J’accuse...! Jeremy Corbyn and the Labour Party

Sir,

You are a man of principle, a conviction politician. So last year it shocked many when you performed a full 180 on one of the hottest topics of the moment.

Your previously fixed anti-EU stance shifted dramatically after you became Labour leader. In 1975, as a young man, you voted to leave the European Economic Community, since which you have consistently expressed solid eurosceptic views.

In 1993, you complained that the Maastricht Treaty “takes away from national parliaments the power to set economic policy and hands it over to an unelected set of bankers”. In 2008, you voted against the Lisbon Treaty. When you first stood for the leadership, you stated, “I would advocate a No vote if we are going to get an imposition of free market policies across Europe.”

Despite your history of euroscepticism you were elected by thousands of wide-eyed supporters as leader of a pro-European party. Then you came out in favour of Britain remaining a member, writing in the Financial Times: ‘Labour is clear that we should remain in the EU.’ This was directly opposed to your view of the previous four decades. What had happened to the man of principle?

During the referendum campaign, nagging doubts arose about your commitment to the Remain cause. You spoke at ten rallies during the campaign and made a handful of media appearances, but your performance was, at best, lukewarm.

By 11th June, the Leave campaign was gaining momentum: Farage, Johnson and the rest had abandoned reasoned debate and were in full battle mode, armed with energising slogans to persuade reluctant voters to make their way to the nearest polling station and put a cross proudly next to Leave.

What did you offer in response to such passion?  ‘We’re looking at seven, or seven and a half,’ you said.

Just two weeks before the vote, you stated that your passion for staying in the EU was around 70 per cent.

And it got worse.

“I’m not a lover of the EU,” you said in an interview with Sky News on 20th June, days before the crucial vote. Stirring stuff.

you have failed - utterly and absolutely - to provide any alternative to May’s Brexit

It seems that you never changed your position on the EU. You didn’t like it then, you don’t like it now. Your heart was not in campaigning to remain in the EU because you don’t believe in the EU project. And while there’s little evidence that your stance affected the way Labour supporters voted, your lacklustre performance seems unlikely to have won over many hearts and minds.

To rub salt into the open wound, the day after the vote, you were one of the few voices insisting that Article 50 be invoked immediately - odd for someone supposedly on the Remain side of the argument.

Your colleagues voted against your leadership. The leader of Labour’s Remain campaign, Alan Johnson, accused you of undermining the pro-EU cause. But you refused to resign. Those who re-elected you, despite your unpopularity, your obvious lack of qualities for the job and your lack of enthusiasm for the European project, obstinately put their adherence to your leadership before the needs of the country. By this myopia, you and they have facilitated a hard Brexit.

You whipped the Parliamentary Labour Party into backing Theresa May - without condition - and offered no opposition to Britain’s extreme exit. In all that time, you have failed - utterly and absolutely - to provide any alternative to May’s Brexit, or to force her to make concessions as she prepared to trigger Article 50. With a proper leader, May might be on the ropes now.

To conclude:

I accuse you of weak leadership and leading a lacklustre campaign that was one of the many causes of the Brexit result.

I accuse you of providing no opposition to this government’s policy of hard Brexit, against the country’s interests.

I accuse your supporters from the Shadow Cabinet to ordinary Labour members of being enablers of a Tory Brexit.

It seems that a leopard doesn’t change its spots after all. And you don’t change your mind. So we’re paying for your principles.

Yours,

Beverly Road

With apologies to Emile Zola. We also accuse:

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