Corbyn amendment misrepresented by media but pitch-perfect for voters

All too predictably, the Establishment and centrist-friendly media have ignored what Labour’s amendment to the government’s Brexit motion actually says this morning and instead are presenting it as a Labour ‘pivot’, or at least partial move, toward supporting a new EU referendum.

An example of mainstream fake news about Labour’s amendment

In fact, Labour’s amendment is perfectly clear about what it calls for – and represents an intelligent and perfectly-pitched move to keep Theresa May on the back foot while continuing to represent all the population, unlike any other party leader at the moment.

What it really says

The amendment itself makes clear that it is demanding that the government makes time for any necessary parliamentary procedures to avoid a hard Tory Brexit:

… and instructs the UK Government to secure sufficient time for the UK Parliament to consider and vote on options to prevent the UK leaving the EU without a ratified Withdrawal Agreement and Political Declaration. Those options should include:

i) negotiating changes to the draft Withdrawal Agreement and Political Declaration so as to secure a permanent customs union with the EU, a strong relationship with the single market underpinned by shared institutions and obligations, and dynamic alignment on rights and standards, in order to command a majority in the House of Commons
ii) Legislating to hold a public vote on a deal or a proposition that has commanded the support of the majority of the House of Commons

Labour’s Brexit amendment

Labour’s own announcement of the amendment states clearly that the amendment represents no departure from the policy agreed at last September’s party conference, which has seen Labour leading in most polls and Corbyn the strong – and strengthening – bookmakers’ favourite to be the next PM:

No boxing-in

Labour’s conference policy – and Corbyn’s stance – refuse to allow the party’s opponents, whether centrists or even further right, to paint Labour into a corner for their own political agenda and to the detriment of most people in this country, leavers and remainers alike.

The party is rightly keeping all options open until the outcome of the current process is known – and refusing to give way to its opponents attempts to box it in. This puts the spotlight back on the architects of the current chaos instead of allowing them to divert attention and blame onto Labour – though of course this has not prevented the Establishment media still trying to do it anyway.

The so-called “people’s vote” campaign has depended on being able to claim national support for a new referendum without actually having to demonstrate it. The prospect of a parliamentary vote does not fill its advocates with joy – but Labour’s amendment correctly respects the role of Parliament in any outcome.

Labour’s Melanie Onn, who is no Corbynite – she backed Owen Smith in the 2016 leadership contest – exemplified why many MPs have no appetite for another referendum when she issued a statement listing the many reasons she will not vote for one if a motion comes before the Commons:

Onn highlighted the persistent leave sentiment in her northern ‘Labour heartland’ seat, along with the arrogance and lack of actual planning of “people’s vote” campaigners.

For the many, not a vocal few

She also, rightly, fears the divisiveness of a new referendum – and the fact that a new vote would not be likely to resolve any issues, even if the government against all odds put one forward including a ‘remain’ option.

It seems the people of the UK largely see the situation the same way. In spite of propaganda to the contrary, there does not appear to be any widespread appetite among the electorate for a new vote:

The official Opposition would be foolish, in these circumstances, to ‘pivot’ to a new referendum to please a vocal minority – and it has not done so, in spite of the frantic spin of pro-referendum campaigners and Establishment media eager to misrepresent this latest move.

But at the same time, Labour has kept options open so that it can react to evolving circumstances, rather than blundering into the trap its opponents have been desperately hoping it would.

SKWAWKBOX comment:

Corbyn has managed a remarkable feat that even most of his supporters did not see coming.

By respecting Labour’s conference policy and keeping the pressure on the government – and boxing in opponents whose real aims had little to do with democracy and everything to do with another attempt to damage Labour electorally – Corbyn has maintained Labour’s position as the only party treating all the public and Parliament with respect.

All Labour supporters and voters should welcome that, regardless of their personal feelings about Brexit.

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  1. Can SKWAWKBOX please stop legitimising Neoliberal right-wing Labour MP’s by referring to them as “Centrists” – this is wildly inaccurate and the same term used by the MSM & BBC collective. They are “Fake-Centrists” at best as are the Neolib-Dems. Corbyn supports Investment-Led Growth and a Nordic Style Mixed Economy, which is genuinely Centrist at core and supported by many Centrist Economists. Refer to him as Centre-Left if that is helpful but the Blairite rump are right-wing at best, NOT Centrist ! Thanks!

    1. Skwawky puts the word in quotation marks for precisely the reasons you outline. We all know they are very far from the centre ground and have shown themselves to be illiberal, selfish and arrogant dismissal of democracy.

  2. Labour party call for vote on holding second referendum is the exact wording of the Tory lite Graun .
    Usual Establishment lackey bullshit/lies anything to damage Labour all done under the fig leaf of a cover that they are trying to pretend to be Left leaning , what a croc of shit the Graun has become .

  3. I think that was Owen Smith, Skwawky, not Owen Jones 😉

    … but seriously, I agree totally, I think Labour are spot on in their current approach

  4. Labour can’t win – especially Jeremy Corbyn.

    If Corbyn had crashed his car in the same way Prince Philip did, the media would be baying for Corbyn’s blood .

  5. Great stuff, and a good list from Melanie Onn.

    Might we, to ring the changes, have a piece on the Grieve amendment?

    Its wider implications for the Labour Party and the Labour Left are receiving no attention. The broad thrust of Grieve’s shenanigan is to empower MPs over parliamentary business, normally a government preserve.

    My own view is that the Labour Left’s interests are not well served by this sort of thing. The Labour Left needs a strong Labour government committed to implementing Conference policies. Empowering the overwhelmingly Blairite PLP (untamed by mandatory reselection) against a Corbyn Labour government would, in the present circumstances, be rather disastrous. The Grieve move would therefore create a rotten precedent, and should be opposed.

  6. Stephen bush has surmised a similar theory’
    ‘But for the People’s Vote campaign it is mostly bad news. Why? Because their biggest problem has never been Corbyn: but the substantial minority of Labour MPs who say they would vote against another referendum. Melanie Onn, a junior shadow minister, becomes the 23rd Labour MP by my count to explicitly state that they would vote against a second referendum. Remember that to overcome the government’s majority you need seven more Conservatives to vote against the government than Labour rebels voting for it, which brings the minimum requirement to 30.

    And the reality of course, which is conceded by everyone at Westminster, is that there are many more Labour MPs than those publicly declared who are against a second referendum. The great hope for the People’s Vote campaign is that no other option can secure agreement either and that, in desperation, at the eleventh hour, a second referendum might become the only way out. But for that to happen they need to be the last alternative standing.

    1. Yes, Steven Bush suggested that it was a smart move because (a) the PV would no longer be in a position to complain about the leadership and (b) a vote for a 2nd ref in parliament will fail. I’m not sure that even he anticipated the extent to which it would also begin to expose the PV for what it is.

  7. At least 90 minutes since the OP ws published, and five comments in (six – if mine is posted before anyone else’s)

    …And not a dicky-bird from you-know-who. Maybe they’re too busy gnawing their furniture in frustration 🙂

  8. There are some good practical arguments against holding another referendum – but none of principle that are convincing.

    Given that, the current Labour position makes sense. Pushing to get the absurd Article 50 deadline out of the way is more important. The original decision was a ludicrous desertion of duty by government and parliament.

    For Labour, the on-going problem of dissonance with the grass roots remains – as highlighted by the recent survey from ‘The UK In A Changing Europe’ :

    “Once we go beyond mere salience, the gap between Labour and Tory members becomes the proverbial chasm. Take what they voted in the EU referendum: 83% of Labour members plumped for Remain; 73% of
    Tory members went for Leave. In hindsight, 89% of Labour members thought the country was wrong to vote for Brexit, while 79% of Tories were convinced it got the decision right.

    Not surprisingly perhaps, some 82% of Conservative Party members were opposed to holding another referendum if Mrs May’s deal couldn’t get parliamentary approval, while 79% of Labour members wanted to
    see another vote held.”

    The most common views expressed here are actually more reflective of the Tory Party!

    1. You keep rolling out percentages that weren’t even measured. At best you are accepting guesswork as facts, but given your well documented extremist stance, it is more likely you are purposely repeating remain engineered propaganda.

      1. I think broad-based surveys are a bit more credible evidence than thoughts gleaned from just contemplating your own navel.

        And I’m sorry that you don’t have any counter argument or evidence. But that’s a problem for you to sort. Meanwhile, I take the frustrated shouting as confirmation that a coherent rebuttal doesn’t exist. Thanks for that inadvertant vote of confidence.

  9. Lundiel, what’s good for the goose is good for the gander. Do. The statistics RH quotes make painful reading to you?

    1. Do.The statistics RH quotes make painful reading to you?

      They mean bugger all to most. The result matters not the statistics. There was a football match. Leave vs Remain

      Remain dominated possession 78% -22%

      And had a better pass accuracy rate 86% – 77%

      And had 15 corners against 1

      And had 19 shots on goal – with 13 of them on target

      …But the only statistic that matters is the final score – which remain lost by 52% vs 48%

      (Or 17m vs 16m if you like).

      So you see, the remain goose is well & truly cooked. By the looks of things the sauce they’ve been served appears to leave a bitter taste in remainer’s mouths.

      Too bad the cook’s knocked off, innit?

      1. Calm down. I understand how distressing it is to be found out on a limb and more in tune with the Tory faithful than with the broad Labour membership.

        But even Tory fellow-travellers and Blairites can change.

    2. Err no. They sound like bullshit and they are bullshit. The referendum didn’t include a measure for political affiliation, to accept data from an organisation where anyone can claim to be a Labour member is not legitimate polling, especially when it is financed by the remain campaign… It’s push polling/propaganda.

  10. Why are the Tory remainers backing Yvette cooper amendment ?
    see page 7 Roadmap to a People’s Vote
    ∙ Legislating for a People’s Vote: Parliamentary Options
    ∙ Extending the Article 50 processhttps://d3n8a8pro7vhmx.cloudfront.net/in/pages/16122/attachments/original/1539865431/roadmap_pv_final.pdf?1539865431

    1. “Why are the Tory remainers backing Yvette cooper amendment ?”

      Probably, because, just like John McDonnell, speaking tonight on behalf of the Party, they’re not daft enough to swallow the official Tory line that so many here seem devoted to.

      It’s not rocket science that this extreme right-wing mess can’t be sorted by March. In fact, you’d have to be a member of he erg or a bit dense to think that.

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