After a day of Brexit chaos, Theresa May is still prime minister. For now. She clung on after seven resignations and Jacob Rees-Mogg openly calling for a vote of no confidence. At around 5.30pm on 15 November, she gave a speech; yet again, she said nothing much and repeated (now) familiar platitudes. Her Brexit still means her Brexit.
Shortly afterwards, though, Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn sent an email to party members. And it was an absolute breath of fresh air.
“The government is falling apart before our eyes.”
Corbyn touched on aspects of the speech he gave in the House of Commons earlier. But he went even further and said:
The government is falling apart before our eyes. Their half-baked deal has unravelled, the Prime Minister has lost all authority and is clearly incapable of delivering a Brexit deal that commands even the support of her Cabinet – let alone Parliament and the people of our country.
He also voiced the ‘anxiety’ of people across the UK for their jobs and “the stability of this country”. And finally, after a day of political chaos, Corbyn offered a workable solution to the whole Brexit mess.
Continue reading below...
“Sweep the Tories from power”
May has been widely criticised for refusing to offer any choice but her deal or a no-deal Brexit. And Corbyn threw this straight back at her, saying:
We do not accept that the choice is between the government’s deal and ‘no deal’.
Corbyn insisted that Labour will “stop a ‘no deal’ outcome” and work to bring a broken parliament and country back together. But he also said that, if parliament “votes down this shambolic Tory deal”, this would:
represent a loss of confidence in the government. In those circumstances the best outcome for the country is an immediate General Election that can sweep the Tories from power and deliver the Labour government this country desperately needs.
And finally, after months of speculation and criticism, Corbyn said the magic words. He said that, if there was no general election, Labour would:
support all options remaining on the table, including campaigning for a public vote.
Or to put it another way, Corbyn pretty much said this:
The main task for everyone who hates this deal: defeat May's motion in the Commons and pass one ruling out No Deal. That torpedoes Project Fear and opens way to either election or 2nd Referendum
— Paul Mason (@paulmasonnews) November 15, 2018
“We are ready”
In finally committing to the possibility of a second referendum, Corbyn may just have made the smartest move at the smartest time. Not only does it offer a ray of hope to voters, but it should also heal some internal Labour divisions. He’s not cancelled out Brexit entirely, so potentially those who voted leave will also feel acknowledged. And as Tom Kibasi pointed out, Corbyn’s timing also blindsides the hard-Brexiteers:
Just think: if Labour had spent the past two years campaigning to ‘stop Brexit’ through a ‘people’s vote’, then Theresa May’s threat of “my deal or no Brexit” might have seemed plausible to the ERG, who might well have backed her & won the vote.
Funny old world.
— Tom Kibasi, IPPR (@TomKibasi) November 15, 2018
“We are ready to lead,” said Corbyn. And that’s more than May and the Tories can say with any certainty now.
Many people around the country do hope that there’ll be a general election and an opportunity to get rid of May’s shambolic government. If not, Corbyn just presented a way out of the current Brexit shitstorm.
– Write to your MP to tell them what you think about May’s deal and how you want them to vote.
– Also join the fight against the root causes of today’s problems in the UK – austerity, cuts, exploitation, and inequality. And participate in the activities of a trade union, activist group, and/or political party to make your voice heard.
Featured image author’s own
Since you're here ...
We know you don't need a lecture. You wouldn't be here if you didn't care.
Now, more than ever, we need your help to challenge the rightwing press and hold power to account. Please help us survive and thrive.