Instead, the leadership of the alleged official opposition party is desperately trying both to enable the Tories to commit national suicide and to escape the blame for it. The former is despicable, the latter is a tactic that those of us with long memories will recollect as being identified with the less intelligent strands of the hard left over the decades. Unsurprisingly, given the nature of the current Labour leadership, its instincts are rooted in the pseudo-internationalism that relies upon besmirching the European project in the context of the Cold War and the Anglo-Soviet Friendship Society - astroturf before the term was invented for the rats of the Taxpayer's (sic) Alliance.
Corbyn and McDonnell are entirely consistent in their denigration of the European dimension of politics. Their approach was forged in the 1970s and 1980s, where the catastrophism of Tony Benn's Alternative Economic Strategy coincided with the sense of national crisis and particularism that the right-wing media are continuing to peddle today to justify their proprietors' aims to reduce their tax bill and impose fealty. The hard left were useful idiots to this construction then, and they are definitely playing along with this now for reasons unfathomable.
Hostility to Europe is hard-wired. Labour's official position was aligned with Enoch Powell in the 1970s, and it was only the actions of the alleged traitors such as Roy Jenkins that allowed Heath to pass the European Communities Act in the first place. Tony Benn and Michael Foot, both justifiably celebrated as intellectual and political mavericks, campaigned alongside Powell and others to withdraw from the EEC in the decisive referendum of 1975. It might have been more honest for Corbyn to align himself with the Leave side in the unresolved plebiscite of 2016. But Corbyn is no Foot, nor a Benn, however much his hagiographic cultists wish to portray him.
Again, the history of Labour during the period of its long decline was one of anti-European xenophobia. The 1983 manifesto was unambiguously opposed to the EU, and it was only during the period where Kinnock shifted the party to within a hair's-breadth of electoral success that a more measured approach was adopted - a still-justifiable recognition that flawed institutions are best reformed from the inside, rather than by shouting abuse and pretending superiority. This played out well for Blair as the Tories tore themselves to shreds after the Lisbon Treaty, while Corbyn voted, more often than not, aligned with the hard right. A Hoey avant la lettre.
One of the characteristics of the hard left is its inability to engage with ambiguity. The casuistry that Corbyn has permitted Labour to sink into has been redolent of the worst kind of theological discourse, without even a veneer of moral underpinning. Over the last two months a discourse over the meaning of the customs union, with or without a definite article, has been the sole focus of Labour's official opposition to the suicidal tendencies of May, Johnson, Fox and Davis. The vacuity of "jobs-first Brexit" remains unchallenged, although when many of my fellow dissidents dare to express our distaste for the moronic mantra we are howled down as not being true believers in the death cult.
Not that this worries his cheerleaders, who seem wedded to the idea that somehow one more heave will bring in the millennium. While the UK"s national parody of democratic representation ensures a continuation of the media conspiracy of binary choice, the reality is that it will not remain the case, and that the fissile nature of political support does not guarantee an unfettered mandate for any party - especially one that has indicated that the tactical supporters it craves, especially those for whom the abandonment of the extreme Brexit idiocy is the principal determinant of support, should be ignored and belittled. That is the approach that Militant and others used to test the commitment of their recruits - voters have other choices and will make them.
Recent pronouncements from the Labour leadership have been even less reassuring. Playing the racist card is yet another throwback to the Powellite position. The economically-illiterate bleating about the labour market seems to exist in doublethink, alongside the claims that the EU blocks nationalisation - despite the RMT and other hard-of-thinking cheerleaders constantly complaining that nationalised European utilities are able to enter the UK market. At worst, it suggests that Powell's cynical support of Harold Wilson in the February 1974 election has made a subconscious impact on the hard left. At best they are sticking to their wooing of the UKIP vote, which has now returned to its natural home in the Tory party, finding the racism and fascism of Rees-Mogg much more to its taste.
Were Corbyn genuine, he would be attempting to lead. Instead, he ignores the elephant in the room that would render all his properly-identified policies that differentiate Labour from the Tories to become irrelevant. Domestically, they are infinitely better than the oppressive, authoritarian garbage emitted by the current incompetent usurpers, bound as they are to the DUP, a party of neanderthals who would make Donald Trump blush. If Labour wanted to win, they would not be spending their time virtue-signalling but engaging with the reality of what would need to be set out as the consequences of an electoral victory. Meanwhile, the SNP has already started a redistributive taxation reform!
There would be no shame in Labour now adopting an approach that acknowledged the 2016 plebiscite without committing to its implementation without reference back either to Parliament or the electorate. When John Major is more radical than Corbyn, alarm bells should be ringing. If there is a strategy from within the Labour party apparatus, it appears to be to hope that the electorate blames May for the catastrophe while keeping a safe distance. It won't wash, because there is much more than they can and could do to address the issues and inform people as to the consequences. This plays right into the hands of the 62 Tory flat-earthers who hold May hostage - a smart opposition would exploit this. As it stands, hand-wringing and Socialist Organiser throwbacks have captured and paralysed a party that should be standing on the threshold of power - and instead may well slip backwards when the mask of throwback idiocy slips.