Labour has to do better on Brexit or face the consequences

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Labour is still pretending today that its six Brexit tests are relevant, when it knows they were literally never achievable.

And it is pretending that it could renegotiate the terms of Brexit, even now, if only it was given the chance, which it will not be. A general, election is not going to happen on this issue: the Tories and DUP will not permit it.

In March 2016 I was told by those very close to Corbyn that Brexit was not an issue for Labour. It was all about ‘blue upon blue’ in-fighting and so the policy was to let them get on with it. We have all seen the consequences. And the policy is still being maintained now, whilst posturing behind demands that are very obviously absurd because they are clearly undeliverable.

If this ever had any value for Labour, and personally I doubt it, then it has no longer. The Brexit deal is on the table. Pretending any significant revision is now likely is wrong: 27 nations are not coming back to this again. This is pretty much what is available now. So there  are just three choices.

The first is Accept and then make very clear what is expected of the subsequent trade negotiations. It is important to remember that two more years (at least) of this are on the cards.

The second is to say Leave, and go for a hard Brexit. Most of the Labour membership is utterly opposed to this and so it is not an option. The Lexiteers are a tiny minority in the party, thankfully.

Third, there is the second referendum option. But given Leave is not an option this can only be a choice between Accept and Remain. Labour still, then, has to spell out what it would want if Accept is the option because the reality is that a great deal will remain in the table during that period.

But, so far, Labour is not saying this. It is pretending there are options that if they were ever viable (which I dispute) have gone.

There are moments when the pragmatists have to be at the front of politics. These are the times when the games are over: when real decisions have to be made. This is one of them. And Labour had better step up to the mark very soon. It’s that or move into unforgivable territory. The time to get real and abandon the policy outlined to me in March 2016, which is the primary reason why I became a critic of Corbyn’s leadership, has at last arrived. And the time scale for change is short. It’s probably over by tonight.