As soon as David Cameron announced that a referendum on the UK’s membership of the European Union would take place, the Labour Party started its slow descent into the history books. By positioning itself against the very people it claimed to represent, it has further alienated its voters.
But while Jeremy Corbyn’s unconvincing call for a Remain vote angered Remain and Leave voters alike, it has been Labour’s post-Brexit attitude that has caused most damage. The continual calls from Labour grandees for the party to thwart the Brexit vote have only further isolated the party from the Brexit-voting sections of its base. Labour’s Brexit-thwarter-in-chief Chuka Umunna has made Labour’s loathing of those who voted Leave crystal clear by continually suggesting that nasty Brexiteers have caused hate levels to spike since 23 June.
In recent weeks, Labour has become full of anti-Brexit plotters. Following the Supreme Court’s ruling that parliament must vote on the invocation of Article 50, 19 Labour MPs have stated that they will vote against it. And more have hinted that they will join them. Former shadow health secretary Heidi Alexander has even claimed she is planning a motion to throw out the government’s bill altogether.
Alexander’s plan doesn’t simply amount to a wail about how the referendum vote didn’t go her way; it’s a clear attempt to undermine the largest democratic mandate in British political history. Where once the Labour claimed to represent the people, its senior politicians now view us with contempt. The words ‘the strength of our common endeavour’ are printed on the reverse side of Labour Party membership cards. But it is apparently willing to make an exception for the Brexit vote.
Even Alexander seems to recognise her anti-democratic intent. ‘I might be accused of being a democracy denier’, she said.