Some friends from Labour were extremely disappointed last week-end about the consequences of the election of the new leader of their party. I fully share their concerns. Not only because of the leftist orientation shown by Corbyn in his track record as an MP, that makes almost imposible to have a chance to win the next elections. But also because Corbyn seems to be as euroesceptic as the radical wing of the Conservatives. The referendum chances for the supporters of keeping the United Kingdom as a member of the EU as a result of next year’s referéndum are waning.
Socialdemocrats need to find out a sensible alternative both against those in favor of imposing austerity regardless its consequences on growth and social cohesion, and against populists that build on simplistic messages to renationalise companies but also sovereignty, going counter the tenets of the european integration. And we cannot ignore the huge risks, from the economic, social and political perspectives, of going backwards.
Were the referendum result be negative, and the UK be forced to leave the EU, this result will imply very bad news for everybody. First and foremost, for the british economy and for the citizens of this country. Isolation is not the solution, but the problem. The City will not recover from this shock, Scotland will try again to abandon the UK and knock at the Brussels doors, investors will refrain from taking risks and look to other places. Social welfare will shrink.
The other 27 Member States and the european integration at large will also lose. Nobody will win in this game. This is why from Brussels and the european capitals a constructive attitude is needed vis-à-vis David Cameron’s requests. A Treaty change from now until the referendum will not be posible. But without it, some of the key demands put forward by the british prime minister can be accomodated after a negotiation, without breaching the basic EU principles.
To advance towards this happy end, the Labour Party must play a key role. This is one of the most important responsibilities that Corbyn has on his shoulders after his electoral success. His leadership will be judged by the way he will cope with this challenge.