed squarely at allaying the fears of Remain-leaning Labour MPs terrified of being turfed out of office by their constituents, a majority of all voters in seats held by Labour actively support a second referendum; the inference being that they’d now plump to stay in the European Union.

Personally, I’m not so certain. As human beings what we say we’re going to do and what we end up doing are two entirely separate things. Also, having looked back at the results from two and half years ago, of the 110 constituencies that overwhelmingly voted to leave - and by overwhelmingly, I mean by 60% and above - 70 of them belonged to Labour.

Therefore, given the margin of error of most polls and their level of reliability, in my opinion, any Labour politician would be just as well to check their daily horoscope to see what their future has in store for them.

Those in Opposition gunning for another election should be equality cautious. As has been proved on many an occasion, hell hath no fury like a voter scorned. And the ballot box is usually where they get their revenge.

For millions of Labour voters, not, I hasten to add, those media-loving Corbynistas down South, but the ordinary men and women up North, in the West Midlands and Wales who saw and continue to see Brexit as an opportunity to carve out a better life for themselves and their families, the unravelling of it is a disaster to behold.

So what of the 72% in Stoke on Trent North who in 2016 voted to leave? And the 70.9% in Barnsley East? Not to mention, the 70.5% in Ashfield? The 69.5% in Hartlepool? Or come to think of it, the 68.7% in West Bromwich West and the 67.8% in Blackpool South?

Rest assured, the Labour faithful in these and many other areas won’t easily forgive and forget if they find they’ve been abandoned and cast aside thanks to the opportunistic aspirations of the very party they initially put their trust in to do the right thing.

Indeed, regardless of their political allegiance, before any MP behaves too rashly where Brexit is concerned, perhaps they should take a moment to think of the people who voted them to be an MP in the first place.