One of the mysteries (albeit a minor one) of contemporary British politics, is how the Morning Star manages to maintain its image as a pretty much uncritical Corbyn fanzine whilst opposing Corbyn’s one and only clear policy on Europe – to avoid a no-deal Brexit at all costs.
Perhaps the paper (and its political masters at the Communist Party of Britain) gets away with it because its advocacy of no-deal on WTO terms is tucked away in editorials, often posed as a just a suggestion and then spelt out in statements from the CPB published in the Morning Star but not officially the paper’s “line”.
Now they’ve gone further and broken with the Labour party’s most sacred shibboleth: to vote Labour in every election. The proposition first appeared, almost as an aside, at the bottom of an editorial (24 April) attacking Change UK (something the MS does a lot, while having little to say about Farage’s Brexit Party):
“There is already a strong case for Britain’s voters boycotting the EU elections. Participating in them lends a spurious legitimacy to an exercise that would not be happening but for the parliamentary sabotage of Brexit.”
This was followed up, two days later, with a rambling editorial (“Should we boycott the Euro Elections?” — note that disingenuous question mark), which worked its way round to suggesting “There is a strong case — rooted in a respect for the people’s democratic instincts — for an active boycott of this unnecessary, irrelevant vanity parade.”
Meanwhile, the paper’s political masters, the CPB, had put out a statement (25 April): “Communists call for ‘People’s Boycott’ of EU polls”.
“‘The European elections scheduled for May 23 are illegitimate in Britain’, John Foster told the Communist Party’s political committee on Wednesday evening.
“He insisted that the ‘people’s vote’ in the biggest poll in British history in June 2016 was to leave the European Union and that this should be reinforced by a ‘People’s Boycott’ of the EU elections if they go ahead...
“In particular, he warned against Labour presenting itself as an anti-Brexit party, as some of its leaders and European candidates are intent upon doing.”
There is good reason to believe that the CPB and its Morning Star mouthpiece have put out their call to boycott the Euro elections because if they didn’t, quite a few of their supporters and even members, would support Farage’s party.
It would be logical, given that what the CPB and Morning Star say about the EU and Brexit is (give or take a few empty slogans) virtually indistinguishable from Farage and the people he’s gathered round him, some of whom claim to be “left wing”.
And it’s happened before: in the run-up to the 2016 EU referendum, the (then) prominent CPB’er and Foreign Editor of the Morning Star, Brian Denny (also coordinator of the No2EU campaign) was working closely with pro-Leave Tories, Ukip and Arron Banks. He eventually left the CPB and ceased working for the Morning Star, though to what extent this was a genuine parting of the ways, as opposed to a mutually agreed arrangement to avoid embarrassment, has never been clear (the Morning Star recently carried an enthusiastic review, by Denny, of Julie Birchill’s piss-poor pro-Brexit play).
This latest move for a “People’s Boycott” is, therefore, likely to be merely a rouse to avoid the embarrassment of people in and around the CPB/Morning Star coming out for Farage. But it’s still a shameful little manoeuvre.
After all, what they’re actually saying is “Don’t vote Labour.”