The big Brexit dispute ended at the end - Labor expresses itself to a clear attitude to Brexit. In the run-up to the Brighton congress, there was talk of the hard argument between the Remain advocates and those partisans who shared party leader Jeremy Corbyn's more neutral stance on Brexit. The result of the decisive vote on Monday evening was then surprisingly clear: The delegates spoke out for Corbyn's strategy by a large majority. Accordingly, Labor commits itself in case of an election victory to hold a second referendum. Both a Leave option and a demolition of the Brexit should be available for selection. Whether the party in this vote for a new Brexit deal or for staying in the EU makes strong, but she wants to decide later.
The vote is a clear victory for Corbyn, who has been trying for years to seek a way out of his party's Brexit dilemma. In the increasing polarization of the debate he wants to find a compromise that respects the vote of 2016 on the one hand, but expresses the will of the party base on the other hand. The approximately 500,000 Labor members are in overwhelming numbers for remaining in the EU. That the party did so surprisingly well in the 2017 elections is due, among other things, to the young activists and Corbyn supporters who joined the party in 2015.
Corbyn's middle ground
This pro-European enthusiasm of party members is in sharp contrast to the anti-EU sentiment in places where many people vote for Labor. While a majority of Labor voters oppose Brexit, many MPs in northern constituencies fear that an anti-Brexit position will cost them their mandate in an early election. Corbyn's middle ground is designed to satisfy both sides - his strategy is to delineate both the harsh EU opponents in the Tory and the Brexit parties, as well as the increasingly uncompromising EU supporters of the Liberal Democrat party who recently responded have decided, in the case of an - admittedly unlikely - electoral victory, to completely blow Brexit down.
The vote of the congress will strengthen Corbyn. In recent weeks and months, the party leadership has come under increasing pressure to turn Labor into a Remain party. Not only many representatives of the Labor group want such a change of direction, but also left-wing grassroots movements like Another Europe is Possible , which the EU wants to reform from within. In the past two years she has already won some concessions from Corbyn; For a long time, for example, he had resisted the call for a second referendum. Gradually, the party approached a more pro-European position - but to oblige Labor under all circumstances to an EU-friendly position, the chairman is still not ready.
Labor longs for debates beyond Brexit
That a large proportion of the delegates, despite their reservations, voted in favor of Corbyn's line shows that they take their party leader more seriously than their individual preference in Brexit politics. The vote also expresses the desire to finally leave the eternal EU debates and internal quarrels behind so that the members can concentrate on the fight against the Tories: The base yearns to discuss a program with which Labor will go into the election campaign. Beyond the EU debate, the party congress was full of discussions about reforms in economic and social policy - and sometimes there was real enthusiasm.
The speech of shadow finance minister John McDonnell, for example, was one of the most radical of what has been heard of a British politician in recent decades: the four-day week, a free National Nursing service, employee shares, a higher minimum wage, a strengthening of trade union rights - All this and more wants to reach Labor. Previously, the delegates had already called for the abolition of private schools, and on Tuesday will be voted on whether the party should commit to carbon neutrality by 2030.
The election campaign will come soon. Corbyn hopes that the party's neutral Brexit position will give the party the space it needs to channel the debate on leaving the EU - that is the terrain of Boris Johnson and Nigel Farage - to domestic policy. The decisive factor will be whether the Labor activists, including the Pro-Europeans, enthusiastically plunge into the election campaign - without them, the Tories will be unbeatable. With a bit of imagination, the Brexit decision shows a way how the country could end up staying in the EU.