It’s certainly not my place to tell the Labour Party what they should and shouldn’t be doing, but aren’t they, by their own rhetoric, trying to bring down the government? Isn’t their main goal to end May’s premiership in the hopes of bringing on a general election and then winning that plebiscite? Given communication from the Shadow Brexit Secretary to his colleagues last night on the topic of how to vote in today’s “meaningful vote” amendment, we should all have strong reason to doubt this is the case:
“Tomorrow is the final chance we will have to guarantee Parliament is given a meaningful say on the terms of our exit from the European Union. And an opportunity to ensure there is a real choice later this year between a Tory Brexit or a Labour Brexit. This is one of the most important votes of this parliament.
“The meaningful vote isn’t about stopping Brexit. It isn’t about delaying Brexit, or trying the hands of the UK negotiators. And it isn’t about the future of Theresa May or of this government.”
Keir goes on to explain what it is apparently about, which is some guff about jobs and constituents. What interests me in this is that a member of the Shadow Cabinet charged with trying to get the MPs from his party to vote against a Tory government has had to assure them that this move is in no way about bringing down said government. I get that Brexity Labour MPs don’t want to stop Brexit, or water it down, blah blah blah – but do they no longer want to destabilise the government in order to bring Corbyn into Number 10? I mean, there is a logic that could be argued here to some extent, namely you want Brexit to happen and feel like May needs to stay in charge to ensure that happens. I get that. But that makes any distinction between a “Tory Brexit” and a “Labour Brexit” completely meaningless by default doesn’t it? I mean, if you need to be reassured that May will stay in charge in order to vote a certain way?
The confusion even within the few lines quoted above is palpable. If this isn’t about the future of May and this government, then what is Keir talking about what he says “an opportunity to ensure there is a real choice later this year between a Tory Brexit or a Labour Brexit” is part of why the Labour rebels should vote against the government?
Take Brexit out of the equation for a moment. I know it’s hard, but just try. This is the front bench of the opposition begging its MPs to vote against government, but that they are not doing so to in any way destabilise the government. Sorry for all of the italics, but this is genuinely one of the weirdest things I’ve ever encountered in politics.
While you’re here: I’ve written a new book called “One Last Number”, about what happens when the biggest pop star in the world kills himself live on stage, taking some of his fans along with him. It explores what can and cannot be considered real news in this day and age, and how the splintering we see within social media means we no longer have shared, collective narratives when large scale tragedies occur. Anyway, it’s being published through Unbound, where you have to sell enough advance copies before going to print. If you’re at all interested in “One Last Number”, check it out here: