richard pierce

richard pierce

24 January 2017

An open letter to Jeremy Corbyn and the Labour Party

Dear Jeremy,

I voted for you twice, once in 2015 before the wounds of the referendum were ripped into this nation's sides, and once afterwards, when I still had hope that you would be the leader I had hoped for, and lead an effective opposition which would ignore populism and do what's best for the country not what people think is best for the country.

In the last few days, we have heard so much about 'alternative facts' because the new US president's press spokesman had his lies coined as alternative facts by one of Mr Trump's other acolytes. And I am afraid that your, and your MPs', and the government's statements that 'leaving the EU is the will of the people' is yet another alternative fact, or, in plain language, it is a lie. Only 37% of the nation voted for leaving the EU. Large swathes of what should be the electorate of this country were disenfranchised. The referendum was only advisory in nature, as the briefing document to MPs before the vote to approve the referendum clearly shows.

When I heard the first Labour MP on Question Time declare that she would vote for triggering Article 50, and that so would many other Labour MPs, I was appalled by the blatant abdication of responsibility from a member of the Opposition. So appalled, in fact, that I resigned my membership of the Labour Party that very evening. Not just appalled that the Opposition wasn't opposing, but sick to my stomach that the Labour Party would betray its grassroots and the country to such an incredible extent. And now that the Supreme Court has ruled that Article 50 cannot be triggered without an act of Parliament, you continue to say that Labour MPs will vote to trigger Article 50. This is a misguided path to choose.

Why do you support the result of an advisory referendum that does not change the laws of this country? Why do you degrade the role of MPs from that of being educated arbiters of what is best for the country to that of sock puppets who will drift whichever way the populism wind is currently blowing? Leaving the EU will manifestly be bad for this country. The fact that the economy has not yet imploded is not due to any Brexit Bounce; it's due to the fact that Brexit has not yet happened.

By making your MPs vote for triggering Article 50, you are heaping more misery on the patients of the NHS, more misery on those austerity-hit citizens whom you wish to vote for you at the next election. You are, in fact, betraying the very principles upon which you claim to act in your political career, for is not the basis of socialism, and therefore of the Labour Party, to work towards the greater good, to be of benefit for the whole community?

My heart, nor my head, can believe that I am writing these lines disavowing someone I believed to be different to 'normal' politicians, disavowing a party I have held close to my heart for a very long time. However, I know that I can act in no other way, because to leave Europe means to leave many securities behind, both economically and psychologically, and to risk, once again, out-and-out war on this continent, something the EU was formed to avoid in the first place. We cannot reform the EU, nor avoid war, if we are not a part of it.

Again, I would urge you with all my heart to persuade your MPs to vote against the triggering of Article 50. Any other course of action would merely, once again, confirm the view that politicians are merely opportunists rather than people working ceaselessly, and without selfish thought, for the good of the country, and for a better future for all.

Yours sincerely,

Richard

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