The Labour leadership clearly thinks it’s been very clever in saying it would keep Britain in a customs union with the EU. This raises the possibility that Theresa May might be defeated in the Commons over Anna Soubry’s amendment proposing that Britain stays in “a” customs union after Brexit, if enough Remainer Tories vote with Labour against the Prime Minister.
Maybe this will happen; there’s talk that Mrs May is so concerned about this she’s thinking of turning the thing into a confidence motion, daring the Tory Remainer rebels to vote her out of office and risk putting Jeremy Corbyn into Downing Street.
But Corbyn’s customs union tactic tells us certain things about what the Labour party has become, none of them good. It is now a traitor to the national interest, it is contemptuous of democracy and – perhaps most strikingly of all – its ultra-leftist leadership has taken the side of big business against the wishes of the ordinary people who until now have voted for it.
Traitor to the national interest because any customs union arrangement with the EU will tie Britain into EU controls which will hobble its ability to strike trade deals to its advantage. That’s the whole point of the EU customs union, indeed a core function of the EU – to destroy the possibility of competition by countries which might use it to gain economic advantage over the basket-case EU which would be left mired in its own protectionist quicksands.