Owen Smith isn’t just anti-democratic, he’s clueless
You can’t help but feel that Remainers are starting to damage their own cause. One month ago, the shock after the referendum result was, in some ways, understandable. But now the overwhelming sentiment of the population is that we should get on with making Brexit happen. In this atmosphere, the sullenness of the Heseltines, Mandelsons and Lammys grates fast.
Still, few of them have recognised this. Labour leadership contender Owen Smith is the latest sulky protester of Brexit. Speaking this week, he announced his plans to try to stop Theresa May triggering Article 50, unless she promises either a referendum on the terms of a post-EU deal or a General Election. Smith went on to say that he wants the Labour Party involved with the Brexit negotiations (despite implying that he wishes to stay in the EU without reservation).
Smith’s intervention may well prove to be one of the most damaging blows to stubborn, elite Remainers’ campaign to keep us in the EU – in part, because of its crude sophistry. Smith wants to negotiate Brexit, but from a position of commitment to the EU. Does he also out himself as a firm ‘paper man’ before playing rock, paper, scissors? The British public aren’t stupid – they can see through Smith’s cheap wordplay.
Smith’s comments are also significant because he is a potential leader of the Labour Party. It was Labour’s old industrial heartlands that swung it for Leave. It is in these areas that the anti-establishment mood is most acute, where Labour has become synonymous with arrogant elitism. If Labour commits itself to keeping Britain in the EU, at all costs, it will destroy its electoral base.
Smith is a man who styles himself as a ‘cold-eyed revolutionary’. But if this alleged realist cannot see the obvious, what does it say about other Remainers? It’s clear that they have developed a self-destructive tendency. A few more outbursts like Smith’s and ardent Remainers will permanently wound, if not destroy, their cause. All the better for those of us who are true democrats.
Shaun Sharkey is a spiked intern.