You know what? I’m done with Jeremy Corbyn. This interview in Der Spiegel, in which he says “Brexit can’t be stopped,” is the clincher.
As always, literally everything else he says is on the good side of politics — the side I tend to agree with, to be less judgmental. But he refuses to resist — even, really, to engage with1 — the thing that is the most important political issue and biggest political mistake of our lifetime (setting aside for the moment climate change, which is not just a political issue, and is global in scope, not just European). Look at this:
DER SPIEGEL: Not just Labour, but the whole country is extremely divided at the moment — not least because of Brexit. If you could stop Brexit, would you?
Corbyn: We can’t stop it. The referendum took place. Article 50 has been triggered. What we can do is recognize the reasons why people voted Leave.
This is that “will of the people” nonsense, the idea that it would be undemocratic to ask again. The will of the people can change, and almost certainly has. And you don’t agree to a deal with going back and checking that it’s still OK. Having a confirmatory referendum would be considerably more democratic than not having one.2 And we can stop it. Parliament, which is, and always was, sovereign, could revoke Article 50.
Back to the interview:
I’ve been critical of the competitions policy in Europe and the move towards free market, and obviously critical in the past of their treatment of Greece, although that was mostly the eurozone that did that. My idea is of a social Europe with inclusive societies that work for everyone and not just for a few.
You don’t build a “social Europe with inclusive societies that work for everyone and not just for a few” by leaving the EU! You build it by staying in, and working to build that society! God, it’s infuriating.
I voted for him as leader, I respect and believe in most of his policies, but he needs to go. Labour won three general elections under Tony Blair, and was able to do a lot of good. They could have done more, they could have been better, and Blair destroyed his legacy by throwing his lot in with George W Bush and the Iraq War. But those were times when things were improving in the country and we looked to the future with positivity. It can be like that again.
But it won’t — for decades at least — if we destroy our economy, hobble worker’s rights, and undercut food-safety regulations, by leaving the EU.
Some Labour MPs are thinking along similar lines to me.
“Labour cannot sit by and allow the choice to be between the economic ruin of a hard Brexit or the loss of sovereignty under Theresa May’s deal, with Britain subjected to EU rules but with no say over them,” he said. “As with any fork in the road, there is always the option of turning back home.
“We know this is a mess made by the Tories, but the Labour party can’t just sit back and watch. It’s time for all of us in the Labour party to make the full-throated case for a people’s vote with the option of remaining in the European Union.
“That leadership must now come from the top, or our party may never be forgiven for the consequences that follow.”
“With even Tory ministers recognising Brexit threatens the poorest in society, our public services and Britain’s place in the world, to have a Labour leader just shrug about it, then go awol, is nothing short of a dereliction of duty.”
OK, they’re maybe not planning to leave the party, but still.