Will Labour Back A Second Referendum?
Yesterday this question met with two totally separate answers from two senior Labour figures. Diane Abbott stated flatly that they wouldn’t while Tom Watson stated it is something that they would consider.
I think in order to answer this question you have to start by looking at this question through the prism of the previous form and Labour’s entire approach to the Brexit question has been opportunistic from the get-go. Its strategy has actually been based on Blairite triangulation. The two points Labour head-honchos have being to triangulate between is a heavily Remain backing Islington liberal jet-set which basically comprises the Parliamentary Labour Party and a heavily Leave backing core voting base. It is kind of working at the moment, partially because Labour’s core vote is hardly being bathed in the warm glow of this current government’s fiscal effervescence. However, as negotiations progress and we start to hit do or die choke points, it probably won’t hold together.
One thing no one is considering in how they respond to the above question is the fact that the next election could see Labour being the largest Party but being unable to govern alone. Ultimately, this is will what most likely determine the answer. If that is the outcome then let’s look at two likely partners. The Liberal Democrats definitely do want a second referendum and would most likely make granting one part of any kind of deal to put Labour in power. Also, the SNP have hinted that it is something they would consider backing. Plaid Cymru would back one in the event of there being no trade deal and the singular Green Party MP, assuming she were to be reelected, has said she backs one.
So, in other words, if the next General Election were to leave Labour short of a governing majority, a not unlikely outcome considering any electoral swing to Corbyn is likely to be tentative rather than sweeping, all their potential partners in cobbling together a governing majority either actively want a second referendum or are clearly more than open to persuasion that one is necessary. This fact maybe explains Labour’s schematic approach to the question posed in the headline. In other words, they are trying to triangulate once again not just between the PLP and their voter base but also adding future political calculation into the mix.
Is it not somewhat reprehensible that Mr Corbyn claims to be a man of principle and to despise everything about Blairism in particular but in actual fact cannot give a straight answer to a fair question on anything connected to Brexit because he is using tactics Mr Blair employed? Am I alone in now casting my mind to Geroge Orwell’s Animal Farm and asking why all of a sudden the pigs are walking on two legs and wearing human clothes??