Europe: Labour Needs to Lead the IN Campaign

Labour: Making the Case for Europe
Labour: Making the Case for Europe

The polls are currently running neck and neck for IN or OUT In the European Referendum set for 23rd June. However, if you follow social media it’s about 60.40 towards the ‘Leave’ campaign. There’s no doubt that this increasingly bitter fight is seen by many as a choice between two evils – but that’s as long as it’s depicted as a power struggle between the two wings of the Conservative Party. Labour members across Sedgemoor believe it’s time for Labour to take control of this debate and make the case for voting IN before a fairly reasonable hatred of Cameron and Osborne leads to an unnatural swing to the ‘Leave’ campaign by working class voters.

The Case for Peace

Brian Smedley: Labour Leader of Bridgwater Town Council
Brian Smedley: Labour Leader of Bridgwater Town Council

Cllr Brian Smedley (Leader of Labour controlled Bridgwater Town Council) says “My mother never left the shores of Blighty -unless you count a Mecca Bingo outing to the isle of Wight. My dad on the other hand , sailed the world. Admittedly in an aircraft carrier. From Murmansk to Malta and North Carolina to South Africa.  And when he came home in 1945, he never left the UK again. Whilst to some extent that’s a class thing-peoples backgrounds often shape their attitudes and ability to travel, it’s also a generational thing. I never left Britain until I was a teenager – that was in the 1970s and by then we were all in Europe and it was thanks to youth exchange projects and it was no longer a mysterious foreign place. Travel was cheaper, prices were lower, and not to mention the weather was better. With each generation Europe has grown closer and closer. By the time she was 5 our own daughter had already been to some of Europe’s most historic centres of culture-Paris, Prague, Amsterdam, Leeds.

How many more generations must we send to fight other Europeans?
How many more generations must we send to fight other Europeans?

This is why the younger generation are overwhelmingly for remaining IN Europe and that’s why our vote on 23rd June should be to remain in Europe

There are many arguments to remain in Europe , but the point I want to make takes us back to the very origins of the European Union. Why it was created in the first place. And that’s the time that my dad was heading back to Yorkshire after sailing on his Arctic Convoys, reporting back to his own dad who, by then harbour-master at Goole docks,  had himself been a sea captain in the First World War. But what people were actually thinking of at the time was how to create a system so that future generations never had to do that kind of thing again. Europe had been at war with itself through the centuries precisely because of disputed borders and contested resources. The European Coal and Steel Union and then the Common Market dealt firmly and decisively with these issues right at the start for this very reason. To remove them as the prime source of conflict. British diplomats didn’t quite get the picture initially and still tried to play the traditional British ‘balance of power’ politics but pretty quickly realised they needed to be IN to even do that effectively.

And on the anniversary of the Battle of Jutland too...
And on the anniversary of the Battle of Jutland too…

“We owe it not just to the future generations that will benefit from a peaceful and prosperous Europe but to the generations that fought to create it, to recognise that, and pay tribute to it – never to stop fighting for Britain’s corner of the negotiating table and to reform the institutions from within – because you won’t from without – but to put the case that Britain-and that means Somerset, Sedgemoor, Bridgwater, all of us, will be better off remaining in the European Union. “

The Case for Workers Rights

Leigh Redman, Leader of Somerset County Labour Group
Leigh Redman, Leader of Somerset County Labour Group

Cllr Leigh Redman (Leader of Somerset County Labour Group) says “For millions of UK workers and their families the EU is the best hope for their jobs and fundamental rights. Our communities clearly benefit from the investment and trade links that come with being part of the EU and our working people are in increasing need of the employment rights that flow from membership. Outside of the EU, left at the mercy of a Conservative government, these protections will be swept away. That is reason alone to campaign to remain in the EU. If we give people like Ian Duncan-Smith any more power over our jobs we’ll be kissing goodbye to everything we have. “

“Both of the Trades Unions that I am a member of support the IN campaign. The FBU with 44,000 members and UNITE with 1.5 million members know that being part of the single market, our home market of 500 million people, means more jobs, lower prices, and more financial security for workers across the UK.. We know that EU law protects crucial rights at work, including entitlements to paid holiday of at least four weeks a year, maximum working hours, anti-discrimination laws, and statutory paid maternity and paternity leave.The positive choice for working people is to vote Remain on 23 June.”

His case was reinforced by West Somerset Labour Party secretary and Councillor for Minehead Alcombe Andy Lewis   “Rights for workers are one of the most important things we have gained from EU membership. Holiday pay, leave for working parents, the right to rest breaks and protection from discrimination all come from EU directives. The EU has also given basic employment rights to agency workers and protection to part-time staff. If we voted to leave, employers would put pressure on the government to scrap these rights and the result would be worse working conditions for many employees”  

The Case for the Economy

Mick Lerry-Leader of Sedgemoor District Labour Group
Mick Lerry-Leader of Sedgemoor District Labour Group

Cllr Mick Lerry (Leader of Sedgemoor District Labour Group ) says “Thanks to the European Union we have workers’ rights, strong consumer guarantees and health and safety protection. We have access to the world’s largest single market. Companies invest in our area and create local jobs because we are in the EU and they can access more than 500 million consumers, as well as share research and development across Europe. Whilst the ‘Leave’ campaigners want to isolate Britain, being part of the EU means we better can tackle cross border crime, have a stronger voice on the world stage, can help tackle poverty and climate change, and protect our environment. Both the business community AND  the unions back Britain in Europe. They both know Britain is better off in Europe through investment and jobs. Our local firms massively benefit from cross-European collaboration, our farming community benefits from the Common Agricultural Policy subsidy, and with fields harvested by migrant as well as local labour, we can all prosper. Remember over 2 million Brits live, work and retire abroad and the tax and NI paid by migrant workers is a net gain for this country. British workers benefit from the opportunity to work in other parts of Europe, just as skilled people come to Britain for jobs, not benefit. Europe’s free movement of labour, capital and people is a strength for our communities and our jobs

“Britain is the 5th richest country in the world, because it has been part of the European Union coming out will jeopardise the economic position of Britain in the World. The Leave campaign are unable to say what will be the trading relationship with the European Union if we leave and how many jobs will be lost. The Leave Campaign leaders are prepared to sacrifice higher wages and employment for British workers, to try and advance for their own political careers..”

The  Case for LABOUR

Kathy Pearce- Bridgwater & West Somerset CLP Secretary
Kathy Pearce- Bridgwater & West Somerset CLP Secretary

Cllr Kathy Pearce (Constituency secretary of Bridgwater and West Somerset Labour Party) says “The European Union might not be perfect, and reform is needed. But the Labour Party is supporting the IN campaign because our basic principles are fairness and equality, fighting for  our rights, our jobs, our environment. Every vote counts regardless of where you live . The result will be by a simple majority for IN or for OUT. Labour wants an EU that stands up for fairness; an EU that levels the playing field against global companies that avoid tax and undercut other companies trying to invest in their workforce; an EU that tackles climate change and pollution; and an EU that protects and promotes consumer interests. This is NOT the same EU that David Cameron and George Osborne want but we have to be IN that Union to fight for those reforms.”

“ALL the left and centre parties support this position – Labour, the Greens, the Libdems – while the right wing parties – UKIP, the BNP support OUT. The Tories have picked this fight and it’s their party that’s become the battleground for this bloodletting. We mustn’t let ordinary working people be sucked in and fall victims to this.  Johnson and Cameron are fighting for leadership of the Tory Party and they’d sacrifice our hard won rights for their own egos. That’s why we must not  let the Leave campaign take us out of Europe and leave us at their mercy and this is why Labour says we want IN on June 23rd but we want that to be on our terms not theirs.”

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pam
pam
7 years ago

I have to disagree with Paul Harding when he says a vote to stay in means we lose our right to choose. We elect our Euro MP’s and have a greater say in a way than when we vote for our English Parliament. I vote Labour in Somerset and my vote has never counted. I vote Labour for my Euro MP and be ause of proportional representation my vote counts. My Euro MP then votes on any new Euro laws. No law is brought in in Europe without going in frontof the Euro parliament.
All those things you are asking for are nothing to do with our membership of Europe.
My Father is 98. We have great debates about politics and rarely agree. But we do agree that we need to stay in Europe. He believes that we need to be there as a greatg influence in relation to peace and securiy which he fought for. I believe solidarity is what we need to improve the lot of workers. Solidarity with European workers.
YE … My Dad and me are on the same side for once!
Pam

PAUL HARDING
PAUL HARDING
7 years ago

I am 50 years old and have always voted labour.but on the issue of staying in will be the change of my vote.just having the ability and the right to vote, is democracy. by voting to stay in we will be definately be losing our right to choose. we will be ruled by people that do not have to be question what they decide for the UK. we will not be informed of future laws or plans for the uk. we will not be able to have a say if we do not like the decisions being made. in the future, voting for labour ,conservative or any politition will be senseless as they will not be able to over rule the decisions made by the EU who will be running this country.we will lose our magna carta,our choice and our democracy.I am amazed that there are so many people who have such a negative and fearful view about leaving the EU .with such a short sightness of the future for the uk. at the moment in times of continued reductions in all emergentcy services,and higher cost and more and more taxes,no one in their right mind can say the EU is working for us. my wages have stayed the same for 15 years. my pension continues to be devalued. and that will continue as long as we stay in the slowest growing economy of the EU

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