Who is Hilary Benn helping?

With the EU referendum, the Conservative party are struggling with an irreversible decision. The only other decision in last 40 years of similar result the Iraq War decision. The Conservative government has to carry out, or fail to make the exit. No matter which way Article 50 is decided, the consequences rest firmly on the Conservative Party.[1] They would be forever known as the party that failed or succeeded in taking the UK.

Conservatives in disarray with an iceberg looming.

The EU referendum came about to resolve an internal split with the Conservative party that had developed over decades between pro-European and Anti-European wings. The split, however, remains because Article 50 has not been initiated. No matter how it is resolved, its consequences will settle the issue forever. When David Cameron resigned, effective October 2016, he pushed the decision to the Anti-European party. They would have to put up or shut up and suffer all the consequences. Even now, rival candidates are being considered to run against Boris Johnson who led the Leave campaign. If the Conservative party fails to trigger Article 50, they upset the 48% who wanted to stay, and did not want to leave, and the 52% who wanted to leave and cannot. In either case, the Conservative Party will be unfavourable with a large part of the UK that cuts across, age, gender, region, and party.

Plan? What Plan? Make it up as we go along, and hope for the best.

Boris Johnson and the Leave campaign were, and continue to be, without a plan. They did not know what to do. At their moment of greatest vulnerability, something interesting occurred. Hilary Benn demanded that Jeremy Corbyn, the Leader of the Labour party, resign. Instead of attacking the Conservatives at their most his most vulnerable moment, he has faced a vote of no confidence. In large part, it seems, because the Labour party believe a general election is imminent and fear he cannot succeed. The attack has hit Labour hardest and provided a needed respite for the Conservative Party. Why?

Twice bitten but to what end?

We know that Hilary Benn has done this before. When the vote came to authorise airstrikes against ISIL, he spoke to support the Conservative Party decision to start airstrikes. Yet, it served no purpose. The airstrikes have been infrequent, ineffective, and largely symbolic lacking any decisive strategic purpose.[2] As Brexit becomes an increasing disaster it was the time for Corbyn to become the voice of opposition. Except Benn has removed that chance. One has to ask why?

Murdoch’s baleful shadow across UK politics

One possible motive might be Rupert Murdoch. Hilary may be wishing to avoid his father’s mistakes. We know that Corbyn stated he would not work with Murdoch. Perhaps Murdoch has offered to help Labour if they remove Corbyn. If they have struck that deal, then they get what they deserve. If they have not struck that deal, then they have served that purpose. Either way, they have made Labour the story and weakened the party. Can Hilary Benn explain why he wanted this outcome?

[1] http://jackofkent.com/2016/06/why-the-article-50-notification-is-important/

[2] Here is the earlier news story in December 2015  http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-35166971 See also government update in June on the bombings. Only 8 against Syria since January 2016. https://www.gov.uk/government/news/update-air-strikes-against-daesh

So, why did Hilary Benn make the speech? It has served no purpose. Full of sound and fury yet signifying nothing except it helped the Conservative government and it hurt Corbyn. Perhaps Dante would place him in the 9th Circle.


About lawrence serewicz

An American living and working in the UK trying to understand the American idea and explain it to others. The views in this blog are my own for better or worse.
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