Over the Fence: Why the Labour Party should grab its balls back
If Twitter has taught me anything, it is the addictive nature of politics. “One more tweet!” I can easily convince myself to believe. “It’s only a short in-depth analytical study of Parliamentary procedures, it’s fine!” I then put down my phone, only to realise that the sun is out and birds are twittering away. They’ve got a much better ethic on the matter for sure.
The last few weeks have been incredibly busy in Parliament. Brexit has seemingly taken over the country, and holding politics hostage with a menacing grin. Judging from some of the audience questions from Question Time the last two weeks, I’m starting to believe people are fed up with hearing about Brexit. To be honest, I am waning from hearing about the constant barrage of Brexit buzzwords. You can only get so enthusiastic about phrases such as ‘customs union’ and ‘transition period’. The whole sordid scandal is an embarrassment to Parliament and the electorate.
Some of the phrases that have entered the political vernacular were never mentioned in the campaign by either side. The Remain side was staying sensible and keeping to arguments carefully planned out and organised through legitimate means. Leave was all over the place. Rumour has it, they asked a blind seer whether Brexit would be successful. No-one knows if the seer actually provided a positive answer. Though a dead body was found dressed in a suspiciously ‘druid-like’ outfit, peppered with Russian-marked ammunition…
Anyway, the whole debate has turned into a Parliamentary bitch-fest with more cracks in the House of Commons than a giant’s chamberpot. The Conservative Party are supposedly united behind Theresa May, though there are a number of angry rebels threatening to burn down the gatehouse. I have utmost respect and admiration for Anna Soubry and her powerful displays of anger towards Tory stagnation over Brexit. Unfortunately, Brexit was essentially a formal contest to battle Eurosceptics with their more open colleagues in the party. The biggest tell of this contest is the dramatic decline of UKIP’s power throughout the country. They’ve done their duty, so they’ll shuffle back to warmer sands on Tory Island. Very cold and far away from the continent apparently.
But the biggest shame, in my opinion, comes from the Labour leadership. Oh Jeremy, what has happened. The Labour Live ‘festival’ revealed in a classic political protest the danger of disenchanting those who believed in you. I supported Corbyn’s message through his leadership election(s), and I believe in a number of his personal policies. He’s been attacked from every angle which is intolerable, and yet I cannot bring myself to vote for him.
The fact is that his enthusiasm for supporting the Remain vote in 2016, and his reluctance to accept his party’s major division with supporting the ongoing David Davis shambles, are preventing me from supporting him. His party is an honest and hard-working group of people who are committed to equality and better lives for all. The leadership’s lack of direction on which way to go on Brexit is diabolical. When the EEA amendment was rejected, with 74 MPs voting for membership, and 15 against. Six Shadow ministers even valued the vote more important than their Parliamentary positions, and resigned to vote freely! Corbyn ordered the whip to announce abstaining. In a seriously important amendment, where the future economic relationship with Europe is threatened, I don’t see the logic behind ordering members to abstain. The vast majority of Labour voted for Remain, and for Corbyn to believe that his order of abstaining over the best possible outcome for Remain supporters, is arrogance and ignorant of his MPs and their beliefs.
I understand that the Parliamentary atmosphere, and the pressure of the ‘majority vote’ from 2016 at your heels. But the growing dissidence with pro-Brexit support from all sides is hitting the debate hard. The Liberal Democrats are surfing the anti-Brexit furore with grace and authority. A part of me is hoping for a Lib Dem surge and reversal of Tory austerity and pathetic nationalism.
Even Corbyn’s youthful devotees are seeing the light. The NUS and NCAFC are now in association and moving against the pro-Brexit elite that have seemingly determined the 2016 vote to give them the authority to lie and cajole in order for the hardest Brexit possible. The People’s Vote campaign which has attracted a mass movement of politicians, youth, and the dissatisfied Remain supporters, has an upcoming march in London which I am hoping will attract a record number of protesters.
Look Jez, you’ve said you want to shake up Westminster and inject some decency and honesty into the chambers. You should take the advice of a former Eurovision Song Contest winner, and make your mind up. The socialism that you preach is considerate and supportive of equality and the better lives of everyone. Brexit is without doubt going to make that goal much harder, cutting us off from any future in diplomacy and international relations. I refer you to the very personal emergency debate on abortion rights tabled last week by your very own Stella Creasy, supported by women and men from across the benches. That passion and strength in light of the abuse MPs constantly suffer, is exactly the spirit Labour needs to revitalise itself.
Brexit is a bugger. Everything has shown itself to be a negative afterthought, and with Carole Cadwalladr’s astounding exposure of legal discrepancies with the Leave campaigns, the evidence is mounting towards Brexit being an embarrassment for the British people. I imagine many across the world are pointing at the UK on a map and laughing. It’s a disappointment and a disgrace to the people of this country of past, present, and especially the future (including myself), that Brexit is going ahead with seemingly no opposition — from the party in opposition.
I end with a funny comment from a lovely chap I was stood behind in Lidl on Tuesday. He was saying how it’s all gone “tits up in the air” and that he should step in to help. His friend next asked what he could physically do to help the process. Luckily ‘Tits-McGee’ (as I now dub him), said he would be willing to invest in bulk buying outboard motors and attaching them to the East Coast so we would literally move further away from Europe.
Maybe that’s all Rees-Mogg, Boris, and the Farage flunkies want. Talk about separation of powers…