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The data says Corbyn is right.....

In recent weeks, the Remain side in the Brexit debate has taken on a febrile assumption that the country is now overwhelmingly pro-Remain and that Corbyn should stop fannying about and tell the world he will unilaterally chuck Brexit in the bin. It is clear, so the narrative goes, that a great number of Labour's votes in the recent General Election were cast tactically to help stop Brexit (even though the manifesto said it would respect the EU Referendum, so that's a bit odd). The truth is somewhat different.

In my previous blog (here: I talked about what I believed the Corbyn Strategy to be, but ever since I have been assailed by interlocutors (almost entirely the same people who I spent months fighting off as they ridiculed and abused Corbyn) determined to suggest that Corbyn has the Remain voters to thank and should honour their wishes immediately. However, Lord Ashcroft conducted a sizeable post-election poll of 14,000 people ( that attempted to define the reasons why people voted as they did. Among many interesting findings, including that 35% of the Labour vote were Leavers, the poll suggests that few Labour voters had Brexit as their number one reason for voting Labour. Further, the number one reason for voting Labour was trust for the motives of the party. For Conservative voters, the primary reason was that they thought the party they voted for would handle EU negotiations better. Most startling in the context of this argument is that only 8% of Labour voters said Brexit was the most important issue when it came to deciding how to vote in this election, compared to 48% of Conservative voters. All of which lends a lie to the idea that Labour's unexpected relative success in the election has Remainers to thank. 

It is true that 68% of Labour voters were Remainers, but it should also be noted that 33% of Labour voters said they wanted Brexit to happen as soon as possible, 24% said they accepted Brexit and 43% said they would like it stopped. And that final figure is the crucial one: when the 43% grows to something like 65% (and you can be sure Labour are monitoring that) then you may well see some shift from Corbyn towards the idea of actively preventing Brexit. As it stands, a majority (57%) of Labour voters want or have accepted brexit and it is difficult for Corbyn to know precisely how those who accept Brexit will react if he goes against the 'democratic' decision of the referendum. 

What Ashcroft's poll suggests above all is that the great majority of people who voted Labour did so with other issues foremost in their minds, they want a better society, Brexit or not. As loathsome as I find Brexit, I would have to concur that I am of the same mind. Yet I am also very optimistic that a Labour government, in the driving seat of power, will respond to a shift in mood should it be significant enough not to cause greater division and upset in the country. And a Labour Brexit, despite the hysterical caricature of it as being no different to a Tory one, would be far preferable.

Now, many say to me that this all suits Corbyn, that he really wants to leave the EU. But I don't think he does, even though he has his doubts about aspects of it. He also knows his PLP is largely pro-EU and the manifesto gives him a very profound get-out device in the 'truly meaningful vote in parliament' policy.  What Corbyn is above all doing, is allowing the Tories to make a hash of things and not giving them sticks with which to beat him. Whilst we all want the Brexit lunacy consigned to the dustbin, we have to accept that there are millions in the country who want it, and in the realm of electoral success, Corbyn unequivocally plays the right game. His eight percent lead in the latest polls suggests he is spot on. Even though I believe his Brexit stance to be utterly different to the Tory one, it seems blindingly obvious to me that the only way to stop the insanity is for us to have a Labour government and to do that, Corbyn cannot piss on his own shoes: it makes no sense whatsoever. 


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