Corbyn, Brexit and the Blairites’ Call for a Second Referendum

By Joseph Adams, RCIT Britain, 20.3.2018,




The decision to leave the European Union on the 23rd June 2016 is still causing shock waves amongst the two main political parties in Britain. Teresa May is determined to leave the European Union come what may, never mind the consequences. Discussions with the European powers have failed and May wants to leave.


Jeremy Corbyn, the left-reformist leader of the Labour party, has recently said that he wants a soft Brexit rather than a total separation. He has argued for the retention of a Customs union with Europe.


“Jeremy Corbyn had to achieve three things in this speech. The first was finessing the party’s position on the United Kingdom’s customs relationship with the European Union in order to facilitate an opportunity to defeat Theresa May in the House of Commons. And it largely succeeded on all three counts. As far as Labor’s point of disagreement with the government the gap between the two parties is not large though it is of vital importance as far as the Irish border goes. Both parties are seeking a bespoke arrangement after Brexit, but Labour are successfully leveraging the strength of two brands. The first is the party’s overall reputation as a kinder and nicer party than the Conservatives means that “Brexit, but nicer” is a winning message for them politically even if it may stretch plausibility in policy terms.” [1]


The Blairites of course want a second referendum, reject the decision of Brexit and remain within the EU. They support a single European market and a single currency where Britain can compete on the European markets. They have no interest in protecting workers rights or defending migrants and the oppressed from racist and chauvinist attacks. Of course the majority of Blairite MP’s refuse to resign their seats or lose their very lucrative parliamentary salary. Neither wing of the party concerns itself with the oppressed or migrants in Britain. Recently the Blairites have called for the introduction of identity cards – a most reactionary and racist suggestion


“Identity cards and reforms to freedom of movement could stop a hard Brexit, says Labour’s centrist pressure group Progress. More controversially, the editorial also calls for restrictions on EU workers that would see them register with authorities within days of entry and be asked to leave the UK if they haven’t found employment within three months. Labour MP Anna Turley endorses the idea of revisiting ID cards and she suggests Jeremy Corbyn’s call for digital citizen passports means he should back ID cards.” [2]


It has been reported that over 130,000 migrants are leaving Britain because of Brexit, immigration and the uncertainty of the situation.


The crisis of the May government continues over the question of the border with Northern Ireland. Northern Ireland voted to remain in the referendum showing clearly that they want a relationship with Eire, an EU member state, whereas the Tory government wants a fixed border ripping up the Good Friday agreement which brought the fighting between British Imperialism and the IRA to an end. Sinn Fein became part of the Northern Ireland executive together with the Democratic Unionist Party May’s allies.


“The Good Friday agreement was predicated on both Ireland and the United Kingdom being members of the European Union and the devolution settlement created a number of cross border institutions to facilitate political interaction in areas of common concern, both north and south. In the event of a Brexit such cross-border institutions would find it somewhat more difficult to work across the border and the sustainability of other existing EU programmes would need to be revisited. A Brexit would also deprive both the British and Irish governments of a regular and neutral venue, in the form of the European Council, whose meetings have provided the prime ministers of both Ireland and the United Kingdom to enhance Anglo-Irish relations and to discuss Northern Ireland.” [3]


Anna Soubry, a leading pro-European rebel, is proposing an amendment opposing Brexit. She has the support of 30 other Tory MP’s. Corbyn is considering supporting her and this would defeat the May Government on a major confidence issue. This could mean the resignation of May and her government and a general election being called.


“Jeremy Corbyn could use a key Brexit speech on Monday to pave the way for Labour to inflict a Commons defeat on the government, by backing a rebel Tory amendment seeking to keep Britain in “a customs union”. With Theresa May expected to unveil her vision for departure from the EU next week, following eight hours of talks with key ministers, she now faces the prospect of Labour sabotaging the carefully choreographed process. The party has said for some months that customs union membership is a “viable” outcome but a series of interventions from shadow cabinet members in recent days, including Emily Thornberry and John McDonnell on Thursday, have suggested Labour is edging towards making it the preferred result.” [4]


The RCIT Britain took a revolutionary anti-imperialist position over the referendum. We called for abstention in Britain’s EU Referendum. The RCIT Britain calls for maximum unity amongst socialists and revolutionaries and puts forward the following demands to resolve the crisis of leadership in the working class.


* Expel the Blairites from the Labour Party! No to Identity Cards!


* No to Racism or any immigration controls! Open Borders and Free Movement of all peoples in and out of Britain! Fight to form councils of actions in defence of migrants and against Islamophobia! Close all immigration detention centres like Yarlswood in Bedford! End torture, sexual violence and racist abuse against Migrants and refugees!


* For a United Ireland as a 32 county Workers Republic as part of a United Socialist States of Europe!


* For workers defence guards to defend workers and migrants against police and fascist provocation!


* For a general strike organized by the TUC to bring down this discredited and weak Tory government! For a workers government!


* Join the RCIT! Let us jointly build a World Party for Socialist Revolution!