Article 50 and Labour

A reply to my Labour MP, who kindly emailed me (and many others) explaining his intentions in the vote to implement Article 50, and commence Brexit.

Many thanks for taking the trouble to explain your intentions. I’m aware how difficult this is for Labour, and I’m familiar with the arguments you put forward. However, I think we all know that this government is not going to accept any meaningful amendments, and even if they did, the right course of action would still be to vote against the implementation of Article 50.

The first responsibility of MPs is to safeguard the welfare of the country, and the only way to do that is to stop Brexit in its tracks. It was depressing to hear people like Margaret Beckett saying that although she knew it would be a disaster for the country, she would be voting for implementation. That statement alone should disqualify her from sitting as an MP. We repeatedly hear that ‘the people have spoken’, but they spoke in an ill-conceived and unnecessary referendum following a campaign characterised by deliberate lying and obfuscation. Many of those voting leave have since, sensibly, changed their minds now that they realise what they were voting for. Many Leave voters are members of Labour’s core demographic, and will suffer the most from leaving the EU.

There is absolutely no requirement on Parliament to implement the result of an advisory referendum – particularly one which results in major damaging constitutional changes based on the votes of a minority of the population, indeed, it is Parliament’s duty to refuse to do so.

Labour’s stance, led by Jeremy Corbyn, has been pitiful, and his insistence on loyalty to his leadership, given his past voting record, strays beyond irony into hypocrisy. What the country needs from its politicians is a clear statement that Brexit will be so debilitating for the country that they can no longer recommend leaving the EU, and will continue to argue for reform from within.

I’m pleased to know that you will vote against the third reading if there are no suitable amendments, but I believe the most likely outcome will be that Corbyn, weasel that he is, will accept any crumbs tossed to him by May et al, in the mistaken belief that it will get himself, and the party, off the hook.

Like many of your natural supporters, I will never vote Labour again. If Corbyn thinks his actions are the best bet for staving off catastrophe in 2020, he has been badly advised (but then, he has made rather a thing of surrounding himself with malicious or just plain incompetent advisers). If Article 50 is invoked with Labour’s connivance, you will have lost the support of at least two generations of voters, and will have ceased to be a meaningful force in UK politics, thanks to your actions in aligning yourselves with UKIP and (effectively) Trump.

Never did we have a greater need for an effective opposition. Never did we have such a pathetic excuse for one.

All of which saddens me – you are a very effective and conscientious MP, who would normally command my support.