It has often felt since the EU Referendum that Jeremy Corbyn and Labour can please nobody when it comes to Brexit.
This is despite the fact that, as the commentator Maya Goodfellow put it in December, “Labour didn’t cause Brexit, is not in charge of it and yet the party has the shrewdest position.”
In fact, since the Brexit vote, the Labour leader has had a clear position of opposing the Tory idea a ‘bargain basement,’ tax-haven Britain post-Brexit, where Brexit is used to make the current inequalities and insecurities facing people even worse. In contrast, Labour’s leader has emphasised again and again that his clear priority is protecting jobs and living standards.
This focus was further elaborated by Jeremy’s speech this week where he argued that Labour’s “priority is to get the best deal for people’s jobs, living standards and the economy,” adding that Labour rejects “any race to the bottom in workers’ rights, environmental safeguards, consumer protections or food safety standards.”
Unite the Union general secretary Len McCluskey was amongst those to praise the speech and outline the clear choice between the two main parties on Brexit, saying “on the one hand, there is Labour which has pledged to build on the trading arrangements presently supporting millions of jobs in this country, “and “on the other hand, there are the Tories who are quite clearly putting their own party interests above those of the nation.”
Labour’s focus on living standards is also in line with the clear priority of its election manifesto ‘For the many, not the few’ last year, which articulated Labour’s clear alternative economic strategy based on investment in our future.
Britain’s economy has been severely damaged by eight years of the Tories’ ideologically-driven austerity. Already, a cost-of-living crisis is deepening, with wages still lower today than they were a decade ago.
Now, they are letting the overwhelming majority of people down– both leave and remain voters- with their reckless approach to the Brexit negotiations.
As GMB General secretary Tim Roache said this week “Squabbling ministers and a weakened Prime Minister have put UK jobs at risk.”
Since he was elected Labour leader in 2015 – and the base of the labour movement resisted the forces of the political and economic establishment’s attempted ‘chicken coup’ the year after – Jeremy Corbyn’s regular ‘New Labour’ critics (including of course Tony Blair himself) have again and again said Corbyn’s approach to different ley issues is damaging Labour. This reached alarmist proportion before the General Election, where hysterical voices started to say Labour was going to be wiped out by the Lib Dems to its Europe stance.
In fact on issue after issue Jeremy’s stance has chimed with the public. Now, as the Tories descend into chaos and try desperately to cling on to their coalition of misery with the DUP, with his clear focus on prioritising living standards – as reflected both in this week’s speech on the Brexit negotiations and Labour’s ‘investment-based economic strategy – Jeremy Corbyn continues to show that only Labour will deliver for the majority.
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