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Students will desert Corbyn over Brexit betrayal

by Rosie McKenna | 15.05.2018

I joined the Labour party in the summer of 2015, shortly after Jeremy Corbyn was elected Labour’s leader. Like many of my generation, I was enthused by his authenticity, values and left-wing principles. I am proud to call myself a socialist.

I’m a working class kid from a council estate, so Jeremy Corbyn’s promises and policies really spoke to me; the importance of a welfare state taking care of the most disadvantaged in society, funding for our national health service, and ensuring that education is free and accessible to all. They still do.

And yet. Young people like me have never been more disappointed in, and let down by the Labour party than we have post-Brexit. My generation voted overwhelmingly and enthusiastically to Remain – by margins of 4 to 1. We don’t just see the EU as a necessary evil, but a fundamental good. A champion for peace, prosperity and freedom of movement in a continent too often scarred by war and inequality.

Because let me be clear: there is nothing socialist about Brexit. The Labour party – my Labour party – shouldn’t be championing a right-wing Tory Brexit.

Demand a vote on the Brexit deal

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What is left wing about putting up borders? What is progressive about making the UK smaller and more insular?

The great leaders of my party – from Keir Hardie’s quest for an outward looking international socialism, to Clement Atlee’s collaboration with Europe during and after the Second World War – believed in Europe.

And let me say this to Jeremy Corbyn; 80% of Labour members want a People’s Vote on the Brexit deal. Even more than that want to remain in the single market. Refusing to listen to your membership and supporters means you’re a party for the few, not the many.

Just this week, Preet Gill – the Labour MP for Edgbaston in Birmingham – tweeted her support of a People’s Vote on the Brexit deal to a fellow For our Future’s Sake (FFS) activist, Ellie. We’re a group of students and young people across the UK saying that Brexit isn’t inevitable and calling for a People’s Vote on the Brexit deal.

Ellie tweeted in good faith, believing that her local MP would listen to her constituent’s views on the most important issue affecting her generation. Yet within hours, she’d deleted the tweet. It looked like another example of Labour’s leadership stopping it’s members and supporters saying what they think.

Last night, it was reported that at Labour’s Parliamentary Labour Party Meeting, Jeremy told fellow MPs that he was going to support the Tory Government in removing us from the European Economic Area, and therefore from accessing a single market that supports millions of jobs in the UK.

So this is Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour party – for the few, not the many. Supporting a Tory-led government pursuing a course that will make the working classes of this country poorer, and actively allowing the futures of their young supporters to be undermined.

It’s not socialist, it’s not progressive and it’s definitely not Labour.

Rosie McKenna is a supporter of For our Future’s Sake, a youth and student-led campaign who are campaigning for a People’s Vote on the Brexit Deal. To join FFS, please go to FFSakes.UK or contact them at [email protected].

Edited by Luke Lythgoe

19 Responses to “Students will desert Corbyn over Brexit betrayal”

  • “My generation voted overwhelmingly and enthusiastically to Remain – by margins of 4 to 1. ”

    The disillusioned of the younger generation didn’t bother to vote, whereas the disillusioned of the older generation voted Leave. And how many of the younger generation believed the Treasury forecast that employment would fall by 500,000 in the immediate aftermath of a Leave vote? The older generation had enough experience of previous Treasury forecasts to see through this.

  • Well, the Pound plummeted and employment went up…but with a decrease in productivity, showing that these jobs are generally low-paid, low-skilled. Since the Brexit vote there has been a creeping tendency for more serious jobs to vanish and certainly for our immigration controls to be exposed as the sham they always were. The fact is that our serious EU competitors, Germany and France, are doing better than us in terms of productivity, life-choices, health care, education and so on. They earn more but pay more taxes. Staying in the EU allows us to be part of a bigger and more competitive picture. The Brexiteers of the older generation should be ashamed of their attempt to lock the younger generation into their island-mentality, reducing the opportunity for employment and international cooperation. Move over and make space for the next generation, ASAP

  • So this whole ‘I’m Labour but….’ article is premised on trusting Tory ‘rebels’ to not vote with the whip (See Windrush and Leveson for examples of how they’re happy to vote when Whipped). Do you really believe Tories will vote to bring their own gov down and force a GE with Corbyn polling so high?? get real, or just stop trying to pull the wool over our eyes. Genuine Socialists know full well *everything* comes in second to the possibility of a genuine Socialist government. Be honest, you’re far more happy about delivering a hard Brexit than the chance of getting Corbyn’s Labour in office that will work for the many whether we’re IN or OUT.

  • May delayed signing 50 by 9 months which was not taken into account in forecasts, but the IMF forecast was broadly right. Forget Osborne.

    UK credit rating fell from AAA to A for the first time, the Euro is way ahead of the pound, UK growth fell from top of the G7 to now, bottom of the G20 and in the past 1/4, UK growth is down to just 0.1% or in GDP per head, down to -0.1%. April continued weakly, while the Eurozone surged ahead.

    UK Industrial production is flat and construction is in recession, while 6000 chain shops closed receivership went into rec last year, plus independent shops, Carilion, the East Coast Mainline, Northampton County Council, NHS trusts and many more are in trouble.

    France has just overtaken the UK in total GDP, while Ireland and all northern European countries (except Finland) now have higher GDP per head.
    The UK has 8/10 of Northern Europe’s poorest regions, homelessness and housing unaffordability are surging as is child poverty and the use of food banks.

    Two forecasts show real wages staying behind prices until 2022 or 2026 and that is since 2010, an unprecedented period of wage squeeze. Consumer credit is also maxed out.
    Around a thousand well paid jobs have left the City of London for EU capitals.

    These are not measures of success and many have worsened in the past two years as a result of brexit. Yet we have not left yet and will not do so presumably, for another 2.5 years.

  • The author does not seem to understand what socialism is if he thinks leaving the single market goes against socialism. Greece tried being socialist and has now been forced through its EU membership to impose austerity on its people. You cannot be socialist and be part of the single market, let alone part of the EU. An EU member state can’t even nationalise its railways.

  • Rubbish. Even socialists have to pay the bills. Socialism isn’t a license to be incompetent. Germany has many socialist programmes, but it is well run. I don’t know why so many in the UK look to Greece as a shining example of the path they’d like to follow. Economic chicanery is just that. Greece is a great country that has been temporarily mismanaged and the EU is helping to rectify that. From the number of people who have views like yours and supporting our dogged path to Brexit, I hope they still have the patience to bail out yet another failed state, very potentially: the UK.
    Perhaps you could move to Greece and take up the cause while you still have the chance to under free movement?

  • If it is true that Jeremy Corbyn supports the tories on Brexit then it is not just the young who will be resigning their membership of the Labour Party. Here is one older person who will be leaving.

  • The point is Labour has always backed democracy, and “the many” voted for leaving the EU. So in fact if Labour didn’t follow that they’d be hypocrites.

    If you don’t want to vote for Labour then fine, enjoy the crippling debt you’ve built up going to uni, Labour want to rid you of it, they’re the only party that does and you want to bite their hand?

  • I wish people would understand that Labour is a democratic party and can’t stop Brexit if it weren’t. Labour is working toward a union that gives British workers more rights, what’s not socialist about that? Whilst the way the Brexit vote has been achieved, such as it is, if Labour were to stand for those of us who voted to remain only they would no longer be a democratic party we’d not only have the fractions between left and right, the people and the elite but with leavers and remainers in the party also. ..all putting democracy at risk. Democracy being greater power for and by the people and less for the elite. Finding some kind of middle ground, compromise is surely a better way forward?

  • Also, if people decide to leave Labour whoever they then vote for would only serve to ensure the tories remain in government.

  • I’m beginning to come to the conclusion that there is not alot to choose between Corbyn and May when it comes to finding a solution which avoids the a highly damaging cliff-edge of a Hard Brexit. Does Corbyn not appreciate that at the last election, many saw Labour as the only realistic electable opposition to a Hard Brexit? That was especially the case around London, but also, for the younger generation who are overwhelmingly anti-Brexit. The Labour vote was also partly explained by our first-past-the-post electoral system making a Lib Dem vote wasted in many constituencies.
    It is good that Corbyn recognises the contradictions of leaving the Customs Union with achieving workable trading arrangements across our borders, as well as maintaining peace at the border with NI.
    However, far more important is that we stay in the Single Market, which he now appears to be ruling out. He is another making the mistake of thinking the Referendum gave a binding mandate for this. It is of fundamental importance for our business, and therefore jobs and welfare, that we maintain close alignment with trading conditions in our largest market. We cannot afford to have barriers and tarrifs imposed. Staying part of the EEA would also remove at a stroke many of the complications for UK citizens seeking to move around and have dealings in Europe. This will be one of the most important factors for the EU in finding a favourable settlement.
    As a majority of Labour MPs believe we should stay part of the Single Market,
    I hope they can be lobbied to, if necessary, defy their party whip and prevent Labour doing the Government’s job for them. They should also remember that a majority of Labour voters voted Remain.

  • I would have thought most young people would be “deserting” Corbyn because of his lies before the last General Election about student fees.

  • Nobody said employment would fall by 500,000 in the immediate aftermath of a leave vote. The point was that hundreds of thousands of jobs are dependent on our membership of the EU (or at least the Single Market and Customs Union). These are put at risk by Brexit but many businesses are waiting to see what the outcome of the negotiations will be before making plans to relocate. This process is now starting to take place and continue unless said businesses have the same access to the EU as now. This armageddon the day after the referendum yarn is on a par with WWIII will break out the following week and belongs in the dustbin with all the other leave lies.

    That is what I cannot understand about Corbyn. Brexit was a Tory project from beginning to end, and the lies that won the referendum were all told by Tories or ex-Tories (UKIP), so why is he going along with it? Not democracy for sure because there was nothing democratic about that campaign of lies, manipulation and illegality. Surely it can’t be that he’s secretly a Brexiter himself?

  • Oh dear! One single issue spark, being fanned into a bonfire!

    Firstly, the blame for this whole debacle lies squarely on Cameron’s shoulders. And the Tory party. In a desperate gamble to suck up the UKIP vote, the Tories made this stupid, and dangerous, referendum, a manifesto commitment. It became one of the very few ‘promises’ they actually kept!

    At the time, I’d been protesting against TTIP, TiSA, and CETA. Trade deals with U.S. and Canada which were being negotiated behind closed doors in the EU commission. Within those deals was the ISDS clause, which is totally undemocratic and has created near famine conditions in places like Costa Rica under the sister deal, TPP! When the vote was announced, I was going to vote for Brexit! I then heard Jeremy Corbyn. It was he who changed my mind and I voted remain !

    The media totally ignored Corbyn in favour of the blue-on-blue liefest where BOTH sides resorted to making wild and outrageous claims! (Labour’s lead in the remain campaign was Alan Johnson. Where was he?!) In the immediate aftermath, the blame went on Corbyn! And now that Corbyn accepted the democratic outcome, he gets the blame for the Tories’ handling of the negotiations! Why? Who’s actually in government?

    To be honest, I’m still in two minds about the EU! Greece was ‘repossessed’ by the central bank! Austerity measures which have resulted in increased poverty and unemployment. Countered by Portugal’s success in a more left-leaning approach which is now reaping the rewards! But it was a struggle for Portugal’s left to form a government. Would it be the same here?

    The EU might have been sold to us as some kind of ‘peace treaty’, but given the rise of right wing parties across the region, I can’t see that stability staying forever!

    The real beneficiaries are the American led multinational corporations. And given recent events, “with friends like that, who needs enemies!”, speeches, maybe we should be allying ourselves with our European brothers and sisters. We might be confronting a common enemy!

  • It is now blindingly obvious that the referendum was fraudulently run. The Leave campaign set out to deceive every step of the way. Far more money was spent than allowable, and the use of Cambridge Analytica is highly suspect. The Remain campaign, as far as I can see, did the best it could to forecast correctly the outcome of Brexit. They didn’t get it all right, but that was not because of dishonesty, whereas Leave was dishonest from start to finish. The Mail, Telegraph and Express to this day are publishing lies about the EU and about Brexit. Lies that do them no credit.

    In these circumstances I don’t regard the referendum result as an absolute. In any event it was two years ago and a week is a long time in politics. We have all learnt a great deal in the last two years. Look at Northern Ireland. In the referendum it voted 56/44 to Remain, whereas a recent poll showed support for Remain at 69% and support for Leave at 31%.

  • Treasury forecast that 500,000 would be made unemployed immediately after a Leave vote.??
    After the lies and distortions of the campaign it beholds us to now be strictly accurate id we are making a point otherwise you will just not be believed. It is easy to look up what the Treasury forecast and it was not “immediately”.