Back in the Seventies, the right-wing Euro-sceptic Enoch Powell, whatever you think of his other views (and I didn't concur with him on most of those), did put country before party, when it came to the issue of Britain's membership of the EEC.
In 1974, the former Conservative Cabinet minister famously urged Tories to vote Labour because Harold Wilson's party had pledged to hold a referendum on Europe. Powell's intervention was decisive in a year of two elections, which Labour narrowly won. At one public meeting, Powell was called 'Judas'. To which he quickly retorted: "Judas was paid. Judas was paid. I am making a sacrifice".
Powell actually said that he'd rather a socialist government led by someone like Tony Benn, with Britain outside the EEC, than staying inside the bloc. Because he argued, a Benn government could always be removed at the ballot box, if people wished. By staying in the EEC, British democracy-the power of the UK to pass its own laws and follow its own path- would be eroded. And so it has proved.
Today though, the Tories — Labour 'centrists' and almost the entire Establishment, are united not in opposition to the anti-democratic EU, but in their determination to make sure we never get a left-wing Labour government led by Jeremy Corbyn.
It's not so much the economic policies of Labour which terrify the 'Extreme Centre' — though these are admittedly not popular with the elite.
It's the prospect of a change in foreign policy. Opposition to Corbyn within Labour has been led by the party's pro-war faction, in which 'Labour Friends of Israel' are prominent. This is also the same grouping which is so virulently anti-Russian. There's also a strong overlap with these people and those who don't want Britain to break its close and cosy relationship with Saudi Arabia.
Corbyn is a veteran campaigner for Palestinian rights, who has called for a suspension of arms sales to Saudi and has criticised the ramping up of tensions with Russia.
You don't have to be Albert Einstein to work out why the neocon hawks who are quite happy with British foreign policy as it currently stands don't want him- or his media advisor and right-hand man Seumas Milne, another veteran, a pro-Palestinian opponent of western military interventions, anywhere near 10, Downing Street.
Blocking Brexit is also a part of the campaign to block Corbyn and Milne. The so-called 'People's Vote' campaign is a Blairite ramp to get Labour to commit to a policy which would destroy any chance of a Corbyn Premiership.
The pressure on Corbyn, a veteran Euro-sceptic, to cave into Remainers' demands, has been relentless.
There are it must be said many genuine Remainers who sincerely believe that Britain is better off in the EU than out of it. But there are others who know that Corbyn committing to 'Remain' would mean electoral defeat for Labour- and that‘s exactly why they're pushing for it.
Corbyn must avoid the trap that has been set for him by his enemies.
He must make it absolutely clear that there will be no second referendum until the result of the first one has been implemented. He must stay true to his democratic socialist ideals. He ought to reflect that he'd have an easier job implementing his dirigiste economic policies if Britain left the EU under WTO rules than if it stayed in a Single Market with the EU and was subject to EU neoliberal regulations.
Why should he support a policy which would effectively put him in a straight-jacket if he were to win power?
Today in Parliament, Tories who have been very critical of Theresa May, will rally behind their leader and their government. Turkeys- whether or not they're Tory ones'- don't vote for Christmas.
Labour 'centrists' will be hoping the vote of no confidence fails too, because like the Tories, the last thing they want is an election which Corbyn might win.
Not entirely sure Jeremy Corbyn's going to get the result he's looking for today. In the Commons bars last night Labour MPs were going up to the Tory counterparts and saying "make sure you win that confidence vote tomorrow".— (((Dan Hodges))) (@DPJHodges) 16 января 2019 г.
We're encouraged to think that at the moment all of British politics is about Brexit. But the even bigger story is the campaign to stop Corbyn.
The views and opinions expressed by Neil Clark are those of the contributor and do not necessarily reflect those of Sputnik.
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