Labour does not have a clue about Brexit
On the eve of the most important policy decision taken in peacetime for more than 40 years, the leader of the Opposition might have been expected to have a clear idea of where he and his party stand. But anyone looking to Jeremy Corbyn yesterday for a coherent exposition of Labour Party policy in the event of a defeat tomorrow for Theresa May’s Brexit deal looked in vain.
It is the prerogative of opposition to let the Government make the mistakes and seek to replace it. But in order to do so, it is the normal requirement of politics to have an alternative strategy. Mr Corbyn wants to exercise the former without having a single clue about the latter.
On the BBC’S Andrew Marr Show he ducked the question of what Labour would do differently over and over again, only restating his fatuous belief that somehow the EU would give a new government all the benefits of membership, without the bad bits.
Mr Corbyn is a long-standing Eurosceptic, which sets him apart from many of his MPS, who are working assiduously behind the scenes to engineer a reversal of the referendum vote.
At least Mr Corbyn seems to want to honour that result; but he is contributing to the almosthysterical uncertainty at Westminster that could yet be Brexit’s undoing.
He is against leaving without a deal, ambivalent towards a second referendum, confusing about his commitment to the customs union and single market, and clings to the idea that a Labour government can negotiate in a few weeks a deal that Mrs May failed to achieve in more than two years.
The most probable immediate consequence of Mrs May losing tomorrow will be a move in Parliament forcing the Government to seek an extension to Article 50, to stop the UK dropping out of the EU on March 29.
Mr Corbyn may table a motion of no confidence and seek to precipitate a general election. But judging by his performance yesterday, it is hard to see what his party’s Brexit policy platform would be. The same would, of course, be true for the Conservatives, given their almost irreparable divisions over Europe.
Parliament asked the country to decide an issue it felt unable to resolve and it was given a clear instruction what to do. How sad for the British people that, at such a moment in our history, they are served by politicians so woefully inadequate to the scale of the challenge.