Lots of Jeremy Corbyn

Image credit: Creative Commons: terimakasih0

Nope! You haven’t heard it wrong. Over a million people have marched in London, on Saturday, March 23, to demand a people’s vote, exactly two years after the Brexit Referendum, 6 days before the initially agreed Brexit date, and 9 months after the first big People’s Vote March held in London on June 23, 2018.

There is no doubt that much has changed since the People’s Vote March held in June 2018. According to a mid-March poll by YouGov, support for a public vote has grown with the option of staying in Europe favored over May’s deal or a no-deal exit. Moreover, an online petition calling on the UK government to revoke article 50 and remain in the EU has hit more than 5 million signatures, adding 2.5m signees in less than 24 hours.

However, one thing has remained pretty much the same: Jeremy Corbyn’s attitude and indifference towards People’s Vote marches. Despite of the highly anticipated statements he made in February in which he said that he would back a people’s vote, Corbyn abstained from participating in the march on Saturday.

So, where is Jeremy?

“You can decorate absence however you want – but you’re still gonna feel what’s missing.”

~ Siobhan Vivian, Same Difference

Many questions arise. Where was Jeremy Corbyn on Saturday? Where was the leader of the main opposition party? Why is he never in London when there is a people’s vote march? Is his personal assistant so bad at their job that they just keep accidentally booking trips without checking the schedule to see if there is an upcoming people’s vote march?

I could’ve bought the new intern messed up the travel schedule kind of a story if the same thing hadn’t happened twice. Corbyn went to Jordan instead of the People’s Vote March that was held in June 2018, and then he went ahead and buried his head in the sand for the second time, on Saturday, by opting to go to Morecambe as part of a local election campaign tour at the same time as more than 1 million people took to the streets for an anti-Brexit protest.

In further signs of frustration at the Labour’s incoherent Brexit stance, the crowd impishly cried “Where’s Jeremy Corbyn?” at the London march.

https://twitter.com/i/status/1109537529647300609

Lies lies lies

“I’m not upset that you lied to me, I’m upset that from now on I can’t believe you.”

~ Friedrich Nietzsche

He almost had us there, didn’t he? We almost believed him when he said that he would back a second EU referendum, supporting moves for a fresh poll with remain on the ballot paper. “We will back a public vote in order to prevent a damaging Tory Brexit or a disastrous no deal outcome.” Corbyn said at the end of February 2019.

Twisted Priorities

“Action expresses priorities.”

~ Mahatma Gandhi

Even though his Remainer base has been pressuring him to back a people’s vote, Corbyn has never energetically backed the idea of putting the final decision to the people. What excites him, instead, is the idea of holding a general election. This is why he keeps missing open goals like this march by miles, or rather by a few million feet whenever he gets the chance to prove that he is the leader of a functional opposition with a strong position on Brexit.

His obsession with elections has gotten so out of hand that he went to Morecambe to help his party’s local elections campaign while 1 million marched against the impending disaster to the NHS, public services, poverty, homelessness, and national security.

This was just another indication of the fact that Corbyn cares about elections more than anything and he wants, almost to the exclusion of everything else, a general election. It’s almost every other week Corbyn calls for a general election, of course, with the hopes of getting elected only to pursue his version of Brexit.

When it comes to the Labour Party, their priorities reflect Corbyn’s attitude towards Brexit through and through.

https://twitter.com/UKLabour/status/1109155782287740928

Righteously angry Twitter users took to social media to berate Corbyn and the Labour Party over their priorities as the opposition.

https://twitter.com/adambutler65/status/1109525112280236032

https://twitter.com/ChristineElmer/status/1109364143453339648

Real Opposition

“Without opposition, there could be no creation. All life would cease without resistance.”

― Kilroy J. Oldster, Dead Toad Scrolls

Opposition matters for many reasons. In a democracy, the opposition plays a vital role of scrutiny and agenda-setting, holding the government of the day to account, but most importantly, it represents those whom the government chooses not to hear.

Someone, maybe that new intern, needs to tell Corbyn that he simply can’t have it both ways. It’s time to show that his party can be a constructive force at a historic moment as his strategy of appeasing both remainers and leavers simply do not and will not work. We have passed the point where the Labour Party can stay on the fence. If Corbyn and his Party refuse to engage, voters will remember.

So the real question is: who is going to take on this role and be the real opposition? Who is going to represent the people that marched on Saturday and many more that could not be there but want to stay in the EU?

I’ll just leave this here…

Seden Anlar

About Seden Anlar

Seden Anlar is a Law School graduate and a political journalist that writes on a variety of issues from political psychology and geopolitics to social & racial justice and feminism. She co-hosts a podcast about Green and progressive politics around the world, the Big Green Politics Podcast, and she is currently working in geopolitics and international relations in Brussels, Belgium. She tweets @SedenAnlar