Three pics that capture what’s wrong with #PeoplesVote/#FBPE/centrism


Saturday saw a march in London by the – largely centrist – ‘FBPE’ (follow-back pro-EU) crowd and the – almost entirely centrist – organisations that have sprung up like mushrooms to ‘fight brexit’.

Three images from that moderately-attended event succinctly capture what’s wrong with the FBPE ‘cult’, as many term it.

Unpleasant bedfellows

leslie soubry.jpg

Archbishop Desmond Tutu’s famous words apply perfectly to centrist politics:

If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor. If an elephant has its foot on the tail of a mouse and you say that you are neutral, the mouse will not appreciate your neutrality.

We live in a society of hideous inequality and oppression by a Tory government that persists in pursuing austerity that has been linked to the deaths of over 120,000 people, a staggering increase in child poverty, the collapse of our NHS and misery for millions.

Yet centrist Labour MPs – who are almost all part of the ‘overturn Brexit’ obsession – persist in talking about ‘cross-party working’ and praise to the high heavens supposed ‘Tory rebels’ who then don’t rebel.

‘FBPE’-obsessives have persisted in blaming Jeremy Corbyn for the government’s Brexit failures – they were chanting about him at today’s march – yet have given a free pass to the non-rebels.

Labour MPs should be intractable in outrage about the misery Tories are inflicting to the people of this country – damage that continues in or out of the EU.

Yet centrist Chris Leslie was captured today sharing a happy moment with non-rebel-Tory Anna Soubry – a perfect encapsulation of the twisted priorities and hypocrisy inherent in both centrism and its near-synonym ‘FBPE’.

Ms Soubry’s voting record should make any true Labour MP shudder:

Middle-class problems

Closely linked to the misplaced priorities of the pro-EU obsession is the fact that it is a largely middle-class phenomenon – some have gone so far as to call it white privilege. Can you find a black or brown face in the image below of Saturday’s gathering?

fbpe white priv

Twitter wags mocked the marchers with comments about quinoa-shortages and Waitrose sales – and understandably so.

If you have a comfortable life and decent prospects, it’s easier to get worked up about which particular political union you’re part of. But if you’re unsure where your children’s next meal is coming from, or your house is damp and infested because the Tories voted down a Labour amendment to force landlords to make rented homes fit for human habitation, such concerns are a luxury.

If you’re one of the millions impoverished by the Conservatives or are housebound because your mobility allowance was snatched away, in or out of the EU is an irrelevance.

The real issue facing this country is the desperately urgent need to remove the Tories from government – for the sake of the millions suffering under them.

Yet many EU-obsessives would rather be in the EU with a Tory government than out under a Labour one – and strenuously ignore the reality that turning their fire on Labour instead of the true culprits makes ‘out of the EU with a Tory government’ far more likely.

It exposes their real agenda: ‘get Corbyn’. And those who suffer are just collateral damage.

‘Where’s Jeremy Corbyn?’

Saturday’s ‘people’s vote’ marchers spent much of their time changing ‘where’s Jeremy’ – LibDems and faux-Labour alike.

The answer to that was simple: Corbyn was in Jordan, serving food and talking to refugees during a trip to refugee camps to find out more about what’s happening to people driven out of Syria by the war:

jc refugee.jpeg

Corbyn’s trip was arranged a long time ago – probably well before remain-obsessives decided a march would be a good idea. Yet many of those obsessives, without irony or self-awareness, thought – and many actually said on social media – that he should have cancelled his trip to pander to their demanding self-regard.

One Twitter user responded perfectly:

Corbyn and those who support him recognise the real-world difficulties faced by people in this country and abroad because of a whole rotten political-economic system – and are working flat out to change it.

Others are too busy marching and chanting slogans about an EU that hasn’t prevented any of the horrors inflicted on people in the UK by the Tories or elsewhere by the system they worship.

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  1. In answer to your point about “white privilege” – look from the right of your picture, just under halfway up. There’s a guy in a white t-shirt which says “demand” and other writing. The chap standing to the left of him, black T-shirt, is clearly black.

  2. I’m a corbyn it and I do support a vote on final trms. What those like Squawk box seem to ignore is that without such a vote, it would be like deciding to buy a house without getting a survey first. I’m afraid Jeremy is wrong about this and to say that a vote on the final terms (or none, if that happens) is going against the democracy that he and I support. The words of the 1016 referendum said nothing at all about what Brexit would entail.

    To repeat, you are suggesting that it is perfectly sensible to decide to buy a house, buy it, and then after it has been bought get the survey done. That is why offers to buy property are always made “SUBJECT TO SURVEY”.

    1. So ok then another analogy. Someone else is selling a house, do you have a say in what their buying, this is how are democracy works, after a referendum. Also we don’t know what the actual deal is. So with your analogy, we haven’t found the house yet.
      Democracy? remain side has completely forgotten how it works. Parliament makes laws and decisions for us. Referendum voted leave, now we need parliament to implement, making both sides happy. Tories are fuck you and not a clue.
      Libfibbers are just after remain votes, they have nothing to bring leave voters on side,
      Labour are for a soft brexit. Meaning trying to bring the two sides together.
      It’s happened, now is about what kind of brexit.
      people who are using brexit for tribal politics to attack other parties or factions within parties, are creating the environment for hard brexit, but they don’t care of the cost, when it comes to attacking Corbyn.

      1. ‘Parliament makes laws….’ Yup parliament made the poll tax – and it took popular action to get rid of it.

    2. The argument is not whether we have a final vote on Brexit, because only the Tories are against that. The argument is that a vote called a referendum was taken and the decision was to withdraw from the EU.

      What follows is what kind of Brexit we achieve, we can do that by rejecting the terms the Tories negotiate if it found to be against our interests and demand an election so that a new government can renegotiate seriously with Europe to negate some of the problems that the Tories would accept.

      I voted to remain because I knew that this debate would turn into exactly the same fiasco that we had in the referendum, people did not understand the whole picture because at every turn there are conflicting arguments that no one knows the answer to until we are faced by the realities after leaving.

      It’s all guess work, and in the meantime whilst people fight over one thing or the other the Tories are quietly dismantling our state and without a whimper from those that don’t realise the same thing is happening in Europe. Hence the riots on the streets of Paris, the problems facing the southern countries, Italy and many others. Just look what happened to Greece.

      The EU is in deep trouble, they have trade imbalances that are irreconcilable because of how they treat each country like it was a household, which Britain is not. The rise of fascism in Europe is not happening just because of the refugee problem but deep seated economic instability created by Neo-Liberal politicians in Europe as here under the Tories.

      People are allowing themselves to be led by the nose, instead of looking for themselves at what is actually happening in Europe, ASK yourselves, why would the EU get involved in a TTIP or CETA agreement with the USA, all done behind closed doors in secret as if it was for our benefit. That is precisely what these Tories will do with a hard Brexit and why they are not properly negotiating. After all they started the talks without so much as a piece of paper in front of them, do we seriously think the Tories are that stupid that they did not know what they were doing? This is all going neatly to plan, and whilst EU supporters are chasing red herrings, the Tories are moving along to the next stage in their plan to hand over our NHS to American Corporations.

      This whole debate is a distraction, the Tory agenda is to hand our democracy over to large multi national corporations, which can be witnessed by the way the Tories are deliberately underfunding the NHS, the Naylor Report which spells out how they have set up ba private company that is disposing of all NHS assets and land.

      This is happening right under peoples noses, without a whimper, because people do not really understand the implications further down the road. The EU is not what people think it is, look at their own statistics (eurostat). It shows that Europe is in deep trouble, which staying in is like us jumping from the frying pan and into the fire.

      What we should all be working towards is exposing these lying Tories at every turn, and demand an election at the soonest possible opportunity, those right wing Labour MPs are pursuing exactly the same Neo-Liberal agenda as the Tories and by damaging Labour they achieve that end.

      Do we all really want that?

  3. Gilda. I think you are missing the point of the article. It is telling that you end with an analogy about property ownership. The piece is about those who have no property; who barely have the essentials to sustain life. The ones who seem absent from the focus of those attending this demonstration. Your failure to see this appears to be shared with those who were represented at this march; attacking Corbyn. The one who is fighting to give them representation.

  4. What a pathetic article. Exactly the same could be said of those who support Brexit. Dennis Skinner in the same camp as Boris Johnson, RMJ, David Davies, Nigel Farage. Journalism at its worst, I fear.

    1. You would never see Dennis Skinner on the same platform as Johnson, JRM, DD or NF, that’s the difference. That you cannot see the difference says more about you than anything else.

    2. I must have missed the pro-Brexit march where Dennis Skinner was photographed marching alongside BSJ et al laughing and joking with them.

      I’ve certainly missed the news that Skinner and his ilk have called loudly for cross party working together with the Tories – although I did not miss the news that the continuity conservatives in the Labour Party were all for doing deals with the Tories across parts of Scotland.

      And I certainly don’t recall seeing the likes of Skinner marching alongside a mob to intimidate a LP member or hob nobbing with bigots like Norman Tebbitt and Ian Paisley junior.

    3. Joe you want journalism at it’s worst and pathetic articles go and read the Daily hate Mail or S*n and I think Dennis would give you short shrift for trying to lump him in with the Tory turds . If you are a Corbyn supporter like me then you will know that it is the Tories who are the real enemy and not our fellow comrades

  5. Moaning, obsessive, gite owners from the Dordogne and Costa residents gather with middle-class Liberals and EU gravy train employees for a moan-fest about how Corbyn has ruined their children’s lives and the country etc.

  6. We simply need to expand our manufacturing base through significant investment and improve our industrial strategy away from the confines of the EU which will mean that we are no longer dependent on the financial sector for survival. Leaving the EU Single Market will not be such a big deal economically as most reports have flaws. The freedom will outweigh any costs in the medium term.

  7. SKWAWKBOX, you said that it’s largely ‘centrists’ who want a people’s vote. How the heck do you know that? did you conduct some sort of survey of the marchers? I am firmly on the left of the LP and a fervent Corbyn supporter and I most certainly want another vote. I believe that many of the public were conned into supporting Brexit and Arron Banks, the bank roller of Brexit, has confirmed it. So don’t try to tell me that because I want to reverse the decision I am, as you put, it a ‘centrist’.

    “Others are too busy marching and chanting slogans about an EU that hasn’t prevented any of the horrors inflicted on people in the UK by the Tories or elsewhere by the system they worship.”

    What a silly statement. Why is it up the EU to prevent the damage that the Tories and the LP right wing have caused? we have the answer in our own hands – kick the sods out!

    If like me you had gone door to door, day after day campaigning for our candidates in the recent local elections you should know that from my admittedly small sample and as shown by the march, there will be tens of thousands, possibly hundreds of thousands of LABOUR members and voters who want Labour to insist on taking a much stronger line against Brexit.

    Brexit is an extreme right wing Tory project, they have NEVER accepted our membership of the EU. Why should we meekly accept the results of their incessant campaign via their right wing media to leave the EU? It makes no sense to give in to them and just try to minimise the damage.

    There is no such thing as a good Brexit and if you believe there is you are deluded.

    By not giving voters a better alternative, we have given the LP right wing and the Lb Dems an open goal to attack JC and thereby hurt our chances of winning a GE.

    1. Right, Jack! It’s the latest way to blame Jeremy for the world’s ills, but another vote would be democracy at work NOW, not frozen in 2016.

  8. I was at the peoples vote march. The best speeches were by Caroline, and by two young black voices- one an activist, and the other the vice chair of the N.U.S. I heckled Tony Robinson’s speech when he had a go at J.C. But I agree with staying in the EU under some arrangement, I am a Momentum member and eurosceptic remainer- like Jeremy. I urge all comrades and Corbynistas to head over to Momentum website and check out the members’ petition, where it is well argued how a Corbyn led British membership in the EU, leading on EU reform, presents the best chance of a British economy thriving and giving the platform to implement the socialist policies we want.
    We need a Corbyn Government AND at the very least to belong to A newly negotiated Customs Union.

    1. paul leach, agreed, yes, I too believe the EU can be improved just like Jeremy does, who was only 70% happy with it but 100% in favour of remaining in it.

      Voters took part in a Cameron government referendum which at best, no matter what Theresa May says, was only advisory. We now have a different government and just like Cameron, May doesn’t have the guts to stand up to the far right in her party, therefore she is passing the buck on to ‘the people’ to do her dirty work. The problem is that based upon lies and false information, the results of the Tories’ in-fighting will condemn Britain and those who can least afford it, to suffer for decades if we don’t reverse it.

      Can you imagine the situation when we regain power? If we leave the EU it will be LABOUR’S job to trudge around the world trying to undo the damage that the Tories will have done to our trade. Wasting time, energy and resources when we could be implementing our fantastic manifesto. Why let it get to that when we could do something about it NOW!!!

      We have every right in a democracy, once the consequences become clearer, to re-think the original question and vote accordingly. Otherwise we will be putting a hell of a burden on to Jeremy’s shoulders and allow the LP right wing to become even more disruptive. Instead of some of the left trying to split the left, they should see sense and unite to pull the rug from under the feet of the LP RW, by fully supporting Jeremy’s 100% wish to remain in the EU.

      1. Boggles my mind that people don’t see how that would drive working-class votes to other parties. Look at the difference between GE17, in which Labour beat the Tories in gaining ex-UKIP votes, and LE18, where more went to the Tories. That’s the back-bench ‘overturn brexit’ effect…

    2. That last sentence encapsulates Labour policy. But if Labour starts arguing for remaining in the EU against the expressed will (deceived or not) of the people, we won’t have a Labour government – just a Tory one *and* out of the EU…

      1. As you might expect, I completely disagree. Because of our position on Brexit, as I said, we are already driving people to either not vote or to vote against us. I witnessed it on the doorstep.

        Your other point about the ‘working class’ is also dubious. If we concentrated on showing them how they were mislead, as admitted by Arron Banks, into voting against their own best interests, when they realise they were kidded and see their jobs going, many of those whose major reason for voting to leave was NOT immigration, bordering on racism, will soon change their minds.

        There is also the question of demographics, which is also in our favour against leaving.

        A good try with your “That’s the back-bench ‘overturn brexit’ effect”. No, it was more the wreckers undermining Corbyn effect. Again corroborated on the doorstep.

  9. Why is ANYBODY incapable of accepting we’ve HAD a people’s vote already-called a referendum?

    Remain lost, I’m annoyed it did, but there you go. The last thing we need is a people’s vote on final terms, sorry, but that wasn’t in the script at any point.

    All I’d say to people is to concentrate on getting a Corbyn government, because I strongly suspect at least 75% of the population actually couldn’t give a damn about Brexit.

  10. Looks like nothing more than a corporate/ state media propaganda spectacle to me, designed to influence public perception of the strength of support for overthrowing the democratic referendum result.

    Corbyn would do well to push for an end to UK regime part in the covert war on Syria so refugees can return home and rebuild their country.
    These ongoing wars are the cause of these and the millions of other refugees and UK has been a major player in all of these wars. Time to address the cause of refugees not just a symptom…

  11. So Someone slams in to the back of your car, that makes you smash in to the back of the car in front. Naturally you go and punch driver of the car in front. This is the logic of some.

  12. Ok I guess you could all go on and on attacking each other — pro Brexit Corbynite — anti Brexit Corbynite ( as regards to the so called Centrists I don’t give a stuff ) BUT stop and ask yourselves this one simple question ## DO I WANT A JC LABOUR GOVT ?##

    Ans yes = STOP playing the Tories game who are jumping for joy at seeing JC supporters taking chunks out of each other ( as are the Blairites ) .
    Labour is so much MORE than bloody Brexit , it has so much more hope to offer and concrete plans to help our citizens than anything EVER the Tories have to offer .
    By attacking JC and hence Labour then you increase the chance of Labour NOT gaining power and the alternative —- a hard Tory Brexit with a continuance of a Tory Govt in power,, to really RAM home the effects of that hard Brexit,, is too terrifying to even think about. .
    The referendum happened a work of utter fuck up by Camamoron who BTW is off footloose fancy free with no real consequences for him .
    Yes it was a pack of lies that we ALL were duped with delivered by the Tories and their elitist backers , but all JC supporters have to remain united and focused on the main prize and that is a JC LABOUR GOVT .

    Corbyns stance and strategy is admirable in trying to unite the different left wing sections pro and anti Brexit within our Party , trying to ensure that there are only winners and no losers , the Tories will make LOSERS OF ALL OF US that you can all be assured of .
    So lets stop with the quite frankly divisive and childish analogies ,, unite in our condemnation of the Tories and focus on the positives of what a JC Labour Govt will bring to the MANY AND NOT THE FEW .

    1. Well Said Rob. As someone who was taken in by the lies of the leavers & bitterly regret doing so, now I fully appreciate the consequences, I would love the chance to vote again but I will fully support JC through thick & thin as he is the only one that I TRUST to have my interests & that of the UK at heart & the only one I trust to see us through Brexit.
      I am sick to death of the FBPE’ers on Twitter & elsewhere constantly highjacking posts trying to get their points across which has no relevance to the original tweet or post which end up getting lost in the mayhem.

  13. Spot on, Steve. Both ends of the Brexit spectrum are living in La-La Land. Meanwhile Corbyn is getting on with the job of giving us real, achievable choices about how we relate to Europe (and the rest of the world).

  14. Sadly your valid comments about much of the dis-organised march yesterday have released the venom of the Brexiteers. They have legitimate grievances about the way our governments have handled our relationship with the EU and our inability to support our industries and the associated hard working work-force and communities.
    Yesterday’s alliance did seem unable to organise a p**s up in a brewery, but those with whom we marched, brown: black: young: old, were genuine about the potentially serious impact of leaving. The Referendum was fuelled by mis-information pedalled by very interested vested interests (though I cannot imagine who is really going to benefit from our withdrawal).
    I agree that we need a Jeremy/John led government who are likely to be better able to handle a negotiated outcome. None-the-less, given the absence of an honest and informed debate before the referendum a vote on whether the negotiated terms are acceptable, when we know more about the complexity and some of the implications of withdrawal, should be right for us all. The international corporations are likely to continue to be the winners, unless we have a truly socialist government, whether in or out of the EU.
    Our leaving the EU is playing into the hands of the fascist right at home and across Europe – the need for working class solidarity has never been greater.

  15. Don’t forget that some of the unions like the TSSA want a PV. Unless we get a General Election this year, and win it, we aren’t going to get the chance to do the negotiations with the EU.

  16. Well I’ve never shopped in Waitrose in my life not eaten quinoa but I do support a final people’s vote on Brexit.We are like lemmings mindlessly leaping off the cliff,where are these vaunted trade deals coming from?Trumps America in return for the decimation of what’s left of the NHS?The fact is the government have no idea,no agreement and no viable alternative but are charging on regardless rather than upset their own extreme right wingers.People voted for this debacle without having any clear idea what they were voting for seduced by false promises on the side of buses and vacuous statements about making Britain great again,not to mention getting rid of all those foreigners who were stealing all our jobs.The irony is that most of those areas that supported Brexit were the ones doing best out of the EU.The Tories can’t negotiate Brexit ,they can’t agree what they want from it or how things will work afterwards and let’s not mention the northern Ireland border.The people should be given a vote on the final deal,isn’t that democracy in action? As to Cornyn i think he’s playing a blinder when it comes to Brexit.Yes stuck between a rock and a hard place but isn’t giving the Tories or red Labour any ammunition to attack him with.I agree the priority is getting him into power and that there are innumerable other issues that need addressing but the potential catastrophe of Brexit can’t be ignored.Anything supported by the likes of Boris and Duncan Smith can’t be good for the rest of us.

  17. Sir Keir hasn’t ruled out us supporting a people’s vote. May will end up coming back with a crap deal that is worse than what we have at present.

  18. ‘Moderately attended event’
    ‘largely centrist’
    I would have thought a crowd well in excess of 100,000 was a little more than moderately attended.
    Unless you have interviewed the majority of the crowd about their politics it would be impossible to ascertain whether they were mostly centrist or not.
    I am a huge Corbyn supporter but also one who is very much Pro EU, I personally think that something as massive as Brexit being decided by 24% of the voting public saying they’re in favour of it 2 years ago after they had been fed lie upon lie about it absolutely ridiculous.
    Of course the people who will be effected by Brexit should have a say in it’s outcome, anything else is quite literally handing the keys of the asylum to the inmates . . .

    1. 100,000 seems to be vastly exaggerated. 20k looks more realistic, which is not bad. The rest is beside the point – the vote’s done and if we want a Labour govt, Corbyn can’t just ignore the result of those who voted leave. He’s the only one who’s trying to get the best possible result for everyone, not just leave or remain voters

      1. At least 100,000 was what Sky News reported.
        You reported it as being largely centrist without any proof of that whatsoever.
        Only 24% of the voting public actually voted for Brexit.
        The illegal overspending, the lies and deceit that were used to push it through and the stories now breaking about it being a massive financial swindle suggest that the Referendum was wholly and completely unfit for purpose.
        Suggesting that we should just let a total bunch of crooks decide the future of our country without the public having any say in it whatsoever seems foolish in the extreme and certainly not something I would expect from the Skwawkbox, although with the way this blog has changed recently perhaps I shouldn’t be surprised.

  19. The thing is though, unless the government falls, JC isn’t going to be in a position to negotiate a good deal(if one is possible ) with the EU. We can’t be forced to accept May’s CRAP deal. We must have a PV on the deal with the option to remain if we have changed our minds. I say this as an ardent JC supporter.

  20. Out of the EU the US will become more important to the UK in political, economic and defence terms.
    The UK won’t become more important to the US.
    The US right makes the Tories look like lefties.
    That’s a concern.

  21. Paulh121 is so right. Referenda are not the way to govern. The number of people voting for the first time in their lives, previously not accepting such democratic responsibility, was equally worrying.
    JC was the most honest politician in the run-up to the vote, I understand his/the Labour party’s current position, given the divisions created/that have surfaced, but wish we could get to a unifying position for the sake of our nation. The need to remain in the EU, helping to achieve the necessary reforms, and resisting the fascist developments there and in our own society would be a responsible position for an honest government.

  22. You are supporting the purge against so called centrist Labour politicians. Are you mad? Labour needs to be made up of ALL socialists, far left, middle left, centre left. That march was a march for JOBS. Yes JOBS.. Because sunshine out of the EU means less jobs for your members. Airbus, BMW ring any bells? Oh the Farages of this world will do nicely thank you as has already been shown in the shorting on the pound on the election night when millions were made by the wealthy hedge fund managers. I have watched with interest for some time your glee at the CLP’s ousting the centrist Labour councillors. Well let me tell you this, I don’t ever recall a far left government. I would very much like to be rid of these dreadful Tories and see a Labour government returned to look out for the poor, but if you and yours don’t watch it, it won’t happen.

    1. There is absolutely nothing either socialist or left about so-called ‘centrists’

  23. If you want to see another five years of Tory austerity then carry on with the people’s vote! They’re obviously not concerned with 4.5 million children in poverty or 1 million people using food banks. But hey! It’s more important to be in an organisation that is totally undemocratic, that has neoliberalism at its core. An organisation that believes in austerity backed by MP’s & MEP’s that have been on the gravy train so long they they expect ambrosia to be delivered at their dining table.

    I know many who think the EU is the only game in town. What they don’t realise the game is crooked.

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