Yesterday was a car crash of conflicting policy. But the end result is that Labour doesn't seem to accept the referendum result. This will cost votes.
Only hours after Keir Starmer said he accepted the referendum results and agreed that free movement must end, he seemed to do a U-turn, telling the BBC: “We must have immigration that works for our communities and our economy [and] that means there has to be movement of people to come and work in this country ... The last thing we want is for our businesses to go bankrupt”.
Business must come first, clearly. This is the *Labour* party after all.
It seems Labour has no settled position on free movement, or Brexit. By insisting MPs get yet another vote, on the final deal, with it being returned to Brussels if they're not happy, this a very clear invitation to Brussels to give us the worst deal possible. If you openly say you won't walk away if it's a bad deal, then a terrible deal is what you will get. It's effectively a plan to stay in the EU - 'we got a terrible deal, so we're staying in'.
Similarly, a shadow Brexit minister Paul Blomfield has said "We are going into this election saying that we respect the view of the British people ... Obviously if there were significant reforms that came out of these negotiations which addressed the concerns that led people to vote in the way they did last year, that’s a whole new ball game, isn’t it?"
Translated into reality, this means 'we will agree with our EU partners some meaningless, superficial reforms, without treaty change, and we will thrash out a truly terrible deal to offer Britain. Then we will hold a new referendum asking the public whether they want the terrible deal, or whether they want to stay in the new 'reformed' EU'.
If Labour wants to overturn the result it would be better off just saying so openly - at least it would take back a lot of Lib Dem voters. Its current position is alienating Remainers because it wants to sound like a democratic party that accepts the referendum, but is also alienating Leavers because, with just a little scratching, it seems the real plan is to stay in the EU.
This is the defining issue of the election. Labour need to sort this out immediately, one way or the other. Choose a policy, be honest about it, and stick to it.
Labour Leave, 27/4/17
Image: Garry Knight, flickr, some rights reserved.
Labour Leave shares a number of viewpoints from external commentators, both Leave and Remain, without necessarily endorsing any of the viewpoints therein.
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