Charlatan Boris Johnson seems set to win the Tory management on the premise of his declaration that the UK should depart the EU by 31 October, “do or die”. Some declare he’s merely crowd-pleasing and that, in Quantity 10, he’ll be reworked right into a mature statesman. That’s nonsense. Johnson is aware of that the Brexit social gathering represents an existential menace to the Conservatives, and that the one solution to burst the Farage bubble is to ship Brexit. His two overriding priorities will due to this fact be to keep away from extending article 50 and to make sure there isn’t any basic election whereas the UK continues to be an EU member.
We’re due to this fact staring down the barrel of a catastrophic no-deal crash-out, which can do the best hurt to essentially the most fragile communities, compromise our nationwide safety and shake the valuable Irish peace course of to its foundations. MPs can huff and puff all they like, however they’re powerless now that the mechanisms used to grab management of the order paper are not out there. Tory MPs speak about being ready to overthrow their very own authorities, however will they actually usher in a Jeremy Corbyn premiership?
The Brexiters say they’ll drive the EU to collapse and drop the backstop by “threatening”’ no deal. However they know that is an empty menace as a result of the EU’s means to soak up the shock of no deal is much higher than ours. The EU stance will proceed: first resolve the divorce gadgets, then we are able to speak in regards to the future relationship.
Lots who advocate a second referendum or revoking article 50 have refused to tolerate any type of Brexit, blocking compromises after which dismissing the withdrawal settlement invoice (WAB) out of hand. As a consequence, 160,000 Tory no-deal hardliners will resolve our destiny – a textbook case of purists insisting that essentially the most fascinating should block the tolerable.
But even Johnson is lastly understanding the disastrous implications of a no deal. He now says that his “choice” is to depart with a deal. However he has not but recognised that the WAB is the one viable possibility on any desk.
The WAB is much from ultimate. But due to concessions to calls for made by Labour throughout cross-party talks it does present the one possible technique of stopping no deal. There’s a draft statutory dedication to a customs union till the following basic election, to employees’ rights, to environmental requirements, and even provision for a binding vote on whether or not the deal must be put to a confirmatory public vote. I’ve profound reservations a couple of second referendum, however with a purpose to break the impasse and keep away from the chaos of no deal I’d take into account compromising. The WAB is the one pathway to a different referendum, and I merely don’t perceive why advocates of one other public vote can’t see this actuality.
So, no matter whether or not your precedence is to stop no deal, to hunt a deal-based Brexit or to safe a second referendum, the WAB is now the one sport on the town. All else is simply unicorn-hunting and virtue-signalling. Labour’s management ought to due to this fact declare now that if the brand new prime minister had been to desk the WAB then Labour MPs can be whipped to help it.
Why assist to dig the Tories out of this gap? As a result of we should put the nation first. However there may be additionally a political level: a basic election earlier than Brexit can be simply as disastrous for Labour as for the Tories. It will be fully dominated by Brexit, and would due to this fact overwhelmingly profit single-issue opportunists akin to Farage, the Lib Dems and the nationalists.
Brexit is tipping us right into a tradition battle. We should reclaim our politics from the snake-oil salesmen and re-centre it on the important problems with justice, alternative, safety and prosperity. The withdrawal settlement invoice is a lifeline that Labour ought to grasp with each arms.
• Stephen Kinnock is Labour MP for Aberavon and a member of the choose committee on Exiting the European Union