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Phil Syrpis @syrpis
, 16 tweets, 4 min read Read on Twitter
I'm just back from a holiday in Crete. I have been thinking (too much) about @UKLabourparty and #brexit. So here’s a quick thread. 1/n
I have already written about my frustrations with @UKLabourparty. My view is that the Party should come out strongly against Brexit; for principled as well as tactical reasons. 2/n
Principle: Brexit will damage the country. In case we needed reminding, we heard again from Philip Hammond today: . 3/n
The economic impact will, surprise surprise, be heaviest on 'the many'; the poor and disadvantaged. 4/n
Tactics: The case against Brexit needs to be made, and the public (esp the 'cautious Brexit optimists' in the thread below) need time to be persuaded of the case for stopping Brexit. See 5/n
But… Labour has not (yet) come out against Brexit. It has laid out tests which indicate that it will oppose the Govt’s Brexit, but has not laid out its own preferred approach in any detail. 6/n
Why? [I would be very interested to hear of reasons I may have overlooked...] 7/n
1 To respect the result of the referendum/the will of the people. 8/n
This is nonsense. In brief: a) the referendum was tainted by illegality; b) there is/was no majority for *any* concrete form of Brexit let alone a ‘no deal’ Brexit; and, c) in any event, all democracies can change their minds (and should do so if material facts change). 9/n
2 Not to alienate Leave voters. GE 2017 saw Labour pick up votes from Leavers and Remainers. It would, it is said, be electoral folly to alienate the Leavers now. Clearly, there is some force in this argument. 10/n
As explained more fully above, I see the tactical calculus very differently. Were the Party determined to stop Brexit, there would be much to be gained from setting out its position clearly, and moving the Overton window. 11/n
Think how much easier it would be for @UKLabourparty to attack the Govt’s every move; to be able to contrast the benefits of its vision with the chaos the Govt seems prepared to unleash. 12/n
That, I think, leaves us with a third plausible reason; that the leadership, and/or a significant section of the Party, is in favour of Brexit (or at least in favour of allowing it to happen). 13/n
I don’t know what the balance of opinion within the Shadow Cabinet or the Parliamentary party is. Recent polls suggest Labour voters are ever more strongly in favour of Remain. 14/n
Unless the Party makes its position clear very soon, it will continue to lose support among those opposed to Brexit. Jeremy Corbyn, Keir Starmer and others should stay true to their principles. But, they, like the Govt, should level with the public, and do so now. 15/n
My view, fwiw, is that it will be difficult, if not impossible to win a fight to stop Brexit unless the Labour Party plays a leading role in that fight. I don’t (yet) think that the Party is a lost cause. But, time is running out. 16/16
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