man the ballot-boxes

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Following Emily Thornberry’s admission on last week’s Question Time, several of you have understandably enjoyed taking the mickey out of the Labour Party’s continued position of constructive ambiguity (aka attempting to be all things to all people). For those of you who may have missed it, Ms Thornberry explained that when Labour wins an up-and-coming general election, the plan will be to return to Brussels in order to negotiate a ‘better’ deal than the one currently on offer. When this is somewhat implausibly achieved they’ll come back to Parliament and campaign against that deal. The subsequent promised referendum, allowing the choice of ‘all-new-improved negotiated deal Brexit’ (that, remember, they’re campaigning against) or Remain, will be campaigned under the banner of the latter option. Even Fiona Bruce had to ask Emily to clarify the position, twice.

However, thinking about it over the weekend, I kinda somehow get it. Labour believes/hopes that a Brexit deal better than Theresa May’s is possible, and we’ll certainly see if that’s the case over the next five weeks as The Hulk gets angrier and angrier. It also anticipates, somewhat prematurely it has to be said, that even this improved deal would be worse than Remain. Nonetheless, it would like to give the people the final say on these two options: Remain or Brexit with an enhanced deal.

Whatever your view now is, it’s hard to deny that said imminent general election is anything but a proxy single-issue referendum where polarised positions are currently being adopted: Tories/UKIP/Brexit Party out without a deal; Lib Dems/SNP/Plaid Cymru/Greens remain without a referendum; Labour remains but at least with a choice. Theoretically, it’s difficult to argue against this democratic position but it just ain’t going to win them many friends, or many votes for that matter. And let’s not forget that, in reality, all positions, including Remain,  are merely a way of entering the next phase of negotiations, all with very different potential outcomes. My, what a divided country we truly are.