Tuesday, 25 April 2017

Labour at a Crossroads

The Guardian reports that the Labour Party is trying to rip up its 'Brexit Playbook' by adopting a more aggressive stance against the Government's plans which has been absent so far under Jeremy Corbyn's leadership.

Whether this will last is anyone's guess since the leader's office is in charge of Labour's manifesto and Corbyn is widely regarded as being ideologically opposed to the European Union (EU) and in the same political space as the Conservatives, albeit for different reasons.

So a battle is underway between Labour's shadow Brexit secretary, Keir Starmer, and the party leader Jeremy Corbyn - who will win is anyone's guess with the Labour leader making things up as he goes along as he did the other day over Labour's support for Trident, for example. 

Meanwhile Tony Blair has entered the Brexit arena again with an opinion piece for The Guardian in which he demonstrates that the has lost none of his ability to analyse a problem and lay out a potential way forward. 

Read the two articles via the links to the newspaper below.



Labour vows to rip up and rethink Brexit white paper

Shadow Brexit secretary says party accepts referendum result but wants to UK to be partners with EU members

By Anushka Asthana - The Guardian

Labour has said it would scrap the Brexit white paper and replace it with new negotiating priorities with the emphasis on keeping the benefits of the single market and customs union.

Keir Starmer, the shadow Brexit secretary, will set out the plans alongside a pledge to unilaterally guarantee existing rights for all EU nationals as part of the party’s election manifesto, hastily being put together following the snap election announcement last week.

In a speech in Westminster on Tuesday, the Labour frontbencher will insist that his party has accepted the referendum result but wants to build a close relationship “not as members, but as partners”.

The way to fight the Tories in June’s election is to turn Brexit against them

By Tony Blair - The Guardian

Labour’s only chance lies in convincing voters that it will hold the government to account on any deal with the EU

There is a unique element to this election as a result of Brexit. The Tories believe this is to their advantage. But it could be turned against them.

First off – for the avoidance of doubt – I have not urged tactical voting. It is up to each voter to make up their mind on how they will vote. I only want people to make an informed choice. Of course, I hope people will vote Labour, as I will.

The purpose of the various interventions in the election by European campaigns, which I fully support, is rather to make sure that voters know where candidates stand on the Brexit issue before they cast their vote, whether Tory, Lib Dem or Labour. This campaign against “Brexit at any cost” is cross-party, as it should be, and, indeed, some people may, on the back of this, support tactical voting. But that is not my objective.

For this article I want to approach the election strictly from a Labour point of view, as someone who led the party for 13 years and through three elections.

Brexit is the dominant election issue. The conventional election response of an opposition is to say: vote Labour to keep the Tories out and return a Labour government. The response in this election could be in line with that convention: Brexit is not the only issue, so vote Labour, for example, to save the NHS or stop cuts to schools.

It won’t work.