Chris Dillow writes:
“If we can ditch tribalism about left and right and think about how some good economic policies can fit in with people’s demands for control over their lives, the Labour party might just have a bright future.”
His conclusion follows from a very simple point, which is that Brexit has almost nothing to do with the traditional left/right metric.
The economic arguments would always be for Remain, because making it easier to trade is beneficial. While it is true in general that more trade can harm some even though it benefits the aggregate, it is unclear that there are any economic winners as a result of Brexit.
Some on the left try to argue that Brexit will be a fatal blow to a neoliberal EU. I have never been a great fan of making people’s lives worse just so that you can strike a blow at some evil empire.
In the EU, the single market goes together with free movement. It is tempting to present that as a political obstacle imposed by the EU, and it is indeed the case that there are very strong reasons why the EU will not compromise on this linkage. But there are good economic reasons why, if we focus on trade in services rather than just goods, the two should go together, and indeed that it is in the UK’s economic interests more than most that free movement is maintained.
So if the straight economics said Remain, it was counterbalanced mainly by the issue of immigration for Leave. Once again, it is difficult to see this as a left-right issue. Some have tried to explain the result as a consequence of the disenchantment that follows stagnation in wages and austerity, and I’m sure there is some truth in that. But while people have focused on the Leave vote in Labour’s heartlands, most Labour voters voted to Remain. In contrast most Conservative voters did the opposite. I suspect they are not talked about so much because to do so takes people away from the familiar territory of inequality and class, of left and right. 
Perhaps both the Corbynistas and their opposite numbers are stuck in a similar mindset that just prevents them seeing what is really going on. I have argued in the past that the election of Corbyn was not mainly the result of a ‘shift to the left’ among party members, but a rejection of a form of politics that had lost Labour two elections. That form of politics was based on a left/right frame: victory could be achieved by placing the party just to the left of the Conservatives, and thereby capturing the middle ground. It led to a disastrous drift on austerity and immigration. Yet it failed to deliver these imagined middle ground voters. The basic model was wrong, or at least hopelessly incomplete.
So yes it was the parliamentary party moving to the right rather than party members moving to the left that led to Corbyn’s victory. But perhaps more fundamentally it was the model of how to win elections that failed, based on focus groups and triangulation. Anti-Corbynistas are convinced that party members no longer want to win elections because they voted for Corbyn. I doubt that is true for most. It only appears to be obviously true if you imagine you know the true model of how to win elections. Given past failures and policy drift, it is understandable if party members did not share that belief.
The Corbynistas in turn may be in danger of making the same mistake: to assume that winning elections is not a priority for members, and that as Corbyn has not changed, his support will not change either. Of course most party members want desperately to win elections, as I suspect we shall see if Corbyn faces the right opponent.  But selecting the right opponent is not just about finding some sweet spot on a left-right scale, but about recognising the failures of focus group politics and triangulation, particularly when it comes to responding to the referendum result. 
 And there is also the rule in some circles that any bad news must be Jeremy Corbyn’s fault, plus the fact that journalists tend to dislike talking about the role of their own industry in influencing events.
 In saying this I am not suggesting that holding what will in effect be a referendum on Corbyn’s leadership is a good way out of the current impasse. As we have just learnt, referenda with a binary choice are far from ideal. One way forward would be to recognise that Corbyn has failed to convince most of the PLP and perhaps many of the membership that he can win any forthcoming election, but that someone from his group should be guaranteed to be on the ballot for the next leader. Of course the anti-Corbynistas will not want this because they do not trust and fear the membership, but perhaps there are some wiser heads that can prevail.
 As I have argued recently, Labour’s true heartlands are the very people who are devastated by Brexit. That does not mean giving up on the traditional heartlands, but instead it means convincing as many as possible there that their situation is not the result of higher immigration. As Sadiq Khan said, a successful Labour party has to “reach out and engage with all voters”.