‘Corbyn’s fault’ & the EU Referendum

In Uncategorized on June 7, 2016 by kmflett

Corbyn’s fault and the EU Referendum


For Corbynphobics anything they don’t like in the world is due to something Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn has done or not done. That includes of course the weather (Jeremy Corbyn’s brother Piers is a well-known and very successful commercial weather forecaster). Childish? Well, yes, but also something that has purchase in the media and perhaps surprisingly the liberal media not least some journalists on the Guardian.

So it was that a Guardian journalist tweeted on 6th June (this was their personal not professional opinion) that the opinion polls on the European Referendum seemed to be (slightly) favouring Brexit. If this occurred it would of course be Corbyn’s fault.

Corbyn, previously no fan of Europe, has taken a similar line to that which Harold Wilson did in 1975. Wilson said that he was only 51%-49% in favour of being in Europe but it was just that leaving was a bit worse than staying. Wilson won a 2-1 majority for staying.

Don’t expect to read this in the media. Most journalists unfortunately struggle to remember last week (as do I, that’s what archives and historians are for) let alone what happened 40 years ago.

Corbyn has in fact made a number of pro-Europe speeches although the person actually heading up the Labour ‘In’ campaign is Alan Johnson.

But there may be a wider method to Corbyn’s approach.

On 5th June the BBC Parliament channel ran a series of programmes about the 1975 Referendum. One was a brief interview with newly elected Tory leader Margaret Thatcher. She was asked why she had not played a more prominent part in the campaign to remain in Europe. She replied that she had made policy speeches but others were also involved.

In reality of course she had judged that the 1975 Referendum was centrally a dispute within the Labour Party and the labour movement. Why would the Tories want to get centrally involved?

Likewise one suspects that Corbyn notes the ‘blue on blue’ character of the current EU debate and has taken the same general view as Mrs Thatcher from the opposite perspective.

A little complicated for some Corbynphobics to grasp? I rather think so unfortunately

One might finally note that the world might have looked a bit different if Corbyn had campaigned for a left exit but perhaps for the reasons noted above amongst others he hasn’t.


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