“The Labour Party has always been about people”, the party’s website proudly states on its legacy page. It was formed to give ordinary people a voice and has “sought power in order to improve their lives”, with achievements from the NHS to the welfare state that have made a lasting difference to the lives of people across our country.
After more than a century of helping to make worker’s lives better the Labour Party is now renowned as one of the most successful social and progressive movements of a generation, boasting more members than any other political party in Western Europe thanks to its ability to appeal “to the many, not the few”. But with all the signs showing that Brexit is about to wreak havoc on the lives of those who they pertain to protect, what will come of their legacy if Labour becomes the party that allows it to happen?
This weekend brought more devastating news for the Britain automotive industry. Nissan, a mainstay of Sunderland’s manufacturing industry, cancelled plans unveiled in 2016 to build its X-Trail model in the North East, deciding to shift production to Japan instead. Although it wont have an immediate impact on jobs it has created uncertainty over the company’s long-term future in the region, and echoes similar blows elsewhere.
Jobs in Solihull, Wolverhampton, Halewood. Gaydon and Whitley are under threat if the UK leaves the EU single market, Jaguar Land Rover has said, and Broughton, Newport, Stevenage and Portsmouth could be left reeling if Airbus is unable to commit its future to the UK following its divorce from the union. Philips has already said it will close its Suffolk factory and Global firm Schaeffler has also announced that it is to close its plant in Llanelli due to uncertainty over Britain’s departure from the European Union.
As well as being key Brexit-voting areas the notable feature of the aforementioned towns and cities that make up much of Britain’s manufacturing backbone is that they are also safe Labour-voting seats. Sunderland was the first to emphatically back Brexit just as it was the first to emphatically back Corbyn in the polls, and I’d wager that there were a fair few Nissan workers that turned out for the Labour leader’s speech on the banks of the Tyne ahead of the 2017 General Election.
So what does Mr Corbyn plan to do to safeguard their future? Well, if the latest reports are to be believed, not a great deal at all.
Media briefings have emerged suggesting Labour is planning to join with the Tories to block a second EU referendum and prevent any chance of the UK staying in the EU. Given what we know about the consequences of that action, that could be potentially devastating for workers across the country.
As SNP MP Ian Blackford says, “if Labour choose to back the Tories on Brexit, and act as the midwives to May’s deal, they will be just as culpable for the harm it will cause and for every job lost as a result. Labour should know an entire generation will never forgive them for betraying the interests of our country.”