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The Left Must Not Be Distracted by the Irrelevant EU Referendum.

The EU referendum is to the British people what the GOP Primaries are to the people of America. Lots of noise, posturing and bile…. and we get screwed either way.


“Taking Out the Trash” is an episode of the US hit political drama, “The West Wing”. In it the fictional White House Press Secretary C.J. Cregg (who looks and sounds just like real life Clinton staffer D.D. Meyers, a consultant on the show) is encouraged by her bosses to get rid of bad news stories on a Friday when the main press corps has gone home.

I imagine that this Tory Government of desperadoes will be planning a similar campaign now that one part of the nation has gone Bonkers for Boris and many on the Left have been sucked into the debate over the future of the European Union Capitalist Club.

George Osborne, Jeremy Hunt and IDS must salivating at the damage they can wreck in the next few months. We can expect more of the same targeted cuts from Gideon when he delivers his Budget in March with IDS being at the front of the queue to wield the sword against the poorest in our Society.

Then there is the hidden danger of TTIP which is not a new type of tea bag. It’s an extremely dangerous Trans Atlantic Trade and Investment Partnership which will facilitate the aggressive privatisation of our NHS. It means that US Companies will have the legal right to bid for contracts in the Public Sector with the NHS being squeezed out. They can appeal via a secret court which will sit behind closed doors and not have to publicly divulge the why and wherefores of any decision. The French removed their iconic film industry from TTIP but Cameron won’t ask for the same protection for our NHS.

Austerity is Austerity whether it is delivered from London onto the UK public, or from Brussels where the Greek economy has been sent into a death spiral from which it may never recover. Try asking Greek workers what they think of the EU.

Here The Daily Telegraph said, “The treatment of Greece (by the EU) is callous cruelty”. The Guardian columnist Nick Cohen said, ” The EU, which boasts that solidarity is its founding principle, is forcing Greece into destitution and chaos. (It) is being destroyed by respectable fanatics”. 

The Labour Left position is ludicrous and without any credibility as McDonnell and Corbyn flip flop from a record of advocating UK withdrawal to one of appeasement with their right wing critics.

If we stay in the EU we are party to an undemocratic Capitalist Club. Back in the day the EU was seen as a friend to the workers but these crumbs of comfort, thrown from the table to facilitate the free movement of money are no more. The treatment of the countries on the margins has been an absolute disgrace with Ireland being hit hard with the loss of free medical care for many, trashed pensions and a raft of new, punitive taxes some raised via utility bills no less.

If we leave this would be manna from heaven for the ruling class as the gloves would well and truly be off. With Labour in complete meltdown the Tories would be free to do their worst and xenophobia would win the day.

That’s why Socialists and Trade Unionists should argue and fight for a Socialist UK within a Socialist Europe in the long term, and in the short term we must fight Austerity and the repressive anti worker programme of the Tories at every turn.


About dermotrathbone

Writer and co author "Through Red Lenses". Activist Unite the Union, Save Our NHS Hull. Fan of Yorkshire County Cricket Club, Hull FC, Munster and Ireland Rugby. Views are mine alone and may not reflect the organisations concerned.


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