Splendid Observer column by Andrew Rawnsley:
What would Mr Corbyn do when he and his members desired something contradictory? How would he act when they had fundamentally different worldviews? Would he put aside his own preferences in deference to the sovereignty of the Labour people? Or would he behave just like the “establishment” politicians he has spent a lifetime condemning and seek to subordinate the will of the members to his own opinions?
We now know. The Brexit blowtorch has burnt away many fantasises. One of the items on the bonfire of illusions is the notion that the Labour leader is in some way a special one, so different to all other politicians as to be almost not a politician at all. It turns out that he is just another manoeuvring, equivocating hack when he wants one thing and his members want the opposite.
This split is not a slight difference of opinion on a low-order issue. We are talking about something a bit more important than how to regulate the provision of manhole covers. This is about the most significant question to face Britain for decades. Some 73% of people currently identifying as Labour supporters think that the UK was wrong to vote to leave the EU. That rises to a whopping 89% among Labour members. As you might expect to follow, most Labour members and most Labour voters want the party to come out in full support of another referendum on Brexit, a move that would transform the chances of the country being given a fresh choice.
The bottom line, as Rawnsley observes, is that sometimes, the simplest explanations for human behaviour are the best ones. The Labour leader is not making any effort to prevent Brexit because he doesn’t want to prevent Brexit. So if Labour supporters want another referendum (and we now know, courtesy of Tim Bales’s research that they do), they will have to learn from their leader’s time-honoured practice and rebel against him.