We have a choice to make on our membership of the European Union. I’m sure we don’t agree with UKIP and ol’Nige on much, bar liking a pint or three. But if that’s your reasoning for a ‘remain’ vote, let me remind you that we cannot associate ourselves with Blair, Mandelson, Cameron, May, Hunt or Osbourne either. But well hey if playing Political Personalities is the game, the arena becomes a moral abattoir.
Voting to leave has been seen as Right Wing due to Eurosceptics like Farage, Iain Duncan-Smith and Michael Gove. However the reality of the argument, and the question, itself shows that actually, particularly if we want a Corbyn-led Labour government with a strong voice from the Trade Union Movement, then leaving the EU might be preferable. The Morning Star, the only English-language Socialist newspaper, is advocating a “Leave” vote, and they are consistently anti-Tory. Bob Crow and Tony Benn both had major issues with the EU, and Labour policy in the early 80’s was characterised by withdrawal.
So here is a quick summary of why a vote to leave ain’t so bad:
- It is inherently anti-democratic. Shown up by suffocating democratically elected Socialism in Greece, while simultaneously turning a blind eye to the self-proclaimed ‘Illiberal Democracies’ of Poland, Hungary, Slovakia and the Czech Republic and their far-Right governments.
- Further membership of the EU will allow TTIP (Trans-Atlantic Trade and Investment Partnership) to go ahead, putting our NHS and other remaining, and highly-valued public services, at further risk than they are already from this Tory regime.
- The Europe Question will always be on the agenda if we do not leave, preventing more important social and economic issues being addressed.
- Government economic interventions are rendered illegal when companies go bust. When it suits the EU’s neoliberal agenda, you know like all those bank bail-outs yet that’s not allowed for other companies like Tata Steel.
- The Institute for Fiscal Studies proclaims that over 2.6 million families will be, on average, £1,600 worse off in the EU.
- Reforming the EU can only take place if all 28 member states agree on the reform – how many of the big player states will hand over their power willingly?
The list goes on, and while there are many good things that the EU has given us, none of them are legally binding due to the fact that Britain has no written or formal constitution. This means that whether we stay or leave, these benefits can be scrapped tomorrow if enough support is shown in Parliament.
UKIP had taken over four million votes at the last General Election, many of which were taken from Labour. If we accept that UKIP’s end-game is leaving the EU, then to leave the EU would render them null and void. That in itself is as good a reason as any to leave. If we stay, Europe would still be on the table, constantly setting the agenda and allowing Farage, and his ilk, the voice we could do without hearing.
Lastly, let’s not forget that it was actually our government, Blair’s government of all things, that introduced the national minimum wage. It was also the Liberal Democrats who equalised paternity leave in line with maternity pay. These are only two examples of legislation that were not EU directives. We are more than capable, with the right governments, to not have to rely on an undemocratic supranational organization to be progressive.
It’s a vote of conscience at the end of the day: you vote how you want to, that is democracy in the end, right? And we need more direct democracy in the form of referenda, right? But this is how I will vote, and these are my reasons for this decision.