Here’s proof that Jeremy Corbyn did NOT demand an immediate exit from the EU

This is not a shot of Jeremy Corbyn being interviewed by David Dimbleby - the photo is from ITV's coverage, not the BBC's. It seems quite appropriate, since we're discussing claims that aren't quite appropriate to the subject matter.

This is not a shot of Jeremy Corbyn being interviewed by David Dimbleby – the photo is from ITV’s coverage, not the BBC’s. It seems quite appropriate, since we’re discussing claims that aren’t quite appropriate to the subject matter.

We should probably make a list of all the post-truthers (it’s a little nicer than calling them outright liars, isn’t it?) who peddled this falsehood.

The article is very clear but I’d like to add a couple of points.

First, our minds work in such a way that, when somebody repeats a word in conversation, we are likely to repeat it in our response.

For example, when David Dimbleby repeated the word “now” in his questioning of Jeremy Corbyn on June 24, it was an indicator to Mr Corbyn that he should respond by framing his answer around what should happen “now” – so he did.

He wasn’t saying Article 50 should be invoked immediately but that “now” – after the result of the EU referendum – it was clear from the vote that this was what the public wanted.

He went on to say that “it is for Parliament to now act on that opinion” – meaning that Parliament had “now” been given a duty to follow the will of the people, at the appropriate time.

The mandate had been conferred “now” but the action was expected later.

It’s obvious to anybody without an agenda because the very next thing Mr Corbyn said was, “Quite clearly negotiations must take place.” That wasn’t going to happen in a matter of minutes.

My second point is simply that the article quoted below demonstrates that much of what we’ve been told about Momentum isn’t true.

Momentum, we are told, consists of thugs who like to abuse, intimidate and harass other Labour members at party meetings. Right?

But this article, by a Momentum member, presents the most coherent argument about Mr Corbyn’s words that This Writer has seen.

So, again, perhaps it is time to take a good, hard look at the people who are propagating these claims about Momentum and its members.

I dare say the two groups will have many names in common.

The source of Jeremy Corbyn: invoke Article 50 now is an interview on College Green in Westminster at about 7.30 am on the 24 June 2016. David Dimbleby asked Jeremy Corbyn:

“How do you see the future now? Are you an enthusiastic Brexiter now?”

To which Corbyn responded:

“The British people have made their decision. We must respect that result and Article 50 has to be invoked now so that we negotiate an exit from European Union. Obviously there has to be strategy but the whole point of the referendum was that the public would be asked their opinion. They’ve given their opinion. It is up for parliament to now act on that opinion. Quite clearly negotiations must take place. There must be the best deal possible in order to ensure strong industries in Britain stay strong and strong industries that have big export markets protect retain those export markets. But we are in some very difficult areas. That’s obvious to everybody.”

What has been quoted from this response is Article 50 has to be invoked now. This then was morphed by a number of sources into Corbyn demands immediate Brexit.

Now I am aware that there are people in the Labour Party who do not support Jeremy Corbyn and there are people who feel very aggrieved about the way the EU referendum went. The former are looking to challenge Corbyn, the latter are looking for someone to be held to account. I accept and acknowledge this. But what I don’t accept is lazy argument, argument that is based on a partial reading of the evidence. This is what has happened here, a careless and possibly emotional interpretation of decontextualized data supported by an uncritical use of a wider narrative. It is misrepresentation supported by rumour or what has come to be known as post-truth.

Let us have robust debate about what we want and what we should become, but resist the post-truth squabble.

Source: Did Jeremy Corbyn call for an immediate exit from the EU? No. Let’s get beyond post-truth | Cambridge Area Momentum


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44 thoughts on “Here’s proof that Jeremy Corbyn did NOT demand an immediate exit from the EU

  1. Phil Woodford

    Corbyn’s influence over these events is, of course, non-existent. So I’m rather bemused by the amount of attention Owen Smith has given to this issue. In making a deal of it, he almost implies that Jez is in some way influential and that his opinion matters.

      1. Phil Woodford

        Oh yes, I’m sure Smith is right in his interpretation of Jez’s words. Corbyn has always opposed the EU, after all, and has never changed his mind on any issue in the past 35 years. No, I just question whether those words a matter. No one is listening to him anyway.

      2. Mike Sivier Post author

        If you read some of the other comments, Phil, you’ll find that nobody is paying attention to you.

  2. Si

    I think anyone without an agenda would clearly interpret that comment as Corbyn calling for article 50 to be exercised NOW ie immediately… This is emphasised by the fact he states “so that we negotiate an exit”

    The inference is clear… Exercise article 50 NOW then negotiate exit… Only someone with an agenda could possible argue the contrary

    1. Paul

      No. Somebody who’s wearing their best suit, and gets hit by bird droppings may exasperatedly say to themselves “Damn! I have to take this suit to the dry-cleaner now…” It doesn’t mean that they’re saying it must happen NOW, right this instant; it means they’re saying that, given the circumstance that they’re faced with now, they must take the suit to the dry-cleaner at some point in the future. What Corbyn was saying is that the circumstance is now that we must invoke Article 50 at some point in the future in order for democracy to be served (I’d take some issue with that assertion somewhat myself, but that’s not the point), not that we must invoke Article 50 right now, this minute.

      It’s weird how many people completely forget how nuance in language works – how words can mean different things in different contexts – after the media has ‘interpreted’ for them things that Corbyn in particular has said.

    2. John

      This is actually quite a funny one, because the word “now” can mean different things, depending on HOW it’s said (and where it is in a sentence), and perhaps it would have been better if Corbyn hadn’t used the word “now”.
      “Now” definitely does NOT always mean RIGHT THIS MINUTE!
      Although Corbyn has said recently, that he didn’t literally mean ‘right this minute’, it’s not the first time he’s said something, and he’s had to apologise/explain himself better.

    3. Zippi

      I have to disagree. There is not enough context, in the reading of the comment, to say, for sure, that that is what was meant. I have become incredibly sceptical, in recent years, regarding media coverage; look at what happened with Ken £ivingstone and Naz Shah with Vanessa Feltz. Before I can come to a definite conclusion about what was meant, I would have to HEAR the interview. People can skew written words any way that they choose and printed media are expert in such practices. Simple reading of the comment in the context in which it has been presented, suggests that Mr. Corbyn was talking about a timeline of events; now that this has happened, this has to happen in order for that to happen. Furthermore, I cannot see how Article 50 could be invoked immediately, or why a man who campaigned tirelessly for us to remain a part of the European Union would suggest that it should.

      1. Mike Sivier Post author

        He did clarify his position. Dimbles tried to go up a blind alley, talking about “an abrupt Article 50”, which was not what Mr Corbyn had suggested. His response was that he wanted the will of the people to be followed, in contrast to Dan Hannon’s request for the government to sit on its collective thumbs. It’s all right there but some people refuse to accept it because it’s not what they want.

  3. A Grumpy_Old_Man (@Hairyloon)

    I recall listening to his comment at the time, and it sounded to me like now meant now.
    What it certainly did not sound like was what it should have sounded like which should have been a massive attack on the real reasons that the vote went the way it did, namely the incumbent government.
    More than anything else, that failure is what has convinced me that he is not up to the job.

      1. Mike Sivier Post author

        Read the article, the reasons are in there. And stop trolling. Behave yourself if you want your comments to appear.

    1. John

      What part of democratic socialism don’t you get? The people voted Leave in the referendum. That was the “now” that JC was referring to. Your argument is not with him but with the British people for deciding to vote Leave in the referendum. To paraphrase Millicent Martin’s song introducing TW3, “That was the referendum that was; it’s over, let it go”. Can you do that? I suspect not. Stop trying to blame Corbyn for an outcome that was bungled from start to finish by Cameron and his Bullingdon Club chums. Corbyn was never a member of their privileged elite.

  4. Tracie Wayling

    I took it (then and still do) the same way you did, Mike. Now, as in ‘going forward’, ‘what the future holds’, ‘the direction we’ve now been pointed towards via the exit result’ – no one in their right mind would think he (or anyone else would think) now ‘this minute’, as that wouldn’t be feasibly possible anyway! He knows that, I know that, you know that – he’s not stupid!

  5. Neilth

    Once again ‘ a lie told often enough takes on the semblance of the truth’ ‘a big lie is more believable than a small one’ ‘a lie told loudly is more believed than a soft one’ all quotes attributed variously to Lenin, Hitler or Goebbels but a theory of political argument utilised by ‘ politicians’ of all stripes particularly Farage. The media not only seem to be working on this basis when reporting Labour politics but, because no one seems capable of fact checking they are re printing lies at worst or inaccuracies at best as though they are the truth.

    Press releases from lobbyists or pressure groups are reprinted uncritically and unattributed especially from groups like the Taxpayers Alliance. Local rags, who have cut their staff to the bone, do not have the capacity to find their own stories so use press releases from local politicians or parties and reprint them as reporters own stories. Letters from local residents are reproduced without any attempt to discover whether their assertions are true or simply the imaginations of a fevered mind.

    Consequently we the public are being fed a constant diet of urban myth or deliberate misinformation (lies) designed to sway our minds to a particular agenda. It is almost impossible and certainly time consuming to try to dig to find the real truth and even if the paper later prints a retraction it is unlikely that the damage can be undone.

    It is high time that these media are held responsible for their sloppy laziness or deliberate calumny and made to bear a financial penalty for their lack of social responsibility. Equally blogs that seek to twist the readers view by spinning lies should be held responsible both for their propaganda and for unchallenged posts by contributors that are often prejudiced and vile. On this last I am thinking about a local blogger who reports on the local town council as well as the county which are both labour controlled. The blogger hates labour, hates women and contributes financially to the local Tory party in large enough sums to be named. He consistently twists the truth to give the worst possible spin on what is happening or to stir up ‘opposition’ to imagined initiatives so when the ‘proposal’, which was never going to happen anyway, doesn’t materialise the blogger can claim victory for himself or his Tory friends. Of course he won’t allow right of reply.

    Sorry about the rant but he’s a real thorn in my side. Or pain in the ….

  6. Julie Knights

    Does it really matter when he thinks article 50 should be invoked? The fact is that we had a referendum, which we should never have had if they didn’t have any intention of sticking by the results. We can argue about who’s fault it was that remain lost (which I voted for). Personally I think it was New Labour and Cameron who were at fault. Corbyn will, of course, stick by the results of the referendum because he believes in democracy. Owen Smith has said he won’t, which will alienate the 52% of people who voted to leave, many of them would have been previous Labour voters who turned to UKIP because they wanted to leave the EU. Not racist as many would claim, but people who lost their jobs because Eastern Europeans undercut them (employers to blame, not workers) and who saw services stretched in their area and housing shortages. Though I didn’t want to leave, surely we must because to do anything else would be undemocratic.

    1. Zippi

      It was nobody’s “fault” that the remain campaign “lost.” It was not a competition. We, the people, were asked whether, or not we wish the United Kingdom to remain a part of the institution that is the European Union, or if we wish it to leave the said Union institution. That is all. People are coming up with all kinds of reasons as to why people voted to leave it. Many people have been unhappy with the E.U. for years and their reasons for wanting us to leave have nothing to do with the incumbent government, racism or any of the myriad reasons that media and political commentators are attributing to them. Contrary to popular belief, I know many so-called young people who voted to leave.
      As I understand it, referenda are not legally binding, they are merely advisory so, there is no compulsion for any government to act on the result although, Call-Me-Dave said that he would. What us clear is that 52%, or so, of the British public are not happy with the E.U. in its present form; that is the only thing that the result can tell us. Having just returned from Belgium, I can say that those people re not alone; there is a great deal of dissatisfaction with the E.U. However, we are seen, by many, as the only nation with enough clout to bring about the necessary changes. Sadly, that was seen to be increasingly unlikely.
      I think that the media assertion that Mr. Corbyn was calling for immediate invocation of Article 50 was supposed to prove that he was not serious about remaining and always wanted us to leave, thus showing that he is untrustworthy etc. further efforts to undermine him so aye, it is a matter of some import.

  7. Mike Scott

    He could have said “Article 50 has to be invoked in due course.” He chose to say “now” instead, and that has a different meaning.

    1. Mike Sivier Post author

      Oh, please. I’ve already told you – Dimbles used the word “now” twice in his question. So Corbyn used it in his answer. It’s not hard to understand.
      Stop trying to spin it.

  8. Shaun

    Unfortunately, words can not always be as precise as they need to be. From the text I take it that what he meant was discuss matter the with EU members and then trigger Article 50. However, it is worth noting the whole subject area of what was to come after the referendum was a constitutional unknown, and even more so for a Shadow opposition leader.
    Also, in the very immediate aftermath of the referendum result, what else could a parliamentarian say, other than the will of the people must be put into practice. Personally, I’m quite devastated by the vote to leave, and believe for those with disabilities the prospect of the Tories replacing EU human right protections with their own English/British(?) constitution could be very uncomfortable, if not life threatening.
    If I had to pass a vote of no confidence in a British institution it would be against our newsprint media. As it was its biased and uncritical coverage of issues surrounding BREXIT that contributed most to the nations’ referendum vote. However, to state that rather obvious fact would take a level of courage and honesty, which the Blairites have not got. In fact they are using those media sources to perpetuate more falsehoods and hand-truths; the irony would be mildly amusing, if the subject matter was not so serious. Furthermore, with their usual lack of foresight the Labour parliamentarians have given the Tories, and their media barons, the ammunition to blame Labour for the damage that will flow from BREXIT; when it’s clear the parliamentary party who did least well at getting its supporters to vote for remaining in the EU is the Conservatives. This own goal will rank alongside Labour’s MPs stupidity in allowing the blame for world-wide financial collapse of 2008 to be blamed upon Labour spending policies.
    Another interesting point, from this ‘Corbyn did not manage to convert the public to the Remain arguments’, is that in stating this Blairites are conceding that the public can have its opinions on economic and political matters swayed by debate. Normally, when it is argued that the public could be convinced of the merits of, for example ditching austerity or attacks on the unemployed and disabled, they pull-out the findings from focus groups, which show the public believe ‘X’. From that they state we can not make arguments against austerity because it’s not what the public believe. So are the public a fixed static group of unmovables or a thinking, contemplative group who can be moved by reasoned debate? I suspect what the Blairites mean, but are to gutless to make explicit, is that the public is the latter, but that they will never get the chance to hear a reasoned argument, because traditional media outlets will not let that argument be heard. So here is another failure with dire consequences for the British public that can be laid at Mr. Cameron’s feet. And it that he did not sort out our abysmal newsprint media, presumably because he wanted its support for the 2015 election, when he had the chance.
    Most of us will depart this world in relative obscurity, however, we will not have the opprobrium attached to our names that Mr Cameron is likely to have.

  9. mohandeer

    After my recent exposure to the Owen Smith supporters, one of whom was his representative’s wife trying to dictate favourable terms for her husband regarding speakers 3 minutes and the other was an Owen Smith supporter who was shouting down a Corbyn supporter to stop him from being heard, even though his own facts were slightly economical with the truth, I’m not disturbed if you want to call them outright liars, because that is what I heard during the meeting.
    The meeting was declared amicable by the Corbyn team???? I know we are the good guys but do we really have to offer up the other cheek to be slapped ALL the time?

      1. Mike Sivier Post author

        Negotiations have been going on for a while now. What do you think Theresa May was discussing when she visited EU leaders last month?

      2. Hairyloon

        I understand those are negotiations with leaders of European Countries, but you are the reporter: have you reported on them?

        Corbyn was clearly referring to negotiating with the EU which means invoking Article 50.

        But it is irrelevant anyway: however you choose to interpret “now”, it is the wrong answer. The referendum vote was equivalent to giving someone who is out of control a slap, so they shut up and listen, but Parliament is so out of touch that all they can do is respond to the slap: heaven forbid that they stop and listen.

      3. Mike Sivier Post author

        No, you’re splitting hairs. Negotiations are negotiations. Of course Theresa May is angling for advantage in the EU negotiations when she’s talking to EU leaders.
        Your opinion on the referendum result is an interesting one. How many others, around the country, feel the same way, though? And how many want the UK to do exactly what the result described, and ‘Leave’?

      4. A Grumpy_Old_Man (@Hairyloon)

        I may have not been clear, but I am not splitting hairs at all: there is a fundamental difference between negotiating with the EU and negotiating with one who is in the EU.
        As to who how many want “to Leave”: I don’t think that it is really very many: there are a good many who want to end the free movement of people, and others who want to “take back control”, though I am yet to hear what it actually is that they want control of…
        Leaving is unlikely to deliver any of these things.

        What it is is that people are fed up of their votes making next to no difference: the referendum was sold as a chance to make a difference… and the only chance in a generation or more.
        But we don’t make a difference if we vote to stay the same.

      5. Mike Sivier Post author

        I think readers now have plenty of evidence and can make a decision for themselves on whether you’re splitting hairs because what’s happening doesn’t suit your definition of EU negotiations.

  10. Tim Sims

    It’s one thing to claim the future of the Labour movement lies in becoming a mass movement rather than an alternative government in a parliamentary democracy. Its almost understandable you might wish to credit members votes more highly than the 9 million that elected the 170 MPs who share a massive loss of confidence in a man who demonstrated he could not convincingly lead a national campaign of massive importance to the people our Party stands for. Its quite another thing to stop arguing and just claim that it is “rubbish” and “prejudiced’ to read the repeated use of the word “now” to mean something different from “now”. And surely that is the point. A competent leader cannot afford to say crucial things in ambiguous ways. Parliamentary leaders need parliamentary followers. No followers no leader. And what are we to make of any MP’s judgment who chooses to follow as leader a man whose key communication to the nation through the major national broadcaster in a national crisis of awesome dimensions can only be rightly understood by the media in the light of textual analysis that is truly of Biblical or Koranic complexity?. I have admired your blog over the last year. But over these last few weeks it does seem to have disappeared into a world of its own shared largely with others who have given up on Parliamentary democracy and bury opposing views under conspiracy theories.

    1. Mike Sivier Post author

      Are you suggesting Labour can’t be both a mass movement and an alternative government? That would be a very odd suggestion. Sure, millions of people cumulatively elected the 171 ‘moderebels’ – not as many as 9 million because, with the other MPs, that would have given Labour more votes than the Tories – but the Labour Party paid to put them up as candidates & campaigned to get them elected, and they follow the Labour whip, or should. That’s why Labour has more of a say. Did those 171 MPs ever have any confidence in Corbyn? It seems doubtful, therefore unlikely that they lost any. Corbyn did convincingly lead that campaign (I take it you mean the EU referendum), after Alan Johnson failed.
      As for “now”, Corbyn wasn’t being ambiguous. He was using that word in the same sense as David Dimbleby was when he asked the question.
      You make a large number of evidenceless assumptions in your comment. Please don’t try to put other people down when you don’t have a case yourself.

      1. John

        The 9 million voters cited did not vote for the 171 MPs as individuals.
        They voted for them as Labour Party candidates.
        At best, each candidate might have had a personal vote of around 100 votes.
        All the other votes went to the party label.
        In total, then, they might collectively have had a total personal vote between them of around 17,000 votes. All the other almost 9 million votes went to the party, not them.
        Not only have the 171 turncoats let down their local party members; they have also badly let down the 9 million voters who sent them to Westminster to back the Party Leader and provide him the support required to oppose the Tory government.
        The 171 should be thoroughly ashamed of themselves for letting down the Labour Party and the 9 million electorate who supported the Labour Party.
        Have they no shame?

      2. John

        Thank you, Mike.
        I am simply pointing out the real truth of the situation, based on my own experiences as a former Labour Party candidate in local government elections.

  11. TKL

    Here is Richard Angell, director of Progress no less, begining his interview in the aftermath of the referendum saying, and I quote:

    “I think the country voted to leave, and leave we must and the start of that process will be triggering Article 50”

    Listen and watch for yourselves at 3 minutes 15 seconds

Comments are closed.