Vote leave!

by Daphne Liddle

THE EUROPEAN Union (EU) referendum is now barely two weeks away and the outlandish claims and fear-mongering by the right-wing on both sides are becoming a bad joke that the electorate is tiring of.

The campaign leaders are focussing mainly on one issue — immigration — and appealing to the lowest possible xenophobia and racism.

The bigger issue is the underlying irreconcilable conflict between the interests of capital and that of the workers of Europe, and the EU is a cage built by the capitalist ruling classes of all the EU states including Britain.

It is a cage designed to trap the workers into an irreversible race to privatise every aspect of our lives. To them we are not humans but entities that can be squeezed to make endless profit from, both as workers and consumers.

The privatisation drive that started with Thatcherism in the 1980s, the attacks on trade union rights, the banking crisis of 2007/8 and ensuing draconian austerity programmes have undermined our human rights and our standards of living. The “social chapter” is a pathetic fig-leaf — the current battles on the streets throughout France are the reality.

Alex Gordon, convenor of Lexit — the Left Leave Campaign — and former president of the RMT trade union, told the campaigning free news-sheet “The incremental liberalisation of essential public services has spread from transport to postal services. Now the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) marks the full emergence of a corporate dominance over the public sector including education, housing and health services. If you want to prevent privatisation of schools, council housing and the NHS: vote to leave the EU.”

He pointed out that the form that rail privatisation took in Britain was dictated by the EU commission and that our railways cannot be renationalised if Britain stays in the EU.

Alex’s comrade, Steve Hedley, who is deputy general secretary of RMT, also spoke on the union’s opposition to the EU: “The Brexit campaign led in Britain by racists like Farage, and racists like Boris Johnson and the right-wing of the Tory Party — we have no association with these people at all. They are sometimes like a stopped clock that is right twice a day, but for all the wrong reasons. We want to come out of the European Union because we want to protect workers’ rights.”


Steve added: “If we look at the philosophical and political reasons why the European Union was formed we can see that it a capitalist entity, a completely ruthless trading block, in competition with other trading blocks, including developing countries.

“As early as 1957 the European treaty outlined the absolute necessity of the free movement of capital, labour services and the pre-eminence of the free market economy within the borders of the signatory states. This completely rules out two of the fundamental basses of socialism, which are the need for a planned economy and the control over the movement of capital. To change this treaty all 28 current European states would have to unanimously agree the changes.”

Jenny Jones of the Green Party has spoken out against her own party’s line: “The most profound weakness of the EU, from the Green point of view, is that it is a super-sized top-down dogmatic project of endless industrial development and growth.

“It fosters the pointless carting of goods enormous distances, and it smashes local resilience and self-reliance. Often well-intentioned environmental policies are outweighed at every turn by the more fundamental drivers of its bid to turn the whole of Europe into a paradise for (environmentally damaging) agribusiness and industry.

“This flagship of the EU’s common agricultural policy is still damaging our remaining farmland. It is still ripping up sustainable traditional methods of farming in eastern Europe and replacing them with unsustainable heavily industrialised agribusiness. The bottom line is this: EU agricultural policy undermines its own environmental policy.”

Unfortunately even if we win a vote to leave the EU that may not be the end of the matter. Some Government sources say that the overwhelming majority in the House of Commons in favour of staying in the EU could be used to stall the complex process of disentangling Britain from Europe, or even to reverse it if they deemed the leaving package not favourable enough.

That is all too possible but if it happened we can be sure it would completely break the Tory party in two and the divisions within the ruling class would multiply. The referendum is technically not legally binding on the elected government but it would be politically suicidal for any Prime Minister to refuse to implement it.