Tuesday, 27 August 2019

The Liberals Are Driving Britain Into a No Deal Brexit

Jo Swinson and the Liberals, are driving Britain into a No Deal Brexit.  Were it the case, as it was even a month ago, that Corbyn's Labour was not offering to stop Brexit, then it would have been quite legitimate for MP's to find whatever means were possible to achieve that end.  But, it is no longer the case, since Corbyn committed to using all means necessary to stop a No Deal Brexit.  Labour is by far the largest opposition party, and Corbyn is its Leader.  If a government is to step in to replace the Tories, to stop Brexit, and call an election, it can only be a Labour government led by Corbyn, and given the backing of other Remain supporting MP's.  Swinson's refusal to accept that, is an attempt by 13 Liberal MP's to hold the Labour Party, its 246 MP's, and half million members to ransom.  It is an attempt, by Swinson to implement a coup inside the LP itself, and to dictate to Labour's half million members who their Leader should be.  It is clearly not acceptable, and Swinson's pursuance of that line is tantamount to saying that she puts it before her supposed opposition to a No Deal Brexit.

The Labour Party, not just its 246 MP's, but also its half million members, can never allow Swinson as the Leader of a Liberal Party with just 13 MP's, or even Swinson in conjunction with a single Green MP, four Plaid MP's, and an unknown number, but probably only in double figures, of rebel Tory MP's, to dictate to it, who its Leader should be, and we won't.  Even if some Blair-right Labour MP's are attracted to the idea of having one of their number put up, as some kind of clever ruse, to undermine Corbyn, they would quickly and rightly be slapped down by their own party members.  Moreover, if I was a Labour MP, there is no way that I would vote for anyone other than Corbyn as the Prime Minister in any such caretaker government. 

Swinson says that she would not support a Corbyn led caretaker government, because she will not support any solution that has no chance of being accepted.  Well there is no chance that her suggestion will be accepted, because Labour members, and Labour MP's could never accept it.  Swinson says that it could never be accepted, because rebel Tory MP's would not vote for a Corbyn led caretaker government, but they have only been emboldened to make that statement because of the factional antics of Swinson and the Liberals.  Had the Liberals, like the SNP, come out from the beginning to say they would back such a caretaker government, the Tory rebels would have immediately have been on the spot to follow suit.  The real force now driving towards a collapse into a No Deal Brexit is Swinson and the Liberals, who are putting their own silly, factional interests above stopping Brexit.

The reality is that all of the parliamentary manoeuvres now offer no guaranteed way of stopping Brexit, and the more time is wasted on such parliamentary games, the more it means that there would be no time to pass a No Confidence vote, and install a caretaker government before October 31st comes and goes.  Anyone serious about stopping Brexit, now, only has the option of supporting a No Confidence vote, and of then backing Corbyn as Prime Minister, to form a caretaker government to stop Brexit, and call a General Election.

And, all of the other proposals about calling a second referendum either before or after a General Election are also a dangerous diversion.  The idea put forward by the SNP that MP's could grab control of the Order Paper, and pass legislation to extend Article 50, and call another referendum is fraught with dangers.  Firstly, there is no guarantee of being able to pass such legislation, and the time taken in trying do so will simply bring us closer to October 31st, with no time left to pursue the obvious option of a confidence vote.  Secondly, there is no guarantee that the EU 27 would grant such an extension.  Thirdly, even if it did, you would have to be gullible in the extreme to believe that a Bonapartist regime under Boris Johnson, with Dominic Cummings now entrenched in Downing Street, with the backing of Trump in the US, and with the support of all of the right-wing Tory media, would not pull out every stop, use every lie, deceit, and dirty trick in the book to make sure that any such referendum produced the result they require in even more stark manner.  

And, what then, would all those that have been clamouring for such a referendum then simply roll over and play dead and support such a reactionary decision?  At least Swinson was honest in her duplicity, when she proclaimed that she would not, then, accept such a decision, which makes you wonder exactly why she would want such a vote in the first place, then! 

In a parliamentary democracy the basis for taking decisions is via General Elections, and the election of MP's, as members of parties who stand on manifestos setting out the policies they will implement.  That is how this issue too should have been resolved.  Instead of calling the referendum, Cameron should have invited the Tory Right to simply join with their UKIP outriders and stand in a General Election on a programme of Brexit.  He didn't, because he was more concerned with Tory Party management, and the fact that he knew that in such an event, the Tories would lose a load of seats as their vote was split with the Faragists, which would have meant that Labour would have won the election.

But, the principled position here remains the same.  The first referendum created this situation by establishing plebiscitary democracy as an alternative and necessarily contradictory mandate to parliamentary democracy.   The solution to that cannot be a further referendum, which simply repeats that mistake in the hope of achieving a different result.  If Johnson really wants to push through a No Deal Brexit, let the Tories stand in a General Election on a Manifesto clearly setting out that that is what he intends to do, and then Labour can stand on a clear Manifesto arguing that we will scrap Brexit, and remain in and reform the EU.  Whoever then wins that election, and obtains a mandate can be enabled to implement it, and to take responsibility for their actions.

Labour can never accept Swinson's blackmail and coup attempt.  If she and other MP's refuse to back Corbyn as interim Prime Minister they will have to take responsibility for a No Deal Brexit, and the consequence of that is that those parties will be electorally destroyed.  The only thing stopping a No Deal Brexit would then be if either Johnson, having had his bluff called, capitulated as with May before him, or if, as the chaos approached or unfolded, and UK stock and bond markets collapsed, along with the Pound, and interest rates soared to emergency levels as in 1992, up to 15% and beyond, causing property prices to crash through the floor, a wave of popular revolt forced the government from office, a General Election, and a Labour government that would be able to negotiate an emergency reentry into the EU.

Labour should say to the Liberals, rebel Tories and others, if you want to be held responsible for the chaos of a No Deal Brexit, go ahead, we will do all in our power to stop it.  If the chaos unfolds, you will take the blame for it, and we will reap the reward of steadfastly opposing it.  It is we the Labour Party, with our half million members, our links to millions of organised workers through the trades unions that will be in a position to build an extra parliamentary social movement of civil unrest and disobedience against the chaos of Brexit, so as to force a General Election, and reverse it.  October 31st is not at all the end of this matter.

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