Throughout the Brexit negotiations, Labour’s frontbench has continuously appeared ambiguous, sitting on the fence when asked about what they’d do as an opposition to the Tories. By doing so, they’ve managed to hold on to their Leave and Remain voters throughout the negotiating period.
But has it all been worth it when it comes down to the wire?
Whether it was Keir Starmer who has pushed for the opportunity of a second referendum, or Dianne Abbott ruling out any sort of referendum, Labour’s shadow cabinet has seriously harmed the People’s Vote campaign. As a result, there is little chance that any sort of integrity can be found on Brexit.
Let’s remind ourselves of why the People’s Vote has been campaigning for another referendum. Firstly, they argue that democracy did not stop after June 2016, meaning the people are still allowed to have their say, particularly as polls have shown that the nation’s attitudes are gradually changing towards a larger Remain majority. Secondly, and more importantly, they argue that the June 2016 referendum was based on lies and corruption, pushing the electorate to vote for promises which have not been delivered.
Alternatively, Labour are now considering another referendum as a ‘last resort’ option to break the Brexit deadlock, and it is this discourse that will seriously harm the integrity of a second referendum.
Why? Because it defeats the purpose of a “People’s Vote”. A second referendum has not been campaigned for because we would need to go back to square one. Instead, A second referendum has been campaigned for because of the corruption of the first referendum. Labour will be ignoring the vital messages of the carefully constructed People’s Vote campaign.
Vital they were. By going back to square one, Labour will alienate all those who voted Leave in June 2016, angry at the thought that their vote didn’t count the first time around.
Where does this leave us? With a second referendum with no integrity. The Murdoch monopoly alongside another carefully constructed Leave campaign will continue to spout anti-establishment messages, calling for the people to rise against the elite who believe they know better.
Will we ever get a decision based on fact and change for the greater good rather than based on anti-establishment messages?
Labour’s shadow cabinet will seriously damage the People’s Vote campaign, and it’s all down to the political games of survival which Labour and the Conservatives have been playing.
By remaining ambivalent, Labour has remained relevant. Yet, this has also left Labour stuck in a rut after the intrinsic route which has been taken after the defeat of May’s deal. By playing with tactics, members of Labour’s frontbench are missing the point. Why are their decisions being made for the sake of the party over the needs of the people? How can they ignore the fact that the people’s needs will not be met from the promises of the June 2016 campaign?
By remaining ambivalent, Labour’s frontbench has missed a clear chance at reinstating political integrity. By ignoring the messaging of the People’s Vote, Corbyn is taking us back to square one and missing the opportunity to give Britain a credible future.