September 28, 2017 by Paul Goldsmith
Jeremy Corbyn and John McDonnell are sharing many things at the moment. For the purposes of this blog is their utter hatred of Tories. They would do anything to get the Conservatives out of Downing Street. That’s why after Theresa May’s Florence speech I am predicting that after the Article 50 period ends in 2019 and the ‘transition period’ is over in 2021, Labour will go into the 2022 election with manifesto committed to reversing Brexit.
People keep on getting upset with Labour not taking a clear position on this. It’s for a few reasons, one being that the party has in the past been genuinely split on the issue (although not the new younger members, who are more likely to be pro-EU. Another reason is that they do not have to take a position as they are not in government. The luxury of opposition is that on some issues you can wait and see how the wind blows before taking a position.
Nobody knows whether Brexit will be successful. Jeremy Corbyn must be constantly hugging himself that he has avoided the constant compromises and crushing responsibility of delivering the extremely vague ‘instruction’ to Leave the EU. This came unaccompanied by specifics on immigration and any final deal on access to the single market and customs union. It was however accompanied by promises that cake would be had AND eaten. It is difficult to see how Theresa May can please everybody with the final outcome and possible she will please nobody.
In that case, assuming Labour has found a way to vote against final deal (here’s a clue, Labour were against the 1st application in 1961 and the third successful application in 1973 ‘on Tory terms’), they leave themselves open to flip any way convenient once we get near the latest possible date for the next election, which is June 8th 2022 (Fixed Term Parliament Act notwithstanding).
Let’s say the economy is tanking in 2021. It doesn’t matter if the reason for the economy being in trouble is nothing to do with Brexit. Brexit will be blamed. Labour will want to reverse austerity and that can’t be done with a tanking economy so it would make sense for them to decide to reverse Brexit. They could effectively make the 2022 General election a second referendum, or a vote to give them a mandate to hold a second referendum.
Think about it. They got close-ish this June, but to go over the top they need something more. Yes, if the Tories are supervising a struggling economy they might lose an election anyway. But if Labour support the assumed cause of the economy’s problems then they can’t differentiate themselves. If they turn against Brexit, it is far more likely to put them in Downing Street.