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Pete Lawrence - 09 Feb 2017


The depressing thing is two of my oldest friends - working class through and through - have decided to vote for Theresa May because "she seems a steady pair of hands"!

A friend posted on another social media channel this morning that " it does feel like the world is going to hell in a handbasket."  With that in mind, and the relentless blame being thrown at Jeremy Corbyn over Brexit, it's perhaps worth a step back to consider the accusations and give some alternative viewpoints. I'm doing this using some of the words of Guy Matthews from the 'We Support Jeremy Corbyn' Facebook group..

What is upsetting to me to see the amount of so-called Socialists, Labour supporters and Corbyn supporters raging at the Brexit vote and blaming Corbyn for it. The sheer lack of understanding of how our political system works is mind blowing. I'm going to challenge a few points here, as there is more than one valid viewpoint.

1. "Corbyn didn't pass a single amendment."
Simply because the Tories have what is called a majority, it would have taken several Conservative MPs rebelling to pass any amendments. Unfortunately, the Tories don't care about the NHS or workers rights or the rights of EU nationals. Blame them, not Corbyn or Labour?

2. "Corbyn forced Labour to vote for Brexit, why didn't he vote to stop it?"
A favourite one. Because the Tories have a majority. What's so hard to understand about that? The A50 vote was always going to go their way. That's not even politics, it's just maths. Corbyn forced Labour to vote in favour because to not do so would have given the impression that we do not respect the referendum. Labour are already under threat from UKIP. To pointlessly attempt to block Brexit would simply drive more voters to them, and Brexit would still happen anyway.

3. "He's given the Tories carte blanche to pursue a "hard Brexit.""
No, he hasn't. Once again, their parliamentary majority did that. Odd, but predictable that people are just not getting this. Labour has pledged to fight the Tories every step of the way, which is all that can be done. They are reliant on a early election victory or Tory rebels if they want to set the terms themselves.

4. Finally, "Labour have lost my vote over this." So how are you going to vote? The Lib Dems because they'll fight Brexit? Good effort. They'll also climb into bed with the Tories and continue pursuing devastating discredited neoliberal policies. The option to vote for more austerity if that is a way of making up for losing the referendum? Vote Green? Just splitting the Labour vote and opening the door to UKIP. SNP? Arguably the Scottish Lib Dems, who will also hold another divisive referendum and potentially split the UK.  No longer a United Kingdom, for sure.

Which leaves the final options as the Tories and UKIP, and while I would never stoop so low as to call you Tory voters, the level of political literacy and knowledge on display over the last 24 hours is edging into the precipice.

As Guy concludes, one option is to "Stay the fucking course people. Deal with your disappointment over Brexit (voted Remain myself) and don't lose sight of the fact that a Labour government is our best bloody chance of living decent comfortable lives."

A reasoned analysis comes from another friend, John Crosby:

"I'm not happy to be proved right but my one caveat with Jeremy Corbyn's election as leader was always that a single member of Parliament cannot revitalize a Labour Party which has completely lost direction. I've talked to people on FB and in my own community who joined the party and somehow expected that was all required of them to secure a Labour victory at the next General Election. I'm staying with the Greens, not because they can ever become a ruling party, but because, on current showing, neither can Labour. However, they still have more principles than many in either of the two Houses.

"And let's not allow sections of the populace to get off absolutely scot-free. The right-wing working class and lower middle-class voters never really went away. In many areas and communities, enough of them continued to vote Labour (they historically couldn't stomach the Tories), in recent times, however, they made the shift to the Lib Dems (take Hull, my birthplace for example) but have now deserted that party too. I'm not sure they will all vote UKIP (Farage's party still hasn't actually won a 'new' seat at all yet, only picked up defectors from the Tories), So, everything is up for grabs at the moment. The depressing thing is two of my oldest friends - working class through and through - have decided to vote for Theresa May because "she seems a steady pair of hands"!

"These two people are both very Labour previously and anti-monarchist to boot. Reasoned discussion doesn't seem to be getting through to them so far."




Ian Cuthbert

All but one of the Labour MPs who rebelled against the three line whip on the second reading (I've not checked yesterday's vote yet, but it will be broadly similar) voted in support of holding the referendum in 2015. How can they be considered right now we've come to the point of voting on leaving, and also right in 2015 when they had the opportunity to stop the whole Tory/UKIP forest fire from happening at all?

I see a huge amount of hypocrisy going down and, whatever anyone thinks of Jeremy Corbyn, he has not been hypocritical on Brexit.

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