Rewriting history on Brexit

Submitted by AWL on 29 January, 2020 - 12:22 Author: Jim Denham

On 13 December, CWU general secretary Dave Ward was quoted in the front page lead story of the Morning Star as saying “Labour got it wrong on Brexit. Millions of people who know the economy, the world of work and politics in general isn’t working for them saw the move to a second referendum as a betrayal and final straw.”

Unite union general secretary Len McCluskey, in an article for Huffington Post, published on the same day stated “It is Labour’s slow-motion collapse into the arms of the People’s Vote movement and others who have never accepted the democratic decision of June 2016 for a single moment which has caused this defeat.”

Yet, as Private Eye has pointed out, Labour’s final policy – negotiating a new Brexit deal and putting it to a referendum without stating which side it would take, “was actually drawn up by none other than, er, Dave Ward and Unite leader Len McCluskey, in an attempt to [prevent] Labour backing Remain outright.”

And in a New Statesman article last November Ward and McCluskey declared “Labour’s policy on Brexit is not only clear – it could and should be a vote-winner … its strengths are obvious … it offers both ‘leavers’ and ‘remainers’ what they want. It places Labour as the only party trying to speak to the whole country on this matter, looking beyond the binary division which so poisoned political life over the past few years. And it offers a democratic end to the national debater, putting people themselves in the driving seat.”

The confusion, hypocrisy and downright dishonesty of these “left” Brexiteers appears to know no bounds. But, I suppose, if you want to re-write history (including your own political history), your natural home will be amongst the specialists in that particular subject – the Stalinists of the CPB and the Morning Star.

The 20 January Morning Star carried a stern warning: “Divergence from EU rules, as announced by the Tory government yesterday, could be welcome but is unlikely to benefit working people unless a left-led government is elected, communists said yesterday.

“Communist Party of Britain general secretary Robert Griffiths warned that Prime Minister Boris Johnson will not have the interests of the people in mind when making key decisions after the country leaves the EU on Friday.”

Really? Stop the presses! And ponder the chances of a “left-led government” being elected before... Friday 31 January.

Meanwhile, Alex Gordon, the front-man for the CPB’s pro-Brexit LeFT (Leave-Fight-Transform) campaign, had fewer reservations: writing in the Star on Thursday 23rd, he felt able to quote (approvingly) Unison North West regional secretary Kevan Nelson saying that “the recent general election is not a zero-sum game: irrespective of Labour’s drubbing, the fact we are leaving is a case for celebration for all democrats.” You can’t help wondering, sometimes, what some of these so-called “Lexit” people actually did in the privacy of the voting booth on 12 December.

Another pro-Brexit contributor, Chelley Ryan (25-26 Jan) did at least give us the first time (in my recollection) that a Star writer has acknowledged that immigration played a significant role in the Brexit vote. Labour, she argued, should have “pledged to implement Brexit ourselves, just a slightly softer version which would protect jobs, while still giving us the freedom to control immigration, a strong driver for the Brexit vote.”

Case for celebration? Unless you’re a migrant. Or an internationalist.

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