Theresa May’s calamitous defeat in Wednesday evening’s EU amendment vote puts her in a position of abject weakness – and strips away the MSM-crafted façade that she ‘achieved’ a deal last week rather than surrendering completely to the EU and DUP.
Even the BBC has struggled to find ‘talking heads’ to call it much less than a disaster, with the EU summit looming and Labour looking strong.
But she’s not the only one in a bind this evening.
At every Brexit-related vote so far this year, right-wing Labour figures and their supporters, aided by what’s left of the LibDems, have attacked Corbyn’s strategy and tactics, demanding that he throw himself on a pyre of unwinnable votes for the sake of gesture politics.
Instead, Corbyn has ‘done grown-up politics’, cleverly and pragmatically refusing to allow himself or Labour to be painted into a corner and waiting for the winnable opportunity.
Ironically but unsurprisingly, considering that the mantra-ad-nauseam smear of Labour ‘centrists’ was always that the left was only interested in the ‘politics of protest’ instead of winning – and that their moans now are about the left’s supposed demand for ‘ideological purity’ – it’s those right-wingers who were demanding that Labour’s leader make futile gestures just because overturning Brexit matters more than anything, even if it’s unachievable.
Tonight, Corbyn enjoyed some of the fruits of being smarter than that – only a battle and not yet the war, but definitely a major battle.
By refusing to tilt at windmills on the unwinnable votes, he made space for the Tory rebels to come towards him when it really mattered.
By refusing to be drawn into a futile stand of rejecting Brexit, he made it possible for those Tories who don’t agree with Theresa May’s version of it to come through the lobby with him during Wednesday’s vote.
And tonight Theresa May is weakened – both on the UK political front and in terms of her hard-Brexit/tax-haven vision for the UK’s future.
It’s been intelligent politics by a man of principle and he has damaged Theresa May, perhaps even decisively. But his opponents inside Labour face a quandary tonight. Twitter user Simon McKeown put it succinctly:
Corbyn’s intelligent, strategic thinking put the gesture-demanding right and liberals to shame tonight and the win is a blow to his opponents within the party and without.
He deserves plaudits – but his supporters should be ready for the inevitable attempts by the Labour right to rain on the parade.
The SKWAWKBOX needs your support. This blog is provided free of charge but depends on the generosity of its readers to be viable. If you can afford to, please click here to arrange a one-off or modest monthly donation via PayPal. Thanks for your solidarity so this blog can keep bringing you information the Establishment would prefer you not to know about.