“E-Useless: Corbyn Hits Out At ‘One Way’ Brexit – We can do better than this, Labour leader says” was the front page headline in the 19 November Morning Star.
Predictably, the pro-hard Brexit (sorry, “Lexit”) paper liked Corbyn’s interview on Sky News’s Sophy Ridge on Sunday (18 November), in which he’d opined “We’ll vote against (May’s) deal because it doesn’t meet our tests.”
For those who lack a photographic memory, Labour’s tests include obtaining the “exact same benefits” as EU membership — a comment once made by David (“thick as mince, lazy as a toad”) Davis when he was Brexit minister.
“We’re quoting back at them what they said,” Corbyn explained to Ms Ridge: “and we believe it to be possible.”
But why would the EU give a non-member the exact same benefits as members, even when asked to by Jeremy? Jean-Claude Juncker has said it’s not possible: “That was his view and we have a different view.”
So does Jeremy think that no Brexit would be better than no deal? “I don’t think that’s an option we’re going to get given,” he replied, as if he was an impartial bystander in all of this and not an active participant in the debate.
Can Brexit be stopped? Jeremy had told Der Spiegel that it couldn’t, but then Keir Starmer jumped up and said it could (no wonder the Morning Star doesn’t like him).
So would Jeremy, having voted Remain, like to stop Brexit? asked Sophy Ridge: “I don’t think you call a referendum and then say you don’t like the result and go away from it” he replied. But then two sentences later: “All options are on the table in the future.”
So if there was a second referendum, how would he vote? “I don’t how I’m going to vote, and what the options would be at that time.”
So Corbyn’s position (as approved by the Morning Star) is that he would get a better deal in three months than the government has managed in two years by asking more nicely, but if he needed longer he could use the transition period to renegotiate the withdrawal agreement that must be agreed for the transition period to come into effect and he doesn’t like the Brexit deal agreed by Brussels, because it doesn’t provide the exact same benefits of EU membership which he dislikes anyway because of state aid and competition rules, but remaining is not necessarily better than leaving with no deal at all, and the outcome of the referendum must be respected but all options remain on the table, but a second referendum is not an option for today but could be tomorrow, and if it comes he doesn’t know how he would vote.
In other words, Corbyn is basically pro-Brexit, despite the fudge that concealed an overwhelming anti-Brexit majority at Labour’s conference.
The Morning Star is desperately trying to mobilise support for Corbyn’s betrayal of the wishes of Labour’s anti- Brexit majority by (for instance) repeating over and over again that EU membership would make impossible Labour’s plans for renationalisation of rail and other forms of state intervention in the economy. This claim has been disproved time and again, but they keep repeating it.
The 19 November Morning Star carried an article by one Kevin Nelson, suggesting that last year the UK government “was reportedly constrained” from paying the costs of back pay to care workers who’d been underpaid for working sleep-in shifts, “by concerns that such a move would be subject to state aid rules, which it would need to discuss with the European Commission.”
Note the weasel words “reportedly”, “concerns” and “need to discuss”.
In fact, the “concerns” and the “need to discuss” the matter had been raised by the Tory government itself, searching for an excuse not to make the payments.
And in any case, the matter was never put to the test because (disgracefully) in July of this year the UK court of appeal (note: not the EU) ruled that the payments need not be made. But why let boring old facts get in the way of a good anti-EU scare story, eh?
Corbyn’s two key advisers, Andrew Murray and Seumas Milne, are basically Morning Star supporters, whispering in Corbyn’s ear about the “will of the people” and the dangers of free movement. Sadly, he seems to be listening to them.
* Thanks to Matt Chorley (of the Red Box) for providing details of the Sophy Ridge interview, and the concise description of Corbyn’s present position on Brexit.