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Remainers! Stop Blaming Corbyn for Brexit!

Anti-Brexit protests: Placards depicting Theresa May and Jeremy Corbyn
Anti-Brexit protests: Placards depicting Theresa May and Jeremy Corbyn (Screengrab / France 24)

I’ve had it with unreasonable Remainers!

Opinion article after opinion article, politician after politician, criticize Jeremy Corbyn for his management of the Brexit dilemma, and demand that at a minimum, he must support a second referendum at all costs. Any wavering would be a “betrayal” to the country, especially to his young supporters who predominantly call for a people’s vote. What are they thinking?

There’s no question that the United Kingdom would be better off if it remains within the Union. Even the government admits that the UK would be worse off under any Brexit scenario. So rallying for a People’s Vote is definitely the sensible thing to do. But what doesn’t make any sense is blaming the leader of the opposition for this predicament.

When Theresa May realized that her botched deal was dead after failing to pass it for the third time, she announced on Tuesday that she will hold talks with Corbyn to reach a compromise. Several Remainer MPs pounced on the news and demanded in an open letter that Jeremy Corbyn must make “a referendum his bottom line in talks with Theresa May.” They add:

It is not Labour’s job to rescue Theresa May and usher in her successor. We need a general election to kick out the Tories. It is our job to find a find a way to break the deadlock. In our view, the only way to do that is with a public vote.

But there’s a grave problem with this line of thinking. Do they not realize Jeremy Corbyn has no power to force a general election? Did they forget that when he tried, his motion of no-confidence failed? Do they not recognize that there are not enough votes in the House of Commons in support of a second referendum, which was twice rejected, including by members from the Labour party representing leave constituencies?

These untenable demands will guarantee a no-deal scenario. Theresa May is not going to concede on a second referendum under any circumstance. She has insisted that “Brexit means Brexit.” Supporting a referendum would undoubtedly split the Conservative Party apart. She would rather move ahead with a no-deal scenario, which has the astonishing support of at least 44 percent of UK voters, including the support from a quarter of Labour voters.

The damaging impacts of a no-deal scenario to the British economy is significant. the Economist reports:

The reality is that no deal amounts to a very bad deal, as our briefing this week spells out. It would rip up 45 years of arrangements with the continent that in living memory has gone from existential threat to vital ally. It would swap membership of the EU’s single market for the most bare-bones trading relationship possible. Reneging on £39bn ($50bn) in obligations to the EU would devastate Britain’s international credibility. Reaching no deal on the Irish border would test the Good Friday Agreement that ended a serious armed conflict. And the violent dislocation of nearly every legal arrangement between Britain and Europe would affect daily life like nothing outside wartime.

Jeremy Corbyn has a duty to prevent such a scenario from occurring at all costs. And if that means that he will have to reach a compromise without the option of a second referendum to avert a national crisis, then he should pursue it with his head raised high.

Written by Salam Morcos

Salam Morcos is a Managing Editor of Progressive Army and a member of its Editorial Board.

Political activist for democracy, social justice, racial justice, women's right and human rights.

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Remainers! Stop Blaming Corbyn for Brexit!