Of all the strange things surrounding Brexit – and there are a lot to choose from – one of the strangest is the insistence of the political pundits that they don’t understand Labour’s policy on Brexit. Alternatively, they also claim that Jeremy is sitting on the fence. Sometimes they even claim both things at once.
In fact, Labour is leading the fight against No Deal, or against Boris Johnson’s new proposals, which amount to the same thing for those all those of us in Britain. Remember, it was Jeremy Corbyn who called all the parties together in Parliament to oppose No Deal and ensured that they worked together to block it. Labour has repeatedly opposed No Deal in parliamentary votes, and opposed Johnson’s deal in parliament this week.
Unfortunately we are in Opposition. We have never been in charge of Brexit negotiations. We can’t be held responsible for what the government has done, or what the other parties do. But our commitment to fighting No Deal has been clear, and is not wavering despite what some are calling Brexit fatigue.
There is a good reason for this commitment. Crashing out with No Deal, or Johnson’s deal which takes us out of every EU institution in 14 months’ time, would be a disaster for most people in Britain.
This is because it is a project to suit Trump. It is part of his plan for Europe to ‘Make America Great Again’; to remake the British economy and British society in the American image. Workers’ rights are going to be ripped up to fit in with the terms of Trump’s deal. We will have to live with much lower food standards and our farming will be decimated. We will also suffer the much lower environmental standards that apply in the US. And of course Trump and his henchmen have been absolutely clear – ‘the NHS will be on the table’, for US pharma and US private health care companies.
This would be an all-round disaster for the overwhelming majority of people in this country. The only beneficiaries will be the Tory party and a few financial speculators and hedge fund managers. This is why Labour is completely opposed to it.
Labour has proposed a reasonable deal which ensures protections in all these areas and keeps us in the customs union and closely aligned with the Single Market. We would then put this back to the people, for a vote on this reasonable deal versus Remain. This would ensure we could not crash out without a deal, and that there would be a people’s vote to determine the outcome once and for all. Only a democratic decision of the people can eclipse the referendum.
Labour is now the only major national party that is now offering a people’s vote. Johnson won’t let the people decide, as he would risk losing. At the same time, the LibDems have abandoned their previous position and now say they will simply revoke Article 50 in the outlandish scenario where they can form a government.
In reality, both want to impose an outcome that will only deepen divisions in society. Labour’s position stands up for workers, and stands up for rights, and lets the people decide. To me the answer is clear, a People’s Vote and strong campaign for Remain is the only way to break this deadlock.