Time and time again we find ourselves defending a supposed position on the EU. We’ve even been accused of being funded by the EU. Such is the far-reaching paranoia of your average UKIP supporter, that if we oppose UKIP, we must be pro-EU.
However, this morning I went to visit a friend. He’s an old Labourite who does not think the Labour party these days represent the ‘left’ at all and he also thinks we should leave the EU. He went on to explain his reasons why. Now, like I just said, time and time again we find ourselves defending an assumed position on the EU because we oppose UKIP. This is not the case at all. My friend believes we are playing into the hand of UKIP by doing so, simply because the argument for leaving the EU is actually a fair argument, but also that it’s the only one that UKIP has.
He also said that instead of banging on about the EU, we should instead focus on the well documented evidence held on public record of the racism and bigotry of UKIP and how they have manipulated many populist ideas and attitudes to suit this one agenda of their own. If they called themselves the ‘Party of the People’ or something similar, then perhaps we could not accuse them of being a one policy party, but they didn’t. They called themselves the United Kingdom Independence Party with one aim, to leave the EU. That is and was their purpose. Since they were formed they have become, as their own founder once referred to them as, a ‘Frankenstein’s Monster’, who ‘wouldn’t have had its snout in the European parliament’s expenses trough, unlike its 2014 incarnation’.
So, I am going to listen to my friend, and his arguments for leaving the EU, because, like me, he is a socialist, and a trade unionist, and he supports the working class, as I also do. He also believes that the EU expansion has gone ‘too far’.
We therefore believe it’s time for a robust and honest debate about the EU. Perhaps one of the worst things UKIP has done is make such debate almost impossible by behaving in the way it has done, and commonly scapegoating immigrants. Perhaps if the UK had not always been hanging around outside the EU like a reluctant bride outside the church then perhaps we could have changed it and made it better for all of us. If we are to change it, we need to be in it for now, and we certainly need to have a voice, because at the moment we cannot just leave the EU as UKIP seem to think we can. Even Farage knows this. We would lose far too much. It needs to be properly negotiated if we are to ever leave.
Personally, I don’t think that the UK would survive without the subsidies and trade agreements. Countries outside the EU currently trade with us because we are in the EU. Whether they still would if we left is debatable, so if we are ever to leave then it is imperative that trade agreements are negotiated first, and those trade agreements put in place, and that could take many years. Not something a two-bit outfit like UKIP could ever achieve. Great men like Bob Crowe realised this, and like he said, instead we should be focusing our attention on re-nationalising our public services and railways, and looking after the people who really need it.
Bob Crowe went on to quote Tony Benn:
“The raft of EU treaties are nothing more than a cast-iron manifesto for capitalism that demands the chaos of the complete free movement of capital, goods, services and labour. It is clear that Greece, Spain, Cyprus and the rest need investment, not more austerity and savage cuts to essential public services, but, locked in the eurozone, the only option left is exactly that.”
If you still have concerns about immigration, and jobs, and wages etc (as some of us do) then try to look at it this way:
If the less wealthy countries could catch up with us economically (which we believe is the long term plan for EU members) then the people from those countries wouldn’t need to come here for work, and a lot of industries and factories wouldn’t then have to move to the cheapest labour countries either. Of course, this can not happen overnight so in the meantime it will be advantageous to all in the long run to remain part of the EU while reform can take place within the EU country membership, and within the EU itself. All those subsidies and grants and regeneration projects from the money all the countries in the EU have invested, that are making much needed improvements in our country will, and already are going to the less well off members of the EU as well, so in time many of our tradesmen and the likes will be able to look at getting work abroad in these countries if they so choose to.
That’s one of the benefits of freedom of movement.
Oh, and if you want a referendum on the EU, then The Green Party is the one for you. At least they have a proper policy, and MPs in parliament.
Finally, we mustn’t forget that one of UKIP’s own MEPs does very well from the cheap labour market and and UKIP’s own Housing Spokesman who also does very well out of immigration too.
There is also the strange case of UKIP MEP Amjad Bashir who employed illegal immigrants in one of his restaurants.
So if UKIP oppose the EU and immigration so much, why are they happy to benefit from it?
Please note: This is a personal view based on my own personal experiences, and not necessarily the view of everyone who works with us. Thanks.