For the Labour pro-Europeans this must seem about as bad as it gets. But I have news for you. It is going to get worse. The Brexit we will get is a Tory Brexit and, contrary to the weasel words of Sir Kier Starmer, Mrs. May will indeed dare to bring back to the Commons a bad Brexit because she knows that she can rely on Tory subservience and Labour pusillanimity to get anything through.
The Labour front-bench, contrary to resolutions of the Labour Party Conference, has just seen all its amendments to try to get a softer, cuddlier Brexit thrown out and yet it lined up a majority of its troops to provide support for her Brexit. No-one believes for a moment in Corbyn’s risible ‘Labour’s fight back on Brexit starts here’. It ended here. When a majority of its MPs were whipped into supporting the third reading of the Article 50 Bill, against their own consciences and in full knowledge of the damage that Mrs. May’s Brexit will do to our country, its economy, its politics and its standing in the world. And to future generations.
So what now? I have every understanding for those thousands of members who, disgusted at this collective act of cowardice and self-abnegation and the sustained shambles that is the Corbyn ‘leadership’ have torn up their party membership cards. If I have not yet followed suit it is in part for sentimental reasons.
This is the party my parents joined in the 1930s. This is the party to which I have belonged for fifty years. Losing me at my age would hardly be the mortal blow to a party which is already intent on slitting its own throat. I am still a socialist. I believe in collective action, the role and purpose of a state dedicated to the protection and the advancement of its citizens. I still believe in equality, and something more than mere equality of opportunity. I believe in redistribution. I believe that curbs on individual rapacity and the overweening power of unregulated business should be at the heart of our concerns. So in saying I have lost confidence in the husk of the Labour Party I do not resile from my beliefs.
I am fortunate enough to have found my own safe refuge in the LSAP, the Luxembourg socialist party, which is a responsible party of government, unashamedly European, and supportive of a social economic model which has advanced the cause of working people and which, note it well, actually works. So whatever energy I can muster for partisan politics will be channeled through this small but perfectly formed social democratic political party.
For pro-European progressives living in the UK the dilemma is greater. There is no serious left-of-centre alternative to Labour. The Liberal Democrats reduced now to a tiny rump have been consistent but unconvincing and many will find it hard to forgive their propping up of the worst (pre-May) Tory prime Minister since the eighteenth century. A broad left alliance, rejected by Jeremy Corbyn in the name of its very tarnished ideological purity, has now become impossible after the Article 50 vote. Perhaps a realignment encompassing the Greens, the Liberal Democrats and Labour pro-Europeans might be the core for a new platform in UK politics. And it would need to work in harness with the Scottish nationalists and embrace UK federalism in the process.
In the meantime I can only suggest support for the myriad pro-European platforms and organisations committed to fighting Brexit in the hope that this inchoate activism will lead to a more coherent demand for a second referendum on the terms of Brexit to be organised once the negotiations have been concluded. This will not be a demand emanating from Parliament or discredited political parties but from a public opinion increasingly alarmed as it comes to terms with what Brexit really means.
And perhaps a new political force will emerge from the debris of our politics. Where is the new British Macron? An attractive, new, energetic, youthful force, committed to progressive values in a new era, and unreservedly European.
And just what is Geena Miller going to do in her spare time now? She has already proved herself a more effective opponent of the government than those paid for the task.