There’s a serious Remain problem here.
I am referring to the Umunna ammendment and the idea that Corbyn was in some way justified in his whip and front bench actions.
For the sake of argument let me accept the ideas that:
- Umunna was making trouble
- Corbyn is playing a long game on Brexit, hoping the public will turn against it en masse.
There’s still a problem with Corbyn’s reaction
A long game only works if JC stays neutral. He didn’t need to whip in order to maintain his neutrality, and it’s not credible to argue that he did when you consider he didn’t use a whip for Syria or Trident, two issues which should surely be more important to him.
In enforcing the whip JC is tacitly validating the spurious link between Brexit and exit of the Single Market, ECJ etc, all fantasy creations of a far right reinterpretation of the referendum vote. That validation in Parliament is an incredibly dangerous precedent to set and one which will be very difficult to unwind.
Finally, if you reject most of what I’ve said so far consider how compromised Labour becomes by rejecting the primary concern of 75% of its new found youth voters?
As far as I can see JC is at best too naive about political realities to successfully steer a long game or is simply a hard brexiter… Neither is a good outcome for the #stopbrexit cause.
In many places online, any criticism of JC is met with cries of “Tory” or “Blairite” and that’s a problem for overall #stopbrexit unity. In my opinion you can’t be an apologist for anyone who takes aggressive action against Brexit like this, even JC.
Jeremy Corbyn should simply have let the vote go through without a 3 line whip if his intent was a neutral long game.