Brian Monteith: Prospect of Jeremy Corbyn as PM is far worse than no-deal Brexit

Britain's opposition Labour party leader Jeremy Corbyn leaves his home in north London on September 5, 2019. - Britain geared up for an early election on Thursday after parliament dealt a series of stinging defeats to Prime Minister Boris Johnson's hardline Brexit stance. (Photo by ISABEL INFANTES / AFP)ISABEL INFANTES/AFP/Getty Images
Britain's opposition Labour party leader Jeremy Corbyn leaves his home in north London on September 5, 2019. - Britain geared up for an early election on Thursday after parliament dealt a series of stinging defeats to Prime Minister Boris Johnson's hardline Brexit stance. (Photo by ISABEL INFANTES / AFP)ISABEL INFANTES/AFP/Getty Images
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The Labour leader has sided with practically every enemy of the country, writes Brian Monteith – and calls many of them his friends

For months, like some sort of Buddhist chant, any Labour politician worth his or her copy of Das Kapital has been demanding a general election so the Tories can be thrown out.

Along comes Boris Johnson as Prime Minister saying he will leave the EU, deal or no deal, by 31 October, only for Parliament to block him. He accepts, reluctantly, the only way to resolve Brexit is to give the British people the general election that Labour, the SNP and the Liberal Democrats have been demanding – but the opposition parties vote against it, arguing that the timing does not suit them.

They want a general election, but only once a further extension of EU membership – costing £1 billion a month for a minimum of three months – has been agreed with the EU. They accuse Johnson of procuring a coup – yet it is his opponents who have been conspiring and collaborating with the very foreign power he is seeking to disentangle from – taking its legal advice and arranging an extension behind the nation’s back.

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Imagine past British politicians collaborating with IRA leaders while there was terrorism on our streets, or having private talks to support Khrushchev during the Cuban missile crisis, or Halifax cooking up a deal with Ribbentrop after Poland had been invaded and our troops driven out of France? Yet that is indeed what MPs disrespecting the referendum result have effectively done.

Surely these people must face the judgment of the British people through an early general election?

Meanwhile Labour leaflets printed and posted before the week’s developments popped through voters’ letterboxes at the weekend demanding a general election “now” – exposing their two-faced opportunism.

Labour and opposition parties fear an immediate general election because polling shows strong support for Conservatives before Halloween falls significantly if it comes afterwards. Further, another poll has shown there is more support for – or put another way, less fear of – leaving the EU “without a deal” than for Corbyn becoming prime minister.

After months, if not years, of cataclysmic fearmongering of biblical proportions, the British public think Corbyn running the country is far worse than becoming a normal free-trading nation without any special deal between the EU and UK.

And yet there is a possibility that Corbyn as prime minister is what we shall get – but without that general election. Not only do Johnson’s opponents want to overturn the referendum result, they wish to overturn the Government without any of us ordinary mortals having a say in the matter – prolonging the longest parliamentary session in 400 years.

This begs the question: why might Corbyn be judged worse?

If we are to believe the opponents of “no-deal” then overnight we shall be enduring food shortages in shops, run out of fresh sandwiches, endure chaos at ports, be forced to ration medicines, lose valuable export markets and suffer an economic recession. Other, almost-daily scares add to these woes, causing a mood of uncertainty and apprehension; yet Britain’s collective upper lip is stiffening.

We have been here before. We were told if we voted to leave there would be an immediate recession, some 500,000 people would lose their jobs, property prices would collapse and interest rates would have to go up to control rampant inflation. Three years later and none of the “immediate” outcomes has materialised – in fact employment has grown by 800,000 (mostly full-time) jobs, earnings are outstripping living costs, average property values continue to rise, tax receipts are growing so the deficit is reducing and public finances improving – and while an overdue recession is possible it will be global factors that precipitate it.

Whether or not people just don’t believe the scares any more, think any short-term upheaval will be worth our country taking back control or huge compensating economic opportunities are not being reported, it is impossible to say. It might be a combination of all these.

It might also be people think Corbyn is simply not fit to be in office. After all, there are many in the Labour Party (and many who have abandoned it) – or who voted Remain – who think Corbyn would be a disaster. It is not inconceivable a large share of these people consider a five-year Corbyn premiership worse than a no-deal Brexit where any difficulties should prove short-term. Economic forecasts by the independent National Institute of Economic and Social Research and others suggest UK GDP will continue to rise after Brexit but might be 5-8 per cent smaller by 2030 than if we remain in the EU. That’s only 0.5 per cent smaller a year – less than GDP averaging 2 per cent growth over the last 18 years.

All of this has to compare with the possible rule of a prime minister who has sided with practically every enemy of the country, calling many of them his “friends”. A leader whose relationship with anti-semitism in his party has caused many of his MPs and members to leave. A leader advocating economic policies that would cause capital flight and a collapse in investment.

Voters know there has never been a Labour government that ended with lower unemployment than it inherited – and at a time of low employment this must mean people will start to lose their jobs. Sure, they probably welcome Labour spending to “end austerity” – but the Conservatives have already started that without Labour’s additional tax rises which the Financial Times estimates at £26bn.

They can also smell the rancid stench coming from a backroom deal being cooked up with Nicola Sturgeon to provide a second independence referendum in return for ensuring there is no early election – and, when later there is, Labour gains power through a confidence-and-supply arrangement. Corbyn would then cling on like a limpet, lasting far longer than any no-deal upheaval.

Internationally he could then demonise the only liberal state in the Middle East while siding with misogynist, homophobic Iran and championing the cause of anti-semitic Marxists delivering death and torture in South America, such as Venezuela’s President Nicolas Maduro.

The public are not stupid – the real threat to our way of life, our economy and our liberties comes from Corbyn – and there’s no disguising it. Brexit must be delivered and Corbyn stopped. With the help of Brexit Party support reaching out to Labour Leave voters or those who never voted before, Johnson can defeat Corbyn and turn no-deal threats into opportunities.

I have some useful numbers when he decides to make the call.

Brian Monteith MEP is chief whip of the Brexit Party in the European Parliament