Labour’s ebullient ex MP Austin Mitchell writes in his usual pithy style that “With the Labour conference over and the Euro-flag wavers returning to their care homes, it’s time to ask what the effect of the conference will be on Brexit. For me as a Brexiteer it was beneficial: I got two Brussels goody-bags containing ten quid’s worth of mints, phone chargers and assorted rubbish (but no wine from Jean-Claude) .
“For the rest, the legacy was messy: an excellent conference with a very optimistic mood and good policies marred only by an incomprehensible policy on Brexit. It came in two incompatible versions – the gospel according to St Jeremy and the runes of St Keir. The one allows for staying in, the other sets impossible conditions for coming out. Both open the way for a People’s Vote to allow some of the people to overrule the vote of all the people. This was a triumph for yesterday’s Blairites.
“Having denounced the first referendum as the result of ignorance, racism and Russian propaganda, they now say a second would be democratic because they see it as a way of ensuring that the EU will stop Corbyn’s radical economic policies by ensuring that every state aid to industry, every regional policy, every export boost, every takeover ban and every disgruntled business can be appealed to the European Court.
“The effect of this ambiguity will be to make it more difficult to get a good deal because it will convince the EU that it has no need to make concessions. Our Euro fifth column, the “Loud Remainers”, have already persuaded the EU that Brexit can be blocked. So why should they negotiate seriously when the Remainers are also convincing them that the Brits will stand on their heads and reverse their objections to the EU as the French, the Irish and the Swedes already have done?
“Far easier to remain obdurate and let Theresa twist in the wind. Both parties are divided on Brexit, but Labour’s ambivalence and its apparent willingness to betray the people left behind and the Labour regions who voted to come out, makes Brexit a party matter. It will strengthen the EU’s growing feeling that both Britain’s elite and its political machinery are incapable of doing what the electorate wants.
“Hopefully that will strengthen Theresa May’s determination to get Brexit. Her only alternatives are to get a satisfactory deal or face election defeat. That must mean toughing it out, facing the taunts of le Petit Napoleon , threatening no deal no pay, and facing up to the possibility of a deal-less departure. Oppositions can offer the best of all worlds. If governments don’t win, they’re out”.