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Labour face huge moment in Liverpool. They must seize it

by Kira Millana Lewis | 22.09.2018

There are few moments in British politics, outside of general elections (and national referendums), that really matter. That can decide the future of not just a party for a generation, but an entire country.

Labour Party Conference, this weekend in Liverpool, is such a moment. But only if we’re willing to seize the future and back a People’s Vote on Brexit.

Since the EU referendum of 2016, my party, the Labour Party has maintained a position of “constructive ambiguity” on Brexit. This was the smart and right thing to do by Jeremy Corbyn and the rest of Labour’s leadership.

Lots of people – myself included – supported Jeremy and his radical manifesto of transforming the UK. And whilst we voted Remain, we believed that you should respect the result of the referendum, calling the government to negotiate a potential Brexit deal.

But I have moved from this position. And there are a couple of simple reasons why so many on the left of the Labour Party have done the same.

Demand a vote on the Brexit deal

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The first being the most obvious. Brexit is an absolute car crash. The Brexit elite – led by Boris Johnson and Jacob Rees-Mogg – have repeatedly put their own careers ahead of those of the UK public. The negotiations have been nothing short of a national embarrassment for our country, culminating in Salzburg this week showing how the game of fantasy Brexit played out in much of the media and by anti-european politicians is coming to an end.

Secondly, whilst the British public narrowly voted to leave the EU in 2016, nobody voted to be poorer. Nobody voted to limit job opportunities for young people, and nobody voted to have less power and influence. That is what is happening right now, with the gap between all those promises two years ago and the reality on the doorstep becoming wider everyday.

There is nothing socialist about making the working classes of this country poorer, of leaving whole swathes of the UK behind. There is nothing left wing about bending a knee to fascists and the far right. And there is nothing progressive about turning our friends into enemies.

And whilst constructive ambiguity may have worked until now, it can’t for much longer. 150 constituency Labour parties have submitted motions backing a People’s Vote to Labour Party Conference. The overwhelming majority of Labour members, supporters and voters back giving the public a say – to the point that Labour could gain 1.5 million votes by backing a People’s Vote. That’s the difference between being in opposition and being in power.

So next week we have an opportunity as a movement. To not just do the right thing, but the smart one. To take a stand against the Brexit elite, fight for democracy and win over the British public.

Next week, the Labour Party can make history. Not just for itself for a generation, but for future generations. I hope we do.

Kira Millana Lewis is a supporter of For our Future’s Sake from the South West of England.

Edited by Luke Lythgoe

4 Responses to “Labour face huge moment in Liverpool. They must seize it”

  • Huge moment most definitely. As a Life long labour voter failure to deliver the referendum result will be the LAST time I and many many more ever vote for the anti demographic party. The MANIFESTO guaranteed the referendum result to back slide now will finish this party for a generation. I live within 20 miles of 3 sitting labour MP’s. ALL will be out in the next GE if labour backslides now!

  • I agree with the action, i.e. the advisability of Labour coming out strongly for a new referendum – and that this can gain votes in a subsequent election; it could be a direct cause for the election to follow if TM loses the vote.

    It would help if Corbyn stepped down so that a more pro-European leader was part of the process; it would almost certainly be a hard left person but at least one who is not actively against everything European.

    But we cannot have everything we want – so let’s concentrate on avoiding the cliff edge as the most important task…..

  • I am desperate for Labour to take charge of the Brexit situation and declare that it supports a second vote. The current situation is the result of in fighting in the Tory party, the scapegoating of the EU for hardship when it was Tory austerity and cheating in the referendum campaign. Not many realised the true consequences of leaving the EU and with a no deal looming the country is signing its own death warrant. If a second vote produces the same result as the first then so be it. But we cannot stand aside and let this madness continue.

  • My view anyway as someone who was on the fence in the first place.