Tuesday, 24 January 2017

Brexit (again): A Letter to my Labour MP

After today's Supreme Court Ruling, I decided to write to my MP again. Below, you can find the general elements of the letter (I also included specifics about a conversation I've had with her recently, and my case).

If you have a Labour MP, please feel free to use this text to write to yours, if you agree with it....

Dear (name)

(...)
I am writing to you today because of the Supreme Court ruling on triggering Article 50. I would like to ask you to urge Jeremy Corbyn to adjust his (and Labour’s) position in light of the ruling. I would also like to ask you to vote against triggering Article 50 unless major changes to the government's Brexit plan are achieved. Here’s why:
1)      The referendum was a vote to leave the EU, but not a vote to give Theresa May a blank cheque to carry out a disastrous Brexit that will ruin British workers.
2)      The current government talks of realigning the UK economy as if this were an easy thing. Decades of poverty in the Welsh valleys prove beyond doubt that restructuring an economy is deeply traumatic and comes at the expense of generations of people’s lives and futures. Labour mustn’t let May do to all of Britain what Thatcher has done to the mining communities.
3)      Several of the Leave campaigners promised that the UK would stay in the Single Market. The Norwegian model was openly advocated before the referendum. It is therefore absolutely right that the opposition should hold the government to that promise – and withhold consent from triggering Article 50 unless the same act of Parliament instructs the government to adopt keeping the UK inside the EEA as main priority in their negotiating positions.
4)      While the (extremely narrow) majority of voters voted 'Leave', a significant majority of Labour voters voted Remain. The Labour party is not just there to represent all people – it is also there to represent the will of its own members and voters. Labour has a strong remit to oppose triggering Article 50 and cannot absolve itself of its role in a parliamentary democracy with talk of the “will of the people”. 52% is not the same as 100%. Those of us who oppose Brexit, and who oppose a ruinous one, deserve representation, too!
5)      Whatever your (or Jeremy Corbyn's) views on EU membership, the Conservatives will not put the interest of workers first when negotiating with the EU or the rest of the world. They will negotiate on behalf of bankers and bosses. A Brexit negotiated by Labour would be very different from a Brexit negotiated by the Conservatives - so why should Labour act as enabler for the Conservatives? If Jeremy Corbyn believes that the referendum gives a clear mandate for Brexit, then he should still oppose a Brexit negotiated by the Conservatives with all his might, and promise to carry out a Labour Brexit once Labour is back in power instead.
All it takes is for non-Conservative parties to band together, and a few Tory rebels, to put the brakes on Theresa May’s incompetent plans for a ruinous Brexit. Theresa May is not the High Priestess of Brexit; she does not speak for all voters, not even all voters who voted ‘Leave’. To preserve the British economy, British jobs, and the British way of life, the UK must stay inside the Single Market. It is the role of the opposition, and our representatives, to do everything possible to ensure that.
I look forward to hearing from you – and thank you, again, for the work you do.
Yours sincerely

(me)

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