Jeremy Corbyn would like to talk about domestic affairs at the Labor Party's five-day Brighton convention, which was the topic of his success. Perhaps also about the "Green New Deal", which is to initiate the ecological change in Great Britain by 2030. But above all, it will be about Brexit, which is increasingly becoming the ordeal between the party and its leaders.
Activists, regional associations and Labor MPs are preparing for fierce clashes. Many can no longer stand Corbyn's indecision.
They demand a clear positioning of the party against Brexit. 90 per cent of the Labor base, according to internal party polls, for a stay of the Kingdom in the EU. But her party chairman remains undecided. Now it could come to the showdown.
Party base calls for clarity in the Brexit question
In the run-up to the party congress, more than 90 applications were received from regional associations, at least 81 of which demanded a confession by the party against Brexit. Representatives of the constituencies announced that they would put an application to a vote on Monday.
In addition, the party leadership received an opinion from over 100 community and city councils, which also called for the uniform alignment of the party for the United Kingdom in the EU. "Remain and Transform" is their battle cry, staying in the EU, but improving one another.
Similar demands come from activists of various Brexit-skeptical groups, but also from Corbyn's immediate environment. Several members of his Shadow Cabinet signaled their agreement to a common "Remain" position; Even Tom Watson, Corbyn's deputy, said in a recent speech that Labor should declare "unequivocal and unanimous" for its failure.
And the party leader? Still refuses a clear Brexit position. That's just "Tom's point of view," he said in response to his vote. Corbyn has several reasons to avoid a clear position. He is torn between the different target groups of the party:
- European-friendly, moderate-left, especially young voters, whom Corbyn owes his rise to,
- Europe-critical left-wing and traditional Labor voters from workers' strongholds, in which majority voted for the Brexit.
The latter would bury Corbyn by positioning against the Brexit. Corbyn is also a Eurosceptic. He voted in 1975 in a first referendum against the whereabouts of Britain in the European Economic Community and railed against the Lisbon and Maastricht treaties.
His indecisiveness now tries to sell Corbyn as a strategic advantage:
- Labor can score as a moderate party between the Conservatives driving a hard Brexit course with Boris Johnson
- and between the Liberal Democrats who clearly oppose Brexit.
Instead of pretending a path, Corbyn now wants to exclude only the worst scenario – the Brexit without agreement. In a second referendum, he wants to leave the choice between the whereabouts of the Kingdom in the EU and a Labor Brexit, ie a withdrawal on the terms of a new deal he wants to negotiate with the EU. So he wants to offer Brexit advocates and opponents decision-making power – only he does not want to take away from them the decision.
Corbyn hopes for new elections – and a new deal with Brussels
The problem with Corbyn's proposal: There are no signs of a second referendum, nor is there a Labor deal with Brussels. Corbyn expects a future in which he is prime minister and can renegotiate and vote by virtue of his office.
For this to happen, new elections should take place or a vote of no confidence should be successful. This would first the Brexit date from 31.10. postponed or the compulsory break of Parliament be ended.
At the congress, it will now be about whether the base Corbyn can wrest the positioning that they want the majority. He receives support from the big unions, which are also among Labor's biggest donors, and many MPs may be reluctant to oppose this alliance.
"But Labor is a Democratic Party and 90 percent of our members do not want Brexit, these are the people knocking on our doorsteps and making us vote, that's a simple question of democracy," said Clive Lewis recently Public, a Labor MP in the House of Commons and an activist in one of the Brexit-skeptical campaigns, who finally want a clear course from above. Whether Corbyn can continue to press ahead to take a position, will probably show up in the polls announced for Monday.