When you are the self-styled voice of Remain, one of the things you have to do is be consistent in that voting that way is pretty darn important. You don’t see Nigel Farage rail against the European Union and suddenly decide to vote for a party who thinks the EU isn’t all that terrible. When you have a position where you don’t want to compromise, compromising or indeed flat out u-turning is a strange move indeed.
This brings us on to Femi Oluwole, who over the past few days shown that he’s against Labour’s position on Brexit but has given his backing to their Peterborough candidate and decided to vote for them at the EU Elections on Thursday 23rd May.
Now Labour voters who want to Remain will struggle to go to the voting booths in a week or so and enthusiastically vote for the party. Many will do so out of loyalty and sheer habit. However if you are such an extremest and put remaining in the European Union above all other things then surely you couldn’t vote for Labour at this time in good conscience?
Femi took to twitter yesterday and confirmed he’s tactically voting Labour:
He uses the 2014 election results as the backing for his reason. The whole idea that politics haven’t moved on in leaps and bounds since then is absolutely absurd. Holding your nose and voting for the least worst option is something many voters have done in the past but when the party you decide to vote for essentially has a policy of exactly the opposite of what you want then what are you doing?
Labour have had a successful position on Brexit because they’ve been able to have two believable faces. For many they look to Jeremy Corbyn and his desire to move away from the European Union in at least some capacity to show that he is respecting the wishes of the majority of people who voted in the EU Referendum in 2016. For others, they look to people like Tom Watson and Sir Kier Starmer who are advocating a People’s Vote. Two positions that fail to sync up but allows people to believe what they want to believe.
The problem with this position is as people become more polarised, they want more assurances of where political parties stand on the issue. The whole notion of compromise has been flung out of the window as Leavers want to leave no matter what and Remainers the exact opposite. Labour have to pick their lane and run it in now as after two years, people are starting to see through the cracks and distancing themselves from the party’s two positions.
The Brexit Party want out out out. The Lib Dems are saying Bollocks to Brexit. The Tories are mostly saying out but understand that just walking away would be financial suicide. The Green party want a People’s Vote, ChangeUK are a joke and Labour are still trying to dip their toes on both sides of the fence.
Now I have some bias clearly because I’m a member of the Lib Dems but if you go through my archives on this very blog, you’ll see I’m not just some partisan cheerleader for the party. Yet on this issue, the party has a very clear message and has to be one of the best choices for those who feel passionately about Remaining within the EU. Now the Greens and ChangeUK also have stronger Remain leaving tendencies (with the SNP and Plaid Cymru in Scotland and Wales respectively) on that list too. Should you want to vote for any of those parties as a strong advocate of either revoking Article 50 or giving the people a confirmatory vote then that is understandable. If you vote Labour and want either of those things then that doesn’t pass the bullshit test. If you vote Labour on the 23rd and think either of the two things in the previous sentence then you are basically saying that political positions aren’t important, you’ll just vote for the colour rosette you want.
When you see him tweeting about Tony Blair and Nick Clegg in a rather unfavourable light, it does seem to raise the question about where he’s at politically. Is he a person who passionately believes in the European Union (as do Blair and Clegg by the way) or are his leanings more towards Labour (or the Greens) with domestic policy and having them in power actually trumping Brexit as his primary goal?
Lastly as has been widely reported, Ole was on the verge of being a Remain Independent candidate in Peterborough for the forthcoming by-election. He pulled out at the very last minute and has cited his reasons in a column for The Independent here.
None of those reasons are far-fetched and if he doesn’t want to run then he shouldn’t receive any stick but one paragraph just stuck with me:
‘The Labour candidate, Lisa Forbes, would be a far better MP than me – if her party wasn’t still supporting Brexit. She has lived in Peterborough for over 30 years, she’s working class and her policies for fixing the housing crisis are far better than mine (partly because they actually exist). But none of her Labour policies will see the light of day if any version of Brexit happens.’
None of her Labour policies will see the light of day if any version of Brexit happens and yet he’s backing her and her party despite the fact they quite clearly want at least some version of Brexit to happen. The mind boggles.
This is a great example of where Labour are right now. Somehow they are able to attract (or keep – I don’t know Femi’s past voting history) ardent Remain voters despite the fact they want Brexit. If you have a strong belief that Brexit will ruin the country then supporting anyone who advocates it seems be just shooting yourself in the foot on purpose.
What do they say, Turkey’s wouldn’t vote for Christmas but apparently ardent Remainers will vote for Brexit.
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