Don’t blame Jeremy Corbyn for the ambivalence verging on hostility toward the European Union seen in Labour Party strongholds
Hilariously, the Labour Party is finally waking up to the fact that their leader’s (at best) ambivalence about the Remain campaign might be harming their slavish desire to remain in the European Union at all costs.
This vignette from the BBC provides a telling insight into the hive mind of pro-EU Establishment Labour (my emphasis in bold):
Comparatively unnoticed, cast into shadow by the pyrotechnic light-show in the Tory party, the Labour Party has come to realise it is losing the argument, and may be in real danger of losing the referendum for the Remain campaign.
This morning, Labour’s shadow cabinet agreed the party needed to “up its game” and to do so urgently. Alarmed backbench MPs have been excusing themselves from parliamentary duties to kick-start what they describe as the near-torpid campaigning in their constituencies.
MP after MP has returned to Westminster with depressing tales from their home turf; of door-knocking in staunchly Labour areas where apathy towards the EU question has given way to rank hostility. One former minister contacted dozens of local Labour councillors urging them to mobilise behind the Remain campaign. To the MP’s fury, the appeal elicited one single reply.
To be clear: the Labour former minister’s response, upon realising that none of their local councillors were interested in helping the Remain campaign, was one of fury. Not surprise, or shame, or introspection – wondering why so many people in the Labour Party have no interest in spending the next couple of weeks singing hymns of praise to the European Union. No. Just fury.
This is the arrogance and entitlement of the Labour Party establishment. To be sure, many Corbynites – at least the virtue signalling middle class clerisy brigade – are little better. But it would take a considerable effort to surpass this former Labour minister quoted by the BBC, who believes that he/she and the Remain campaign deserve and are somehow entitled to the support of grass roots Labour supporters.
This is the arrogance of a class of Labour politicians who have forgotten that it is still their job to make the case, and to persuade people. And thus far, the Remain campaign has been an endless parade of miserabilist, declinist, pessimistic drivel, simultaneously talking down the prospects of the country of which many Labour supporters are justifiably proud while simultaneously painting a childishly naive picture of the European Union (puppies and unicorns) which almost nobody believes to be true.
In this context, the anonymous Labour former minister should be grateful to have received even one positive response from a Labour councillor – they were lucky to avoid a torrent of justified verbal abuse.
Once again, the Labour Party has absolutely nothing to say to those working class communities utterly unmoved by the woolly Fabianism of Ed Miliband or the edgy, student-friendly activism of Jeremy Corbyn. With no real debate over whether or not it was the right move, the party swung unthinkingly behind the Remain campaign because doing so is the instinctive response of many Labour elected representatives and donors. Too few Labour MPs – Kate Hoey, Graham Stringer, Frank Field, Gisela Stuart, Kelvin Hopkins, Khalid Mahmood and Roger Godsiff for a total of seven – have been willing to challenge the groupthink and articulate a different position.
And even now, with polls tightening and the discovery of a vast sea of apathy toward the EU throughout the Labour heartland, all that the party bigwigs can do is rage against their own supporters for failing to unquestioningly support the party’s Remain position, handed down to them from on high with no consultation and no fresh analysis since Labour became staunchly pro-EU in the late 1980s.
So if Labour bigwigs are casting around for someone or something to blame for their party’s weak contribution to the Remain campaign, they shouldn’t blame Jeremy Corbyn and they certainly shouldn’t blame their own supporters. The fault lies with their own arrogance and often disconnection from their communities.
Top Image: BBC
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