Friday, 3 February 2017

Labour and Article 50 (2 letters)

Marshajane Thompson argued that "only huge mobilisations against the politics of hate" can "stop the rise of the far-right" (Morning Star, 01/02/17). Of course, demonstrations and marches are essential in protesting against right-wing actions and policies, but what history showed us in the 1930s is that strong opposition parties are necessary, to provide the electorate with a viable alternative.
     Labour, as Thompson stated, "does not have the power to stop Brexit", but it must oppose any Tory government policy, which is likely to lead the country into economic hardship. That`s what its MPs were elected to do, not to support Tory action which leads us to base our economy on tax evasion, de-regulation, and arms sales, and to treat people immigrating here with Trump-like scorn. Whatever happened to the principle of supporting free movement?
    The recent surge in Labour membership was brought about by the party`s principled approach, different from the greed and profit-at-all cost policies of the Tories. Corbyn`s Labour was clearly not the same as the other political parties, so to be seen voting for Article 50 betrays thousands! The idea that it has to be supported because it`s been democratically decided is nonsense, as it ignores the falsehoods on which the Brexiters based their campaign; anyway, who voted for job losses and inflation? If the Labour leadership cannot devise suitable arguments to crush Ukip criticism,  the question should be asked about their suitability for politics!

      Brexit does not simply mean "Brexit". It means "May`s Brexit", and that cannot augur well for the future of British workers, or their rights. It should be challenged at every opportunity.

Justin Gest argued that Labour must build "a social vision and economic future that transcends ethnic divisions, not reinforces them", and one would have thought that, in Corbyn, it had the principled leader to do just that (Labour is moving close to disaster. How can it reconnect with its roots?29/01/17). Being placed in a somewhat difficult situation because of the Brexit vote, the Labour leader, however, like many of his predecessors, has "backed the wrong horse". Brexit may mean "Brexit", but its May`s Brexit, and should be opposed.
      With Johnson alienating potential allies in Europe, and May obsequiously rushing to head a non-existent queue to visit the White House, Jeremy Corbyn`s three-line whip on Article 50 has wasted a wonderful opportunity to challenge the government. and must be viewed as a mistake. Not only does it give the Tory government a far easier ride that such a traumatic decision should entail, it suggests that Labour is more worried about losing seats to Ukip, than in acting as an elected opposition and protecting the people from economic hardship. Perhaps worse, on a personal basis, Corbyn has shown himself prepared to sacrifice principle for votes, and to be similar, therefore, to the vast majority of politicians, from whom he is meant to differ! 
       By aiming to prevent the country falling into economic ruin, and having to rely on selling arms and welcoming tax evaders, Labour could regain some ground in the polls for its patriotic stance. By acting as a true opposition, it could even, as the true effects of a hard Brexit reveal themselves, force a general election. Labour might not win, but it would have the chance to unite against Ukip`s obvious racism, to defend the NHS and comprehensive state education, and attack the government for its immigration and austerity policies. A few million Brexiters must realise by now they were told lies ; for example, were they told about the effects of leaving the single market?

      If the only way Labour can win the forthcoming by-elections is to out-Ukip Ukip, it sadly is not worth voting for anyway! 

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