Tuesday, 14 June 2016

Remain - a game of Labour consequences

Until now the media narrative was that the EU referendum campaign would divide the Tory party and plunge it into civil war. It has, but what has been overlooked is how the outcome could utterly destroy the Labour Party.

With Corbyn dragooned onto the frontline of the Remain campaign, with his school class picture meets politburo moment at the TUC this morning, what emerges from the fog with some clarity is the bind Labour are in.

The Tories might be divided in the Westminster village but it is on the ground that Labour are in trouble in England.

Speak to Labour MPs in the north of England and the say: “get ready for Brexit”.
Their voters are divided 70-30 in favour or leaving they tell me.

One said: “It is different from the Scottish referendum campaign” (which many of them have experience of). “At least in that campaign, even if you disagreed with it, there was a destination of travel which the SNP couched as a positive. Here ,there is no positive from leaving, people would damage themselves, but they don’t care, they won’t listen to an argument. It is real post-truth politics. They are putting a pistol to their own head and saying f-you.”

But calm down, dear. There is still a week to go, and although Corbyn should have been lining up with the trade unions two months ago Labour could still pull this out of the hat, at a cost to itself.

Ironic that Gordon Brown launched his comeback in Leicester where they have already dug up the bones on an old king. But it is possible the old warhorse, the trade union movement and every footsoldier and general Labour can throw at the Remain campaign, the polls will turn.

The electorate may, at the last stretch, with the markets threatening to crash the economy, take the reluctant decision for common sense Labour is advocating. 

You can see why Labour MPs in the north have been hesitant until now to campaign full throttle for Remain -  they know their voters will hate them for it.

As in Scotland, those voters who they feel forced into making a decision of the head rather than the heart will wreak revenge. 

English Labour supporters might vote reluctant remain in the end but they will then turn the pistol on their MPs, and the politicians know it. Labour's fate might be to go down blazing to keep Britain in Europe, as it did to keep Scotland in Britain.

“We’re facing a Tsunami afterwards,” said one MP.

 It’s name is UKIP, the party that came second in 120 seats at the 2015 General Election.

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