Those who called Corbyn too weak to win now say only he can stop Farage by backing referendum. Beware

Rash of articles last few days claiming Corbyn and Labour are the only force that can ‘stop Farage’ – and must back a new referendum to do so. But what’s their motivation – and are they right?

There has been a spate of articles in the media over the last few days that loudly proclaim that, in spite of the slew of centrists pushing themselves forward as candidates, only Jeremy Corbyn can ‘stop Nigel Farage’s Brexit Party’ – and that he and Labour must back a new referendum to do so:

Reality bites

But Labour already has backed a new referendum. Parliament has held four votes on a new referendum:

  • 29th Jan (tabled by Corbyn)
  • 14th Mar (tabled by TIG)
  • 27th Mar (indicative vote #1)
  • 1st Apr (indicative vote #2)

Acting in line with the party’s conference policy, Labour has backed those motions with a three-line whip – the strictest form of party discipline – on three of those occasions.

And on all four occasions, the motions were decisively defeated.

Labour has fulfilled its conference commitment – and saw a seven percent fall in its ‘Westminster voting intention’ share. As informed commentators and Labour insiders have long predicted, backing a new referendum damaged Labour electorally – even as the Tories collapsed further.

Weather vanes

Most of the articles written this week saying only Corbyn can ‘stop Farage’ and telling him what he ‘must’ do to achieve it have something in common – they are written by people who told us equally emphatically not too long ago that Jeremy Corbyn was too weak to win elections or change the UK’s political landscape – and that he must stand aside to do it.

Andrew Grice, for example, wrote this not long after the 2016 referendum result:

Tom Watson, as virtually all SKWAWKBOX readers will be aware, tried to persuade Corbyn to stand down after the referendum and gave a speech six months later about the urgent need for Labour to take on board concerns about freedom of movement – and to recognise the “many gains” offered by Brexit.

Suddenly both, at the same time, are all about Corbyn being the one to stop Farage – and telling him he must do it by backing a new referendum, conveniently forgetting Labour already tried it.

Setting up for a fall

The tactic of talking up Labour’s prospects to make the party look a failure is not exactly new. After the 2017 general election showed that rubbishing Corbyn’s electability was a non-starter, his opponents and the Establishment media set about telling everyone that Labour would and should romp home in the 2018 local elections.

In the end, Labour’s performance was strong and would have made Labour the biggest party in Parliament if replicated in a general election – and the Tories were clinging to any crumb of comfort they could – but the false set-up allowed Establishment commentators to paint Labour’s performance as disappointing. It couldn’t have been more transparent as a first step in trying to lessen the ‘Corbyn surge’ in the public mind.

Something similar is underway now.

SKWAWKBOX comment:

The about-faces on Corbyn’s power and influence are embarrassing to those who wrote off Corbyn when the independent media were predicting correctly that Corbyn’s Labour is a force to be reckoned with.

Those who distrusted the doom-mongering of those right-wing politicians and commentators then were proven absolutely right to do so. Distrusting them again now, when they’re claiming the European Parliament elections are all about Corbyn, is absolutely logical.

Especially when the Establishment is, again, desperate to divert attention from Theresa May’s Brexit incompetence and from the intellectual and political bankruptcy of the so-called ‘centre’.

Corbyn’s job is to change the UK – not just ‘stop Farage’ and leave everything else as the Establishment would like to keep it. And he’s admirably on track to fulfil that function – which is why this threadbare Establishment tactic is getting another airing.

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  1. Labour have already lost those alleged supporters for whom a second referendum was paramount. Their vote is spread between the LibDems and the Greens. They have been loudly proclaiming for 3 years “Where’s Jeramy Corbyn” and their ire was directed solely at him, not at Theresa May.
    If you are a Socialist you will use your vote in the European elections to derail the neoliberal careerists who want us to pay them lots of money to do nothing while attempting to stop us from leaving the EU just so they can continue their parasitism t our expense.

    1. PS I don’t expect the lost votes to to exceed 5% overall, mainly in safe seats. However, Labour don’t need anywhere near a 5% swing to capture the marginals needed a GE.
      Logic, reason and honesty win out over neoliberal Lord Adonis style politics.

    2. Voting anything but Labour, even strategically, gives ammunition to the right, the ‘centre’ and the MSM – all of whom STILL want one thing above all else and that’s the end of Corbyn’s leadership.
      Don’t do it.

  2. So – Labour is afraid of democracy? Not a good look for a progressive agenda – running scared of the extreme right!

    And those parliamentary defeats? Down to Labour supporters of the Tories. But they’re actually beside the point – there is s need to change the weather, and Labour is afraid of getting a bit wet.

    1. BTW, Sqwawkbox, your item – if it were true – is the equivalent of saying ‘Labour is impotent and irrelevant on the major issue of the day – and is ignoring the majority of its erstwhile voters. As said – not a good look.

      1. 1/ The major issue of the day is not Brexit, it is austerity, plummeting living standards (they are falling throughout the EU), the steady corruption of public services under EU rules and the sovereignty that socialism demands.
        2/As to ‘democracy’, the proposal to hold another plebiscite is demagoguery. What will the questions be? Will there be only one question
        “Given that the people who know best and find the EU a very profitable little racket refuse to follow orders and arrange a withdrawal from the institution, do you agree to give up your call to leave?”

      2. bevin at 4:16 pm

        Could you please explain how you have managed to define the push for a second referendum as demagoguery, it just doesn’t seem to fit with my understanding of this word’s meaning. Most people would associate this word with the Brexit campaign.

        To help you out I’ve included the dictionary definition just in case you were mistaken about this word’s meaning.
        political activity or practices that seek support by appealing to the desires and prejudices of ordinary people rather than by using rational argument.

      3. “the proposal to hold another plebiscite is demagoguery.”

        I had a good belly laugh at that bit of twisted illogic, Humpty Dumpty.

      4. No, IA – we’re the Billy Goats gruff trotting over your rickety bridge 🙂

      5. RH,
        You slag off all and sundry when it comes to Brexit and alleged democracy – whatever this is in your own mind. However, given the last Referendum we had on this issue has yet to be honoured, i.e., the UK is still a member of the EU despite a clear majority of the population voting for the UK to exit the EU – shall we just now ignore this outcome, which you evidently don’t like, as some how its now democratic to not honour a democratic outcome.

        Now, once the UK has exited the EU as the electorate voted to do so in June 2016, you can then push for another referendum on the UK’s relationship with the EU, but to do so prior to the last vote being acted upon don’t seem too democratic to me, indeed, it smacks of being highly anti-democratic, particularly the contempt heaped on a majority who actually did not support the UK’s continued membership of a neoliberal body.

      6. Chris – I slag off nobody. But I do ‘slag off’ arguments with massive holes in them and twisted logic (the ‘Humpty Dumpty’ epithet is about that, not personal name calling )

        More importantly, your assertion :

        “the UK is still a member of the EU despite a clear majority of the population voting for the UK to exit the EU”

        … is simply inaccurate. Actually, only 37% of the electorate voted for Brexit – and, by definition, less in terms of the ‘population’.

      7. @Chris Rogers
        “once the UK has exited… you can then [reasonably] push for a referendum”

        And you all swear you won’t bleat about another vote being ‘antidemocratic’ this time?

        OK. I believe you.

    2. You have utilised the biggest strawman argument to back your crass conclusions about second referendums by stating 37% of the UK’s population voted Leave. Lets use actual figures, which are quite clear, of all votes casts, not your imaginary non-voters, Leave garnered 1 million more votes than remain. You now postulate that all those who did not vote, which was their choice, actually were remainers. And you wonder why folks like me just laugh at Remaniacs and call them out for the anti-democrats they actually are.

      A word of advice, no Government in the UK for a long time has had a majority of the UK electorate support it via the ballot box. As such, shall we null and void all legislation coming from all these post 1951 administrations due to the fact none of the legislation enjoyed majoritarian support from our electorate?

      Please keep digging a hole for yourself, but I play by the Rules and expect outcome. I may detest Ms May and the Tories but they are the legitimate UK government under our existing electoral rule – you sound like a whinging Democrat bleating off about Trump stealing the 2016 US Presedential election, which again, love him or hate him, he won fair and square, as the Meuller report clearly details.

      1. Oh dear, Chris. You are so off target :

        ” You now postulate that all those who did not vote, which was their choice, actually were remainers.”

        I’m sure that, on reflection you are perfectly capable of correcting that statement.

        … and I wasn’t postulating anything. Just stating an uncomfortable fact, that anyone with a knowledge of general democratic constitutional practise will recognise as a problem.

        I’ll elaborate if necessary – but there should be no need

  3. Miliband tried just that, to “stop Farage” by
    Trying to look hard on immigration and backing austerity … Look where it took him.

    Cameron did just that, promising the Brexit referendum to “stop Farage”… Look where it took us!

    1. Pre…cise…ly!

      Copping out is never a good look for Labour. Blair shadowed the Tories … and look where it landed us. Corbyn should avoid the same trap.

      ‘Third Way’ or ‘Turd Way’. Same difference – conceding the Tory agenda.

  4. “But Labour already has backed a new referendum. Parliament has held four votes on a new referendum:”

    This all seems more than a little disingenuous

    29th Jan (tabled by Corbyn)
    This was as part of a composite motion so any vote was influenced by the accompanying motion.

    14th Mar (tabled by TIG)
    Labour whipped to abstain on this vote

    27th Mar (indicative vote #1)
    None of the options voted on achieved a majority but it is worth noting that the second referendum came second in popularity amongst all the options voted on.

    1st Apr (indicative vote #2)
    None of the options voted on achieved a majority but it is worth noting that the second referendum came a close second in popularity.

      1. Is it wrong to publish the facts so that people aren’t deceived.

        Why are you Brexiteers always so anxious to suppress the truth?

      2. I voted remain you cretin but am a democratic socialist so I respect the referendum result.

        You don’t respect the result so you cannot call yourself a democrat.

      3. Internal Affairs 22/04/2019 at 5:51 pm · ·
        “I voted remain you cretin but am a democratic socialist so I respect the referendum result.”

        So f ing what, you support Brexit now so surely it is logical to describe you as a Brexiteer. If you are ashamed of being labelled a Brexiteer then surely that’s a sign that rolling over and asking for your tummy to be tickled was a bad move.

        Unfortunately you’ve neglected to answer my question

        Is it wrong to publish the facts so that people aren’t deceived?

  5. I can’t be the only one who is sick to death of uncle Tom Cobley and all telling Jeremy Corbyn what he MUST/ MUST NOT do. Jeremy is doing very well on his own thank you- much better than his opponents – and will lead us to a fairer and more caring society whether within the EU or outside of it. Jeremy Corbyn our next PM

      1. As I said I am sick to death of people telling Jeremy Corbyn what to do – he has no need of this advice – well meaning or otherwise.

      2. The GOD view of political leadership.

        Never a comfortable fitting suit for a socialist!

      3. Chris Rogers:
        “…A word of advice, no Government in the UK for a long time has had a majority of the UK electorate support it via the ballot box. As such, shall we null and void all legislation coming from all these post 1951 administrations due to the fact none of the legislation enjoyed majoritarian support from our electorate?…”

        My apologies if you have already answered the question elsewhere, but do you mind to kindly answer the question? Because this 37% figure you ALWAYS cite is having me confused, I must admit. I have always believed that 52% of those who voted – I assume freely and fairly – voted LEAVE, and 48% voted REMAIN.

  6. The only way to stop the Brexit Party is by respecting the Labour manifesto commitment to accept the referendum result.

    The Brexit Party has been created because leave voters are concerned the largest ballot in British history is going to be overturned by hardline remainers like the trolls who come here pushing people’s vote talking points.

    Remainers who refuse to respect democracy are the parents of the Brexit Party. They are also enabling the rise of the far right in the UK. Tommy Robinson is having a field day. He can say we were right, our democracy is a sham, the remainers and establishment don’t respect democracy.

    People who don’t respect the result are by definition not democrats. They are very sinister individuals who must be defeated. Our democracy and the existence of the Labour Party depend upon it.

    1. All of which neatly ignores the fact that the only way a 2nd referendum can overturn the results of the 2016 advisory referendum is if the people vote for it.

      1. SteveH, the irrefutable logic of that will confuse IA and send him/her into more fits of ‘jogging on’.

      2. I see you are talking to yourself again Lib Dem troll.

        Just how many accounts do you have? You’re a nutter.

      3. You could try answering my point, this fig-leaf of childish distractions you desperately try to deploy are a little on the obvious side.

      4. Its not very challenging though so after a while it gets a bit boring.

      5. Quite shocking that IA appears to heve a very limited vocabulary, either sweary words or a mantra of ‘jog on troll’. Seems to be the answwer to everything. How sad…..

      6. You will have to judge what is best for you and your family, for your children and grandchildren, for our country, for our future. It will be your decision whether to remain in the EU on the basis of the reforms we secure, or whether we leave. Your decision. Nobody else’s. Not politicians’. Not Parliament’s. Not lobby groups’. Not mine. Just you. You, the British people, will decide.

        At that moment, you will hold this country’s destiny in your hands. This is a huge decision for our country, perhaps the biggest we will make in our lifetimes. And it will be the final decision.

        That is a short part of Cameron’s long winded speech at Chatham house.

        In case you missed it

        And it will be the final decision.

        That doesn’t read as advisory, does it…

      7. It is more than a little naive to actually believe what Cameron said. Tory politicians lie, its what they do.

        For myself I’d rather trust in the judgement of the Supreme Court who ruled in Dec 2016 that despite the unprecedented number of petitioners (over 200,000) applying to the High Court to void the result of this referendum because of various acts of proven illegality they couldn’t rule on it because the referendum was clearly advisory and didn’t mandate anyone to act on it, therefore it fell outside the courts remit because it would be a political rather than a legal decision to void it.

      8. What advisory referendum? I know of nobody that participated in such a poll. Regards

      9. alexanderscottish at 10:21 am

        What advisory referendum?

        The one that the Supreme Court ruled that despite the proven illegality that had occurred and over 200,000 applications to the court they couldn’t void it because it was advisory.

        On the subject of the Back-Stop who do you believe Theresa May or the Attorney General

    2. @Internal Affairs
      “Remainers who refuse to respect democracy are the parents of the Brexit Party. They are also enabling the rise of the far right in the UK.”

      Errr… no, that would be UKIP and the ERG, both of whom manipulate the emotional responses of their target audiences rather than appealing to whatever rudimentary powers of reasoning they might possess.
      An adequate definition of demagoguery – since some here found the dictionary definition a little confusing.

  7. I suggest we stop making a show of IA, it’s past his bedtime anyway and he needs to get some rest for school in the morning.

    1. Of course you’re right, but he does bring it on himself. There was a point a couple of days ago when after he’d been chastised by several other commentators to give the insults and attitude a rest he seemed to making a genuine effort to be more pleasant, unfortunately it didn’t last very long.

  8. Let me cast my mind back to the definition & use of the word ‘demagoguery’ & its interesting definition provided by Steve H…..”political activities or practices that seek support by appealing to the desires & prejudices of ordinary people rather than using rational argument”.

    I have struggled to cross reference any source for this definition & I always thought it was simply appealing to the instincts of the mob, however, this definition begs some interesting questions & makes assumptions that I would question.

    Seemingly an elitist, bourgeois definition that has nothing but contempt for us ‘ordinary’ people who can only function @ basic levels in Maslow’s hierarchy. Comrade Jack T would agree that us plebs who voted leave can only function @ a simplistic emotional level as opposed to the clever, intelligent bourgeoisie who voted remain because they alone can make decisions based on rational argument. Such contempt for people
    ….& by the way RH stay off my rickety rackety bridge!

    1. ” ‘ordinary’ people”

      … the use of which phrase is, of course, a marker of the populist demagogue. 🙂

      Banged to rights, Steve.

    2. steve richards 22/04/2019 at 7:57 pm

      I” have struggled to cross reference any source for this definition”

      This statement is a little disingenuous. May I suggest you simply type the word into Google and this definition is the first on the page. You may also notice that the majority of the definitions on the first page have similar wording.

      I hope this helps in your struggle.

  9. The second referendum is a racket by Blairites terrified of a Corbyn government and knowing it will lose us the key Labour-Tory marginals 80% of which voted Leave.

    1. My word, we won’t be able to get Red Hands of the box and even worse Caliban will be forever at his side Burnley FC scarf on display. Regards.

  10. Alison McGovern has written an interesting article on the EU elections.

    “When the European elections happen this May, we don’t know whether we will be electing MEPs for five months or five years. That question will, in the end, have to be settled by Westminster. But these unexpected elections are a chance for Labour to show the public that the choice is not between a hard-right Brexit and the status quo. There is another way. The UK wants change. People are sick of Brexit starving our politics of air. There are absolutely crucial issues for the future of our country that should be on the agenda, which for too long have gone ignored. We get to change that now, and this is how.

  11. I can’t help but feel that (blairite desire to sink Labour aside), this is about the establishment trying to shift the blame of brexit onto Corbyn, or specifically, Corbyns Labour.

    We aren’t hearing all that much about the withdrawal agreement (something penned entirely by the EU). We get the odd empty discussion about the Norway deal, or X/Y deal. There isn’t even anything major on the backstop or customs agreement. What about the three, yes three brexit secretaries?!?!

    It stinks. The only thing I am sure of is that the Tories will continue to run the clock down

  12. I find it telling that those leavers who claim to be the salt of the earth, the workers, the true heart of Labour – see nothing wrong with threatening that if Labour doesn’t do what they demand and “honour the biggest democratic vote ever” they’ll vote for F’tardage or one of the other populist rabblerousers.
    Many remainers didn’t bother to vote because they expected brexit to be massively rejected, optimistically assuming that even a six-year-old would understand what a bullet in the foot it would be.
    Put simply – the “biggest vote ever” was built on the clueless and easily led kipper-fodder with no interest in politics or any news that’s not in the S*n – and they now petulantly insist the fact that they got off their arses for once gives the result the authority of holy scripture.
    Depressingly populations are composed of roughly a third above average, a third average and a third below average intelligence.

    Guess which third boosted the brexit vote.

    1. Re. the S*n reference : It is one of the most notable aspects of the Lexit arguments that those who suspect many things as being part of a conspiracy are quite happy to give a free pass to views lifted wholesale from the Tory propaganda sheets such as the Sun, Mail, Express and Torygraph. In the latter case, as we know, they are views coined to order (and money) by that well known radical, Mr Toad.

  13. Mere semantics Skwawk. Labour has NOT fulfilled its Party commitment. You know as well as I that the push by Starmer and the floor of conference (Members taking Momentum lead, in particular) to commit Labour Policy to back a Referendum if it came to it, was passed against the will of Jeremy who ahs always fudged. It was taken by the leadership as something that they could dodge as and when it came to it. I am afraid Skwawks’ policy on this is blinkered. I have seen comments on here that have swallowed whole complete mythologies on the ‘race to the bottom to eastern European wages’ as well as the belief in some quarters that Jeremy’s policies on renationalisation would not be ‘allowed’ if we remained, due to EU monopoly rules. It is all untrue.

    1. Potterymuseum, you call it fudging.
      I disagree.
      I call it walking Sharp Edge wearing stilts and carrying the rest of us on his back while the Tories, MSM and certain foreign governments take pot shots at him.
      All things considered I think he’s doing a bang-up fucking job.

  14. And who is this Internal Affairs person who calls people ‘cretin’ and ‘nutter’ on this site. He should be barred using such language against anyone let alone Jeremy supporters.

    1. What I found most interesting was that, assuming the method to be sound, the theorised swing to remain based on changes in age distribution and increased information about the ill effects of brexit appeared completely absent.
      The alternative vote scenario providing 52% remain was like a bored god’s idea of a joke.
      As a remainer I wouldn’t find a remain win on that margin acceptable and leavers would justifiably hit the streets if some idiot tried to enforce it.
      “Fieldwork by YouGov” gives some cause for concern, but I don’t think I’d participate in a new referendum if this really is the state of opinion.
      I still believe it’s a mistake though.

  15. Actually, thinking about it some more I’d have liked to see a rerun of the original binary question run alongside this poll for comparison.
    I’m sure there have been “has your vote changed” polls and probably reruns compensating for demographic changes including the new young voters but I don’t remember them well enough.

    1. What strikes me is that this analysis leaves out one massive factor : the shaping of opinion by the sort of febrile politics that we have seen. It’s a dynamic, not a static scenario.

      There is – by all credible measures – a majority for ‘Remain’ now; certainly as large a majority as that held to bean immutable ‘will of the people’.

      The intervening years sine the referendum have seen (a) massive confusion and (b) a massive backing by two major parties of such notions as ‘honouring the referendum result’ (which begs the question ‘Which result?’, given that only a minority voted for Brexit).

      What would the position be if the Labour Party had actually been in clear opposition, and had represented the views of half the nation rather than giving credence to the Tory narrative?

      Of course – and I know you can’t rerun the past – what is indisputably obvious is (a) running a half-baked referendum was a massive mistake and (b) having done it, to have no safeguards as there was in 1976 was absolutely obtuse.

      Whatever – there is no logical way out beyond putting the question back to the public in an intelligent way.

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