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Don't Eat With Your Mouth Full

Where can we live but days?

steepholm steepholm
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Labour Pains
In a locked post today an LJ friend makes a number of characteristically interesting points about the EU referendum and its likely aftermath, most of which I agree with. However, I'm not so sure about his assertion that Jeremy Cobyn is "toast", no-confidence motion or no.

It's true that Corbyn has never been very gung-ho about the EU as an institution, and his support for Remain (much like my own, which may bias me) always had a tinge of "The EU may not be great, but the alternative you're being offered is hell of a lot worse" - which may not be a cry to get the blood up, but has the merit of being true, or at least honestly meant. Unlike some of those who now wish to depose him, he never coasted in the slipstream of the Brexiteers' anti-immigrant rhetoric, but pointed out that immigrants actually more than pay their own way in taxes, and that if local services are stretched that's because of cuts imposed by Government, who wish to spend the nation's wealth in other ways. Conversely, he didn't connive in the lie - known to be such by both tellers and told - that one could set an arbitrary upper limit to immigration under freedom of movement rules.

So, what he had to say - about preserving workers' rights, environmental protections, opportunities for young people, and the rest from racist demagogues like Farage and Johnson - was pretty reasonable.

But perhaps he didn't say it enough? In fact, the BBC (and a fortiori the rest of the media) went out of its way not to report his many appearances up and down the country. Take this screenshot from a couple of weeks ago, on the day he was due to give a big remain speech. If you look very carefully you may spot the very small headline mentioning that he is going to be speaking, somewhere near the very big headline about a union leader complaining of his silence.


Later that day, after the speech had been given, this was the BBC news front page. See how long it takes you to spot the mention of Corbyn's speech.


So, anyway, now there's a move to unseat him for not leading a vigorous enough campaign for Remain. Note that the reason Labour lost the last election was in large part the defection of many of their traditional working-class English voters to UKIP or Netflix on polling day. And now, they propose to reverse this trend by replacing Corbyn with someone more outspokenly pro-EU? I can't see how that works at all.

I also don't think the coup will work - the membership won't allow it.

Though, admittedly, my record on political prognostication is pretty dire.

How about directing your fire at the enemy for a change, comrades?

Sadly, that last point is true - though it may not be unpopular very long, I suppose.

Corbyn had to make a choice between two alternatives, neither of his choosing: the EU with all its faults and a bunch of neoliberals and cryptofascists. "I wouldn't start from here", as they say, but that was the hand he was dealt, and I think he played it pretty well.

I would lay (a little bit of) money that the next Tory leader will be Teresa May.

(Deleted comment)
I think Teresa May is a very clever politician who will find a way of squaring that circle without too much difficulty. "Carrying out the sovereign will of the people," etc. She lay relatively low during the campaign and gave few hostages to fortune. She will be eminently acceptable to the majority of Tory MPs. She's held a very difficult snior brief for six years without becoming hated by her colleagues. I find it hard to see anyone better placed.

I think currently my view is "anyone but Boris". For one thing, though he led the Leave campaign, I don't think he seriously expected to win and I don't think he has a plan. A future economy with Boris making it all up as we go along is not something I want to contemplate. :(

I'm 100% with you there.

The problem with a Brexiter becoming Tory leader is that they'd have to lead a parliamentary party made up mostly of Remain types. This person would have no moral authority over the party. That's beyond the fact that it would probably have to be Boris, and Boris is the Donald Trump of British politics.

But it can't be a Remain person either, for the reasons you state. So it either can't be anybody, or else the circle will have to be squared, and steepholm's idea is as logical as any. I wouldn't put it past David and Theresa to have planned it out this way for this referendum result contingency.

I'm not criticizing Corbyn's choice of how to proceed. I just think he's been put in an impossible position.

May would be a logical, if depressing (though not as depressing as Boris) successor. (As well as the only Home Secretary who'd never held another top office to become PM since Melbourne, which would be interesting.) But how could she have any more moral authority to pursue Article 50 than Cameron? Would the fact that she largely stayed out of the campaign give her that out?

Would the fact that she largely stayed out of the campaign give her that out?

I think so - see my answer to oho above.