Labour and Tory ‘centrists’ have again showcased their massive talent for unwitting self-mockery – and a large dose of the incompetence the red variety has shown in various anti-Corbyn coup attempts – by leading themselves down a second-referendum blind alley then performing an ungainly and slightly panicked u-turn.
And then throwing a huge tantrum, yelling “it’s not fair” and blaming it all on that naughty Jeremy.
A group of MPs from the ‘more of the same’ camp had hoped to twist Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn’s arm to back a second referendum by putting forward an amendment to Theresa May’s latest clone of her dire Brexit deal – and had confidently proclaimed that ‘over a hundred’ Labour MPs would back a new referendum. But only 71 signed a letter of support for a so-called “people’s vote” (PV).
The amendment would have forced a vote in in the House of Commons on a new referendum.
Of course, most of the same MPs publicly declared they would not support Jeremy Corbyn’s amendment to, well, allow time for MPs to vote on whether they wanted a new referendum – so it’s safe to say the little ‘centrist’ group wasn’t too worried about consistent messaging.
But it seems the shortfall in support among Labour MPs was a wake-up call, as the intrepid band has now boldly announced that it will not, after all, be tabling its own ‘second referendum’ motion.
Because there’s little support for it.
Dad’s Army and Keystone Cops eat your heart out.
Of course, ‘centrists’ being ‘centrists’, there was no admission they had miscalculated; no conceding that their idea might need work; no recognition that they’ve demonstrated yet again the inability to organise a knees-up in a brewery.
Of course not. Instead – oh the shock and horror – it’s all Jeremy Corbyn’s fault.
Tory Sarah Wollaston said, “We could have the numbers if we had the unequivocal backing of Jeremy Corbyn and the Labour leadership.” Perhaps, but if my uncle was a woman she’d be my aunt.
Others in the group demanded that Jeremy Corbyn back their failed idea, as if Labour only has a duty to those who want to annul the 2016 result and not to all the people, leavers and remainers alike, insisting that Corbyn ‘must do the right thing‘ and give his ‘unequivocal backing‘ to a new referendum.
Wavertree MP Luciana Berger proclaimed that ‘Labour should be championing a People’s Vote‘ – a matter on which a majority of voters and, we now know, of MPs would disagree. In fact, even a pro-PV group was forced – by a leak – to admit that a new referendum would damage Labour electorally.
But of course, the demand for a PV has never really been about democracy – and it has most certainly never been about getting Labour into government, even among the notionally red members of the ‘more of the same’ group, even though being in the EU hasn’t prevented millions suffering under the last almost nine years of Tory government.
No, Jeremy Corbyn’s handling of the Brexit issue has been consistently sound and consistently in line with his responsibilities to ‘the many’ – and his refusal to march to the self-absorbed, one-note and ultimately incompetent tune of the ‘gang of bore‘ is just another demonstration of it.
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