Thursday, 2 February 2017

Brexit bill: Damned if you do, damned if you don’t

Again I feel motivated to write this blog through some of what I feel is the unmitigated tosh that I have read and heard over yesterday’s vote on the Brexit bill and particularly the comments from certain sectors condemning Jeremy Corbyn’s three line whip on Parliamentary Labour Party members to vote in support of the bill.

Now let me get one thing clear at the start of this blog; I am a committed and ardent remainer.  In my opinion the simple in/ out referendum should never have been held, in many ways in itself it was an affront to democracy. The issue of whether the UK should or shouldn’t remain a member of the European Union is an extremely complex and nuanced one and one that simply could not have been effectively addressed by a simple in/ out referendum and certainly not by a referendum which in the end, let’s be honest here, was not about the EU but became about immigration and feelings of alienation from the political class. Again don’t get me wrong here, I do have serious misgivings about the EU, Just look at my earlier blogpost from June 2013 “A Blue Flag With Yellow Stars” and I am fully cognisant of the “Lexit” argument as to why we should leave the cosy, neo Liberal Capitalist club. Ultimately however the reason that I am an ardent remainer is that when you take all the pro and con arguments into consideration a Tory engineered Brexit, I am convinced, will leave the poorer people of the UK and Wales in particular worse off and I cannot see any benefit to the UK that will offset that.

OK so I have nailed my colours to the mast; I am a committed remainer, albeit a conflicted one. That said I am fully aware that we lost the vote and it is no good pretending otherwise which it seems to me some other remainers want to. This then brings me to the conundrum that Labour and Jeremy Corbyn are facing at the moment. To me it seems they are between a rock and a hard place. Labour campaigned for remain, don’t let anybody tell you different; but the vote was lost to the Leave camp. So now what are Labour to do? Ignore the views of the electorate of this country, many of whom are Labour voters and do all they can to block the Brexit process. It seems to be in doing this the Party will stimulate a political backlash from people who feel that their views, which they believe in passionately, are being discounted as unimportant. The other option which Labour seem to be pursuing and which seems far more pragmatic to me is to accept the vote has been lost and to put in process an approach which seeks to negotiate the best possible outcome to Brexit for the majority of people in this country.  

To be honest I despair when I see 47 Labour MPs have voted against the Party directive. Surely if the events of the past eighteen months for Labour have taught us anything is a disunited party is not appealing to the voters and that members of the Parliamentary Labour Party should show a bit more humility in respecting the views of their constituency members and supporters.  While I can maybe understand it for those MPs who represent areas that strongly voted remain but when you see the likes of Owen Smith and Chris Bryant who represent constituencies that voted strongly to leave vote against their Party and their constituents it beggars belief that they cannot see that this falls right into the hands of UKIP and their ilk who accuse Labour of becoming a party of the metropolitan elite that no longer represents the views of the working people of the UK.

OK these are not good times for Labour and I am not going to cast blame in any one direction other than to say that we all need to take a hard damn look at ourselves. Those that decry and blame Corbyn and accuse the party of selling out on the Brexit cause, rather than just moaning and complaining tell us your plans of how we move forward from this difficult situation and do what Labour says it will always do, take everyone with us and leave no one behind.

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