Hank Roberts

Watson and the Labour Right are helping Johnson’s electoral chances

Hank Roberts
Watson and the Labour Right are helping Johnson’s electoral chances

So now we have it. Tom Watson et al have not only stabbed our twice overwhelmingly elected leader Jeremy, in the back - actually now in the front - but are acting in a way that will ensure that Johnson has the best chance possible of winning the next election.

The Times has revealed the blatantly obvious - that Johnson is drawing up early election plans if he wins the leadership race. Two-thirds of Tory members would back an alliance with Farage and the Brexit party according to a YouGov poll. Tory donors are reported to have urged such a pact. Clearly there is a move to seek to get a single pro-Brexit candidate in all constituencies if an early election is called.

In the referendum, the Conservatives pledged to implement the referendum result. They have repeated this, as, for example, on 4th April 2019. “The Government stands by its commitment to uphold the result of the 2016 referendum and to deliver the UK’s withdrawal from the EU”. After the referendum result Labour said that it would honour the result. On the Labour website today their position is “Labour accepts the referendum result, and Britain is leaving the EU”.

Watson wants Labour to go back on this promise. He has made it plain that he doesn’t want a Corbyn-led Labour victory, by campaigning for his removal. Further the fallacious basis of his basically right-wing thinking is clear from what he has said. “I love Europe (by which he means the EU not the continent) because I am a democratic socialist” – though not democratic enough to accept the result of the referendum everyone, including him, said would decide the issue. He continued, “Socialism is achieving common causes by the strength of collective endeavour. That is what Europe (EU) is.” I.e. the EU = socialism.

I was unaware of this. I thought we wanted to elect a Labour Government to introduce some much needed socialism into our right wing neo-liberal basket case economy which has come about, by the way, whilst we were, as we still are, in the EU. If Labour is manoeuvred into a straightforward remain and second vote position this will give Johnson his best chance.

James Meek in his book Dreams of Leaving and Remaining talks about a discussion with a friend who voted remain. ‘"I don't get it," he said. "What about all these powerful backroom interests in the City that are supposed to have the government in their pocket? Why aren't they stepping in behind the scenes to stop this?" I would never endorse corrupt, opaque methods of subverting democracy, he was saying, but somebody has to stop this Brexit nonsense. What had happened to this thoughtful and fair-minded citizen, not ready to ditch democracy himself, but reluctantly prepared to let somebody else ditch it for him? … Since the referendum I'd been troubled by similar dark impulses. … Although I had voted to remain in the EU, and would do so again, I had my inner Leaver too … I'm not sure I want to stay in an organisation that makes such a big deal about us leaving it.’

EU Referendum Results 2016

By Votes

17.4m Leave | 16.1 m Remain

By Constituency

406 Leave | 242 Remain

Constituency By Party

Lab: 148 Leave | 84 Remain

Con: 247 Leave| 80 Remain

By Region

9 Leave | 3 Remain


160 Leave | 486 Remain

Brexit isn’t the problem. It’s our MPs who are the problem.

The will of the majority in the referendum and the unrepresentative nature of a majority of MPs, is well illustrated in this summary of the results.

Those that say the result shouldn’t stand because the Brexit side told lies are disingenuous. Remainers claimed that an EU army was a figment of the Leave side’s imagination. However, The Guardian told us that ‘claims for the Leave side about moves to unify Europe’s armed forces were nothing more than fantasy. Lord Ashdown said the idea of an EU army was “Nonsense”.’ However, since the referendum, this has been proven to be false. In November 2018, the French and German leaders Emmanuel Macron and Angela Merkel joined politicians Jean-Claude Juncker and Guy Verhofstadt in seeking the establishment of an EU-wide army. Politicians lying in elections, surely not? This is beyond naivety. The truth is simply, I don't like the result, so I won't accept it.

The answer to this was well made in a letter to the Spectator, “We have referendums …. for a reason, which is that they are a peaceful means of resolving our differences. If the Brexit vote is overridden, then the resolution of our differences afterwards is less likely to be peaceful”.

NEU activist in a personal capacity and Brent Central CLP member