Farage event in Sedgefield made clear to media extent of Brexit anger – yet reviews now are discounting evidence
Shameless spin by media types and Establishment media has focused on the north-east constituency of Sedgefield – Tony Blair’s old seat, lost 11 days ago by Labour right-winger Phil Wilson – as an exemplar of the supposed unpopularity of Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn and the party’s policies.
Wilson – who turned a 2017 majority of around 6,000 into a 2019 defeat of around 4,500 – tried to blame Ian Lavery and the party’s leadership for his loss and Labour’s overall performance:
Yet only three months earlier, the Guardian’s North of England editor Helen Pidd attended a Brexit party event in Sedgefield – and reported on the extreme manifestations of Brexit-driven anger against Wilson’s predecessor and his anti-Brexit comments:
Centrists are currently pushing the nonsense that Labour’s new leader needs to be more like Blair in order to win back working-class communities. But the anger toward the former Labour PM – who used to win the seat by 20,000 votes or more – was intense.
And that anger was not only directed toward Tony Blair. Then-MP for Sedgefield Phil Wilson was loudly booed for his disdain – as painted by Farage – for the leave votes of his constituents. Similarly, Emily Thornberry’s name triggered loud anger for saying she would campaign for remain against the Brexit deal Labour hoped to negotiate in government:
The claims by centrists that the election result was not about Brexit – or even worse that Labour would have done better in their leave-voting former strongholds if they had been more ‘remainy’ – simply do not stand up.
Instead, by their contempt for working-class leave voters they put Farage and Johnson where they should never be – in a position to pretend they were standing up for democracy.
MPs – and ex-MPs – who spent two and a half years demanding that Labour abandon its 2017 commitment to carry out the referendum result have nothing to teach those MPs and party activists who warned constantly what that abandonment would cause. They owe us their silence.
Except for apologising, that is – but there is precious little sign of that.
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