Ashfield’s Labour MP, Gloria de Piero has written an interesting but superficial article for the New Statesman examining the Leave views of some of her constituents.
Gloria is on the right of the Labour Party. She is a continuing opponent of Labour’s 2015 Corbyn turn and two weeks ago defied Labour’s whip and abstained on taking control of the Article 50 deadline away from May.
Her article is fairly certainly her justification for possibly further supporting a Tory Brexit.
The most interesting bit of the article are the interviews with working class Leave voters. However there is nothing here that would surprise anyone who campaigned in working class areas against Brexit in either 2016 or now.
Ironically the Leave voters she interviewed are unlikely Labour voters. Only one having voted Labour before – and that was not recently. And, although she reports they were not strongly anti-immigrant, she doesn’t seem to ask them much on that.
There are frequent references by these Leave voters to ‘they’ and ‘Brussels’ as the cause of their problems – without any evidence being asked for. And Gloria herself admits that their concerns and dissatisfactions: housing, lack of educational and job opportunities are mainly domestic. These are the very people who could be won to an anti-austerity Labour Party without concessions being made to false ‘anti-foreigner’ beliefs.
Ironically Ashfield activists tell me Gloria De Piero refused to campaign in 2017 in support of Labour’s Manifesto, the very policies, mass council house building that she seems now to support in this article. Her failure in 2017 lost her a lot of votes.
Her campaign team then told activists not to defend Corbyn when campaigning as I mentioned in an earlier article here.
Her campaign was instead run on the basis of her personal credibility as many other Labour right wing MPs were. Whilst Labour elsewhere enjoyed large swings to Labour across the country, in De Piero’s Ashfield there was a considerable swing away from Labour.
This article hardly justifies De Piero’s parliamentary rebellion and refusal to vote against May’s Brexit. In fact it does the opposite.
It shows many Leave voters are politically disengaged and don’t understand, perhaps don’t even know of Labour’s pro-working class policies. They are victims of UKIP’s xenophobic rhetoric which has been strong in Ashfield for a decade.
Those workers need convincing – not to have UKIP’s propagated prejudices either repeated or passively accepted by anyone from Labour’s parliamentary benches.