by Calvin Tucker
Jo Stevens, like all other Labour MPs, voted in parliament to hand the decision over to the British people with a straight In / Out referendum. The referendum was universally presented as binding, rather than an interesting experiment in public consultation which could be safely ignored by parliament if MPs didn’t like the result.
Now she and others like her are attempting to overturn the will of the people on the technicality of Parliamentary sovereignty. This is a demonstrably undemocratic and contradictory position, and in the world of real politic, it’s completely untenable.
Given that responsible Labour politicians are going to respect the result and Article 50 will therefore be triggered, she is merely engaging in grandstanding, the only effect of which will be to damage the electoral prospects of the Labour Party ahead of two key by-elections.
Of course, if parliament WERE to actually block Article 50, there would be rioting in the streets and the very real possibility of the country becoming ungovernable, and not in a positive way. It would be the mother-of-all-birthday-presents to the far right.
Unlike Jo Stevens, Jeremy Corbyn is leader of the Labour Party and therefore does not have the luxury of behaving like a self-indulgent student politician. Fortunately, he has the statesmanship and strategic acumen not to march the Labour Party and quite possibly the country itself, off the side of a cliff. Because that would be precisely where we would be heading if Article 50 was blocked by parliament.
Such a move has the support of less than a quarter of the population, and that’s before most of them have stopped to consider the practical consequences. The Countryside Alliance put half a million people on the streets. Stop the War, over a million. What would Jo Stevens suggest we do if (or more likely, when) five million people descend on parliament to demand that their votes be respected? Shoot them? Read them poetry? Or what? Unless the increasingly unhinged Remainiac fringe have a credible answer to that question, this is just posturing.
Corbyn is showing real leadership here, and he deserves credit for respecting democracy and facing down a minority of MPs in his own party who either just don’t get it, or worse, are cynically exploiting the issue to bring him down.