Brexit – More disruptive than the Beast from the East

Jim O’Neill says Labour’s internal divisions mirror the divisions in the country over Brexit, and backs calls for a second referendum on the Brexit deal.


Let me be clear from the start. I am a Remoaner. I voted to remain part of the European Union, and I would support any decision to give another voice to the people now that we know the cost of Brexit. People, who were misled grievously by the Brexiteers in the original referendum, can change their minds.

I am also a veteran (I hate that word) of nearly 40 years standing in the Labour Party. I understand that dispute is built into the DNA of the party as to how we will build the new Jerusalem, since the earliest days when James Keir Hardie set up the Independent Labour Party as distinct from the newly formed Labour Party. I came into the party as a result of the election of Margaret Thatcher, at a time when the party was split between Tony Benn and Denis Healey as Deputy Leader (a split much closer than now), carried on through the fight against the radical left in the eighties, did not vote for Blair as leader and opposed his swing to the right, and now am dismayed by the proliferation of groups, both Scottish and nationally.

Maybe I am wishing for too much that these groups learn the lessons of the past in that they only fuel the anti-Labour media’s obsession with Labour splits. By briefing against each other they allow the message to be lost among the fluff of personal agendas. The national manifesto last year was one of the best I have ever read, and, having heard Richard at our constituency his agenda is very similar, but both are driven by the views of members. This is why Scottish Conference is dominated by areas where Richard wanted to test the views of members.

Jeremy Corbyn tried to get this across last year to interviewers who were not interested in the policies but only in how different they were from positions he had taken in the past. Jeremy insisted that, while he is the leader of the party, he is the servant of the members. Richard has a similar view and I trust that all those using social media remember that, and also their responsibility to promote the policies of the party. If we continue to wash our dirty linen in public, we will wait forever for the people of Scotland to trust us with Government.

Such a situation also marks the relationship between the Scottish and Westminster governments. Both sides are determined to find things that divide them, rather than anything they can agree on. Despite having no responsibility for Brexit, the Scottish Government put a spurious Brexit bill before the Parliament. Negotiation by megaphone! And at the same time, Theresa May indulged in a similar approach in her speech on Friday, refusing to accept anything other than a total break from the Single Market and the Customs Union, despite the EU negotiators pointing out the damage this will do to our economy.

It is about time people took a rational approach to this conundrum. Clearly May’s proposals are not acceptable to the EU, particularly what will happen with the Irish Border. By the way, I do not hear any proposals from the DUP, who are effectively keeping May in power. Leo Varadkar, the Irish Taioseach, has made it clear that he will not accept a hard border, and it takes all 27 remaining countries to agree the final outcome.

Perhaps the best outcome will be for Labour, the SNP and the Tory Europhiles to amend the Brexit bill that it is no longer acceptable to Mrs May causing that the bill to be withdrawn and parliament to face the horror of a no deal Brexit. Very few will be happy about that and then a new referendum bill could be introduced. I am sure that the EU will allow us to put the Brexit timetable on hold to see if we can reverse our mass lemming impulse. But then, am I a splitter too?

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16 thoughts on “Brexit – More disruptive than the Beast from the East

  1. “I am sure that the EU will allow us to put the Brexit timetable on hold to see if we can reverse our mass lemming impulse”

    Too right they would Jim! In the “finest” of EU traditions, they would be more than happy to let the plebs vote, vote and vote again, until they got the “right” result.

    The Labour Party is on a suicide mission with this one. A second referendum may go down a treat with the largely middle class, public sector, politically correct, globalist membership of today’s Labour Party. However, it will go down like a lead balloon with Brexit backing Labour voters.

    Oh dear.

    1. Is it not the case the some 65% of Labour voters voted remain?

      1. Gordon, that’s one way of looking at it.

        Another is; over 70% of Labour constituencies voted to Leave.

        Plus, most importantly of all; the people of the UK took the democratic decision to leave the EU.

        Labour should so some respect for democracy.

        1. That “democratic” decision was made on the basis of a fraudulent prospectus. People should be allowed another chance now they know the implications

  2. Hypocrisy & double standards: UK referendums GOOD – Scottish referendums BAD.

  3. A couple of points, Jim. Firstly, You say “Despite having no responsibility for Brexit, the Scottish Government put a spurious Brexit bill before the Parliament” You believe then, that despite a near 2/3 majority against, voters in Scotland should meekly accept a disasterous decision rooted the posh boys’ misgovernance from Westminster/Whitehall/the square mile for forty years and triggered by a botched attempt to manage the tory party? Secondly the best manifesto you ever read is a reflection of the S.N.P. policy.
    This being the case, I’d be grateful if you’d point to one valid reason for remaining part of the U.K.

      1. Do you really think the rUK would stop trading with Scotland if we became independent?

        This “project fear” argument is invalid as the rUK would suffer economically as well, so it isn’t going to happen.

    1. The reason Labour can’t answer such fundamentally important questions is because it does not have any valid answers.

      The only reasons I can think of to stay as part of the UK is emotional sentiment and lack of conviction (whereas there are plenty valid and extremely important reasons not to be part of the UK).

      I once voted Labour.

        1. Yes Jim, I read your sentence and could not help but noticed your (labour’s) overt evasion in addressing fundamentally important issues which really matter to Scotland and its people.

          Disturbingly, why is Scottish democracy such a taboo subject to Labour.

          I was under the impression that this blog was about progressive people under the context of Scottish democratic society.

  4. Given that Labour is essentially a busted flush, and its values, principles and policy are all over the place.

    Why don’t you embrace Scotland’s democracy and help to protect it (while we still can).

    Or is it always Labour first (and tumbleweed), regardless…

  5. I to joined the Labour party to fight Maggie and join the fight against unemployment .
    That was in 1983 .
    The party then was committed determined and believed in itself .Under Jeremy Corbyn and Richard Leonard
    I see good signs that commitment and belief in ourselves is coming back.
    I did vote for Tony Blair who went on to win 3 elections .
    During the miners strike a pal said if the SNP had been relevant we might have gone for it.
    On Monday night he said why not dig her up see if she is really there .
    That’s how much hatred we had and still have for her .
    That woman and her crew ruined our lives
    At 62 I am still affected by it I cant even speak to a tory candidate .
    I can speak to a tory voter .
    In my local constituency Labour party at the last general election 2 teenagers both at university stood for election to Westminster .There are other university students are playing a very active part in my local party
    I am telling you I am very proud and pleased to say that our young men and women who are in our party wont put up with the crap I and others like me did from Maggie .Or anyone else
    Like Jim I am fed up to the back teeth with labour politicians who the minute they disagree with our party head for the nearest tv studio .
    They don’t usually even have anything intelligent to say.
    Its ordinary unpaid volunteer members like us who have to explain the unexplainable to the public everyday .
    Because of certain idiots and I would love to get the chance to tell them that.
    The EU ref never got past immigration .David Cameron in my opinion only called it to get UKIP of his back .
    I could have told him immigration would decide it .
    I cannot see anything good about brexit .
    I would like to see a massive public education exercise mounted to inform the public about the consequences of leaving we did not do that the last time .
    And then a second binding referendum
    The Nationalists are also on a hook of their own making
    But at least as I understand it they produced an impact paper . Their problem for me is if the FM thought she could win a second Indy ref she would do it tonight .
    In my opinion to keep her party members in line she will decide in October.
    We are told by then the brexit deal will be clear .
    So we get to October I think brexit is next March what then for the SNP if the FM puts indy 2 on hold again will the SNP members let her what about all those Hubs and cafes that are appearing will they put the namecalling kilts and bagpipes quietly away .
    What are we going to do about the upcoming tradewar with the USA apparently the EU has drawn up a list of thousands of US products we will hit in retaliation for US action where do we stand on that .
    Have we even thought about it .I bet the civil servants have as always.
    Then a certain Polar Bear Cub the first to be born in the UK for 25 years
    Was thought to have been born the week before x mas the Keepers were sure because they could hear high pitched squeeling noises coming from the maternity den .
    Then this week Victoria and Cub made a public appearance so that confirmed it well would you have been brave enough or daft enough to look .
    They are going to wait until the end of March to find out what sex the cub is this should be good .
    I look forward to Jims blog on that oh happy days ha ha

  6. Also the EU have drawn up a plan to fish in British waters post brexit What happened to take our waters back .
    I believe most fishermen voted for and funded the leave campaign so they won didn’t they

    1. Leave aside the incompetence of the UK govt in its “negotiations” with the EU for a moment.

      If you are negotiating, so the story goes, you have to be willing to give and take.

      That being the case, and the UK fishing industry representing around 0.05% of GDP and employing around 12,000 people on the fishing boats (a fifth of whom are part time and many of whom are from the Philippines, Sri Lanka, and eastern Europe) surely no one from fishing communities could imagine that they held many bargaining chips in terms of the UK seeking to achieve “the best possible deal”?

      On the other hand, given that some 41% of fishermen were based in Scotland (albeit with significant numbers of foreign nationals included in that figure) and that the significance of the the industry as a whole is greater in relation to the smaller economy of Scotland (65% of the quantity of landings) in comparison to that of the UK as a whole you might have thought that the Scottish fishing communities might have thought Scottish independence would have been the way to go.

      Another complication is the relationship between those who catch the fish, those who process them and, if the processor is not the end supplier to the retail outlet, that penultimate link in the chain. Processors will want as low a price as possible for the raw materials they work with while the actual fishermen will want as high a price as possible. Note also that the processing sector in the UK employs about 50% more people than employed on fishing boats – another disadvantage for the fishermen when it comes to negotiations.

      Already, we have seen appeals from the Grimsby fish processing industry as they realise that the potential for tariffs to be levied when we leave the EU.

  7. Thank you for your comment Gordon
    A lot of info in there I did not know maybe Grimsby should ask Mr Farage for an explanation
    Maybe the PM should put him in charge of brexit to deliver what he promised.

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