The real reason Jeremy Corbyn wants Brexit

Andrew Lilico of the Telegraph does Jeremy Corbyn an injustice. He writes,

Jeremy Corbyn will not stop no-deal, because he believes it’s his only route to power

Given that Corbyn could have forced a pre-no deal general election by holding a confidence motion on July 25, but his not doing so has made no deal hugely more likely, why didn’t he?

Here I must interject that unlike Lilico I do not believe for a moment that Corbyn could have won a Vote of No Confidence on July 25. For Corbyn to have won a VONC, several Tories would have had to side with him. For a Conservative MP to vote out a Conservative Prime Minister literally on his first full day of office would have been too spectacular a reversal of their loyalties.

Be that as it may, Lilico then argues that,

There are two parts to the answer. First, he may have feared a ‘Boris bounce’ in the polls, if an election had been held immediately upon Boris’ appointment. Some recent polls have shown Labour on barely more than 20 per cent (sometimes lower) and post-Boris polls have the Tories up as high as 30 per cent. Forcing a general election that gave Boris a majority to implement no deal could have backfired.

But the more fundamental reason is that Corbyn really sees no deal as an opportunity, not a threat. He doesn’t actually care whether the UK remains in the EU or not, provided he is not seen as responsible for either outcome. What he cares about is the overthrow of the current economic and political system and the introduction of a True Socialist state. Brexit is intrinsically a distraction, but in practical terms an opportunity.

The best outcome, from the point of view of promoting Corbyn’s vision, is a general election held at the maximum point of disruption post-no deal. He wants an election to be held, if possible, with strikes crippling public services, food shelves empty in the shops, medicine shortages at the pharmacies, chaos in Northern Ireland, and lorries backed up at the Channel. Then he can say: Capitalism has failed; give Socialism a chance.

I do not think it’s the case that Jeremy Corbyn is a cynical Disaster Socialist, although he cannot help but be aware that if disaster ensues he will stand to benefit.

But he does want Brexit. Firstly because he has wanted to be out of the EEC/EC/EU all his political life and his conversion to Remain was half-hearted at best, false at worst. But far more important right now is that Brexit – any sort of Brexit – finally happening will, at a stroke, wipe out the biggest reason for voting Liberal Democrat. Brexit will do for Labour what it will do for the Conservatives: destroy their biggest rival’s main selling point.

Most Remainers are left wing. What’s the point of them voting Lib Dem to stop Brexit once Brexit has already happened? To shake their fists at Labour for not fighting harder? That would be a futile gesture, and expensive if their wasted vote allows the Conservatives to gain by splitting the left wing vote. True, a hard core of Remainers will gird their loins and start the long campaign to rejoin the European Union. The Liberal Democrats will become the party of Rejoin, and as such will have a secure niche in British politics for decades to come. But faced with a choice between a long and possibly fruitless campaign and the best chance socialism has had in years, most left wing Remainers will pivot back to simply being left wingers.

Updated: 8th August 2019 — 7:05 pm


  1. The biggest question for both parties is “When this whole BRExit thing calms down, will our BRExit/Remain exiles come back to us”?

    Because if they don’t and we’re looking at support for either Labour or the Tories below 30 percent for the forseeable future, then that makes the usual flip-flop from one to the other rather hard to achieve.

    Permanent domination by the Tories? Nope. They will screw that up as they always do. More likely that Labour will wash themselves clean of the Marxists and stage a comeback. The problem for Labour though is that comebacks tend to take a while.

    From the depths of Labour’s Marxist depravity in 1983 to the election of Tony Blair took the rejection of Michael Foot (lost 1983, 1987 GE’s) Neil Kinnock (Lost 1992 GE) and the death of John Smith, before Tony Bliar was able to reform Labour and make it an electable party of government once again.

    I suspect that Labour is still on the outward swing of unpopularity and will get a lot more unelectable under the post-Corbyn leadership of John McDonnell, Tom Watson or Richard Leonard, none of whom are particularly appealing to the electorate at large.

    My current expectation is that we’ll see BRExit actually happen, simply because the treason of Grieve and Hammond isn’t sufficiently widespread for Tory MP’s to risk ejection from the Tory Party for supporting a Corbynite Vote of No Confidence.

    All this talk of “A Government of National Unity” to essentially defraud the electorate of the vote is just the late night carping of frustrated and embittered old men who know that their political careers are over without ever having achieved anything of substance.

    BoJo is no Churchill and certainly ain’t no Thatcher, but he isn’t Corbyn either. I think he will do okay if we can land a no deal BRExit in October.


  2. “… that makes the usual flip-flop from one to the other rather hard to achieve.”
    I don’t know about the situation in the UK, but in the US a major driver of who wins elections is not voters flipping from one party to another; it is voters deciding whether to vote or to sit on their hands. And that is in a 2 party system, much simpler than today’s UK.

    I think it was Oscar Wilde who, back in the days when US honeymooners usually went to the Niagara Falls, described the sight of those waterfalls as the ‘second great disappointment of American married life’.

    What about the disappointment of the motivated Brexiteers when they wake up on the Morning After and find out that the same kind of remote metropolitan Oxbridge Conservative & Labour tossers are still intruding into every corner of their lives? What about the annoyance of the 63% of UK voters who did not cast a vote for Leave when they wake up and realize — You put us through the last 3 years just for this?! It is only a guess, but the political situation in the UK following separation from the EU is likely to be quite unstable.

    Throw in Brexiteers failure to build public consensus on what governance changes are required after separation. And then throw in the First Past The Post voting system which can give surprising results if there are more than 2 serious candidates in the running. The chances of confusing times and some rough sledding ahead are larger than anyone should wish.

  3. What about the annoyance of the 63% of UK voters who did not cast a vote for Leave when they wake up and realize — You put us through the last 3 years just for this?

    I think the vast majority were either never engaged over BRExit one way or the other or have simply become bored with it and want it done. The ones still fighting for Leave or Remain are in a minority.

    It is only a guess, but the political situation in the UK following separation from the EU is likely to be quite unstable.

    I think it is likely to be a pretty accurate guess. The two parties have tried to do the “We’re different” thing for decades and all they’ve demonstrated is how similar they actually are. All of this collusion to overturn BRExit has been a rather distasteful illustration of that.

    All parties have shown themselves to have shockingly undemocratic elements to them and I can quite understand why support for both main parties is falling (and memberships are falling faster % wise)

    So yes, I think the next few elections and years in Parliament are going to be a rocky road for both the main parties.

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