Thursday 7 February 2019

A Laboured Trap for May?

Corbyn's oh-so-helpful list of 5-points that are required for Labour to support May has the smell of the candle about it - a plan carefully hatched in the back office with the aim of clawing back some of the ground he has lost over the past two weeks.  It has limited objectives:  after days of total Parliamentary irrelevance, and negative vibes coming from even the Corbyn faithful - get onto the front pages in a broadly constructive light.  Tripping up May would be a bonus.

Tone is easy: a halfway decent speechwriter can do 'constructive'.  But when it comes to actual content, it can't help falling into the classic Corbyn dilemma:  he definitely wants out, but metro-Labour definitely doesn't.  So he ends up with the feeblest of BRINO which (a) pisses everyone off; and (b) is the most blatant Trotskyite 'impossibilism'.  And it faces the distinct possibility of lingering no more than 24 hours in the fast-moving news pages.

In that brief window, could it trip May, though?  Here's how one intelligent, ever-hopeful lefty parses it, as optimistically as she can.
The case in favour of the five demands sees Theresa May’s chances of either replacing the backstop or securing a time-limit/unilateral withdrawal ability as non-existent. Corbyn’s letter quashes the notion that Labour wants to “frustrate” Brexit and applies further pressure on the government to implement a soft exit. This is the choice that the Prime Minister has faced since the start: leave with no deal and be responsible for chaos, or pivot to Labour’s plan. Both options seem unbelievable. Either way, the Tories split. That seems like a win-win ...
As we've seen a hundred times, May can scarcely engage with anyone without trying to agree with them; so whenever she's been equipped with a nicely-crafted piece of 'constructive ambiguity', her next partisan interlocutor demands she clarify it in the direction they want it to be understood.  And, ever-obedient to whomever is looking sternly at her at a given point in time, she complies (see her trip to NI for just the latest example).   So for her strategy team, the whole 'Corbyn Plan' issue is simply to sound equally constructive for a day or so, and then let fresh weekend headlines take over.  She's hardly going to supplicate, on the back of this, for the Art.50 delay that would be needed to negotiate it.  (Is she ??)

So it shouldn't trouble the scorers at all, still less "split the Tories".  As our Labour pundit is forced to conclude:  
... but Corbyn’s proposal – which looks a lot like the unhappy compromise of ‘Norway Plus’ – does leave many on the left, from Lexiteers to People’s Vote campaigners, wondering ‘what’s the point?’.

Answer: it's the best he's got, to maintain a respectable profile whilst biding his time for the only real strategy he and McDonnell have ever had, viz letting chaos reign and have it squarely blamed on the wicked Tories.  Part 2 of this plan, of course, it for them both to survive long enough to win the next GE.  Can they hang around until 2022, though?



andrew said...

(b) is the most blatant Trotskyite 'impossibilism'
pointed out by most who actually read the note.

also, when the GE does come and they try to blame it all on the cons

- it was a time of national crisis
- it was a minority govt
- when the country needed you where were you
that's right
- supporting Maduro, a murderous despot who claimed to be a socialist
- and russia
- and anti-semites

he will only ever persuade people who already agree with him.

Nick Drew said...

andrew - you are Gavin Barwell & I claim my £5 !

E-K said...

The fact is... she can't even shake off a communist tramp. He's still there. Still a contender.

Actually I think it's a clever bit of positioning by her. She'd be toast by now otherwise.

I keep saying. She's not the dimwit you lot think she is. A very sly and devious woman.

andrew said...

Not sure I could cope with the promotion
or the big shiny forehead

Nick Drew said...

Actually, andrew, it'd be no promotion

Like the Boy Osborne, he's a strategist alright - but a poor one. At just the time when we need an Alanbrooke or a Marshall as CoS.