We don’t need Blair, Branson & Co. What we need is a working Opposition

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It is slightly scary that reports this morning suggest that Tony Blair and Richard Branson are both investing in efforts to overturn Brexit.

Let me be honest and say I increasingly think Brexit is unlikely to happen. I may be wrong, but there are three reasons for thinking this.

First, I simply cannot see the buffoons in charge of negotiating the UK's departure from the EU actually being capable of undertaking that task. The range of incompetence on view from those supposedly dedicated to this cause is staggering, from the Prime Minister (whose honeymoon is long over and whose impression of a headless chicken is becoming increasingly realistic) downwards.

Second, I think it may well be found that in the myriad of claims by Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland there are good legal reasons why they can demand a veto ion Brexit, and might exercise it. This is a union of four nations, after all.

Third, I suspect the European Court of Justice will become involved in this issue, because EU law on Article 50 is so unclear, and the result will be that Article 50 will be found to be revocable, in which case a vote of the Commons, another referendum or a general election will be required to actually leave, by which time it will be so apparent what a mess this whole scenario is that we will gratefully remain.

For these three reasons I am not wholly sure we need the help of Blair, Branson & Co right now. But I would doubt that in any event. Like it or not these two have to accept their particular blame for the mess we're in.  Blair delivered vacuous politics and an appearance of prosperity based on rising personal debt. Branson delivered opaque global business based on tax haven ownership and a lack of accountability. They are faces of the problems we now have, not the solution.

Why do they think they have a chance then? That's because Labour has decided in its lack of wisdom not to undertake the task given to it in our constitution, which is the duty to oppose the government.

At most the British people voted, after being blatantly lied to, to suggest they might be happy to leave the EU. They never voted to leave the single market or the Customs Union. They did not vote on migration. Labour should be saying all three things and be saying it is upholding the referendum result by doing so, as it would be. Because they aren't, using the lame excuse that a non-binding referendum meant to advise the only sovereign decision making body we have (which is parliament) requires them to support virtually anything the government says, Labour are failing not just all those who voted against leaving, but all those who were lied to and now realise it and all those who voted to leave the EU and nothing else. In other words, they're choosing to fail a large majority.

And the danger of that is obvious. When Labour could be putting together a cross party coalition for common sense to prevail, with strong support available from the SNP, LibDems, Greens, Plaid and some MPs in Northern Ireland, it is instead leaving space for Blair to swagger back in. That really is staggering incompetence on the Labour leadership's part.