After Corbyn said his bit about single market membership equalling being in the EU and then Gardiner going full on Peter Bone on everyone, then the Carwyn Jones led uproar that contradicted all of this perfectly, we’ve now had the counter-counter-attack. Or is it the counter-counter-bluff? I don’t know, let’s try and piece it all together.
Keir Starmer got in on the act:
“Labour’s objective is tariff-free access to the single market, no new red tape at customs and a deal that works for services as well as goods. It is vital that we retain the benefits of the Single Market and the Customs Union.”
The only way to retain the benefits of the SM and the CU, as Keir well knows, is to remain within them. But this is old hat from Starmer – what was more interesting was John McDonnell diving into this cesspool:
“Our objective is tariff-free access to the market. That has been our objective since immediately after the referendum. The structures — whether we are in or out — are a secondary matter. We are not ruling anything out but what we are saying is that we are the fifth largest economy in the world and we have a special status in both our relationship with the EU and the rest of the globe and we feel we can get a deal that achieves tariff-free access.”
This has now gone way beyond a fudge – we may well be witnessing the most confused position on any major subject any major party in the history of western civilisation has ever taken. It could, quite literally, not be less clear. And yet, every Labour politician always claims that the Labour position on Brexit is totally obvious and only a fool could fail to see it.
Looking only at what they say, it breaks down as this: we want all the benefits of the EU without actually being in the EU. We should know this is impossible given we are, you know the official opposition and everything, but we appear not to. We are doing this in a transparent effort to make the Tories look bad when they come away with something that falls short of this, which it obviously will. The fact that we are aware of this fact contradicts having the stance we are taking, unless we don’t actually care at all about people’s livelihoods.
The thing is, while I’m irritated by Labour doing all this, I can’t blame them too much. It worked like a dream in the general election, didn’t it? And no one seems to really care all that much, at least for the moment, that their Brexit position is the most confusing thing in the history of the universe. So I suppose I’m angry at everyone else, or at the very least, young leftist Remainers who still think Corbyn is going to save them from Brexit.
The modern world. Tell people what they want to hear, no matter how obviously ridiculous, and they vote for it.
They’re the opposition. As soon as they know what the government’s position is, they will oppose it. Until then they have to oppose everything, just in case.
Toby Fenwick says
The problem for Labour is that as soon as the Tories get their act together on what Brexit means (difficult, I appreciate, but probably useful) then the entire look both ways charade comes to a bitter end. This is fine if it means that Labour commit to SM/CU / EEA / EU membership, but if not….