If Labour’s policy is to favour Remain but to nonetheless try to negotiate a ‘better’ deal than Theresa May’s leave ideas, then I fear they will struggle.
A ‘Jobs First’ Brexit is all very well but is not either radical or ‘Leave’. In effect it is Germany Plus.
It is not a vote winner for Labour – a party overwhelmingly regarded by its own members as a Remain party – and to tell Remainers one thing and Leavers another seems pretty difficult; for Remainers: of course they’ll eventually back Remain, it’s inevitable. But when is ‘eventual’? To Leavers: Labour is on the fence – you have to decide if they’re capable of getting a proper agreement. And a no duty for imports deal promised by Johnson, which nuts as it would be, nobody could object to…Yet is any of this true? People aren’t stupid – but, sorry, they are often easily deceived. So we only need a few project fear stories to potentially upset the Labour leavers, particularly with ‘free’ imports.
Nonetheless the new Labour negotiated agreement and then subsequent refrendum is, I confess, certainly overtly logical. But then, increasingly I come to the conlusion that politics is in large measure about marketing…
So is this a saleable package?
I fear not at all easily, as David Lammy has already laughingly pointed out on Radio Four’s Today Programme.
Any agreement by Labour’s renegotiation team with its ‘Jobs First’ mantra is, in fact, likely to be considered by leavers as worse than Theresa May’s – it will, by definition, be a worse version of leaving without any control and nonetheless being subject to EU rules.
Whilst I understand why the EU may indeed favour a Labour negotiating team (who wouldn’t?!) it is a complete mystery why or how Labour think they would do any better from a UK interests ‘Leave’ perspective.
For the persuaded (ex remainer) Brexiters of Labour, such as Caroline Flint and others, this, I suggest is what they really have to prove.
The coming election is likely to provide an exceptional challenge for Labour.
Why on earth can’t they just suggest that we need first to decide how we leave?