Brexit is going to happen, that much was pretty much a certainty; but at least it’s going to happen with parliamentary oversight, and not as the result of evoking every wannabe tyrant’s favourite dictatorial tool, the ludicrous and undemocratic Royal Prerogative.
So this is an opportunity for Labour and Jeremy Corbyn to add some real meat to the Brexit bones, and hopefully a pair of eyes and ears, too. Because if left to the Tories, Brexit will wander around zombie-like and directionless, and fed on bloated lies and scarcely believable tabloid fodder.
But we do know that the prime minister would pursue her own sinister right-wing agenda if able to do so.
Corbyn has already said the Labour Party would not block the triggering of Article 50; instead he plans to table amendments that will protect workers’ rights and market access.
The aim is to influence the Brexit process for the better throughout the long negotiations ahead.
Like the other parties, some Labour MPs represent areas that voted to leave the EU, so a tricky balancing act is going to be necessary if Labour are to close the gap in the polls.
“I will ask all Labour MPs to respect the result of the referendum and allow article 50 to be opened, so we start that two-year, probably longer, period of negotiation,” he said at the weekend. And Corbyn has said it may be necessary to whip the party into line over the vote.
He certainly has his fare share of pro-European MPs, and they wrote to the PM recently expressing their concerns over May’s idea that any kind of deal is better than no deal.
They claim leaving the EU without any trade arrangements in place 'could sail the UK economy on to the rocks,' with high tariffs being levied on British exports to the EU zone. It’s certainly worrying that the Tories see our future as some sort of tax haven for the world’s wealthy corporations. Such a deal would benefit only the rich and see the rest of us turn into drones fit for the unionless sweatshop we would inevitably become, competing with other low-wage stagnant economies in a race to the bottom.
Elsewhere in the Labour Party, today’s supreme court decision has forced some MPs out of the parliamentary woodwork. Former wannabe everyman Owen Smith has expressed concern that May will not accommodate Labour amendments, and fears that her zealous “any Brexit at any cost” approach would be dangerous for the country. In essence he’s saying he will defy the whip. Smith also wants the government to offer a second referendum – which will never happen.
Corbyn’s key demand in all this is for the government to pull its finger out and publish a white paper on their Brexit plans. Obviously for the Tories this would mean actually having a plan for Brexit, but many Tory MPs are now falling behind Corbyn’s idea, thus putting pressure on May to not only have a plan, but to articulate it. It’s doubtful if she’s capable of one, never mind the other. Beyond ‘an alternative economic model’, what else has she to offer?
At the end of the day it’s only Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour Party that can deliver the necessary changes and amendments to Article 50.
They were and still are the party of the working classes, of workers’ rights, of unionisation and of decent pay and conditions, and in this strange new make-it-up-as-we-go-along world in which we find ourselves, it is to them and Corbyn’s determined leadership that we should look.
Max Webster is the Editor of Political Provocateur.