The EU Referendum

I’ve written on this topic before and remain unpersuaded.  The ‘left case’ against the undemocratic and built-in anti-socialist structures of the EU is as valid today as for the last referendum – but the consequences of “Brexit”are frightening.

I agree with “Attila the Stockbroker”, writing in the anti-EU Morning Star, that the “Exit Left platform demanding a vote for Britain to leave the EU is a very powerful, indeed almost watertight, argument…. The EU in its present state is a bosses’ cabal, a device to ship cheap labour around Europe and a facilitator for the odious TTIP agreement which will give a free rein to bankers, increase online surveillance of ordinary citizens and allow multinationals to sue elected governments who threaten their profits. What they did to Greece is unspeakable.”

But he then goes on to argue that “withdrawal from the EU will put this country in an even worse position. Exit Left is a watertight argument for a country with a socialist government, or even a middle-of-the-road, social democratic one. But withdrawing from the EU under this evil bunch of Tory bastards will mean we will get the worst of all possible worlds. They will hand the UK over to TTIP and the bankers with glee, the few half-decent protective measures the EU have put in place to defend workers’ rights will be stripped away and we will be left at the mercy of scum. Out of the frying pan into the fire.”

I agree with his pessimistic assessment. If the vote is for Brexit, it will be because xenophobic arguments have won the day and, instead of the nasty Messrs. Cameron and Osbourne, the even nastier Messrs. Johnson and Duncan-Smith will be in the driving seat – whipped on by the even more nasty Farage and UKIP. So my contribution to the referendum debate, will be to counter the xenophobic, anti-immigrant and racist arguments most likely to determine its outcome.

I don’t have illusions that voting to stay in the EU and fighting for a “reform” is realistic. But, with the election of Jeremy Corbyn, there is now a genuine possibility of a left Labour government in 2020.  Hopefully the Tory Party will tear itself apart over Europe and make a Labour win in 2020 more likely.

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