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Westlake Legal Group > Posts tagged "Remain"

Eric Kaufmann: A chilling effect is taking place at British universities. An Academic Freedom Bill can change that.

Eric Kaufmann is Senior Fellow, Policy Exchange and Professor of Politics, Birkbeck College, University of London.

Conservatives need to put as much emphasis on the drift of the culture as they traditionally have on questions of economics and foreign policy. If not, it is uncertain whether a culture of open debate, tolerant of conservative speech, can survive.

Universities are where many cultural trends begin. Our recent Policy Exchange report, Academic Freedom in the UK: Protecting Viewpoint Diversity, shows the scale of the challenge that those committed to free exchange face. This is not just about newsworthy events such as the no-platforming of Amber Rudd from Oxford or dismissal of Jordan Peterson from Cambridge. Beneath the surface lies a far more pervasive threat to academic freedom: political discrimination, leading to self-censorship.

Our report draws on the largest randomly-selected survey of British academics to date. It finds that just nine percent identify as right-wing, falling to seven percent among currently active scholars in the social sciences and humanities. This is largely caused by the relationship between advanced education and left-wing views, but hostility to conservatives may be a contributing factor.

Among right-wing scholars, one in three report that they have self-censored their views in research and teaching “for fear of consequences to [their] career”, three times the reported rate for centre-left academics. Two in three academics would be uncomfortable or uncertain about sitting next to a gender-critical scholar at lunch. And just three in 10 academics in the social sciences and humanities – of which 80 per cent are Remainers – say a Leaver would be comfortable expressing their Brexit view to a colleague.

These perceptions are grounded in an accurate appraisal of the costs of speaking freely: a third of academics would discriminate against a Leaver in a job application, and an even larger share would mark down a right-leaning grant proposal. Eight in 10 academics aren’t Leavers, Tory voters or gender-critical feminists, the main groups facing discrimination. This means that political discrimination, and the loss of freedom that goes with it, is invisible to most academics.

However, for the minority who are affected, these threats are all too real. The combination of political discrimination and the ripple effects of dismissal campaigns raise threat perceptions, creating a “chilling effect” that shuts down academic freedom.

Political discrimination and dismissal campaigns are unjust and illiberal, but they also strike at the heart of the academic enterprise: the quest for truth. Difficult questions aren’t asked, orthodoxies remain unchallenged, and key social divides – such as those between Leavers and Remainers – cannot be discussed to reach a higher understanding and accommodation.

There is also a mistaken view that threats to freedom stem from the state, and that Government intervention always reduces freedom. This may be true in Erdogan’s Turkey or Xi’s China, but as John Stuart Mill remarked, peer pressure can result in an equally crushing “despotism of custom”.

In such cases, especially where a prevailing orthodoxy is weaponised by radical pressure groups exerting power over university policy, Government has an important role in stepping in to protect individuals’ freedom. We have seen this before with the Government-ordered de-segregation of Southern American universities in the early 1960s and interventions into British schools where religious fundamentalism has taken root.

Threats also come from the right, whether from organisations that would report and shame leftist academics or from those who seek to chill controversial left-wing perspectives on Middle East politics.

We recommend that the Government table an Academic Freedom Bill, creating the new position of Director of Academic Freedom on the Office for Students, to proactively ensure that universities are respecting existing law. This will ensure due process for the accused and a route to appeal for those who believe their academic freedom has been infringed.

We also call upon the Government to provide guidance on the precise threshold at which free speech and academic freedom may be superseded by harm claims. Finally, we recommend that university administrators should have a duty to remain politically-neutral in their official communications to staff.

This is not just a tempest in the academic teapot. Nearly all graduate-dominated professions and organisations lean left and Remain, and where people’s views are manifest in work and conversation, this may produce a much wider problem of political discrimination and self-censorship. The recent letter in Harper’s magazine signed by 150 leading writers, including figures such as JK Rowling and Noam Chomsky, shows that the problem is not confined to universities.

The report highlights problems, but also has some bright spots. Just 10-20 per cent of academics support campaigns to have controversial scholars fired. Using a concealed method, we found that two-thirds of academics, including six in 10 leftists, wouldn’t discriminate against a Leaver. There is a silent majority of decent academics who support academic freedom.

Even so, while few professors and lecturers wish to cancel dissenters, few would actively oppose such campaigns, permitting an illiberal minority to exercise influence far beyond their numbers. Government action helps to signal that this will not be tolerated, strengthening the hand of university administrators in resisting pressure from radical staff, students and outside activists.

The growing challenge from a “woke” ideology that values emotional safety over academic freedom is gaining institutional traction in academia and beyond. Thus far, resistance has largely taken place among liberals and conservatives in the media and online.

In order to turn the tide, however, Government, backed by the courts, needs to step in to ensure that universities and other institutions are upholding the law in their daily operations. As Cass Sunstein, a legal scholar, notes, Government action can change social norms by signalling what the democratic majority of citizens approve of.

Smoking bans and seatbelt restrictions started with law, but led to norm change. Likewise, putting an end to mob-driven dismissal and political discrimination can help establish new norms in institutions like universities which obviate the need for close enforcement.

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Emma Revell: Young people socialising made Sturgeon “want to cry”. If only she got as upset over their debt burden.

Emma Revell is Head of Communications at the IEA

It’s not often some millennials gathering on a beach on a blazing hot weekend is enough to move someone to tears but that was the case for Nicola Sturgeon this week. The Scottish First Minister told a press conference that the crowds of young people gathered, apparently without physical distancing, made her “want to cry”.

I understand the frustration governments might be feeling at people pushing the boundaries of social distancing recommendations but to be driven to tears? Not at the untold damage being wrought on young people’s careers, not for the unfathomable debt they have been saddled with for the rest of their lives and probably those of their children, not for the unsuitable conditions many have been forced to work in for the last five months – those who were lucky enough to have jobs which can be done from home at least. But the simple act of meeting one’s friends outside is enough for a national leader to condemn a generation.

How can this be allowed to stand? The chance of dying from Coronavirus for 15-24 year olds is 0.5 for every 100,00 people. For 25-44 year olds it is 2.9 for every 100,000. So even accounting for a very generous definition of what Nicola Sturgeon meant by young – stretching it to the second category to include myself at a mere 28 years old – the chances of dying from Coronavirus, assuming you did contract the disease, are vanishingly small. The burden of the measures introduced to combat the disease however will fall squarely on the shoulders of the young.

The UK’s debt as a percentage of GDP exceeded 100 per cent for the first time since 1963 in June and that is only likely to increase with unemployment likely to reach record highs.

Whether or not you consider a pivot to homeworking a joy or a disaster is likely to depend on your age. While upper management in their 50s and beyond have enjoyed the chance to skip the commute and take a leisurely lunchtime walk as a break from their kitted-out home office, young people are much more likely to have struggled to share the kitchen table with multiple housemates in private rented accommodation without the luxury of a decade chair, never mind a home office.

New research from the LSE found that young Londoners living in shared accommodation throughout lockdown had just 9.3sqm of private personal space and that 37 per cent of those were sleeping and working in their bedrooms. Nearly half of those surveyed reporting having no suitable place to work at all.

That is those young people who can work from home in the first place. A total of 22 per cent of workers between 22 and 25 in their first full-time job were in low-paying occupations in the hardest hit sectors: retail and hospitality.

For those lucky enough to hang on to work, long-term home working will severely damage the chances of progression and team cohesion in sectors where so much relies on making connections with colleagues and getting to know the rest of the team.

A Zoom pub quiz on a Thursday night organised by a frazzled HR manager will only get you so far. Reduced job opportunities will limit the chances of progression into higher paid positions even further.

And it is not all about money. What about our social lives, or our love lives? If you are in your late 20s like I am, the tick tock of the biological clock begins to edge ever closer. Lockdown has damaged countless relationships, ending many either through enforced separation or proximity. How long are we expected to put our social lives on hold?

Where are our champions? During the EU referendum both sides of the campaign played up the benefits of their side’s victory for young people. Remainers argued that membership of the EU was essential for safeguarding the rights of young people to live and work across the continent, while Leavers wanted the next generation to grow up in full control of the laws of the land. Where are those campaigners now?

It is, of course, the elderly and those with underlying health conditions who are suffering the worst health outcomes from the pandemic. If rumours from Whitehall are to be believed, over 50s are at risk of losing essential liberties if a second wave of the virus hits Britain and of course maybe in middle age have been balancing the twin burdens of childcare and home-schooling with supporting older relatives who have been told to shield themselves.

No generation has escaped Coronavirus’ effect, but the young are uniquely positioned to bare almost no health risk yet will be living with the impact on careers, bank balances, romances, and mental health for the rest of their lives. It is time for politicians to remember that.

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David Callaghan: Whatever happened to the Liberal Democrats?

David Callaghan is a former Liberal Democrat councillor in the London Borough of Sutton and parliamentary candidate. He works as a freelance journalist for ConservativeHome.

When the Liberal Democrats joined the Coalition Government in 2010 they were back in the big time, with their first ministers in 65 years. Leader Nick Clegg became Deputy Prime Minister after his parliamentary colleagues and wider party overwhelmingly backed the coalition.

There was great excitement within the party, and I experienced this as a Lib Dem councillor and a parliamentary candidate in the general election, that the Tories had given far more ground than expected in the Coalition Agreement. Some Lib Dems could not believe that so many of the party’s manifesto policies made it into the agreement.

There were policies in the agreement on education such as the pupil premium, and on tax like an increase in the personal allowance, that enticed the Lib Dems into thinking ‘wow, we are actually going to put these policies into practice’.

Perhaps the most significant inclusion from the Lib Dems’ point of view was the promise of a referendum on electoral reform. The possibility of a system based on something other than first-past-the-post was the holy grail for Lib Dems, who were used to settling for a meagre number of MPs much lower than their share of the vote deserved.

One notable dissenter though to this historic new government was former leader Charles Kennedy, who saw some of the pitfalls and preferred ‘a confidence and supply’ deal to prop up a minority Conservative administration. Kennedy’s misgivings should have set alarm bells ringing in the party hierarchy and made the leadership think twice.

But at that point the party was being swept along by the hysteria created by the sweet scent of power, and the opportunity to see some policies implemented for the first time in living memory. Any talk of caution was quickly dismissed as party stalwarts, including influential former leader Paddy Ashdown, said the coalition was in the national interest and necessary.

This euphoria was to turn sour though within months as the blame for a trebling in tuition fees landed squarely on the heads of Lib Dem MPs who had signed a pledge not to increase them. Student protests were aimed at the government and more specifically the Lib Dems who were accused of ‘selling out’. Assurances from Deputy Leader Vince Cable that universities would not increase fees to the maximum of £9,000 per year proved to be based on wishful thinking.

There was also a backlash against the austerity measures, including cuts to welfare and local government, which was to prove damaging for the Lib Dems.

Clegg has admitted the party should have been more assertive in the early days of government, standing up to the Tories. He and his colleagues were stronger in their positioning later in the coalition, vetoing parliamentary boundary changes, for example, in retaliation to Conservative-led opposition against House of Lords reform.

The general election of 2015 was to be a catastrophic event for the party that it still hasn’t recovered from. It was slaughtered, losing most of its MPs, including Cable, as it was punished for five years of coalition and the tuition fees debacle. Clegg held onto his seat, but resigned as leader with his party on its knees.

Were the Lib Dem policies on education and tax big vote winners, and did the party get the credit anyway? The Conservatives made a point of claiming responsibility for the lightening of the tax burden, which was the one policy that might have a made a real difference at the polls.

The 2011 referendum on voting reform had proved to be a damp squib with a turnout of only 42%, and a decisive vote against change. The pro-reform campaign was characterised by splits and a lack of clarity over the benefits of any overhaul of the voting system. The referendum itself has largely been forgotten, as it is completely over-shadowed by the earthquake ballot on the EU.

By contrast to the plight of the Lib Dems, the Conservatives won a surprise majority in 2015 under David Cameron, and gleefully formed a new government without the need for a partner. The Tories have won subsequent polls in 2017, albeit without a majority, and then decisively last year. There does not appear to have been a political price for the Tories from austerity in the way it has hit the Lib Dems.

Most importantly, the Conservatives have got it right on Brexit since the referendum. Yes Theresa May’s agreement wasn’t approved by resistant MPs, but ultimately the party was rewarded for honouring the 2016 EU referendum result and promising to ‘Get Brexit Done’. Swathes of Labour voters switched to the Conservatives in December’s general election, and the Lib Dems faced another bad result, making no progress and losing their leader Jo Swinson.

A few months earlier the Lib Dems had voted to drop their policy of a second referendum and actually revoke Article 50, therefore reversing Brexit. Buoyed by a strong performance in May’s European elections, the party seemed to get carried away, especially as it attracted some high profile defections from other parties. In an attempt to gather all the Remain voters under its banner, it said it would win power and stop Brexit.

Brexit, like tuition fees, has proved to be a landmark in the party’s history. It achieved power in a coalition, but paid a very dear price, and is now reeling from another disaster of its own making.

Ten years on from the coalition launch, Sir Ed Davey is doing his best as interim leader to keep the party’s head above water, but it is struggling to be heard as the country grapples with the Coronavirus emergency. With only 11 MPs, the Lib Dems are a long way from the heady days of 2010 when they boasted 57 and were the government kingmakers.

There has been a series of strategic mistakes and a lack of understanding of what happened. The party got it badly wrong over tuition fees, and the MPs should take a large share of the blame for this after insisting the pledge of ‘no increase’ stay in the 2010 manifesto despite the misgivings of Clegg and Cable.

On Brexit, the party has misjudged the mood in many parts of the country, where even Remainers like myself, wanted the result of the referendum to be delivered.

A future direction for the Lib Dems is now unclear and they must learn from these mistakes over the last 10 years, which have left them on the sidelines, miles from power. They have been defeated on the big debate of the day with Brexit, after finding themselves on the losing side of the argument. Now perhaps they have to remodel as the party of ‘Return’ to the EU, but will this be tenable as the country moves firmly in the other direction? A series of false starts leave the party with an uncertain future.

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

Rupert Myers: Remainers might wish otherwise, but there is simply no mandate for a second referendum

Rupert Myers is a barrister and writer.

Can it be any surprise that Sky have set up a TV news channel that doesn’t talk about Brexit? Whether you are an ardent Leaver, or a beret-sporting Remainer, there aren’t many people who can honestly claim not to be sick of an argument that has stolen precious years from a public debate that should be focused on much more pressing domestic concerns.

The discourse has been bled dry of nuance or fresh-thinking, the tribes are hunkered down in trenches from which they lob the same old predictable shells: John Bercow is a villain or a saint, the deal is salvation or ruin, and the value of our independence is either incalculable or a waste of time and money. What these tribes demand of each other is honesty and clear thinking, but they too rarely apply it to themselves. Is there a way through? One far side demands “clean Brexit” while the other cries for a second referendum, but there is every chance that both of those positions are wrong.

It brings me little pleasure to admit that there is no mandate for a second referendum. Remainers complain that the last referendum was not conducted in good faith, and they are not alone in that: from stolen data, dark money, and overspending to a myriad of falsehoods, it could not be described as democracy’s finest hour, but the misdeeds of some of the principal actors do not invalidate the experience of every man and woman who put on their shoes and went to the polling station.

Opponents have failed to persuade the millions who voted for Brexit that they were hoodwinked, and with good reason. There simply isn’t the evidence to support the idea that the referendum was won by – say – the £350m claim. The evidence shows that voters for Brexit felt alienated by a direction of travel that saw unchecked migration coincide with the stagnation of living standards. Brexiters who felt ignored were attracted to the narrative of empowerment represented by “sovereignty”. Remainers still attack the methods of the old referendum, while failing to accept that there is no queue of Brexit voters lining up to castigate the Leave campaign for misleading them. There are only hordes of increasingly impatient people who asked for something to be done, and cannot see why it is taking quite so long.

It is a favourite complaint of prominent Remainers to point out that the majority of votes cast in the last general election were for parties that explicitly rejected the notion of a ‘No Deal’ Brexit. There is, they say, no mandate for crashing out of the EU without a deal. What they fail to acknowledge is that there are now two mandates for leaving the European Union – the referendum and the last general election – but absolutely no mandate for a second referendum. Remainers might want a second referendum – certainly I have yet to encounter many Brexiters who want one – but while the public has never asked for one, it has backed leaving the EU. Parliament would be running a monumental risk to try and impose a second referendum on the British public without a mandate won at the ballot box.

While there are valid arguments to say that the British people had no firm idea what Brexit would result in, they certainly didn’t expect to be asked again. The public was told explicitly that their decision would be implemented. Whatever you think of that, a second referendum forced through without a general election first would in effect be the political elite telling the public that their first answer wasn’t good enough, and that they should rethink their decision, as forced through by a parliament that steadfastly refuses to implement what the public has twice voted for. Anyone who worries about the validity of the first referendum, or the lack of a mandate for a ‘No Deal’ Brexit should stop and take a serious pause before gleefully embracing a second referendum this side of a general election. The hubris that lost Remainers the first referendum is the same flaw that sees too many of them demand a second one right now.

For Conservatives and those in the political middle ground, even those most sympathetic to remain, the prospect of five years of a Corbyn/McDonnell government, accompanied by the division and acrimony brought by a second referendum that may do nothing to actually resolve matters, should be enough to deter most people from welcoming the prospect of Labour winning a general election and putting their deal to the public. If you think that the debate is uncivilised and ill-tempered now, just wait to see what it will be like if we are forced to argue the merits of leaving the European Union all over again while our Prime Minister stays neutral in his regular interviews with Press TV and Russia Today.

For the ultra-Brexiters disappointed with the deal, there is a similarly hard truth to accept: the referendum result was close, and it wasn’t won by campaigns arguing that we crash out without a deal. There is no mandate for the imaginary “clean” Brexit, and the Remainers are right about that. If we want to avoid our politics becoming stuck in the vicious and predictable trenches in which it is currently hunkered, the next few years must reflect the closeness of the referendum result and the need to unify the country.

The sharpness, the meanness of the last few years has seen the import into British politics of some of the worst traits of American politics: it too often seems like each side feels entitled not just to their own opinions, but also to their own set of facts. For us to get back to constructive, civilised, dare I say it British political debate, there must be compromise. Ten years ago the Brexiters would have cut their left hands off for Boris Johnson’s Brexit deal, and in victory they should display not just magnanimity but good sense: something between total Brexit and no Brexit accords with the outcome of the referendum, and demanding more than a compromise might well see the pendulum swing back the other way.

Perhaps the only unifying outcome open to the UK now is to be dissatisfied with a Brexit that disappoints both sides. In all honesty, there were never that many rampant Europhiles who praised the merits of the European Union while we were in it, and while we might all end up feeling even more unhappy on our own as we did as part of the EU, could it really be worse than extending and entrenching our current divisions? Just as Remainers play up what a disaster Brexit will be (and who knows, given the Government won’t give us a tTeasury impact assessment, which doesn’t seem like a very good sign), so Brexiters shouldn’t be overly distressed by something that falls short of total and utter victory. Is it time for both sides to give a little? Not out of impatience or frustration, but in recognition that neither side holds all the answers, and neither team has all the best arguments?

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WATCH: Lib Dems could be “political home for pro-European liberal Conservatives”, says Davey

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WATCH: Gyimah – He would vote remain but ‘if I was Prime Minister, I wouldn’t actively campaign’ for it

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Johnson’s prosecution is just the latest push in a long campaign of Remainer lawfare

The decision by a judge to make Boris Johnson appear in court, in order to face a private prosecution brought over his use of the £350m-a-week figure during the Brexit referendum, is absurd. This scarcely needs stating again.

Various dimensions of the specific case have come under close and critical scrutiny. This post at Barrister Blog (written before the judge’s decision) branded the prosecution an “ill-conceived publicity stunt”.

The author also dismantles the ‘superficially plausible’ idea that Johnson’s statements, even if lies, meet the threshold for misconduct in public office, “serious criminal offence carrying an unlimited fine and potentially life imprisonment.” This view is shared by Francis Hoar, a barrister specialising in constitutional and electoral law, who branded the judgment not only ‘dangerous’ but ‘execrable’. He is confident the case will not see court.

All of this is before you get to Guido Fawkes’ revelations about Marcus Ball, the man behind the prosecution, is lying about his campaign. Or this morning’s story in the Daily Telegraph about how he has spent more than £50,000 of the cash from his fundraiser on such things as a luxury flat for himself.

But the case has a deeper significance, one touched on by historian Robert Saunders (who professes to ‘abhor’ Johnson) in his own Twitter tirade against the case. Dragging the courts into politics to the extent implied by this prosecution risks both stifling free political debate and accelerating a looming confrontation between Parliament and the judiciary over the latter’s constitutional role.

As he argues, politics is unlike other regulated fields because the regulatory function, such as it is, is supposed to be exercised by the electorate. Setting another body up in judgement over politicians, especially politicians on the stump, risks severely tilting the balance of power towards whichever body of opinion controls the levers of that body.

We can already see the iniquity of lawfare in the ongoing fallout over the Electoral Commission’s handling of the 2016 vote. Pro-Remain lawyers are bringing private prosecutions against the regulator left, right, and centre, forcing it to revisit judgements favourable to the Leave side and having no little success in getting them overturned.

By contrast, there is no pro-Brexit body bringing similar prosecutions against rulings favourable to Remain groups. This means that even though there are no grounds for supposing that those rulings are any more soundly based than the pro-Leave rulings – and some seem decidedly dodgy – they are left to stand. The de facto result is that the two sides are subject to different regulatory regimes, one decidedly more rigorous than the other.

(And all of this is before we even touch on what the judicialisation of politics has done to the United States!)

Hopefully a wiser judge will throw out the prosecution against Johnson. But the story highlights again how important it is that the Government gets to grips with British electoral law – and that Brexiteers face up to the scale of the lawfare being waged against them, and fight back.

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WATCH: “It is a shame” that Remain parties are splitting the vote, Swinson concedes

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Adonis encouraged his fans to hate Brexiteers. And now they hate him.

Mark Francois is standing in the European Elections. In a shock decision, he has put out a statement explaining that his position is now that the UK ought to Remain in the EU.

Since the news broke, he has been accused by his former allies of selling out, of betraying his principles and making a mockery of all his previous campaigning.

He seems taken aback by this criticism, and is protesting that actually his view is exactly what it was before. Understandably, nobody seems to buy it.

It’s an implausible thing to happen, and even more ludicrous to imagine that someone performing such a switch would be surprised at the backlash. And yet, of course, it has happened – albeit in the opposite direction.

Of that cringeworthy class of influential men who have been driven to an unappealing and extreme fury by Brexit – AC Grayling, Gavin Esler at al – Andrew Adonis has distinguished himself by the depths to which he has been willing to stoop.

His denunciations and proclamations since the referendum have routinely gone so far as to intensely embarrass other Remainers.

Holding hard to the principle that extremism in pursuit of Eurofederalism is no vice, he has compared Brexit to the Spanish Inquisition and the Japanese capture of Singapore, and threatened to purge civil servants from Whitehall for the sin of doing their jobs in preparing to leave the EU.

As intended, this has made him a cult figure among the pro-EU hardliners who are his target audience, just as it has made him a laughing stock for many other people. To his fans, he is the epitome of a no-compromise, no-surrender, Remain-at-all-costs campaigner. Even his own party has been the target of utter contempt for, in his view, being “complicit” in Brexit.

It does rather trash his brand, therefore, that he has decided to stand for Labour and released a statement apparently backing the Spanish Inquisition.

“Labour has always been clear that it respects the result of the referendum…,” the Brexiteer-Finder-General wrote, “Labour has put forward a sensible alternative plan that would ensure a close economic relationship with the EU after Brexit.” If you were still wavering, never fear: “A vote for Labour is a vote for so much more than just Brexit.”

So much more, but evidently in his view a vote for Brexit nonetheless. Leavers perusing Labour’s confused policy might doubt that, but it appears that on his own terms Adonis must now purge himself from public life for supporting the thing he spent the last three years saying he opposed with every fibre of his being.

It’s such a strange thing to say that if it was a video I would have been looking out for a fake tic, or his fingers tapping out H-E-L-P-K-I-D-N-A-P-P-ED in morse code.

Adonis isn’t the first person to subjugate their beliefs to the insistence of Team Corbyn and he won’t be the last, but he is one of the most stark examples. Jeremy gets what he wants, and it seems that what he wants is obedience in all things.

The benefit to Labour’s leadership is limited but tangible – a battle won in the eternal civil war in which Remainers seek to woo Corbynites away from their Leader. They seem to care more about this than about their actual performance in the Euro elections, and therefore don’t mind too much that the issue might drive some ardently Remain voters to the Greens or Lib Dems.

The benefit to Adonis, however, is hard to see. His standing has plummeted in the eyes of his former fans, and he is now the target of outright ire and disdain from various prominent figures in the Continuity Remain world. Other Remain parties are using him as proof that Labour can’t be trusted to oppose Brexit, with all the bile he once used against Brexiteers himself.

Maybe he feels that he can recant later on, and thereby return to the fold with more influence as an MEP, but he has burned his bridges and it’s unlikely they will trust him again.

He taught his followers to be utterly intolerant of any backsliding or compromise, and told them that Brexit and Brexiteers must to hated at all costs. He now finds himself the victim of that very contempt which he so energetically encouraged.

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