Rearguard fight by Labour’s Brexiters

Submitted by AWL on 3 July, 2019 - 12:43 Author: Jim Denham

The wretched Skwawkbox blog, as ever representing the most craven and regressive forces within the apolitical Corbyn fan club, is presently promoting an open letter to Tom Watson, penned by one Chelley Ryan:

“One of the likely reasons we have lost support over Brexit, is because many MPs like yourself, refuse to put the case for our sensible compromise position” bleats Chelley.

Skwawkbox’s editor, the businessman Steve Walker, can scarcely contain his enthusiasm:

“An open letter to Tom Watson about his behaviour regarding Brexit – condemning it, detailing the damage it is causing and reminding him that he does not speak for Labour’s membership – has been signed by almost 1,200 Labour members in just three days...

“It reminds Watson that Labour is not the party of Liberals, who hold working-class voters in contempt – and that Labour cannot and must not adopt an anti-Brexit position that would make a mockery of its standing as the party of the many, let alone one that would inevitably cost the party the general election win that the many so desperately need.”

Here we have all the familiar tropes of the worst elements of the Corbyn fanclub and its Stalinist, pro-Brexit handlers:

• That to oppose Brexit is “liberal”, holding the working class “in contempt”
• That (despite all the evidence), Labour’s members support “constructive ambiguity”
• That because the likes of Tom Watson advocate a clear pro-Remain position, it is therefore a right wing stance.

All these propositions are demonstrable nonsense and fly in the face of Labour’s 2018 conference policy (which was itself a bureaucratic fudge designed to appease but effectively neutralise the overwhelming pro-Remain and pro-public-vote wishes of the membership).

But who, exactly, is this Chelley Ryan, self-proclaimed “ordinary”, “working-class” Labour party member who claims to have voted Remain in 2016 (OK: I’ll take her word for that), but now to be repelled by the approach being taken by those opposing Brexit?

Well, we know that she has a blog (“Turning The Tide”), is a prolific tweeter, gets her stuff (including this open letter to Watson) published in the Morning Star quite frequently, and runs a small business (“holistic therapy”, in Worthing).

A couple of quotes tell us a lot about this “ordinary” “working-class” salt-of-the earth Corbyn supporter, as she describes herself. Here’s something from her blog:

“I’ve been a member of numerous Corbyn supporting Facebook groups for several years. In all that time I have not seen one threatening, anti-semitic or racist remark. So how have I missed all the virulent, vile abuse making the headlines at the moment? I’m not saying it doesn’t exist, and I condemn it where it does...”

Then there’s this from her blog (also published in the Morning Star, April 28 2019):

“To make it crystal clear, I won’t be voting for the Brexit Party. If a party has Farage in it, I could not vote for it. I’m Labour and will be voting Labour as long as it has a socialist leader.

“And I understand why people are angry with Galloway and feel he’s legitimising Farage with his decision, though arguably you could say a left presence in this new party might water down some of the Farage narrative the way the Blairites in our party water down ours...”

To which one can only respond, “Why, as a loyal Labour member, would you want to see a ‘left presence’ in the Brexit party and how do you think such a presence could possibly water down the ‘Farage narrative’?”

And just in case anyone thinks Chelley’s apparent tendresse towards the Brexit Party and the renegade pseudo-leftist George Galloway is just a matter of one clumsily-worded blog-post, here’s what she tweeted at about the same time:

“These Blairites pointing fingers of judgement over George Galloway backing the Brexit Party, are the same MPs who backed the Tories austerity programme before JC came along. I want the Brexit party to contain diverse voices from left & right so it’s not just the Farage show”.

It is, of course, quite possible that Chelley Ryan is not a conscious agent of Skwawkbox, Murphy, Milne and all those bent upon undermining the internationalist, anti-racist instincts of the vast majority of the Labour party’s membership. She may, indeed, be a “useful idiot”.

Frankly, I don’t really care. The important thing is to defeat these reactionary forces and ensure that at this year’s Labour conference there is no fudge and we come out clearly for Remain and a new public vote.

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