In February this year, Jeremy Corbyn gave a major speech on Labour’s Brexit stance in which he announced that Labour, in government, would look to agree ‘a customs union’ with the EU.
Corbyn was derided by both centrists and right-wingers, who fell over themselves to rubbish the idea. The BBC even arranged a company with Tory and UKIP links to appear as a commentator on the speech, ensuring that ample scorn was poured.
What a difference 8 months make.
This afternoon, the EU’s chief negotiator Michel Barnier – after saying that border checks are inevitable when the UK is leaving the customs union – said he was open to the idea a customs union:
Barnier and Corbyn have met several times and reportedly get along very well. Centrists are now getting existed about Barnier’s words – which are in stark contrast to Theresa May’s doomed attempt to negotiate the UK remaining in the customs union, which would tie the country’s hands and leave the UK essentially a satellite state.
It’s a familiar scenario, of course: Corbyn shows leadership and the imagination to propose solutions. The Establishment, the Tories and his right-wing Labour opponents ridicule it. Then, when their own intellectual and political bankruptcy is exposed yet again, they all start appropriating the ideas only one leader had the guts and nous to voice before.
But Barnier gets it and on the specific topic of Brexit we now have confirmation – if any more were objectively needed – that Jeremy Corbyn would be welcomed and taken far more seriously at the EU negotiating table and a Brexit negotiated by him would eclipse the risible attempts of the Tories and the bleating of the so-called centrists.
Labour is the only party with a practical plan that does well for everyone – frictionless Trade, tariff free access, no hard borders, a protected Good Friday agreement and control over immigration – and a leader who is working on behalf of all the UK’s people.
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