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Cable’s “Bollocks to Brexit” far better than Corbyn fudge

by Hugo Dixon | 09.05.2019

Let me say this right up front. When the votes are counted after the European Parliament elections, we will include those who backed Labour in the tally of parties who are in favour of a People’s Vote. After all, the party has twice whipped in favour of a public vote in Parliament – and is likely to do so again.

But if you want to stop Brexit, it is best to vote on May 23 for the Lib Dems who say “Bollocks to Brexit” or the Greens, SNP, Change UK or Plaid Cymru – not Labour.

These are five parties with strong anti-Brexit messages. Corbyn, by contrast, is standing in the middle of the road trying to appeal to both pro- and anti-Europeans. If he gets run over by both – as he did in last week’s local elections – he has nobody to blame but himself.

Look at the difference in how two of the parties are launching their European election campaigns today. The Lib Dems are emblazoning “Bollocks to Brexit” on their leaflets.

By contrast, Corbyn said today: “The real divide in our country is not how people voted in the EU referendum. The real divide is between the many and the few,” while adding that the party backs the “option” of a public vote if a “sensible” Brexit deal cannot be agreed and there is not a general election.

There are, of course, many wonderful pro-European Labour candidates in this election. In an ideal world, they would be sitting in the European Parliament.

But if Corbyn is rewarded by voters for last week’s mealy-mouthed manifesto, he may continue to sit on the fence about whether to stop Brexit. Pro-Europeans need to send him a strong message that he won’t get their votes if he does.

This is especially important because we could well end up with a general election this year. Corbyn must realise that, if he goes into that with a fudged Brexit position, he won’t win.

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Note from the editor-in-chief: Many Labour supporters will be unhappy with this column – as they were with my column last week arguing that pro-Europeans should not vote for the party. All I can say is that InFacts is a non-partisan journalistic enterprise making the fact-based case against Brexit without fear or favour – and, for the reasons given in both articles, I believe that the best way of advancing our cause is not to reward Corbyn for his mealy-mouthed manifesto.

We are not anti-Labour. Indeed, I would have urged pro-Europeans to swing behind the party if its manifesto had not been a fudge. I said so clearly in this piece just before the manifesto was published. I could also imagine doing so in the future – if Labour clearly backed a referendum or staying in the EU in a general election.

Some readers have also questioned how InFacts can take a “don’t vote Labour” line in the European Parliament elections when other parts of the People’s Vote alliance are saying different things. The answer is that the People’s Vote is an umbrella group – and InFacts is not campaigning with other parts of the alliance in the European elections.

Edited by Luke Lythgoe

12 Responses to “Cable’s “Bollocks to Brexit” far better than Corbyn fudge”

  • Same line was taken by Andrew Adonis before he was forced to retract it, reportedly by Seamus Milne, Corbyn’s much feared minder who seems to be today’s incarnation of Anthony Blunt. In Facts is thankfully not amenable to such intimidation.

  • Very well said.
    We need more people speaking the truth, and putting the country and the people before party interests.
    Is it too much to expect politicians to do this?
    Probably.

  • Absolutely right. Brexit is not in the national interest but unfortunately this is not Corbyn’s position.Indeed one wonders what the position of the Labour Party would be if there were to be a People’s vote ?

  • To those who, like me, are threatened in their continued existence in Britain as they live with a foreign passport and certainly in the present situation can’t see any reason to opt for the British nationality, the same reason that many Brits wouldn’t opt for a foreign nationality, the conduct of Corbyn as the leader of what purports to be opposition to a Conservative government that lost its way is one of the most painful issues surrounding the Brexit national idiocy. For that reason only Labour deserves a belt on both eyes. So don’t vote Labour.

  • I have believed for a long time that Labour (and Jeremy Corbyn) was mistaking the voters’ deep detestation of the Tory government for Labour popularity. If the Conservatives were the moderate party they once were, Jeremy Corbyn would have no agenda, and limited popularity! Corbyn is in effect a reaction to a right wing government and his vote reflects “Anyone but the Tories”

  • At last a slogan that hits the mark; simple, understandable, hard hitting and memorable. Can we hope for other Remainers to get out of their comfortable cubby holes, stop talking and scheming amongst themselves and actually do some plain speaking campaigning!

  • Arthur Streatfield:
    “If the Conservatives were the moderate party they once were, Jeremy Corbyn would have no agenda, and limited popularity! Corbyn is in effect a reaction to a right wing government and his vote reflects “Anyone but the Tories”

    I am afraid you are entirely correct. But it is worse than this. At this point, with his ideas, or lack of them, and constant fence-sitting, Corbyn is causing many to say “anyone but Corbyn”. Not only on the Tory side where this is the obvious line of thinking, but also amongst those who would normally be inclined to vote Labour, but can see no future with a zealot for a leader who has no understanding of the fact that many are put off by zealotry. All clearly demonstrated in the recent local elections – if they can be held to be a proxy. Let’s await the results of the European elections, and frankly, let’s hope they do not only give T May a clear signal of failure, but Corbyn as well.

  • One of Corbyn’s major problems is his advisor or puppet-master – S Milne (John King was right). SM is apparently very pro-Brexit, and driving Lab against the flow of its members, who are increasingly pro-remain. Corbyn et al need to challenge him, seriously.
    I’m surprised that JC is so weak and lacking in tactical nouse. If he came down clearly on the remain side, he’d probably mop up tons of votes, complete the break-up (or down?) of TM’s Tories, and so get the General Election he seems so keen on. If by that time we’d had a verification referendum, and decided to remain he’d then have a clean slate (free of Brexit) on which to plan the UK future he seems so keen on. Instead, by sitting on the fence he is more likely to loose not only votes but members, and probably his leadership too.

  • ps. I hear that SM removed all references to a second referendum from the draft labour manifesto, till the consequent outcry forced it back again, l though in a very fudgy way.

  • I wholeheartedly agree with this policy. As a consequence I have now resigned from the Labour Party. Stopping Brexit is a bigger concern than any ideas of misplaced loyalty just now. I am copying in below my thoughts on the subject as mailed to Tom Watson yesterday after the latest Jeremy Fudge Episode.

    Hi Tom,

    It is with deep regret that I am now resigning my membership of the Labour Party.
    I am unsure of the correct procedure but will contact my bank to cancel the direct debit later today.
    It is ironical that I am writing to you and copying my local MP Sarah Jones because I have the greatest of respect for you both.
    I have however been deeply concerned about the direction that Jeremy (and of course Seamus) have chosen to pursue in regard to Brexit and can countenance the vacillation no longer.
    I accept virtually everything that they say they are striving to achieve but can not for the life of me agree that they are more readily achievable outside the European Community.
    Frankly, our continued participation in the European project is ultimately more important to me than any other aspect of our current political discourse.
    I see no shame nor any contravention of democratic propriety in demanding another ‘peoples vote’ now that the true facts are more widely known.
    The nervousness about letting down our fellow members in the industrial heartlands is foolish; I am from the South Yorkshire clan myself and know them to be more robust in their judgements when presented with the true facts of any situation.
    The referendum was not only a constitutional misuse of the concept of ‘advisory’ plebiscites it was also won on a woefully ‘false prospectus’. If anyone endeavoured to float a company on the stock exchange with a similarly false prospectus they would be thrown into gaol! My friends and relatives up north understand these matters just look at their determination to see justice over The Hilsborough Disaster, or Rotherham Child Abuse, or The Battle of Orgreave. We fool ourselves by assuming we must defer to their uninformed choice; rather we should accept the responsibility we have to now properly inform them of the true facts and let them reconsider their earlier choice.
    Enough! I hear you cry.
    I’m sorry to be leaving but am determined to continue the struggle for centre left internationalist socialism elsewhere.

    Bon courage!

    Ted.

  • Labour’s ambivalence about the EU, the constant battle between Corbyn-Milne and Starmer-Watson. will have the same distracting effect on voters as Tim Farron’s agonising about gay sex, I fear. Resolution of these fudges needs to be done quickly, otherwise lasting damage results.