“People’s vote” blunderers have handed May a gaping get-out

The centrist MPs obsessing about a further referendum arrogantly call their plan a “people’s vote” – apparently, no people voted in the first Brexit referendum.

But rather than empowering the people – or even the section that voted remain in 2016 – they have managed to hand Theresa May an escape hatch from the consequences of her own incompetence.

The  Political Parties, Elections and Referendums Act 2000 (PPERA) lays out, among other things, the way in which any new referendum would be structured or called – and it puts all the cards in Theresa May’s grasping hand, because she and her party would decide the wording.

PPERA makes it perfectly clear that any referendum requires an Act of Parliament to bring it – and that the government specifies the wording of the question:

The government has to give the wording to the Electoral Commission – but the only power the Commission has is to decide whether the question is ‘intelligible’.

As long as the question is intelligible, it passes.

The Blairites and others pushing for a new referendum, for whatever agenda, have handed May a way out of the cleft stick her own incompetence and the Tories’ untrustworthiness have put her in:

  • a new referendum buys her time as it takes minimum 3 months to hold
  • she controls wording of question
  • she would control timing
  • she can exclude other options
  • she can legally spend millions of pounds of public money selling her deal to voters

And as May controls the question, if she calls a new referendum it will offer voters the choice between the terms of her dismal deal – or leaving with no deal at all. ‘Remain’ will certainly not feature.

SKWAWKBOX comment:

The “people’s vote” has handed May the unthinkable – a ‘get out of jail’ card from the mess she has made. The only question is the precise blend of idiocy, naivety and the desperate desire to undermine Jeremy Corbyn at any costs that has motivated them to do it.

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73 responses to ““People’s vote” blunderers have handed May a gaping get-out

  1. EXCELLENT new book by Costas Lapavitsas, “The Left Case Against the EU” (Polity, 2018).

    As he rightly says, “[the Left’s] attachment to the EU as progressive prevents the Left from being radical and indeed integrates it into the neoliberal structures of European capitalism. The Left has become increasingly cut off from its historic constituency, the workers and the poor of Europe, who have naturally sought a political voice elsewhere. The result has been politically catastrophic, especially for the social democrats, who are rightly perceived as the staunch defenders of the status quo. Inevitably the vacuum is filled by some of the worst forces in European history, including the extreme right.” (pp.129-130)

    Poland, Hungary, Italy, and official oppositions in Germany, France and in many other Member States …is he wrong? We will soon have more fascist governments in Europe than in 1939 courtesy of this fascism-fostering neoliberal regime the EU, beloved of the Blairite backers of the second referendum.

    • As a Delegate to this year’s Liverpool Labour Conference, cynical about our UK Left as I am, I was still utterly gobsmacked by the total lack of any socialist analysis of any even minimalist sort, even a basic Bennite one, of the EU at all in the many, many, vacuous Delegate contributions to the “debate” (empty pro-EU love fest more like) on Brexit. We were VERY lucky the left liberals who apparently make up a sizeable portion of this year’s Delegates didn’t get Labour to adopt a straightforward, “Referendum NOW – we support remaining” position – by the fudge of the actual composited motion. Seeing the , quite evidently universally middle-class Delegate speakers , wallowing in their unlimited virtue signalling of their enthusiasm for every single person on the planet to come and live in the UK, never mind the continuance of unlimited EU freedom of movement, that key underminer of working class bargaining power, with no apparent awareness that the key difference between unbridled capitalism and even moderate social democratic socialism, ie, the ability of a national government to introduce state-led PLANNING of its economy labour supply, capital movements , and sectoral and regional priorities – and I was more aware than ever of the profound ideological weakness of our “Corbyn Left Surge” Labour Party.

      As you say, Danny, the fascists and Poujadists and radical populist Right, have no such sentimentality about the bogus idea of the EU as a bastion of human rights and all good democratic things. If we on the UK Left blow our freak opportunity presented by “Corbynism” , and fall into the trap of backing “Remain” – masses of working class people , ever more crushed by neoliberalism, and particularly the consequences on the job market of unlimited labour supply, will shift allegiance to a neo-fascist “Strasserite” Right, posing as the defenders of the (white) working class , against both the superrich elite, their political stooges AND the hopelessly middle class, identity politics obsessed Left. So far, we on the “Left” (mostly actually Left Liberals with no socialist politics whatsoever) are indeed on the cusp of handing the political initiative to the radical Far Right – as social democracy has already done across Europe – with the possible exception so far of Portugal and Spain (Syriza’s collaboration with the Troika in Greece will yet bear a terrible price too).

  2. I’m probably not the first to post here, but do I detect a conspicuous silence from you ardent people’s voters? Chance would be a fine thing!

    • Not silence, Paulo – conspicuous or otherwise. Just a yawning tedium at the lack of a convincing and non-contradictory opposing argument when the result might not suit.

      The giveaway is the use of the terms ‘Blairite’ and ‘Centrist’ as a means of ducking the argument – a mirror image of the MSM’s use of the term ‘hard left’ for what doesn’t suit their predilections.

      • I empathise with you, it does get more than a little tedious. The Brexiteers are full of assertions but more than a little light on evidence. Whenever their ‘assertions’ are challenged with evidence they don’t contest it but instead either respond with another selection of unsubstantiated ‘assertions; or more likely just ignore it. Then low and behold up they pop a few hours later spouting the same ‘assertions’ that they already know have been disproved

        It is not unlike the Conservatives refusing to take part in any vote that they know they can’t win and then trying to ignore the result whilst perversely implying it doesn’t count because they haven’t acknowledged it by voting

      • “Just a yawning tedium at the lack of a convincing and non-contradictory opposing argument ”
        “The Brexiteers are full of assertions but more than a little light on evidence. Whenever their ‘assertions’ are challenged with evidence they don’t contest it but instead either respond with another selection of unsubstantiated ‘assertions; or more likely just ignore it. ”

        Oh eff off and troll somewhere else the pair of you. You’ve never answered a single question about the EU, the instability of the Euro, federalism, fixed budgets, The Masstricht Treaty, Lisbon Treaty etc, competition law or any neoliberal bullshit foisted on member states without a vote. I don’t believe for a minute that either of you support Labour, your’re a couple of Liberals blowing hot air out of your posteriors. And that hot air consists of “Leave lied”, “they cheated”, “less than a third voted for it”, “the red bus” and other neoliberal “Best for Britain” corporate bollocks that no one is the least interested in. I wouldn’t mind betting the pair of you are posting from retirement cottages in the Dordogne or on the Costas.

      • lundiel 16/12/2018 at 9:36 pm • •

        “Oh eff off and troll somewhere else the pair of you. You’ve never answered a single question about the EU”

        The expletives don’t add much to the veracity of your arguments. As for the main substance of my quote. If that is the case then please accept my apologies and my assurances that I will do what I can to rectify the situation.
        As I’m obviously not aware of the questions you are referring to could you please copy and paste the UserID and Time stamp at the head of each of the comments you are referring to where you have asked me a question which I have failed to answer it. (for an example see the head of this comment). I will then deal with them as soon as I can.

        “And that hot air consists of “Leave lied”, “they cheated”, “less than a third voted for it”, “the red bus” and other neoliberal “Best for Britain” corporate bollocks that no one is the least interested in”

        I really don’t think that is a fair or balanced summation of my posts, but having said that, it is undeniable that your list of Brexit wrongdoings are are all true so I’m puzzled as to why you feel listing them enhances your argument.

        “I wouldn’t mind betting the pair of you are posting from retirement cottages in the Dordogne or on the Costas.”

        If only, yesterday was more than a bit cold and bleak up here in ‘sunny’ Yorkshire. I am however a little surprised that you seem to regard this as some sort of insult. There are 100s of thousands of working class Labour voters who have chosen to spend their final years living in the EU where they can enjoy the benefits of their lifelong labour in a warmer climate with a more relaxed lifestyle. Is there a reason why they shouldn’t do this? All being well I intend to retire to a warmer climate myself and I really don’t see any reason why I should feel guilty for doing so.

    • Talking of which, there seems to have been a conspicuous silence from The Toffee lately.

      How long has it been now? Hope the reason’s nothing bad…

      • I just did a quick check. You’re right, it’s nearly 2 weeks since I last came across a comment from him but of course he may have made comments on later threads where I haven’t commented. Maybe your comment will prompt a reappearance.

      • On a completely different subject I have just been watching an old episode of Question Time from March 1997 which includes Ted Heath & Tony Benn. It was shown at 18:00 16/12/18 on BBC Parliament Channel. I would strongly recommend everyone to watch it.

        Some of the topics are highly relevant to today.
        eg – the EU, referendums, and privatisation.

  3. But surely if that was the case The Bill would be amended as it passed through both Houses of Parliament. It would be difficult to argue that the majority of MPs don’t support remaining in the EU.

    Also as the majority of both Labour Party members and voters support a People’s Vote could you please explain why having one would undermine Jeremy Corbyn.

    • Stop asking difficult questions, Steve! Some still have to grasp that Jeremy Corbyn isn’t the Messiah, despite the initials. He’s just a flesh and blood politician (and has been a bit of a naughty boy by conventional parliamentary standards), even if many of us agree with the majority of his views.

      … but Brexit is the one area of not very clever judgment or papal infallibility.

      In hard electoral terms, the lack of a distinct pro-Remain policy and pretending to an illusory ‘cakeism’ is more of an electoral negative than would be compensated for by chasing UKIP voters. I didn’t oppose Blair to end up on the wrong side of the future.

      • You need to face up to reality instead of engaging in fantasy politics.

        17.4 million voted leave. Any party which refuses to respect that democratic result will be wiped out.

        People like you are just a useful idiot for the Tories.

        You are either just not very intelligent or you are intentionally sabotaging the electability of the Labour Party.

        Which is it?

      • Internal Affairs.16/12/2018 at 3:21 pm

        You need to face up to reality instead of engaging in fantasy politics.
        People like you are just a useful idiot for the Tories.
        You are either just not very intelligent or you are intentionally sabotaging the electability of the Labour Party?

        We await your answer with interest.

      • The refendum was a Tory solution to a Tory problem. Tory europhiles & Tory europhobes are tearing their party apart and happy to take the country with it. Only another People’s vote will solve this. Whether it’s May’s Brexit or remain, I’ll accept the result. No-one who voted leave had the first idea of what they were voting for. Democracy demands regular elections to check what the country wants and this is no different. Give votes to all those 16+ and hope that many leavers are past voting.

      • David Cannon 16/12/2018 at 4:05 pm · ·

        In general I agree with you, although in the interests of fairness and the country’s unity I would also include the idiots option as well.

        My comment was intended to simply highlight the mendacity of the ‘question’ which Internal Affairs had posted directly above mine.

      • In my book, the ‘idiot’s option’ is May’s deal but, if the country vote yes to it, I will accept their verdict!
        By the way, the Conservative & Unionist Party may well provoke the end of the union. Scots people voted to remain and are fed up to the back teeth being ruled by Westminster Tories. N. Ireland also voted remain and the solution to the border is staring them in the face; a united Ireland! End of!!!

      • David Cannon 16/12/2018 at 4:34 pm
        “By the way, the Conservative & Unionist Party may well provoke the end of the union”

        I’ve yet to hear any Brexiteer explain how Labour will win a GE if Scotland goes independent.

      • My point is that it’s Tory austerity that’s driving Scottish independence.

      • A more fundamental problem than UKIP is the drip, drip, drip over decades of our, so called ‘free press’ owned by tax-haven based billionaires blaming everything from migrants to the EU for all the problems caused by Tory austerity. Corbyn has indicated he wants to fix the corporate media too….

      • Now you listen ‘ere… ‘e’s NOT a very naughty boy, ‘e IS the Messiah.
        Now BUGGER OFF.

      • “Now you listen ‘ere… ‘e’s NOT a very naughty boy, ‘e IS the Messiah.
        Now BUGGER OFF.”

        A beautiful encapsulation of the pseudo-left wanker Party.

        Now … about the visit to Planet Earth 🙂

  4. May’s deal or no deal? Give me no deal every time but fat chance of that option being accepted, we’ve had 24/7 black propaganda against that option for two and a half years, along with pro remain marketing from a campaign with unlimited funds. Apart from the Express which no one reads, the media has been swamping us with dire predications, threats from foreign corporate bosses and smothering real news stories from the EU. France is in the shit with a fixed budget, 2 trillion of debt at 120% of GDP and no way out except savage austerity. Le Pen is more popular than ever and Macron hasn’t got a clue, yet we here about riots because of diesel price rises. Then you have fascist Ukraine, the supposed bulwark against Russia we are supposed to embrace. If we had free independent journalism we could safely have another referendum, as it is…no chance.

  5. Does anything else prevent the Left from “being radical?”
    How about the fact that capitalism’s been believed around the world for centuries to be the natural order of things?
    How about the fact the right own the MSM?
    Or that the Left are in power almost nowhere and that wherever they do win an election the US and its allies dogpile them 24/7, sanction their people into starvation, use “black ops” against their economies and finance their right wing enemies to disrupt and destabilise their societies?

    Two minutes after the finance sector was deregulated free market neoliberalism became the only game in town.
    Even if Brown hadn’t been besotted by what he thought was his own financial acumen there was nothing he could have done by that time to stop something that was making immense fortunes for the already rich.
    They were already masters of the universe before the Big Bang – the new wealth just reinforced their belief (and everybody else’s) in the inherent rightness of rule by the rich.

    Fucking sick of people saying that the Left isn’t doing enough.

    • “Two minutes after the finance sector was deregulated free market neoliberalism became the only game in town.”

      And – uncomfortable fact – the equivalent of many of the ‘Leave’ voters were those who helped it to happen by voting Tory.

    • Even if Brown hadn’t been besotted by what he thought was his own financial acumen

      Yeah, like selling off all our gold at the bottom of the market!

  6. I’m afraid there are a small bunch of ‘left’ Leave voters who are living in the past and with their constant harping on about wanting to protect the rest of the Leave voters, whilst in reality protecting their own prejudices, they are severely damaging our chances of getting Jeremy Corbyn into no.10.

    • Jack T,

      Its a funny old world, but many of the arguments coming from the Left-of-Centre against a People’s Vote are actually coming from those who voted Remain in 2016.

      Being an actual supporter of actual democracy, and democratic outcomes, and in an honest effort to counter the FBPE Brigade, whom seem quite active here, may I suggest that instead of relying on unreliable Polls, or pulling figures out of fresh air, that it may be an idea to get CLPs to motion calls to our NEC to actually Poll all members and affiliates on their views about this so called ‘People’s Vote’, and, once this is announced, we can at least have reliable empirical evidence on our side, rather than guestimates.

      As it stands, approx one third of Labour Party members and supporters voted Leave in 2016, with many of these votes coming from our heartland’s that have been wrecked by 40 years of neoliberal economic prescriptions, meaning, the split in these regions was higher than 1 in 3, it certainly was in my own constituency.

      So, there we have, actually Poll all Labour members and even I’ll fall into line if a overwhelming majority prefer a People’s Vote in favour of the only vote that counts, namely a General election.

      • Setting a precedent for a referendum of members before the party can act might be thought problematic – and what if that poll is unrepresentative of the electorate at large and persuades the leadership to back a three-legged horse?

      • “So, there we have [it], actually Poll all Labour members and even I’ll fall into line if a overwhelming majority prefer a People’s Vote in favour of the only vote that counts, namely a General election.

        First of all I would support your idea of a OMOV poll of Labour Party members but I feel you are, perhaps unintentionally, offering a false choice. It is not an either/or situation they are in reality separate issues.. Of course, I, like the overwhelming majority of Labour Party members would prefer a GE but achieving one is a long way from being a done deal.

        I believe that the PV stands as an issue in it’s own right. In the unlikely event that we do manage to secure a GE and presuming we won I would like to see a Labour Government either suspend or cancel A-50. renegotiate with the EU and then have a PV on whether to Remain, Leave on Labour’s newly negotiated deal or stay in the EU. The vote should be carried out using STV because it is easy to understand, it is by design inclusive and tends to produce a conclusive result.

      • @SteveH,

        Let it not be said that this bod does not accept that Brexit is complex, let me also put hands in the air and instruct I’m Lexit, although Brexit itself is not my primary concern as it does not poise an existential threat to the British Isles, the destruction of our environment and climate change does though, as well as a Tory continuation of governance, which is why I’m no Brextremist.

        Given many Labour heartland’s voted to Brexit, I’m not sure reversing their vote of 2016 is strategically a good idea, that is if we desire a majority Labour Government – not being one for unicorns, I think what’s on the table from the EU is final and any further negotiation barking into the wind – it was always going to be a take it or leave it proposition given the UKs weak negotiating position and Yanis Varoufakis has instructed as much, so its good he advises Corbyn.

        On a positive note, given the complexity of Brexit and the fact a new arrangement may take a decade to negotiate, a postponement of A50 from a Corbyn-led Parliament would appease me, and probably others, allowing JC to actually build EU alliances with sister parties on the Left in order to try and effect real change at an EU Institutional level – there really is not a great deal between Lexit and Diem25 given the amount of cross-over.

        Again though, we’d need JC in power to effect this.

        My fear of a People’s Vote is that it will disenfranchise Leave voters, who, whilst opposed to May’s deal, still want out, and are hardly going to change their minds if Brexit with WTO terms is not on any ballot (they won’t vote) – that the People’s Vote fail to instruct what will be on a ballot – is it a binary vote again – alarms me, so for those accusing Corbyn of a lack of clarity, the same applies to the People’s Vote, which seems to me an effort to overturn the 2016 vote, rather than an exercise in real democracy – so, please instruct what’s on the Ballot, which thus far has not been detailed, as this article makes clear.

  7. If Parliament rejects May’s deal, rejects a series of aleternative options (no deal, Norway, Canada etc) and finally has a free vote to have a people’s vote, they could define the wording & timing; May’s leave deal or remain. May would have to accept or risk being in even further contempt. A free vote would free Corbyn of cricism from Labour leavers. Done & dusted!

    • That’s a possibility.

      What is forgotten by most ‘Lexit’ dreamers is that it is the right-wing Tory swivel eyes and the DUP that have actually been making May’s life uncomfortable – not any subtle strategy of the official opposition.

      So much for cunning plots – they just give you a sore arse in the end.

  8. Wouldn’t an attempt by May to exclude the remain option in Ref2 be guaranteed to alienate half the electorate or more?
    It seems to be a fact that demographic changes – and possibly buyer’s remorse – favour remain.
    Would she be so stupid as to risk the worst electoral kicking since ’97 in the next GE by denying remainers a vote?

    • The refendum was a Tory solution to a Tory problem. Tory europhiles & Tory europhobes are tearing their party apart and happy to take the country with it. Only another People’s vote will solve this. Whether it’s May’s Brexit or remain, I’ll accept the result. No-one who voted leave had the first idea of what they were voting for. Democracy demands regular elections to check what the country wants and this is no different. Give votes to all those 16+ and hope that many leavers are past voting.

      • David Cannon, my post at 4:01 was querying this assessment in Skwawkbox’s article:

        “And as May controls the question, if she calls a new referendum it will offer voters the choice between the terms of her dismal deal – or leaving with no deal at all. ‘Remain’ will certainly not feature.”

        I should have made that clear. Maybe if she did attempt to deny remainers a vote that might be the time for a motion of No Confidence in the Government.

      • I disagree with only one point, namely that :

        “No-one who voted leave had the first idea of what they were voting for”

        The right-wing friends of hedge funds certainly did – and conned others into support. As for the others – it’s plain that a lot didn’t – you only have to listen to a selection of vox pops to know that.

        Which is all the more reason for using another vote (not a straightforward option, but perhaps the only one) to allow a wider (hopefully) and more informed electorate to have their say after proper consideration after falling into the Tory trap the first time round.

        Of course, the True BLeavers are shit scared of a more informed electorate! Thus all the dishonest (or, at best, self-deceiving) wriggling about ‘betrayal!’ and ‘democracy!’

        From a strategic point of view, it is crystal clear that Labour is simply not cutting through on the basis of its current approach in this time of total Tory disarray. It’s really not rocket science to grasp that hard fact – and just whining about the contrary forces isn’t going to change that.

      • Of course, you’re right; some people knew exactly why they wanted the UK to leave. Including to reduce environmental, food and employment standards…

      • ‘If voting could change anything, they would make it illegal’ QED? They will just ignore the result (again)! “Watch my lips (I’m a politician), Brexit means Brexit! or……….something. Let me see, how will I word this Bourgeois Loser’s Vote number 3 (or is it 4?) I won’t make the same mistake as David Cameron by spending over 10 million pounds on a Loser’s postal shot, I’ll spend much more & take it out the NHS budget. People who voted Leave don’t count, so we won’t include them in our new Referendum, which we can have every year to include this year’s 16 year olds & then next year to include next year’s 16 year olds & then next………..”

      • Let’s never have an election again. The people have chosen a hung parliament! Amen!!! NOT!!!!!

    • Finally, and preferably after the electorate realise the Tories are a busted flush and Corbyn wins the next GE, demand the EU improve its democracy. A Europe of the regions free of austerity as demanded by democrats across the continent from Scotland to Catalonia.

  9. Christopher Rogers. Yes, being a democratic I could hardly object. I would suggest that many of those constituencies which were most deprived and voted Leave were targeted by UKIP with their lies, half truths and emotional nonsense over ‘harmful immigration’ etc. Now that they can see there will be many jobs lost in those constituencies if Brexit goes ahead, l suspect the result of another vote would be different.

    • Do you really believe that? Do you really believe that the poor & downtrodden are also ignorant, racist & unable to comprehend facts? Do you really believe the bourgeoisie are so superior because the working class can only address any complex concept at an emotional level? Is that why you can read the Guardian, or any broadsheet & they can only look at pictures in the ‘red tops’? I suspect we are not quite as dumb as you think!

      • Steve, it’s not what I believe which counts, however Arron Banks the guy who bankrolled UKIP does believe it.

        He agreed he didn’t need facts to convince the gullible he just used emotions – After all, it’s the way he sells insurance.

    • Jack T,

      I really do love Totalitarian Centrists and those spreading the myth that in working class areas my peers are so pig ignorant they had zero idea of what they were voting for in 2016 – actually, it was a binary vote and many knew what they were voting for, with or without UKIP’s malign influence.

      Luckily hailing from South Wales we have a bit more actual empirical evidence at our disposal to gauge voter concerns, thus, on top of regular local, national and EU elections, we have the Welsh Assembly elections – indeed as far as data sets go, it was heaven, we had them for nearly every year for five years given two GE’s in the space of two years.

      Instead of making off the cuff remarks, go check voting patterns and then come back and discuss.

      Now, this bod, far from allowing UKIP to poison his mind, has actually followed attentively events at a EU level since the origin of the GFC in 2007, what I witnessed I did not like. Still, even that did not influence my eventual vote, instead, taking zero notice of either the Remain or Leave campaigns I took readings from heterodox economists and specialists in political economy, one of whom happened to be Harold Wilson’s chief EEC negotiator and a former Labour MP.

      Still, me and my working class peers from South Wales are pig ignorant and have no idea what we voted for!

      Just waiting for the racist canard to make it a hat-trick Jack?

      Oh, and when folks vote Tory and Lib Dem, as in 2010, did they know what they were voting for – the arrogance!

      • Christopher Rogers. The fact you think I’m a ‘centrist’ means you haven’t a clue.

        Even though you and others have taken it upon themselves to speak for others I accept not ALL your fellow brexiters are gullible and under informed.

      • @Jack T,

        Given I’ve had my vote, actually two, I voted Lexit in 2016 and Labour in 2017, who’s Manifesto clearly indicated Labour would honour the 2016 result, I’m really at a loss as to where exactly you are coming from, particularly given the People’s Vote lark is a Blairite front, or am I missing something?

        Anyhow, it does help to actually qualify votes over a duration of time and understand a majority of Labour Constituencies actually elected to Leave.

        Don’t know about you mate, but I want a Corbyn government, so a People’s Vote, which ever way I swing it, does not cut it I’m afraid. Mind U, I’m only one of the 17 million plus who voted to exit the EU, but your People’s Vote don’t fly in the Pubs I knock around in, most of which are very much working class and in the majority, my peers vote Labour.

      • When I see phrases like “Totalitarian Centrists” and ” the People’s Vote lark is a Blairite front”, I know I’m reading simplistic bullshit, where the terms ‘working class’ and ‘middle class’ is used simply as totem rather than having any real function as descriptions.

        To get back to the facts :

        (1) It’s obvious from the evidence that a large number of people had no idea of what they were voting for and what the implications were. Not arrogant – just a statement of the bleedin’ obvious.

        (2) The idea that a class label, or the fact of relative poverty, imbues someone – or a class – with automatic penetrating insight is nonsense. The ‘working class’ description is no more a guarantee of wisdom than the description ‘Old Etonian member of the ruling class’, or ‘rich’.

        (3) Dismissing 2/3rds of Labour supporters with some label such as “middle class liberals”, ‘Blairites’ or some such, is as daft as saying “the working class is thick”. Apart from being daft, and a desperate appeal to knee-jerk ideas of class, it’s electoral suicide.

        …. “As soon as this pub closes – the revolution starts”

        In your dreams.

      • RH,

        I do love when proponents of People’s Votes and perpetual EU membership Referendums strut their stuff, I also like it when said individuals ignore ‘Class’, as if it don’t exist – gosh I must be a Marxist with this class analysis thing, despite class being a key indicator of the UK’s Census via the Register general’s definitions of occupation – so, my area once was a manufacturing centre and one full of primary industries, indeed our politics were influenced by Coal, Rail and Steel, which, as with much of South wales makes it a strong working class area with strong working class values.

        Your snide, middle class remark about revolutions after the pub closes says it all – so for the record I’m teetotal and play crib twice a week when I can, which affords me an opportunity to travel to many other pubs and clubs in what was the County of Monmouthshire.

        Mind you, if you read a little about the Chartist Uprising of 1939 in Newport, specifically what happened to the Eastern valley contingency, you may have a laugh – look up The Greenhouse.

        As stated, and if its indicative of attitudes in other regions of a similar make-up, then its clear support for a People’s Vote or Second Ref don’t fly, indeed, not only have I noticed an hardening of attitudes, but a large number of Remain voters annoyed at Middle Class arrogance are now in the Brexit camp. How strange, alas middle class types and metropolitans don’t want to listen about facts on the ground, instead they prefer Pink Pussy Hat Demo’s in London professing a love for the EU, which really riles a lot of persons up, among them me – disgusted seeing Labour MPs, Tory MPs and Lib Dems having a love-fest together.

        And the Remoaner Brigade wonder why they lost the vote to begin with, namely hubris and a failure to listen and understand the plight of millions not too well disposed to either Brussels or Westminster – we’ll just ignore then seems the order of the day!

      • I am a little confused by your obsession with class – How do you define class, is it dependant on the type of job they do or their income level? For instance is a train driver earning £50k+ more (or less) working class than a teacher on £30k? Surely people’s social attitudes and values are far what matters rather than some arbitrary definition of class.

      • ” I also like it when said individuals ignore ‘Class’, as if it don’t exist ”

        You see what you wish to see. It’s the only way to sustain illusions. Who ignores class? And who – apart from yourself has described any class as ‘pig ignorant’?

        Unsurprisingly, you miss the point entirely, and infuse the scene with assumption piled on assumption.

        The use of the term ‘Totalitarian Centrists’ says it all – a lingo from Planet Zog as a substitute for addressing the concerns of millions of people.

        When you decide to visit Planet Earth, have a look at the situation :

        1. The nation as a whole is entirely split on Brexit.
        2. Brexit was a program from the extreme right, backed by money from neoliberals such as the Koch brothers in the US.
        2. The vote for Brexit was actually a minority vote.
        3. The Brexit margin depended on older people and those with lower qualifications.
        4. Labour party supporters were 2/3rds against Brexit.
        5. The Labour Party has, up to date, failed to make sufficient dent in Tory support.
        6. The current LP position in parliament is not making a distinctive impact on the electorate.
        7. Labour needs middle class and working class votes in order to beat the Tories.
        8. After two years, no convincing option has been put forward that improves the current situation of he UK within the EU.

        Next?

      • “The use of the term ‘Totalitarian Centrists’ says it all – a lingo from Planet Zog as a substitute for addressing the concerns of millions of people.”

        It reminded me of Citizen Smith and Wolfy

  10. This sounds like a conspiracy theory from someone who doesn’t want the public to have an informed choice on Brexit. Perhaps if the government did have such influence we wouldn’t be in this damn mess in the first place!

    In the last referendum David Cameron accepted a recommendation by the Electoral Commission to change the wording of the EU referendum question to avoid favouring the pro-EU side.

    https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2015/sep/01/eu-referendum-cameron-urged-to-change-wording-of-preferred-question

  11. A #PeoplesVote is May#s get out of jail free card. If the somewhat stubborn woman has any sense she sill take it. The sooner the better. At present she knows that if it goes ahead and people see sense, she will get so much criticism for the millions and millions of pounds she has poured down the toilet. Note the £39 billion is not a bill it is a debt and if the stupid Brexiteers think it is not necessary to pay they will land the country in court.

  12. Having just read thro most of the , in some cases very passionate, points above , there is at the heart of this debate one simple issue , do we as a party / Country want to be part of a club that is run by a neoliberal organisation calling itself the EU.
    I don’t think anyone or anybody who voted is stupid or enlightened no matter how they voted . But having taken the time to inform myself somewhat more ( various sources Paul Mason, Grace Blakeley , and some extremely good speakers at this years TWT by Momentum to name but a few ) about what the EU actually is and does , then I have come to the conclusion that it is not something in it’s present form that Labour and the UK should be allied to.
    It exists to protect and assure the status quo for large Corps and big business , certainly is not in any way socialist in nature . Note the recent uprising of the Yellow Jackets in France this is in-itself testimony to the continuing malign policies that the EU perpetuates thro the National Govts within it.

    There has to be a change to the EU and this comes from an international alliance of the left in Europe to effect that change to a more socialist regime. One that works for the peoples of Europe and not solely business and Corps.
    A simplistic ” Peoples Vote” remain or leave will achieve only more strife and it is only being called by the Blairites in order to stop a Corbyn Govt.
    Thus if by chance the vote was for remain , then under what rules would we remain , because those present EU rules will kill stone dead any of the socialist polices of Labour , that is the ” system ” keeping the status quo in power . For those who think that the UK would be strong enough to effect any changes to the EU in favour of socialist policies , , need only look at the way it has treated Greece and its people and the brush off it’s given to the Tories with ease .
    What is needed is a untied Europe with strong socialist polices riven through its soul and applied to all the nations in the EU . It cannot happen at present , it requires a united Left assault on its structures and policies to change it . Corby has started that with his recent visit to Lisburn , but jumping back into the EU as it stands via a Peoples Vote , would I fear rip this country even more asunder than it already is.
    This is why I support exactly what Corbyn is doing,, to do otherwise is to ensure yet more years of a Tory Govt.
    Engineer and precipitate a GE , renegotiate as best a possible a deal that protects the people , environment etc etc , In the mean time survive as best outside of the EU ( not a long term option as far as I am concerned ) whilst working with the Internationalists on the Left to generate massive momentum for unstoppable change to the EU Neoliberal model , finally rejoin under the new socialist model dominated EU.
    Sorry for the long complex post but that is Brexit !

    • Rob – “What is needed is a untied Europe with strong socialist polices riven through its soul and applied to all the nations in the EU”

      Agreed but we have to be in it to win it.

      And Chris Rogers, if you’ve got this far down, yes you are missing something!

      • Well Jack T, I’m glad we agree on something, but please, lets not deceive ourselves about a People’s Vote, which actually what I thought all elections were. No doubt Tony Blair’s TM’ed this one.

        So, as a word of caution, if you swim with sharks ensure you’re wearing some kind of chainmail, otherwise you’ll lose an arm and a leg. Lovely bedfellows though, but not my cup of tea I’m afraid.

      • Jack , my last para clarifies the grounds on which we should “be in it to win it ” but being in it on the present basis the UK will simply not be powerful enough to make the necessary changes fo rthe better and will itself be subsumed into the Neo liberal model as the EU is now .
        So to summarise , yes agree be part of Europe at some future point if the International Left with our help is successful in effecting change to it both from within ( existing members ) and externally the UK aiding those within it .

      • Rob @ 6:42, the only ‘power’ we’d have would be the power of argument and persuasion – as always.

        The rich, as always, have the power of money, MSM and the advantage of centuries of learning how to use, abuse and hold on to power.

        We have time, our majority and the inestimable advantages of being on the right side of the argument and the right side of history.

      • “we have to be in it to win it”

        In a nutshell. Those of us who support ‘Remain’ aren’t deluded about the perfection of the EU. But we are, indeed scornful of the notion that a UK floating in mid-Atlantic will be in any position to implement a socialist alternative.

        In actuality, it will be the junior partner in most trading relationships and – in particular – in a client relationship with the USA. Note the allegiances of, and influences on .all those right-wing Tories like Fox who slaver at cutting loose from Europe. Whatever they are, they aren’t socialists.

        Global structures aren’t going to disappear, and the lonely joke of a nation state that the UK has become isn’t going to be in *any* position to dictate a different situation. There might be some possibility in co-operation with the rest of Europe.

        But beyond the economics is the prospect developing of what we see already – the UK as an unserious and deluded laughing stock.

      • Steve, I don’t suggest for one minute that you were influenced by Arron Banks with his emotive arguments pushed out on the back of his £millions but many were.

        I hear people every day spouting his sound bites – bring back control of this that or the other, it was all nonsense. For example, ask many Brexiters “of which laws have we lost control?” and they haven’t a clue. Nor do they realise that Britain was instrumental in formulating the laws which they want to ‘bring back’. But I’m not allowed to call them clueless, that would offend the sensitivities of those who want to harness their votes to push through their Brexit obsession.

    • Accepting the result of the 2016 referendum introduces a number of moral and practical difficulties for any progressive person.

      First of all it endorses the appalling behaviour of the Leave campaigns. This includes stealing data, targeting susceptible individuals with lies, overspending (the Remain campaign stopped when it reached the limit), and laundering money for which the main funder is now under investigation. These, were also orchestrated by those with close links to the Trump campaign team and other right wing parties. It’s difficult to find a group more corrupt and less socialist in outlook. What sort of message does this send to future referenda and elections, if they get away with this, we risk going to the extreme of stuffing ballot boxes next time.

      Secondly, leaving the protections of the EU with no deal provides opportunities for the far right to eliminate social protections. Priti Patel was caught out bragging about this. In contrast, EU rules barely restrict Labour party policy at all. Brexit was engineered by the right and mainly opposed by the left for good reasons.

      Thirdly, no-one was fully informed about the consequences of Brexit as much as now, so it’s not just the stupid who were conned by this. The ‘people’s vote’ will be the first informed vote on the EU since 1975 which won overwhelmingly.

      Lastly, it will soon cease to become the will of the people, because demographic changes mean that a majority will soon support Remain, even without any change of view which there is To put it bluntly, the leave vote is relying on excluding the views of the young and including the views of deceased to gain a small majority!

      • Accepting the result of the 2016 Referendum begs questions for ‘Progressive’ people? Is that someone who reads the Guardian? Aaron Banks is just a peripheral Tory/UKIP business entrepeneur. Insignificanct & irrelevant (according to Jack T) & compared to the publicly funded mail shot into every home by David Cameron, besides you can depend on MSM, especially the ‘Progressive’ PSB such as BBC & Channel 4 to continue their 30 month ‘Project Fear’ Campaign. There was no organised ‘Lexit Leave Campaign’, only those representing the reactionary right.
        Leaving the protections of the EU? The Troika; Macron et al? Help protect us against the Blairite/Brown Labour Party who did nothing for 13 years to repeal Thatcherite abominations of TU & Workers’ Rights. The same Blair/Brown who advocate Remain.
        Don’t worry, the elites won’t allow GB to leave the ‘Hotel California’. MSM saturation will ensure that the shock that Cameron endured will not be repeated. The plebs will take instruction & be shown the error of their ways, besides, the working class die at a younger age.

      • The referendum was a Tory solution to a Tory problem and Tory europhiles & Tory europhobes seem determined to tear their party apart and happy to take our country with it. Only another People’s vote will solve this. Whether it’s May’s Brexit or remain, I’ll accept the result. No-one who voted leave had the first idea of what they were voting for. Democracy demands regular elections to check what the country wants and this is no different. Give votes to all those 16+ and hope that many leavers are past voting.

        If Parliament rejects May’s deal, then rejects a series of alternative options (no deal, Norway, Canada etc) using ‘indicative votes’ and finally uses a free vote to agree a people’s vote, they could define the wording & timing and agree votes for 16+; May’s leave deal or remain. May would have to accept or risk being in even further contempt. A free vote would free Corbyn of criticism from Labour leavers. Done & dusted!

        After the electorate realise the Tories are a busted flush and Corbyn wins the next GE, he should demand the EU improve its democracy. A Europe of the regions free of austerity as demanded by democrats across the continent from Scotland to Catalonia.

        By the way, the Conservative & Unionist Party may well provoke the end of the union. Scots people voted to remain and are fed up to the back teeth being ruled by Westminster Tories. N. Ireland also voted remain and the solution to the border is staring them in the face; a united Ireland! End of!!!

        Leavers (just like Trump voters) have legitimate concerns but are distracted by the drip, drip, drip over decades of our, so called, ‘free press’ owned by tax-haven based billionaires. They define patriotism as monarchy & flag rather than as investment in all our people. and blame all the problems caused by Tory austerity on everything from migrants to the EU. Corporate media bias is a much more fundamental problem than UKIP. Corbyn has indicated he wants to fix the corporate media too….

  13. Monday morning 8 o’clock and BBC says that May “doesn’t want Ref2 although she’s being pushed” – paraphrase – suggesting to me there’ve been polls, she’s half-convinced and she’s putting it out there to see the reaction.
    I wonder if she might try a non-binding yes/no postal vote right after xmas on whether a majority want another referendum, say in June – revoking A50 must look attractive at this point if she can get away with it and I don’t think purdah would stop anti-Corbyn propaganda.

  14. Nice to see some debate about the EU rather than the leave campaign for a change.
    If the EU were to change “from within”, every treaty and many laws passed since the Masstricht Treaty would have to be repealed and replaced. Alongside this, the EU would have to dump the Euro or become a federation. Weaker southern nations and new eastern member states would loose most of their rebates, the EU would no longer be expansionary and agricultural policy would cease. All this and more would split the EU. The richer northern European states led by Germany would probably become a federation, the threat of this scenario is what holds the current awful model together. Only when things worsen to a point where any movement is better than no movement will signal change, and it’s likely to come from an external event.

    • lundiel, it’s entirely possible that ‘only when things worsen’ can we get rid of neoliberalism for good – I’ve made the point many times in many different places that the next market crash or vast numbers of AI redundancies will likely be necessary to convince everyone of the big lies of capitalism and trickle-down’s promises to distribute wealth.

      We and the EU left need to have planned for that because we’ll need the weight of the EU to implement socialist policy against enormous pressure from the ubercapitalists in US and possibly DE.

      You seem to recognise that and yet you want to leave because the neolibs are in government in EU – as the Tories are here?
      The Tories here are at least as opposed to socialism as the EU – wouldn’t the logical extension of your arguments be that we should move to Sark and build socialism there – because it would be easier?

    • ” Only when things worsen to a point where any movement is better than no movement will signal change”

      … to what?

      It’s fascinating to hear the coincidence of pseudo ‘left’ and extreme right with the ‘catastrophe’ scenario. I listened to Bannon the other week, and he could have been the voice of either camp. And the Rees-Mogg – Farage plutocrat axis love the idea. It’s a gravy train for the hedge funds.

      Of course the poor and disadvantaged, as always, will get the shit end of the stick while the rich run away with their silver spoons.. And f.all will change except the occupants of the chairs when the music stops.

      But … hey-ho that’s the price of ideological purity.

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