Speak pas­sion­ately in favour of Leave

The Daily Telegraph - - Letters to the editor - Es­tab­lished 1855

The cat is out of the bag: Jeremy Cor­byn says he would vote Re­main if given the choice again. Many doubt that’s how he voted the first time around, for Mr Cor­byn is a com­mit­ted Ben­nite and a good num­ber of the things he wants to do to Bri­tain would be il­le­gal un­der EU law. Nev­er­the­less, he has drawn a line in the sand. Labour wants to be known as the party of Re­main, or at least the party of a deal at any cost.

Mr Cor­byn is out of touch with public sen­ti­ment. One re­cent poll found that 74 per cent think no deal is bet­ter than a bad deal. Of course, the ques­tion is flawed: who wouldn’t choose noth­ing over some­thing bad? But the data be­trays an emo­tional di­rec­tion of travel: most Bri­tons, re­gard­less of how they voted last June, now want out. And every ac­tion by the EU gives them en­cour­age­ment, be it the call for greater in­te­gra­tion, the cri­sis in Spain or Michel Barnier’s grand­stand­ing. Many Bri­tons are get­ting tired of watch­ing press con­fer­ences, such as yes­ter­day’s, in which David Davis makes a sen­si­ble case for mov­ing for­ward, and Mr Barnier speaks of a “dis­turb­ing” state of dead­lock as if it has noth­ing to do with him.

The dead­lock is en­tirely on the EU’S side. While Bri­tain wants to agree a mu­tu­ally ben­e­fi­cial trade deal as soon as pos­si­ble, Brus­sels ob­sesses about the fi­nan­cial cost of the di­vorce be­cause it des­per­ately needs the UK’S cash. It is re­ported that Mr Barnier in fact wouldn’t ob­ject to mov­ing the talks on but that Ger­many, a coun­try that hasn’t even got a func­tion­ing gov­ern­ment yet, has said no. An over-grown, dys­func­tional EU – pulling in many di­rec­tions – in­sults the Bri­tish peo­ple while si­mul­ta­ne­ously try­ing to squeeze them for as much cash as is hu­manly pos­si­ble. Why doesn’t Mr Cor­byn direct some of his fa­mously right­eous anger at Brus­sels?

As he won’t, the Tories must. If Labour is to be the party of Re­main, the Con­ser­va­tives can speak for the ma­jor­ity of Bri­tons as the com­mit­ted party of Leave. That means pre­par­ing for a “no deal” out­come by spend­ing the money nec­es­sary for it right now, reach­ing out to other coun­tries to build a free-trade fu­ture, and re­mind­ing Europe of its re­liance upon the UK for trade and de­fence. This must be done with pas­sion. It is not enough to say that the Gov­ern­ment is sim­ply ful­fill­ing the wishes of the vot­ers: the case for Leave has to be re­stated over and over again, with full con­fi­dence in the UK’S tremen­dous po­ten­tial.

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