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tony nog #FBPE @tony_nog
, 12 tweets, 4 min read Read on Twitter
1) let's speculate - What if Corbyn had whipped his MPs *against* Article 50 instead of for it 18 months ago?

We know the Tories are making a shambles of #brexit, and we know this was widely predicted

Where would Corbyn & Labour be now?

2) this whipping against A50 from Corbyn could have been pitched as "we support the result, but we cannot agree to risking jobs & prosperity. As soon as an outline plan is revealed (even in secret) we will support Article 50 trigger, but not before"
3) this has the benefit of being a very simple, clear, defensible position.

Labour could even have said "show us the plan behind closed doors to avoid 'revealing our hand'"

Now, that isn't to say it wouldn't be spun as #Brexit blocking, of course it would
4) there'd have been a sticky few months for Labour, they might have even lost a few seats (though the fact that Remainers flocked to Labour tactically in the last GE, and recent polling, means this isn't 100% definite)

But only for a few months...
5) and yes, A50 would still have gone ahead, as the Tories had the numbers.

But consider where Labour would be now?

Corbyn would be 12 months into a long, consistent "we told you so, there was no plan, this was Tory recklessness" message, that would be unassailable.
6) #Brexit blockers would be history. Instead on every interview, in every broadcast, Corbyn and his MPs could say "we respected the result, but couldn't support chaos. This government is incompetent, the Brexiters are liars, the clock should *never* have been started"
7) Labour would have the clear moral high ground "yes, it cost us, but we had to do what was right for the country, hold the reckless brexiters to account. People did not vote for this"

And Brexit? Would be dying even faster
8) But Corbyn didn't - instead he whipped to support A50, even though no plan was in place & even though it was a fixed 2 year clock.

He took the safe compliant route.

Now Labour Leadership cannot attack the Government for starting a 2 year clock, because they helped start it
9) Starmer cannot effectively attack the Government for having no #Brexit plan, because he voted for A50 *knowing* there was no plan.

Numerous lines of attack are closed off to Labour, because the Leadership were utterly complicit 18 months ago

It's just reality
10) Corbyn in particular cannot attack triggering Article 50 because he called for it the day after

And it *doesn't matter* if "now" meant "now" or "shortly", he actively called for it rather than calling for a pause & a plan

Huge tactical error, gave Government his support
11) not only was opposing Article 50 until a plan was in place the right thing to do for the country, it was also the right strategic move for Labour.
Weather some short term attacks then rise up saying "look, we knew this shambles would happen"

Instead Labour are nowhere
12) instead of being seen as the grownups, on the backend of a consistent and devastating "this is why we demanded a plan" 12 month campaign, the leadership are backed into a "#Brexit lite" corner

Such a waste
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