Join the Socialist Party Join us today!

Printable version Printable version

Facebook   Twitter

Socialist Case for Exit

Link to this page: http://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/903/22880

From The Socialist newspaper, 25 May 2016

Editorial of the Socialist, issue 903

EU referendum can bring the Tories down

The EU has undermined workers' rights across Europe, photo Paul Mattsson

The EU has undermined workers' rights across Europe, photo Paul Mattsson   (Click to enlarge)

"As the debate on the EU referendum intensifies, so do the possibilities for a split in the Conservative Party." This is not a quote from the Socialist or even an opposition politician, but from Tory MP Jacob Rees-Mogg writing in one of the main mouthpieces of capitalism, the Financial Times.

He goes on to compare the divisions emerging in the Tory party today to those that led to chasms within it in the mid-19th century over the repeal of the Corn Laws. Nobody can deny the scale of the crisis facing the Tories as a result of this referendum. And it will be far from an easy task for them to put Humpty back together again, regardless of the result.

Majority of 12

This was always a weak government - voted for by 24% of the electorate and with a parliamentary majority of just 12. And now, unable to function as one party, it is a lame duck awaiting its fate on 23 June.

That explains why they have been forced to retreat, at least partially, on so many issues. Initially determined not to give an inch to the junior doctors, Jeremy Hunt was forced back to the negotiating table. Nicky Morgan's attempt to legislatively force every school to become an academy had to be re-hashed. Cuts to tax credits were put on the back burner until the planned (but much-delayed and far-from-guaranteed) introduction of Universal Credit.

Equally, this paralysis explains why there was very little policy of substance included in the recent Queen's Speech. A continuation of austerity absolutely, but as one Labour MP was quoted as saying: "It was mostly re-announcements of previously ditched polices, and small measures which just tinker at the edges. It shows that this government are completely hamstrung by the referendum."

Cameron is backed into a corner trying to fight off foes from all directions. He faces threats from the right-wing Tories campaigning for Leave - a position which is more popular with the Tory party membership at large. He's forced to talk almost-left on issues like jobs and the health service in an attempt to win over working class people to his Remain position. But he must keep big business on side and never drop the clear fact that it's their interests which he will always put first, including in this referendum.

And then of course, there's Ukip. Nigel Farage has predicted that a third of Conservative Party members could defect to Ukip in the case of a victory for Remain. While this is unlikely to be a scientific assessment, having spent 25 years putting the EU centre-stage of all its politics, Ukip was clearly always going to see this as an opportunity to shine.

And many working class and young people will vote Remain because of an understandable fear that a Leave vote would mainly benefit Ukip and lead to a strengthening of racism and anti-immigrant sentiment and policies.

But Ukip has gained ground and has been expressing its racist politics while the UK is in the EU. The status quo is clearly not working to combat this.

Racism

This is because it's not membership of the EU that is decisive in tackling the growth of Ukip or its politics. In fact the racist policies of the EU - which continues to brutally deport thousands of refugees from Greece to Turkey - are contributing to gains for the right across Europe.

The ground for Ukip to grow is provided not by Brexit but by vicious austerity, repulsion with the political establishment and a deep desire for working class people to take control of their own lives and have the chance of a different type of society.

 photo Paul Mattsson

photo Paul Mattsson   (Click to enlarge)

Ukip doesn't represent this alternative - it is yet another party of big business whose politicians vote for cuts to jobs and services just like the other capitalist parties. But its rhetoric is designed to appeal to a layer of working class people looking for something different.

Polls have consistently shown Ukip voters are more likely than average to support nationalisation of the railways and utility companies and other pro-worker policies. Ukip recognises this base of support. In the recent Welsh elections, where Ukip won seven assembly members, they hardly spoke about immigration at all, instead using slogans like 'save our steel' and 'save our NHS'.

The way to combat this support is therefore to build an alternative capable of actually achieving this kind of policy and answering the fears of working class people about how best to defend their jobs and services. This requires building a strong, united movement against austerity - which could cut across racial division and bring about real change to ordinary people's lives. Why would such a movement opt to give a vote of confidence to an institution that is fundamentally opposed to these aims, as the EU is?

To nationalise the railways, for example, would require a confrontation with the EU, which places obstacles in the way of state intervention and nationalisation. It would be one extra barrier for a left government to overcome.

If a lead had been given to a left Leave campaign by the trade union leaders and Jeremy Corbyn and John McDonnell, any benefit to Ukip could have been cut across. Instead they have, with a few honourable exceptions, fallen into line behind Cameron and the official Remain campaign.

This means that in the mainstream debates no working class voice is heard. Instead we have two sides trying to out-racism each other - as was shown clearly recently in the debate over the possible future admission of Turkey to the EU.

Left alternative

But, despite their mistake, it is still a Leave vote that would present the best chance to kick out the Tories and offer a huge opportunity for Corbyn's Labour to come to power well before 2020. Around the world it has been shown time and again that working class people will favour a left alternative over a right-wing one when this exists and is seen as a serious force.

When Greek party Syriza was presenting a left stand against austerity, it was propelled to power by the working class (before later capitulating to the EU and continuing to implement its austerity memorandums). At one stage, when seen as most radical and serious, Syriza was supported by more than 60% of those who had previously voted for the far-right Golden Dawn.

A Labour Party standing on the programme that won Corbyn such huge support in last summer's Labour leadership race - for a 10 an hour minimum wage, against privatisation and cuts, for free education and so on - could undoubtedly triumph against the Tories and Ukip.

The crisis in the Tory party is not a unique phenomenon. All over the world the traditional parties of capitalism are disintegrating. In Spain, a new general election has been called after only six months, because no government could be formed after the last one. The main capitalist party, the PP, lost 3.6 million votes. In Portugal the last government collapsed after only weeks in power. The fault lines are shifting and an entirely new political landscape is possible - shown this time in Britain. This referendum could lead to major splits - not only in the Tories but also in Labour and even in Ukip itself.

The approach of looking purely for the 'lesser evil' cannot defeat the right. In the US, the establishment 'left' would like working class people to fall into line behind Hillary Clinton, raising the prospect of a Donald Trump presidency as a whip. But workers in the US are sick of the same old politics of the super-rich 1%. Which is why it's not guaranteed that Clinton would win such a race.

In fact several polls have shown that Clinton's left-wing challenger, Bernie Sanders - with his call for a 'political revolution against the billionaire class' - would stand a better chance of defeating right-wing anti-establishment candidate Trump.

Because ultimately only a socialist, independent working class position can defeat the right wing. That means building parties everywhere that can represent the mass movements that will be necessary to change our futures.

The current weakness of Cameron and his Tory government offers a unique opportunity for workers to press this home. Imagine the opportunities that would face the labour and trade union movement if Cameron was forced to resign (as he would be in the case of a Leave victory) and the more so if a general election was called. Fighting for a strong working class Leave vote on 23 June can contribute to achieving that.

Why not click here to join the Socialist Party, or click here to donate to the Socialist Party.


In The Socialist 25 May 2016:


International socialist news and analysis

Brazil: Fall of Rousseff unleashes offensive against working class

Venezuela - on the brink of collapse?

Austria - Hofer defeated, but far-right threat remains

Mass protests against regime take on Kazakhstan cops

Canada: fire devastates Fort McMurray


Socialist Party news and analysis

Tories forced back in junior doctors' dispute

'Socialist case against the EU' TUSC tour kicks off

Boris hid killer air report

Them & us

What we saw: 'I, Daniel Blake' and Hunt/'Thick of It' remix


What we think

EU referendum can bring the Tories down


Workplace news and analysis

Link the strikes - come to the NSSN conference

PCS BIS staff strike against office closure

Pennine Foods - Strikers persuade delivery lorries to turn away

Train conductors strike to keep their role

Workplace news in brief


Socialist Party reports and campaigns

Fight to win: join the Socialists!

We won't move! Mass resistance can defeat the Tories' housing act

Leicester drives out Britain First

Coventry sees off EDL

Campaigning for a people's plan for Waltham Forest

Chorley A&E battle


Socialist readers' comments and obituaries

Greece crisis - please vote Leave

Socialist inbox

Obituary: Jenny O'Sullivan (1988-2016)


 

Home   |   The Socialist 25 May 2016   |   Join the Socialist Party

Subscribe   |   Donate   |   Audio  |   PDF  |   ebook






Related links:

EU:

triangleThe Single Market: a neoliberal tool of the bosses

triangleWorcestershire Socialist Party: Brexit - a socialist programme for leaving the bosses' EU

triangleGlobal finance: Are those storm clouds ahead?

triangleRight wing attempts to use single market against Corbyn

triangleG20 betrays refugees created by its own policies

No unity with Tories:

triangleWhat lies behind UKIP?

triangleTUSC sends formal letter to election watchdog, 'don't back UKIP & Tory EU outers'

triangleTUSC challenge to UKIP & Tories: 'Let's debate who should be the voice of Leave'

triangleBBC reports on TUSC bid to be official EU 'leave' campaign

Tories:

triangleCoordinate the strikes to defeat the Tories

triangleManchester: national Tories Out demo

triangleSalford Socialist Party: Role of trade unions in bringing down the Tories

Socialist:

triangleOpposing the National Front in Grantham

triangleNHS campaign receives Labour Party backing

The Socialist:

triangleThe Socialist inbox

UKIP:

triangleMay and Tories must go!

Working class:

triangleCrunchy guitar and poignant dialogue in alt-rock homage to south Wales miners

Austerity:

triangleHow much reserves have councils got?

Tory party:

triangleBlairite EU rebellion: no to the bosses' Single Market

Cuts:

triangleBin workers say: Sack Suez, stop rubbish cuts!

Racism:

triangleLewisham 1977: When socialists and workers defeated the far-right National Front

Conservative party:

triangleTories escape election fraud charges

Britain:

triangleMutinies and strikes: when Bolshevism threatened British bosses

Nigel Farage:

triangleEurope and the workers' movement after Brexit

Refugees:

triangleDerby Socialist Party: Solidarity with refugees - defend the right to asylum

Immigration:

triangleUnison conference: Socialist Party argues for a socialist Brexit

Far-right:

triangleUS: neo-Nazi violence reawakens resistance

News and socialist analysis

News and socialist analysis

23/8/17

EU

The Single Market: a neoliberal tool of the bosses

23/8/17

Tax

Amazon tax halves as revenues soar - nationalise now!

22/8/17

Strikes

Coordinate the strikes to defeat the Tories

9/8/17

Pay

Striking back against poverty pay

9/8/17

Finance

Global finance: Are those storm clouds ahead?

9/8/17

Mental health

40% of England's psychiatric wards are 'unsafe'

8/8/17

Venezuela

Venezuela shows battle Corbyn would face

31/7/17

Trade union

Government's tribunal fees defeat

26/7/17

Debt

Abolish tuition fees and student debt!

26/7/17

Them & Us

Them & Us

26/7/17

Homelessness

Homelessness and evictions soar under the Tories

26/7/17

BBC

BBC yawning pay gaps revealed

26/7/17

Brexit

Right wing attempts to use single market against Corbyn

25/7/17

PCS

Court victory for PCS and all trade unions

19/7/17

Education

Education cuts: Tories buckling under public pressure

triangleMore News and socialist analysis articles...


Join the Socialist Party
Subscribe to Socialist Party publications
Donate to the Socialist Party

triangle23 Aug The Single Market: a neoliberal tool of the bosses

Barts strikers, 15.7.17 demo, photo Paul Mattsson

triangle22 Aug Coordinate the strikes to defeat the Tories

triangle21 Aug The role of the RMT in changing Labour

triangle21 Aug Bin workers say: Sack Suez, stop rubbish cuts!

triangle17 Aug Bin workers - fighting back wins!

triangle17 Aug Vital women's services under threat

triangle15 Aug US: neo-Nazi violence reawakens resistance

More ...

triangle23 Aug Salford Socialist Party: Why Marxism opposes terrorism

triangle23 Aug Hackney Socialist Party: Northern Ireland - the DUP deal and Brexit

triangle23 Aug South-East London Socialist Party: USA - The fight against Trump and the struggle for a socialist alternative

triangle24 Aug Waltham Forest Socialist Party: How can workers win decent pay?

More ...

Socialist Party Facebook page
Socialist Party on Twitter
Visit us on Youtube

Archive

Archives:

August 2017

July 2017

June 2017

May 2017

April 2017

March 2017

February 2017

January 2017

2016

2015

2014

2013

2012

2011

2010

2009

2008

2007

2006

2005

2004

2003

2002

2001

2000

1999

Legal

SP RSS feed RSS

Platform setting: = No platform choice

V2