So, if Brexit wins on the 23rd, it’s all Corbyn’s fault! (http://www.theguardian.com/politics/2016/jun/01/jeremy-corbyn-pro-immigration-case-eu-referendum-gmb-union-tim-roache.) That’s what they were all saying too on this morning’s Today programme (which I listen to in Sweden on my iPhone: wonderful!), whose presenters are really quite incredibly biased against Corbyn. The awful Laura Kuenssberg popped up there again. (See below, https://bernardjporter.wordpress.com/2016/05/12/criticism-and-sexism/). ‘Awful’, I feel I must add, not because of her gender.
I imagine this latest line of theirs is just another way of getting at him. Never mind the open warfare in the Tory party, and the dog’s dinner that the Remain side is making of its case. It’s all because Jeremy isn’t being ‘bold’ enough. But, as I’ve commented before, why should he be? (https://bernardjporter.wordpress.com/2016/04/19/jeremy-and-europe/). If he’s genuinely luke-warm about the EU, and favours Remain as simply the lesser of two evils, as I do, should he pretend to be more enthusiastic than he really feels, just for the sake of ‘presentation’? It’s up to the enthusiasts to be enthusiastic, surely. And for calmer people to make a more nuanced, rational case.
Both the Left and the Right criticise Corbyn for reneging on his former Eurosceptic principles, by backing ‘Remain’ today. The implication is that he’s just as opportunist and hypocritical as all the rest. ‘Where’s the New Politics, then?’ Well, it’s there: judging issues on their merits, taking account of changing circumstances, and of the effects of the alternative policies to the ones one is now backing – e.g. a Boris-led, sub-Trumpian government – rather than sticking too rigidly to 40 year-old guns. And remember that ‘Euroscepticism’ means, literally, having doubts about the EU, not being immovably opposed to it. Corbyn is still a Eurosceptic in this sense.
Through our membership of the EU and by working with other progressive forces in Europe we have strengthened the rights of workers in Britain and across the continent. If we vote leave there would be a bonfire of workers’ rights as the Tories negotiated our exit. Our vision is for a social Europe – where people, not corporations – are at its heart.
That’s both sceptical and pro.
It’s a long time since we’ve had as honest and rational a party leader in Britain as Corbyn, which is why perhaps the ‘Westminster Bubble’ can’t get its collective head around him. They criticise him for not sharing a common platform with David Cameron, contrasting him here with the new Labour London mayor, who did agree to ‘share’. What difference the mere sharing of a platform is likely to make, if both leaders speak in favour of ‘Remain’ independently, is not clear. The two of them are obviously in favour of radically different kinds of Europe, as the Corbyn quote above shows. So their cases need to be aired separately.
When Cameron hob-nobbed with Khan, he lauded him for being a moderate Muslim, a true Brit and a genuine Londoner; just a week or two after smearing him with a supposed association with Islamic terrorists, in order to win the London mayoral contest for his guy. Now there’s opportunism and hypocrisy if you like! But then look at Cameron’s background – in ‘Public Relations’. Never trust a PR man, even an Eton and Oxford-educated one. Old bearded Lefties are usually more genuine and thoughtful. They need to make their own case. The question before us just now is not straightforward. I’d rather back someone who recognises that.