8 January 2018

Brexit: Corbyn should reject Leavers' arguments

Jeremy Corbyn should not respect the reasons most Leaver voted for Brexit

It is worth examining the argument, often heard, that the Labour leadership is right to back Brexit because seven out ten of Labour seats voted for Leave.

First numbers. Yes, 70% of Labour MPs may have a majority of their constituents who voted Leave, but that does not mean that a majority of the Labour voters in those seats backed Brexit. Sure, in the post-industrial towns of England, there are some seats where a majority of Labour voters probably did back Leave, but it is fewer than the touted 70% of Labour seats.

The vast majority of Brexit votes were cast for one of the following reasons, or both. First, Brexit would yield an economic advantage for ordinary people. Well, this argument is simply wrong. The other reason was the attraction of xenophobic nationalism.

So when Jeremy Corbyn talks about respecting the referendum decision, it is legitimate to ask, which of those two motivations for Brexit should be respected and promoted by Labour? Economic fallacies, or respect for xenophobic nationalism?

Those who support Corbyn and the Left, but are utterly opposed to British nationalism and xenophobia, need organisations to starting fighting within Labour (and outside it) for the policies and values in which we believe.

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