Paul Mason’s Love-in With the EU

Commenting on Labour Party strategy from the hallowed pages of the New Statesman (July 9), Paul Mason is wrong yet again. The only thing he seems able to get correct is to predict the imminent demise of the Tories when he states that “May will likely be overthrown before the Tory conference in October” and that there “will be another snap general election.”

On the future of the Labour Party, Mason argues that it “must recalibrate its position” given his (wrong) belief that there can no possibility, ever, of a socialist Brexit. For Mason, the Parliamentary Labour Party is not in the midst of a vicious battle between Blairites and socialists, but is in fact a party united against the Tories. He argues “Jeremy Corbyn and Keir Starmer have forced May into a position she cannot carry with her own party”, talking as if Corbyn and Starmer were allies.

Mason explains that “The Tommy Robinson crew will riot if Brexit is cancelled; Nigel Farage will ‘re-enter politics’ and the Tories will split”, but optimistically concludes, “none of these are a catastrophe for the country.” This wrong-headed conclusion coming after he had just observed that UK’s “civil society and democracy might be irreparably damaged by an elite-manoeuvred sabotage of Brexit.”

Perhaps without realising it Mason then advocates capitulating to the solution proposed by the pro-EU Blairites by calling for Labour to embrace what many would consider to be “ an elite-manoeuvred sabotage of Brexit”. As a matter of priority Mason says, rather than turn against the Blairites, he counsels firmness against the Labour left: “No more tolerance of the handful of Lexit-voting MPs.” And most importantly he suggests that Corbyn must now “Offer a second referendum on the final [Brexit] deal”.

He continues: “If a Corbyn government could secure a variation on a Norway-style deal, business and the unions would buy it; the xenophobes and Putin puppets could be faced down.” Yes, it is true that business and the Blairite trade union leaders would buy it, but I don’t quite see how embracing the EU will facedown the far-right. Mason however believes that such a clever strategy would enable Labour “to unite the country”; rather than simply unite Corbyn with the Blairites in their elitist embrace of an undemocratic EU, thereby rendering Labour an electoral irrelevance.

Mason seems to believe that pro-Brexit voters can be convinced to change position if the “entire weight of a revived Labour machine” is able to make a clean break with all socialist criticisms of the EU, with valid criticisms like those that have been promoted by Corbyn for most of his political life. This leads Mason to his illogical conclusion that:

“An added bonus, for the Labour frontbench, would be that the (already diminishing) momentum for a millionaire-backed centrist party led by “12-20 Labour MPs”, as reported in Skwawkbox last week, would evaporate.”

This concluding remark is somehow cited as positive news, as if keeping the most die-hard representatives of the millionaire-class within Labour’s leadership is a good thing. At least Corbyn and his allies now knows what not to do if they want to win the next General Election.

Mason EU


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