Express & Star comment: Confusion reigns over Brexit battlelines
Brexit, sorted. In just six months.
All voters need to do is elect Jeremy Corbyn into Number 10. He says: “It really isn’t that complicated.”
Labour’s policy on Brexit? Consistent, clear, and showing unity of purpose. None of those apply, which throws immense doubt on Mr Corbyn’s claim.
Even many longstanding Labour supporters are confused by the party’s policy and it’s not even that clear where Mr Corbyn stands personally.
It is telling that while the Tories have been through a succession of Brexit Secretaries, who all believed in Brexit, Labour’s Shadow Brexit Secretary, Sir Keir Starmer, has remained resolutely at his post – despite being a Remainer.
So Labour’s policy depends on who you ask in the Shadow Cabinet. However, it seems to go like this. An incoming Labour administration would negotiate a new deal which “protects jobs” with the European Union. This, we are supposed to believe, would take only a few weeks.
That is a surprising timescale when you think that the current deal on the table, which largely uses Theresa May’s as a template, took around two years to negotiate, and they would have to rip that up and start again from scratch.
There would then be a referendum pitching Remain against a credible alternative, that is, Labour’s deal. And Labour might not – and the signs are probably would not – campaign for the deal it had itself negotiated.
Which raises the question of how it could be classed as a credible alternative, if those who negotiated it did not themselves believe in it.
In fact, for a UK government to negotiate a deal on behalf of the UK that it does not itself believe in would be a monumental act of bad faith.
This is of course just the beginning of the electoral promises that will bombard us in the days and weeks to come.
The only saving grace is that it isn’t that long until the election. And many people are now so cynical about the state of politics that they will probably treat most promises with the scepticism they deserve.