Corbyn moved on a second referendum because of TIG

by Jonathan Todd

After a week, the Independent Group (TIG) can claim some successes: more Twitter followers than Momentum, higher opinion poll scores than the Liberal Democrats, and now a significant Labour move towards a second referendum.

From “funny tinge” to weak rebuttals to by-elections calls, jarring with their People’s Vote push, there have been less auspicious moments.

More fundamentally, these MPs remain trapped between the rock of being unable to advocate either Jeremy Corbyn or Theresa May for prime minister and the hard place of an electoral system that makes it a political reality that the prime minister will be either the leader of Labour or the Tories.

They are challenging this reality and in doing so, making a pitch for Corbyn’s brand: insurgent.

We can judge insurgency in different ways. If it means adopting the most traditionally left-wing and statist policies, it is likely that, while TIG are yet to outline a policy programme, Corbyn will win this contest. If it means taking the biggest personal risks, and positioning most defiantly against political convention, TIG trump Corbyn.

In running against convention, TIG are changing the weather, most of all in the Labour party. Over the weekend, it was understood that Corbyn was under pressure to respond to TIG by:

  • Reviewing Labour’s approach to anti-Semitism
  • Heading off attempts to trigger the deselection of MPs
  • Backing a second referendum

On the last of these, after months of reluctance, Corbyn has moved. It will be worth reading the small print but the advocates of a People’s Vote are clear: this is a big deal.

Corbyn’s shift towards a referendum shows the impact TIG have had in a week but whether he can convincingly make all the moves that those in the PLP closest to TIG would like remains to be seen.

More pointedly, on the other two areas of pressure, anti-Semitism will not be addressed by a short term political move such as a policy switch while the Corbynite outriders, hungry for deselections, are unlikely to meekly return to barracks.

Doing more than changing the immediate political weather requires TIG to look beyond these three issues.

TIG might argue that staying in the EU via a People’s Vote is the first step on a journey of national renewal. This should be prioritised over by-elections or a general election. But will take time to be done properly and should be followed by a general election, in which TIG (or whatever it becomes – the Renewal Party?) will set out its prospectus for government and candidate for prime minister.

Securing a strong economy to deliver strong public services is the winning combination of New Labour and One Nation Tories. As their parties have moved left and right, it has fallen into abeyance.

In the latest Talking Politics podcast, Diane Coyle argues that governments should not pick winners in terms of businesses or even sectors, but missions. Mixing the New Labour/One Nation Tory cocktail with contemporary mission would take national renewal far beyond staying in the EU. And would have traction if packaged with a set of retail political offers, and alternative prime minister, that resonate with the general public and differentiate from Corbyn and May.

To have a new party elected to government to deliver these offers would be unprecedented. A new political climate requires ambition on this scale.

It is, as May plays along with his agenda of dividing Europe and Corbyn wishes to send him back
Novichok, the stuff of Putin’s nightmares. Which ought to keep the insurgent flame burning in any
hearts that hold a candle for western liberalism. Even if it remains an implausible, if not impossible,
dream. The extent to which it stays so depends upon the audacity and agility not just of TIG but of the response they elicit from Corbyn and May.

Jonathan Todd is Deputy Editor of Labour Uncut  

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10 Responses to “Corbyn moved on a second referendum because of TIG”

  1. Tafia says:

    The very latest ‘hot off the press’ YouGov Poll (on an evening when the entire upper echelon of British politics from all sides showed themselves to be arrogant, out of touch, spineless and cowardly – thank God they weren’t in politics in 1940)

    Con 36%
    Lab 23% (PMSL)
    TIG 18%
    LDem 6%
    Oth 17%

    Incidentally, to be fair, YouGov asked the same sample who they would vote for if TIG didn’t exist:-

    Con 41%
    Lab 30%
    LDem 10%
    Oth 19%

    And you know have the added bonus that Labour Leave MPs are reportedly now also considering quitting the party.

    In First Past The Post, it’s not where you are in the Polls for the ‘Big Two’ – it’s the size of the gap between you. In either scenario, the Tories are in the 200 seat majority zone.

  2. Anne says:

    It is the Corbynisters who have caused this split, although I believe that Corbyn like May can be very stubborn- I don’t think anyone can make him do anything he does not want to do. His massive mistake was not, from the very beginning, bringing the party together – developing a broad church – in the end this has been his undoing. Tom Watson has developed the right approach.

  3. Alf says:

    TInG is just a pop-up party full of disgruntled Thatcher/Blairites. I hope Streeting, Hodge, and Phillips join it soon.

  4. John P Reid says:

    THe breakaway 7 caused me to rejoin the Labour Party and back date my last 3 months pay to the party,

    Question for them, if we leave the EU in the next 10 weeks, then come May ,are they gonna have one policy of , wanting to rejoin the EU

    The in effect good thing about the current opinion poll, can be when it was pointed out only 40% of labour voters, voted leave in the last two elections, currently if true then 90% of labours current voters, voted leave

    It’ll be interesting if there’s a poll next week,and anyone currently backing Tigers comes back,and any Lexiters back, a new Brexit group

    Tafia are labour leave considering quitting, I suggested blue labour. Quit and form a merge with the SDP, 5 months ago and some SDP were keen, but blue labour seemed not bothered about being a party or even trying to influence the Labour Party, nationally, more just being a think tank,and waiting for history to catch up with it( like those proposing policies in the 50’s ,that had to wait for Heath or Thatcher to take those views on.

  5. John P reid says:

    Alf you keep trolling you know full well Philips isn’t a Blairite she quit the party over Iraq and Streeting was leading the student union against blairs tuition fees in 2005

    Blair of course back the Tiggers so I hope he joins them

  6. Tafia says:

    YouGov ‘live’ asked about Labour’s decision to support a new referendum:

    Right: 37
    Wrong: 42
    DK: 21
    Net 5 Wrong

    More interesting perhaps is the regional split.

    London is highest for right at 48 (net +15) – but thats quite a bit of “vote stacking” – ie it’s an area where there are virtually no swing seats – Labour already hold them or stand no chance of winning them

    Scotland is second for right at 45 (net +9) – but that is SNP territory and will remain so.

    The “heartlands” (ie a seats that voted Leave, are marginals and Labour need to win to win an election)) are both net wrong:

    Midland/Wales net -12 Wrong
    North net -6 Wrong

    (and in both cases this possibly masks a “vote stack” in safe “metro/student” urban seats and a bigger hit in the marginals?)

    Mann & co are a rightly a bit miffed with the new Labour position..

    Having lost Remain VI to TIG will Leave VI abandon LAB as well? Almost certainly. Brexit is more important than the NHS, Education andthe welfare state combined to Leavers.

    I stated a couple of articles back that Labour would be left with a choice – it could keep the south and London or it could keep the North and Wales – but not both. I rexkon Corbyn won’t whip the votes in mid-March – he daren’t, Mann, Hoey and co will walk if he does.

    Tafia’s tip for mid March – May’s deal will pass on the 12th, no requirement for the vote on the 13th as a result, Article 50 extended on the 14th by 2 months to allow Parliament and the EU to dot ‘i’s and cross ‘t’s and we leave the EU in late May – possibly Wednesday 22 May so that we leave before the European elections the following day. May will stand down at the summer recess and the Tories will spend the summer break selecting a new leader while Labour work out how to get rid of Corbyn. New Tory PM will dissolve Parliament straight after recess and we will have a general election primarily about how the two main parties see our post-EU future.

  7. Vern says:

    If ever we needed more evidence of how totally inept and unsuitable Corbyn is then this surely has put the tin hat on it!
    Less than a month ago he was calling for a GE. Last week Watson describes the party “in crises” and this week after promising to honour the referendum Corbyn backs another referendum!

    Politics across all parties is in turmoil but I am embarassed at the performance of Corbyns Labour. An unrecognisable shower of career politicians who are genuinley clueless.

    The only reason i can see that the MP’s are going against the referendum is that they will have to start working for a living when we are out of the EU!!! And they are unaccustomed to the notion of “work”.

  8. anon says:


    I agree – there are politicians and general NGO hangers-on who are yet to realise that this is not just about Brexit; but that Brexit is the symptom of an illness.

    Brexit is not the first and only blow to be struck against this Godawful globalist New World Order, but I feel proud that I and many British people are in the vanguard of this realignment of national democratic power.

    When Jonathan writes – “Mixing the New Labour/One Nation Tory cocktail with contemporary mission would take national renewal far beyond staying in the EU.” – what he is talking about is maintaining control and continuing the abuses of his Common Purpose crowd in our cities.
    Keeping things the way they are to suit he and his like-minded tier of Alphas and Betas.

    We either have democracy or we don’t: we are not economic units to be parcelled, labelled, displaced, or replaced – and we are not possessions to be passed over to foreign powers for the benefit of a bunch of self-selected superiors.

    We have left the Labour/Tory paradigm and are now pro/anti-EU: democracy or anti-democracy.

    History will judge – and if Corbyn doesn’t come out fighting for something that he has believed all of his political life, then history will mark him down as a hypocrite.

  9. Anne says:

    Goodness me – I actually agree with something that ‘Tafia’ has written – the last paragraph ‘tip for March.’ I still believe that Brexit is a massive mistake and if we were to do a cost benefit analysis the cost would be much too great, but I feel we are now too far down the road to turn back – we will have to make the most of a very bad job.

  10. buttley says:

    “Corbyn moved on a second referendum because of TIG”

    Except division 307 on the 29th of January 2019 says otherwise.

    Corbyn is the only person to table a 2nd referendum, the amendment was defeated 296-327.

    How did the TIG forming some twenty days later, influence Corbyn maintaining the agreed party policy. he had already openly proposed in parliament.

    The Amendment

    The Outcome

    Note that none of the Tory TIG’s wanted a 2nd vote, until they did, nearly three weeks later.

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