Labour MEP Clare Moody has been doing a series of public meetings around Somerset in the past couple of weeks putting the case for Britain to remain part of the European Union. We asked two people to share their opinions on the MEPs case.
The Bridgwater Meeting
Labour councillor Diogo Rodrigues (Bridgwater North Dunwear) is Bridgwater Town Council’s youngest councillor and is of Portuguese origin. He caught up with Clare at the Railway Club meeting in Bridgwater on Feb 9th .
Diogo says “Clare made a good opening speech where she gave examples of the great things that have been achieved by being part of the European Council such as Employment. One in 10 of all jobs in Britain depends on trade with other EU countries as a result of being a part of the EU and much of our employment and health and safety regulations are underpinned by EU laws which protects workers and contributes to a much fairer society. Also the argument that working within Europe we work together to tackle the global challenges of climate change, environmental protections, tax avoidance, employment rights and boosting jobs and growth along with many other important things.”
Immigration is NOT the problem
“But what took me by surprise was that she did not mention the subject matter of Immigration. This will in no doubt be one of the biggest talking points in the run up to this referendum, as it has been for the past few months and as it was in the run up to the general election last year. It’s my opinion that many labour supporters, and non-supporters alike, will be split on this subject matter – whether it is doubts on the free flow of people within Europe, or benefits payments to immigrants or the movement of workforce. These are, unfortunately, the kind of things we read about almost every single day in the papers – and it isn’t until you see real facts and figures that you realise how much immigration is NOT a problem.”
Tackling the large corporations
“It is not the opening of our borders that created a housing crisis, it was, and still is, the under investment in home building. It isn’t the benefit payments to immigrants that created a large budget deficit and thus forced upon us a harsh and inhumane austerity programme, it was the global financial crisis created by bankers and large corporate companies and the banks mismanagement (even so this is no reason to force upon us such a punishing and unfair austerity programme). And it is not the foreign workers that have created a low pay culture in this country – it’s the governments’ poor management and lack of tackling the large corporations that undermine and undercut workers pay in order to increase the profit that goes into their pockets. My point being – immigration is NOT the reason for all the problems that this country face – no matter how much some parties (such as UKIP) may try and make you believe. If we are to remain in the EU, which I believe we should, then people such as Clare Moody, who are fighting for us to stay within the EU, should be biting the bullet and addressing the media’s representation of the migrant population from the forefront. “
The Taunton Meeting
Arthur Cummings is a member of Equity, the Actors Union, and of UNITE Community. He went to the Taunton meeting and had this to say .
“Neither result can be perfect, whether UK remains IN or opt OUT of membership of the European Union, but when casting our votes in the upcoming Referendum, voters must consider the proportion of benefits and losses that will result from our decision. Clare Moody clearly set out rational arguments against taking the UK out of the partnership while stating without ‘spin,’ the essential advantages, securities and benefits of staying in the European Community. “It’s not just about migrants” she emphasized, and continuing, she showed that in fact, it’s not much about migrants. The work of keeping a community of 500 million varied peoples running, its many departments organizing cross-borders interactions is huge. In proportion, numbers of regular immigrants are outweighed in many instances, by numbers of Brits living in other European countries, some of which have far more generous Social Benefits provision than here in UK. Migration is a side-issue in the debate on whether ‘Out or In’ is better. Not even the numbers of Syrian and other refugees will make insurmountable problems if we stay in, nor will that crisis disappear if we come out of Europe.
Economic disaster if we left
“Refreshingly open, Clare accepted that even if Britain were to leave, economic disaster would not immediately follow. “We would not suddenly lose all our trading partners and market-place,” Clare said, going on to cite examples of massive trading that continues between states either side of Euro-zone borders. However, she cautioned. “We would certainly lose much of the respect with which most of our Euro Partners currently regard us.” Without slandering David Cameron, Clare told us the Orime Minister has frustrated and even alienated some individuals within the organization by insisting on impossible changes and he has even had to climb down from some Conservative anti-social policies that the government thought they could force into European legislation.”
“One such instance is the Working Time Directive which defends the rights of working people. This government, unshackled from Lib-dem coalition, thought it could benefit employers more than it already has, by relaxing current protections, but such complex agreements across the member-states, underpin political relationships and fundamental structures of the Community. Tory policy-makers are still coming to terms with EU obstacles that protect the masses against rampant profiteers who scoff at Health & Safety working practices, almost as irresponsibly as Victorian mill-owners. (Clare didn’t actually refer to Victorian standards, but the implication is admissible. Notice how big companies avoid tax, without a bad conscience, because “We pay what’s required by Law.”)
Wider security around the world
Arthur concluded “Clare Moody answered many wide-ranging questions in plain language, without needing notes, confirming that she’s confident, only by staying in Europe, can UK exercise political influence to the benefit of British Peoples and contribute to wider security around the world. And Europe will benefit the UK.
Cast adrift from the Continent, British global influence would lessen as is indicated by the noises from Washington, Tokyo, Latin America & Scandinavia, which all urge the UK government to remember its influence in the Euro Union. London’s financial hub facilitates international trade, the life-blood of every country on Earth. Like it or not, Economy makes the world function and Britons will be a lot less well-off in the long-term, if the Referendum voters take Britain out of the European Community. Other opinions are available, but they are less valid.”