If you believe the Conservative party is imploding over Brexit, especially with some 25 conservative “rebels” now focused on reversing the democratic decision of the will of the people, let’s look at Jeremy Corbyn’s withdrawal policy.
Since becoming opposition leader, Corbyn has been for and against the free movement of people. He has been for and against the customs union. He has been for and against an independent trade policy. He was a Eurosceptic and now he is pro-EU. He wanted to trigger article 50 on day one but now he says he wants to delay it.
Corbyn told the House of Commons last year that he did not want money spent on a “no deal” scenario. This week he told the House that the government has not spent enough money on preparing for a no deal.
Last Sunday on the Andrew Marr show, Corbyn was asked five times whether he would campaign to leave the EU if there was a general election. All five times, Corbyn refused to answer because at this stage, he simply does not know and is not prepared to make that decision just yet.
As Prime Minister Theresa May retorted, “He is not thinking of the national interest, he is playing politics” and she is right. Corbyn’s protester background includes being a large thorn in the side of his opposite numbers.
To be fair to the government, at least the Conservative party had a coherent and consistent Brexit policy – implement the referendum result, no second people’s vote and a frictionless withdrawal agreement with the EU.
Regretfully, Theresa May dropped the “no deal is better than a bad deal” threat and proceeded to negotiate a truly awful agreement that left Northern Ireland outside the UK in something called a backstop. We were constantly reminded that the EU would never use this so called backstop and in fact did not really want it, so why was it there?
We were also promised that Britain would be outside the customs union so we could forge strong tariff free trade deals with nations around the world. But Theresa May’s deal kept us inside the customs union for a “transition period” of two years and then a further four years (at least) while Britain negotiates a trade deal with the EU.
Many have said Britain could never actually leave and under this agreement we would have absolutely no say, no influence and no seat at the European table – all this for the “bargain” price of £42 billion of British taxpayer’s money.
In the end the dreadful deal received a crushing defeat – a loss by 230 votes is the worst government defeat in British parliamentary history with 118 conservative MPs voting against it.
Labour MPs are terrified of a second referendum because it’s not clear how Corbyn would lead. He cannot unite white working class “leave” voters in the north with the metropolitan, youthful and zealous “remain” voters everywhere else.
The only thing that unites Labour supporters is the hatred of the Tory party. Once a Corbyn led Labour party is forced to write and declare a manifesto on Britain’s relationship with Europe or indeed announce what leave would mean if another referendum is held, the fantasies will begin to dissolve.
Besides, Corbyn could only bring back to Britain the same deal that May has achieved with maybe some cosmetic alterations.
But Corbyn does not really want an election just yet because he does not wish to take on the Brexit issue. It would be so much easier for him if Theresa May deals with the tough decisions that Brexit requires, so Corbyn can happily take over Number 10 Downing Street shortly after.
But if Parliament were to say that they tried to get a good withdrawal agreement with Brussels that would have been mutually beneficial to our economies, however it was not possible – this would be a colossal miscalculation of the mood of the people.
Even if article 50 is extended and Britain is forced to continue the enormous weekly EU payments of £367, not to mention fighting the European election in May, then millions of voters will become even more disillusioned. The rise of the far right and far left will become apparently clear and the Tories will suffer as much as Labour.
As for the Tory rebels along with the majority of Labour MPs who did everything possible to frustrate, alter, limit and reverse Brexit – they will have to answer to the electorate when the time comes.
British voters may swing to the anti-Europe parties in the May election sending the Conservative and Labour parties a strong message – we don’t trust you. The turnout at the next election could be an all-time low. There may even be the highest number of spoiled ballot papers.
All this because the EU negotiators were steadfast in their refusal to give Britain a fair deal in order to send a strong message to other EU countries planning to leave the Super-State. In addition, Mrs May should never have attempted to please all the people because in doing so, she pleased hardly any of them.
So now is the time to leave on world trade organisation rules on March 29, invest the £42 billion in education, health and the police and you will see the Brussels team run after Britain desperate for a trade deal.
By James Marlow
James Marlow is a journalist and international news contributor: Email: James@TheJewishWeekly.com Follow on twitter: @James_J_Marlow