Robert Williams was a member of the Labour party for over twenty years. He resigned this week over Labour’s response to Brexit. Here’s his letter to his MP, Barry Gardiner
I write with regret, but much less than I would wish, to tell you that I am resigning from the Labour party with immediate effect.
I joined when I was 17, because I believed in social justice and internationalism. What I have seen over the last two years has been a descent into the most infantile student politics, with an utterly incompetent and inadequate leader standing on a platform of being friends with every terrorist group so long as they are anti-Western, being unable to state how he would defend the country or its people in a crisis, and supported by a pathetically untalented team of and an unpleasant network of people expelled from Labour, supporters of other parties, candidates for other parties and deluded members who no longer care about winning an election.
Corbyn’s utter incompetence and John McDonnell’s unpleasantness, leading to Labour’s total unelectability are not the main reasons for my resignation, however. I would have fought these unrepresentative dinosaurs and Corbyn’s total unfitness to lead from within the party.
It is on Europe, and our impending exit from the European Union that is the final straw for me. A turnout of 72% and a 52%-48% vote is not the overwhelmingly majority of people. The “people” did not vote for a Brexit that means economic catastrophe and political irrelevance. And they did not vote to diminish the opportunities membership of the EU offers all our citizens and to deny the rich cultural and social elements of our membership of a continent wide club.
And then Jeremy Corbyn decided to use his first speech of 2017 to claim that Britain can be better-off outside the EU.
The silence of Labour moderates, with the honourable exceptions of the 23 Labour MPs who voted for sanity on Europe in December, on the most important issue of our times, is deafening. Corbyn and his band of fools have shown no leadership, no principles and no morality. By their cowardice, they have left the way open to mendacious, toxic hard right Brexiteers in government to potentially damage the country beyond repair and that is unforgivable.
I wish for this country to be an active member of the world’s largest and most successful trading bloc. An organisation that has made conflict in Europe almost impossible to imagine, and which enables its members, collectively, to be taken seriously on the world stage. I do not want my citizenship of the EU to be taken away and I do not want opportunities, both personal and professional, for me and my family to be taken away because of a cretinous referendum, and a vote based on lies, untruths, bigotry, racism and xenophobia.
The current “leadership” of the Labour party are fellow travellers with the Brexiteers, and far, far too many of the 80% of MPs who opposed the appalling and terminally damaging leader in July are saying nothing.
There is no such thing as a positive Brexit. Jeremy Corbyn is wedded to the idiotic notion of the EU being a “capitalist club” and does not care if we leave the EU. The ideological shrill that is shadow chancellor John McDonnell, is a believer in creative destruction, to bring down capitalism. Both views are moronically dangerous, and will damage and destroy lives and opportunities for British people, and I want no part of this unbelievably irresponsible and unpleasant stupidity.
You called me a “hardcore remainer”, Barry, because I said that there is no sane or rational alternative that is better than our membership of the EU. You campaigned to remain, and now accept the “will of the people”, or rather the 52% of the 72% of the electorate who bothered to vote. That is to your shame.
The majority of Labour MPs, who cannot bring themselves to say to the electorate that they were lied to about Brexit and that our standing and economy will be appallingly, possibly irreparably, damaged if we leave the EU, are fatally wounding any remaining credibility this party once had. I am in despair at the tragic state of the party and what is happening to the UK, and have had enough..
That is why I am resigning from the party with immediate effect, and why I will campaign tirelessly for continuing membership of the EU, but not for a party that has no morality, no credibility, no purpose, no vision and no future.
Robert Williams works in public affairs and as a journalist