5 Days Remaining

Saturday 1st
posted by Morning Star in Editorial

LABOUR leader Jeremy Corbyn will address the multitudes today in London at the NotOneDayMore #ToriesOut national demonstration organised by the People’s Assembly Against Austerity.

After a much better than expected general election result, when Labour took a number of seats from the Tories, reducing them to a minority government, greater numbers of people believe that another way is possible, that austerity can be ended.

Thursday’s victory for women denied abortion rights in Northern Ireland gave a clear signal that, even with Democratic Unionist Party assistance, Theresa May’s government can be outflanked.

There are so many issues, not least over the European Union, on which the Tory-DUP majority can be unpicked — exposing May to compromise, confusion and defeat.

Yet amid triumph, a self-indulgent group of Labour MPs put their own arrogance and self-importance before the greater good by supporting Chuka Umunna’s amendment pushing continued UK membership of the EU internal market and customs union.

Corbyn has a strategy to leave the EU based on prioritising jobs and seeking similar mutual trade conditions with the European bloc as currently exist.

His approach is based on honouring the decision taken by the electorate in the EU referendum, of understanding that membership of the internal market and customs union is incompatible with leaving the EU and calculating that the EU27 will favour a new arrangement that doesn’t destabilise a trading relationship currently weighted in their favour.

Labour supporters will not understand why Umunna and company should choose to behave in this way.

This is the same Umunna who regarded internal market membership as disposable last September when advocating opposition to free movement of people.

At a time when even a parliamentary novice should understand the need to dent Tory unity, his amendment gathered Labour, Liberal Democrat, Scottish and Welsh nationalists, a Green and Independent but left the Tories and their DUP allies unscathed.

If the intention of the Umunna faction — for that is what it is — was really to harm the Tories, it was an abject failure.

The suspicion of many Labour members and voters is that malevolence rather than incompetence lay at the heart of this Charge of the Lightweight Brigade political farce.

Corbyn has emerged from the general election campaign with new-found authority and respect, having addressed mass rallies across Britain, shamed May over his prompt engagement with the survivors of Grenfell Tower and displayed superior leadership in the House of Commons.

Anyone looking to undermine the new relationship between the party leader and the Parliamentary Labour Party would have opted to reopen old wounds linked to the EU, as the Blairite fifth column did.

Were they trying to persuade Lord Sainsbury that Progress is alive and kicking and that he should start writing cheques again?

Whatever the justification put forward by movers or supporters, no-one could claim ignorance that the likely outcome would be “Tories in turmoil” headlines transforming swiftly into “Labour riven by Brexit.”

But whereas such a stab in the back three months ago might have thrown Labour into confusion, times have changed.

Corbyn’s swift action in sacking three junior shadow ministers stamped his authority on the PLP, while former opponents, including Tom Watson and Stephen Kinnock, dissociated themselves from Umunna and criticised his decision.

Today’s mass activity, with Corbyn at its heart, confirms Labour’s current political reality and offers a new inclusiveness to all who put previous manoeuvres behind them.