Bridgwater is a strong Labour town and Town Council Leader Brian Smedley has been helping mobilise the Labour vote in this crucial final week. He reports on a week of campaigning.
Bridgwater has a bright future ahead of it with plans to regenerate the place, jobs coming in, hotels and businesses seeking to relocate, old shops doing themselves up and new ones looking for premises. I’d always thought, mind, that Bridgwater could do with a ‘Retro-Shop’ -well, it seems now we’ve got one – sadly, it’s the new Fore street premises of the ‘Leave Campaign‘. To think that it’s come to this – of all the things that drag workers down and sap their wages and on a street that already has too many betting shops and will soon have a shop with the unambiguous name of ‘Value Booze’, now the victims of the world can add ‘the Leave Shop’ where they can get a giant red poster saying ‘vote Leave’ or ‘we want our country back‘ to display their misery to their neighbours, absolutely NONE of whom would benefit from Brexit or the hatred that is now endemic and which will get worse if the Leavers win.
And it’s a demonstrably ridiculous situation in an area like Bridgwater which is set to benefit from the economic boost of a new Power station, that workers voting for Brexit will in fact be giving the French the IDEAL excuse to pull out of this expensive project-which they’ve been desperately trying to do since it got far too costly than planned.
This is why it’s now down to us in Labour areas to make the case in this final week.
David Cameron (I’m sure he’s now realised) called this referendum – unwisely – before the last election. He did it as a ploy to stop half of his Tory party deserting to the Far Right Brexit obsessed UKIP. Now he’s actually pressed the Tory nuclear button he’s probably regretting it. His party is disastrously split and his main rival for leadership, the even more right wing, Boris Johnson has decided to tactically support ‘Leave’ – took him ages to decide didn’t it too. Only a year ago he was clearly saying we should remain and he would vote that way. So what changed? His ambitious opportunism told him to switch to Leave to directly face down Cameron. Transparent or what!
The irony of the ‘Leavers’ position is they scream ‘we don’t want to be told what to do by some un-elected bureaucrat in Brussels!! – I’m going to write to my MEP about this! ” (Probably the one they ELECTED to represent them last year) and “We want to make our laws in Westminster”...which is of course..er..what we’re doing. Sadly -or inevitably – the Tories are divided and can’t make up their mind. 170 Tory MPs say REMAIN and 131 say LEAVE. That’s not Brussels, that’s Westminster..that’s OUR government.
The Lib Dems -all 8 of them-say REMAIN, all 54 Scots Nats say REMAIN all PLAID CYMRU say REMAIN, all the other Irish Nationalist parties and the Greens say REMAIN…and so the only other ‘Leavers’ are the far right Democratic Unionist Party and it’s a 100% ‘Leave'(your brains in a bucket) vote from UKIP MPs..that’s all 1 of him.
So it’s battlefield Labour. 218 Labour MPs – who we’ve democratically elected to represent us-say REMAIN and 10 say LEAVE. So, you’d think not much of a battlefield, but with the Tory vote divided across the country it’s critical that we make the REMAIN case to our voters. Voters who didn’t ask for this referendum and voters who, seeing as they support a Westminster which makes the informed decisions that decide our future, will need to know exactly why the people they’ve voted for say REMAIN and not the easy and emotive ‘Leave’.
We’ve been out and about in Bridgwater and the Labour case is this:-
Britain is more powerful in Europe than out. We have a voice at the table to shape decisions and it’s a strong one. Britain sends one of the largest single groups of ELECTED representatives to Europe to make these decisions. They AREN’T made FOR us. We ALL make them together – surely that’s democratic.
Freedom of movement works both ways. If ‘capital’ can move around Europe freely then the ‘ labour’ it depends on to flourish has to move freely as well. That’s why Europeans come here and that’s why Brits go there. Everyone benefits and it simply ISN’T one way traffic.
We need to be part of the massive European single market. Jobs and services depend on this. And if we’re in such a place then the workers rights, civil rights , consumer rights and environmental rights ALL agreed across Europe are crucial -and that’s what the EU system provides us with.
The pound is shaky at the moment based on the fear of Brexit and is dropping and we need to stop this. After any Brexit it will crash. The right wing leaders of the Leave campaign want this so they can benefit from lower wages and will gladly light the touchpaper to a bonfire of workers rights. We have to stop that.
The European Union has bought peace to the continent. It was set up in the aftermath of the disastrous second world war, where 60 Million people died, exactly in order to prevent it happening again by getting rid of the causes of wars – disputed borders and unequal resources. Brexit would set us back to that default position.
There are dark forces at work behind the Brexit campaign. Many genuine people support leave because they doubt the EU as the only or best way forward, but they can only change that by being IN the place that can change it. Moreover, open the lid on the box of the people who will actually benefit and it’s the far right – not just the Thatcherite wing of the Tory party but the ultra Thatcherites of UKIP and the actual neo-fash who buzz like flies around the likes of the BNP, the NF, Britain First , EDL and other hate fuelled peripheries who are blatantly seeking to use what they see as populist emotive campaigns to put themselves in the ‘respectable’ centre of the action…..and they’re getting more confident as they’re getting more scent of victory. So confident that Farage can blatantly put up a total misleading poster showing Syrian refugees on the Slovenian border with the heading ‘breaking point’ as if instead they’re actually climbing the cliffs of Dover and those Kippers, longing for something they’d probably actually find if they just looked down the back of the sofa, scream ‘we want our country back’….well we haven’t lost it, we just don’t want You Lot to have it!!
Vote Remain on June 23rd
If you’re still undecided please take 20 minutes to listen to the explanation of the issues by a teacher of the subject.