I read an article by Andrew Gwynne MP, who is head of strategy for Labour in the Guardian, and was baffled by his logic. The main claims with which I take issue are in this paragraph:
On Brexit, what Labour is trying to achieve is much harder and more complex than those who say we need to simply swing behind remain admit. It would be the easiest option and perhaps superficially give us a short-term boost, but we are a national party seeking support from people all over the country, unlike the “leave means leave” charade of the Tories and Nigel Farage, or the “stop Brexit” simplicity of the smaller parties.
There are two key questions to ask, but they are alternatives. The first is ‘How wrong can he be?’ And the other option is ‘How disingenuous can he be?’
Let’s deal with ‘wrong’ first. First, what Labour might have ever tried to achieve on Brexit is now history. It’s nonsense to pretend otherwise. What ‘a’ customs union rather than ‘the’ Customs Union was meant to mean is now irrelevant, and a red herring anyway since ‘a’ customs union with the EU was never a viable option given they would only do ‘the’ customs union. There are only three options now. They are No Deal, May’s Deal and Revoke, Remain and Reform. Those are it. There is nothing else on the proverbial table Labour likes to pretend exists. And Labour is not going to back May’s Deal unless it wants to commit electoral suicide, and lose in the Commons as well, so there are actually only two options. They are No Deal and Remain. To pretend that there is anything else is just that: a pretence. And to pretend that the choice is hard is absurd: it’s not. It’s obvious. No Deal would be a catastrophe; is probably illegal is a misnomer because there has to be a deal. That means that the first half of this paragraph is nonsense.
The second half may be worse. What it says is Labour wants to be all things to all people in order to secure their vote. But that is complete nonsense.
It does not want the support of homophobes, even though they exist.
Or those who oppose union rights.
They may want to persuade those people they are wrong. But they are not seeking to garner their support as they are. And I sincerely hope that they are not willing to appease them to win their votes. Instead, they oppose them. They take a position. They say they are wrong. They go without their votes. Because it’s the right thing to do.
As it would be the right thing to do to say that Labour opposes Brexit because it will destroy the well being of millions of people in this country and benefit only a small, largely already wealthy, minority who seek it to make profit at cost to society at large.
How hard is that for Labour to do? It’s not hard at all, I would have thought. It’s what politics is about, after all. Taking a principled position is at the core of politics. Arguing for it when others do not agree is what political leadership is about. As is the resulting risk-taking. And people vote for that integrity.
But Labour has forgotten that. At its very core - and I am presuming Andrew Gwynne represents its very core - it is wrong then.
And it is either does not know that, in which case it is unelectable, or Gwynne knows that what he is saying is wrong, which makes him disingenuous, and Labour unelectable.
I will leave others to decide which is worse. But either way, no wonder Labour lost seats. And will continue to do so.