Jeremy Corbyn's Das Spiegel interview and his single sentence answer on Brexit has caused understandable dismay in the remain community. This is an appeal to breathe, slow down and think more deeply.
What follows may sound like hanging onto hope by a thread - but is it?
Corbyn is the leader of the Labour Party. He's bound by collective responsibility and the position of the Shadow Cabinet is that Labour respects the referendum result. As party leader has to support that position. If his answer to Das Spiegel's question had been "until the ECJ rules on the reversibility of article 50, no one can stop Brexit" he could have avoided a lot of flack, but he's an inexperienced leader, and navigating these kind of situations is hard even for the very best.
Perhaps before we go too far with the wailing and gnashing of teeth it could be helpful to reflect a little on the underlying political realities. Just for a few minutes, forget about what Corbyn is saying and think about what he can do, if he manages to win power.
The political reality Prime Minister Corbyn would face is that the overwhelming majority of Labour MP's are pro remain. While Tory remainer MPs would never back Corbyn to bring down May in opposition, they wouldn't hesitate to find common cause with Labour rebels, the SNP and Lib dems if he was in power. Corbyn must know this and that it would be almost impossible for him to deliver brexit, even if he wanted too.
There's more. Corbyn's power base in the party depends on the membership, who are overwhelmingly pro- remain, pro-Corbyn members especially so. His survival depends on retaining their support. It's why the people's vote motion was heard at conference. The leadership had no option, they knew if they had tried to suppress it Corbyn would be seriously weakened within the party.
You may well ask, "in that case why did he say we stop can't stop Brexit"? It seems like a fair question but we are dealing with complexity.
Is it good tactics to commit right now to a course of action that risks alienating a significant number of Labour voters? Don't be mislead by the "all leave communities are at least 50% remain" headlines. That says nothing about the voting intentions of Labour supporters - who were the main leave voters in Labour's northern stronghold seats. There's a genuine fear that not only could a remain position jeopardise a significant number of core seats but that a significant number of Labour supporters would be driven into the arms of the right. Why do that before the ECJ has even ruled?
I do understand why remainers are frustrated with Labour's position, I've been on the brink myself a few times - I have to keep reminding myself this is a multilayered, deeply political situation that goes far beyond Brexit or crude vote winning policies.
If we are going to back off from the referendum it will be an act with far greater ramifications than Brexit. We can't afford to ignore the fact that Labour's working class support has a fairly direct view of democracy - and that the right are moving with a deeply anti-democracy agenda. It would be so easy to push people into saying "what's the point of democracy - look what happened to Brexit" - and the party that continues the ultra right xenophobic rhetoric will be the place they go. There's a real fear in Labour circles of boosting an ultra right cause and it's not groundless - you only have to look how that kind of mentality has been manipulated by Trump in the USA to understand the risks
Personally I've always felt that, if we are going to step back from the brink, people need to peer over the edge to justify re-running the referendum. I suspect a lot of politicians feel the same way. The public need to see for themselves just how bad it really is. I think there is a genuine change of mood but it's not enough - yet. At the moment Corbyn is keeping his powder dry. Until we know how the ECJ is going to rule on stopping article 50 it's far better for Labour to stick to the agreed position, the closer we get to the brink the less likely there will be a backlash if it changes - and if the court rules Brexit is irreversible, Labour still need to beat the Tories.
We seem to have a deep lack of understanding of how elections work in this country. Social media "Blame Corbyn threads" are a simplistic response to a complex and delicate situation, and they are just as likely to make Brexit a reality as the man himself. So many remainers are now insisting the only way of stopping Brexit is to vote lib dem - I'm old enough to have seen the tories win many general elections because the anti tory vote has been split.
I've a strong hunch Jeremy is playing grown up politics and he's playing them pretty well. We remainers should be wary of jumping on the anti-Corbyn Bandwagon. We have to appreciate this is not a simple situation, and that in the end Labour is the only party that can beat the tories. If we do - Brexit is a dead duck - as long as the ECJ plays ball.