Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn has endorsed a plot by hard-left supporters to occupy the Palace of Westminster and “shut down the streets” to protest Boris Johnson’s decision to prorogue (temporarily suspend) Parliament ahead of the Brexit deadline.
Laura Parker, National Co-ordinator for the Momentum group which acts as Mr Corbyn’s vanguard within the Labour Party, warned that “thousands of us… will join an occupation of Parliament and block the roads before we let Johnson close the doors on democracy,” claiming that the Prime Minister was “stealing our democracy so he can sell off our NHS to big US corporations in a no-deal, Trump first Brexit.”
“Real power doesn’t sit with the Queen or in Parliament. It’s with us, the people,” she declared — a somewhat ironic sentiment, considering the chief objection to Johnson’s prorogation is that they believe it is being used to help deliver the people’s vote for Brexit in defiance of Remain-voting parliamentarians.
Rather than seek to cool tensions, Mr Corbyn appeared to endorse the plan, announcing that he was “encouraging MPs to join public protests opposing this shutdown [of Parliament].”
“This is a government of the elite,” added the 70-year-old millionaire, echoing Parker’s claims that Johnson was plotting to “open the way for the Tory party to sell off public services and our NHS”.
It’s really not a proper protest unless you bring a picnic blanket, olives, humous and a bottle of bubbly. Chin chin. pic.twitter.com/owq2kNzi8c
— Rebecca Ryan (@BeccyRyan) August 28, 2019
Thus far, Remainer calls for the public at large to rise up in a General Strike have borne little fruit — which is perhaps unsurprising, considering research into the 2016 referendum on Britain’s membership of the European Union suggests the working class voted largely for Leave, while Remain was more popular with the affluent middle classes already comfortable under the EU status quo.
Indeed, one picture of prorogation protesters which has gone viral appears to show a group of them sitting down to a picnic of crackers, hummus, olives, grapes, and a bottle of champagne in the street, placards still in hand, prompting a great deal of sarcastic commentary.
“Workers of the world unite! And while you’re at it pass me the Pims [sic],” quipped one.
“I wonder if Waitrose stock ‘protest hampers’,” asked another.
“I can’t believe she’s eating into her stockpile like that!” remarked another, in reference to Remainer warnings that Britain will run out food — as well as clean drinking water, medicine, and much else — if it leaves the EU without a deal.
“What’s she going to do when Armageddon comes on [November 1st]!?”
Occupying bridges and blockading roads is not what Britain's about.
Momentum are purging Labour of its sensible members and now wants to shut down our cities.
Dangerous behaviour akin to the early foundations of communism in Russia.
Very worrying. https://t.co/i7ONx7rvQl
— Rupert Lowe (@RupertLowe10) August 30, 2019