During the BREXIT negotiations, one thing has remained a constant – the confusion surrounding Labour’s stance on where they stand on both membership of the EU and a vision for Britain outside the bloc.
Speaking recently, Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell MP stated that his party has not ruled out giving support for a second referendum. Strangely, Shadow Northern Ireland minister Owen Smith was sacked by the party last month when calling for exactly the same thing!
McDonnell also stated that Labour are ‘walking a tightrope’ when it comes to their position on Brexit, suggesting that they are more concerned with losing votes than they are in putting forward a coherent vision for our country. With support for Labour now coming from the Middle Class Islington set after years of ignoring their working class heartlands, it would appear that they are afraid to lay out a position for fear of alienating either the remain supporting London vote or the leave supporting Northern electorate. So much for the ‘Men of integrity’, Corbyn and McDonnell!
Ominously, he also commented that they were prepared to show ‘flexibility’ on free movement of people in order to get a good deal for Financial Services companies and access to the Single Market. The hypocrisy of his position is amazing – McDonnell is always bashing financial services from his regressive left pulpit whilst claiming to stand up for the working classes who are most affected by free movement. Indeed, a few years ago McDonnell supported a series of demonstrations by the RMT Union about what they termed ‘Social Dumping’, the undercutting of their members by cheap imported labour – the very labour that McDonnell is now prepared to show ‘flexibility’ over.
What a slap in the face for those Trade Unionists who believed that Labour were standing up for their conditions in the workplace!
It is telling that many senior Labour politicians are wriggling and evading on the BREXIT position when their electorates gave them their instruction on June 23rd 2016 – Leave the European Union. Indeed, John McDonnell’s own constituency (Hayes & Harlington) recorded a 60% Leave vote, the highest of the three Parliamentary constituencies in Hillingdon and a larger mandate than neighbouring Uxbridge where Brexiteer Boris Johnson is the MP.
So, why the constant fudge? In my opinion, it is to keep the money coming from the large pro EU trade unions such as Unite and an attempt to be all things to all people in order not to split their vote at any upcoming General Election.
That Labour would put narrow party political interests ahead of the future of our country in refusing to lay out their stall on the biggest issue of this generation tells you all you need to know about their organisation. It is also why it is patently unfit to be near the levers of power in a post BREXIT UK.