Reflecting on this elegant prose that is the section of the Labour Party Manifesto 2017 concerning Brexit, one fact screams out - Labour did not win the June 2017 election. Labour's bold ambition set out in the first paragraph (see below) needs to be recast in the light of May's reckless attempts to hold on to power:
Labour accepts the referendum result and a Labour government will put the national interest first. We will prioritise jobs and living standards, build a close new relationship with the EU, protect workers’ rights and environmental standards, provide certainty to EU nationals and give a meaningful role to Parliament throughout negotiations.
The national interest ought to be paramount. Every government utterance needs to be assessed by Labour in that context, rather than the opening words of the paragraph:
Labour accepts the referendum result
Those words were entirely appropriate ahead of the June election, given the febrile state of public opinion, a hostile media, and fearful Labour backbenchers whose voters had sided with the Brexiteers.
The uppermost question is whether Labour's leadership can recognise the new political reality?