Jeremy Corbyn is playing his Brexit hand cleverly, although you’d never guess it by listening to media pundits and, as the old story goes, ‘you wouldn’t want to start from here’.
But if you’re not familiar with parliamentary processes and terminology, all the talk of ‘three line whips’, ‘stages’ etc can easily be confusing and you might not see what Corbyn’s doing and why he’s playing it cleverly.
So these two perspectives on the situation, which this writer picked up in various places, may be helpful. Where the author is known, s/he is credited – if the other is yours and you can show provenance I’ll be delighted to credit you.
‘Horns of a dilemma’ – but it’s the Tories who are on it
Terminology, process and the politics of the thing
Then there’s this excellent piece by Tommy Cockerham:
So if you’ve been following this in the press you may be confused by what’s going on with Labour’s ‘three line whip’ on the Article 50 vote. This is because the media are banking on the fact that you don’t understand standard parliamentary process.
A bill is voted on several times at various stages of it’s development before a final vote in parliament. You can vote for a bill at every stage and vote against it on the final vote. Ultimately its this last final vote that decides whether a bill becomes law, not the votes at the earlier stages. Votes at previous stages only have consequence on amendments and changes to it as it progresses, so these initial votes only really matter to the contents of the bill and not the final decision as to it becoming law or not…
…In the context of the fact that 52% of the country voted to leave the EU, it would appear massively undemocratic for labour to vote themselves out of the process at this stage. If Labour try to kill this bill now, it not only sends a message to the 52%, but it allows the Daily Mail to write some interesting headlines about Corbyn being an unprincipled establishment stooge or something. So I think its prudent to allow the bill to progress to its final vote offering amendments and shaping it.
If the Tories vote Labour’s amendments down, the things that protect the NHS and workers rights etc, it’s easier to explain to working class leavers (who I believe have been duped by Boris, Gove and Farage) what leaving the EU under the tories actually means.
At the final stage, it will be in black and white what a Tory brexit means. If it’s turns out to be the incredibly ropy deal I think it will be, you can vote against it at the final stage, with JUSTIFICATION to leavers, that the Tory’s are using Brexit to hurt their rights and their NHS.
Strategically it makes sense to vote this through so the that there is enough rope for the Tories to hang themselves with. They are desperate not to publicly reveal the method and means of Brexit for a reason. To an extent this forces a few key points of the deal and could play a part in the Tories undoing.
So it makes you wonder about the motives of those in the shadow cabinet (who you have to assume DO understand parliamentary process) who are resigning over this. I could talk further about what I think happens next, but that would give the game away…
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