Join the Socialist Party Join us today!

Printable version Printable version

Facebook   Twitter

Socialist Case for Exit

Link to this page: https://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/888/22188

From The Socialist newspaper, 10 February 2016

Don't give taxpayers' money to Ukip and Tory EU campaigners!

TUSC banner on TUC demo against austerity, photo Iain Dalton

TUSC banner on TUC demo against austerity, photo Iain Dalton

Clive Heemskerk, Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition national election agent

The EU referendum campaign is now officially under way. Although the actual date has still to be announced, the main rules for how the referendum will be conducted have passed through parliament - including plans to potentially give millions of pounds of public money to Tory and Ukip EU campaigners.

Under the rules the Electoral Commission, an unelected quango, has been given the power to choose who shall be the 'official' Remain and Leave campaigns in the referendum.

Leave campaigns

This is important, bestowing political 'authority' to a particular campaign but also substantial public resources. The official campaigns will receive grants of 600,000 each, free postage for leaflets delivered across the whole country, TV and radio time for referendum broadcasts and the use of rooms free of charge.

The establishment media has already decided that Ukip, Tory and other reactionary pro-austerity politicians and organisations are the only exit voices they will feature. They completely ignore the millions of trade unionists, young people, anti-austerity campaigners and working class voters who, like the Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition (TUSC), oppose the EU from a completely different standpoint.

The danger is that the Electoral Commission will follow the establishment media's lead and appoint either Vote Leave or Leave.EU, or an amalgam of the two, as the official exit campaign.

Until recently the Vote Leave group, which is supported by the sole Ukip MP Douglas Carswell, was led by the founder of the right-wing Taxpayers' Alliance, Matthew Elliott. Its campaign director is Dominic Cummings, well-known as Michael Gove's former special advisor behind the Tories' 'free schools' programme.

Big business

Such people, representing a section of 'British business' interests, oppose the EU not because, for example, its treaties mandate the privatisation of public services, but because they want 'first bite' on the contracts.

But Leave.EU is no different, and if anything is more dominated by Ukip figures. It was founded by the former Tory donor Arron Banks who defected to Ukip in 2014 with a 1 million donation - increased from 100,000 after ex-Tory leader William Hague called him a 'nobody'.

Banks could afford his fit of pique. One source of his wealth is a company, Rock Services, which paid just 12,000 UK corporation tax in 2013-14 on gross profits of 19.7 million after 'recharging' services to another company based in lightly-regulated Gibraltar. Not Google-scale tax juggling but a 'little Englander' version at least.

Neither of these organisations could possibly represent those who oppose the EU because it is a club that puts the interests of big business and the rich and powerful first. Vote Leave has now brought in Thatcher's former chancellor and climate change denier Lord Lawson as an 'acceptable face' to try and effect a merger of the two campaigns.

This confirms that a unified campaign would also not be an organisation that trade unionists and socialists could give any support to.

Petition

That's why TUSC has launched a petition to the Electoral Commission calling on them not to give taxpayers' money and other public resources to either the Vote Leave or Leave.EU campaigns, or any amalgam of them, in the EU referendum.

As the petition states, "the Electoral Commission does not have to choose an official campaign if there is not one organisation that adequately represents [all] those supporting a particular outcome to the referendum". Vote Leave and Leave.EU patently don't.

If the Electoral Commission can be persuaded not to choose either of them as an official campaign, that will be a significant blow against Ukip and their Tory allies. But it would also undermine the equally pro-big business campaign to remain in the EU.

The ardently pro-EU Guardian columnist Martin Kettle explained the Remain campaigners' strategy: "If voters come to see the Brexit option as a step towards a Nigel Farage universe" then a substantial pro-EU result is more likely. If working class voters who oppose the EU are forced to line up behind reactionary racist and pro-austerity Leave campaigners, it is a win for the Remain campaign.

The situation will be different the more it is possible to show that a significant proportion of those who will vote against the EU support basic socialist policies of workers' rights, public ownership, and opposition to austerity and racism. Signing the petition to the Electoral Commission is part of that.

Exit left

TUSC was co-founded in 2010 by the late Bob Crow, the RMT transport workers' union leader who was well known for his opposition to the EU as an agency of anti-worker and pro-austerity policies.

TUSC's core policies, which we have campaigned on since our inception, include the renationalisation of privatised public services, industries and utilities; defending the right to asylum and opposing racist immigration controls; and democratic public ownership of the banks and major companies. All of these policies go against the EU treaties. TUSC also opposes the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) being negotiated between the EU and the US which will significantly increase corporate power.

These are the reasons why, following a decisive vote at our autumn conference, TUSC is campaigning against EU membership in the referendum.

The conference also agreed, however, to fully respect the right of those in our coalition who don't support this stand to campaign publicly for their own position.

And the same applies to the petition to the Electoral Commission. There will be socialists, trade unionists and others who may support a Remain vote or abstention in the EU referendum, or don't agree with TUSC in general, but who still oppose giving political credibility and taxpayers' money to Ukip and Tory EU campaigners. The petition is for them too.


TUSC petition

We the undersigned call on the Electoral Commission not to give taxpayers' money and other public resources to either the Vote Leave or Leave.EU campaigns, or any amalgam of them, in the forthcoming EU referendum.

There are millions of trade unionists, young people, anti-austerity campaigners and working class voters generally, whose opposition to the big business-dominated EU would not be represented in the referendum by these organisations.

The Electoral Commission has the power to choose who shall be the 'official' Remain and Exit campaigns in the referendum. These organisations will then receive substantial public funding, free postage for leaflets, the use of rooms free of charge, and TV and radio time for referendum broadcasts - potentially millions of pounds of public resources.

But the Electoral Commission does not have to choose an official campaign if there is not one organisation that adequately represents those supporting a particular outcome to the referendum.

We condemn the mainstream media for promoting Ukip, Tory and other pro-austerity and racist establishment politicians and organisations as the only exit voices. We call on the Electoral Commission not to follow their lead and instead recognise that a significant proportion of those who will vote against the EU support basic socialist policies of workers' rights, public ownership, and opposition to austerity and racism.

Founding signatories

All names appear in a personal capacity:

Dave Nellist ex-Labour MP (1983-1992); Janice Godrich President PCS civil servants union; Sean Hoyle President RMT transport workers union; John McInally National Vice-President PCS; Peter Pinkney RMT President 2013-2015; Paul McDonnell RMT National Executive Committee (NEC); John Reid RMT NEC; Dave Auger Unison public sector workers union NEC; Roger Bannister Unison NEC; Hugo Pierre Unison NEC; Karen Reissman Unison NEC; Polly Smith Unison NEC; Pete Glover National Union of Teachers (NUT) NEC; Jane Nellist NUT NEC; Stefan Simms NUT NEC; Elenor Haven PCS NEC; Marianne Owens PCS NEC; Paul Williams PCS NEC; Carlo Morelli University and College Union (UCU) NEC; Sean Wallis UCU NEC; Saira Weiner UCU NEC; Mike Forster Unison Local Government Service Group Executive (SGE); Huw Williams Unison Local Government SGE; Gary Freeman Unison Health SGE

The petition is available by clicking here

Donate to the Socialist Party

Coronavirus crisis - Finance appeal

The coronavirus crisis has laid bare the class character of society in numerous ways. It is making clear to many that it is the working class that keeps society running, not the CEOs of major corporations.

The results of austerity have been graphically demonstrated as public services strain to cope with the crisis.

The government has now ripped up its 'austerity' mantra and turned to policies that not long ago were denounced as socialist. But after the corona crisis, it will try to make the working class pay for it, by trying to claw back what has been given.

  • The Socialist Party's material is more vital than ever, so we can continue to report from workers who are fighting for better health and safety measures, against layoffs, for adequate staffing levels, etc.
  • Our 'fighting coronavirus workers' charter', outlines a programme to combat the virus and protect workers' living conditions.
  • When the health crisis subsides, we must be ready for the stormy events ahead and the need to arm workers' movements with a socialist programme - one which puts the health and needs of humanity before the profits of a few.
Inevitably, during the crisis we have not been able to sell the Socialist and raise funds in the ways we normally would.
We therefore urgently appeal to all our viewers to donate to our special coronavirus appeal.

Please donate here.

All payments are made through a secure server.

My donation

 

Your message: 

 


In The Socialist 10 February 2016:


Socialist Party news and analysis

Fight council cuts!

Tories bankrupting NHS

Defiant mood as junior doctors demonstrate

Lawyers defeat Tories' unjust legal aid cuts

Cushy government job for Amazon boss

'Pro-rape' anti-feminist Roosh V humiliated

Liverpool fans walk out against ticket price hikes

Them & Us


Socialist Party feature

Mental health: system in crisis

Mental health: My battle for the help I needed


What we think

Cameron's EU renegotiation charade

Don't give money to Ukip and Tory EU campaigners!


Momentum, Labour and the Socialist Party

Lack of strategy and exclusions threaten Momentum

Birmingham: socialists kicked out of Momentum

Labour right wing blocks call to debate budget cuts


Socialist Party workplace news

No-cuts strategy needed to save 25,000 council jobs

Local government union backs no-cuts council budgets

Big victory at Small Heath School against academy attack

Cuts to premiums mean no 'rise' in store for Tesco workers

Leicester taxi dispute: Labour's rank hypocrisy

South London: Library workers strike to save services

Continued action in crane drivers' pay dispute

Workplace news in brief


Socialist Party reports and campaigns

Portsmouth: support for anti-austerity stand

Leeds meeting expresses Corbyn and McDonnell's contradictions

Socialist Party members inspired by conference

Torbay: "A tale of two towns"

Anger against plans to close Bradford libraries

NHS campaign gains support


International socialist news and analysis

Sanders' socialist message rattling the establishment

US elections: Clinton coins it

International news in brief


 

Home   |   The Socialist 10 February 2016   |   Join the Socialist Party

Subscribe   |   Donate   |   Audio  |   PDF  |   ebook






Related links:

EU:

triangleYork Socialist Party: EU splits and divisions grow over Covid-19 crisis

triangleAs coronavirus crisis intensifies, class antagonisms deepen

triangleGreece-Turkey border refugee crisis

triangleThem & Us

triangleBrexit and British capitalism - why Johnson's juggernaut is set to jackknife

UKIP:

triangleMay ends in June! Boot out the Tories!

triangleTories facing electoral meltdown

triangleTommy Robinson BBC demo: socialist fightback needed to undermine far right

triangleGovernment limps on... Corbyn and unions must call urgent, mass action

TUSC:

triangleThe Socialist inbox

triangleNew twist in Derby TUSC election agent case

triangleTUSC suspends electoral activity

Racist:

triangleOutrage spreads globally following US police murder of George Floyd

triangleProtest against Modi's racist law

Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition:

triangleLabour councils should use 14bn reserves to fight all cuts

Ttip:

triangleA socialist approach to Corbyn and a customs union

Asylum:

triangleImmigration: For a system that meets the needs of the majority, not a rich elite

Immigration:

triangleBirmingham SE Socialist Party: The history of immigration

News and socialist analysis

News and socialist analysis

29/5/20

Labour

Lessons from the Corbyn experience

27/5/20

TUC

Covid crisis boosts union membership but TUC leaders want to cosy up to the bosses!

27/5/20

Coronavirus

Reckless, lying cheats

26/5/20

Coronavirus

United action can defeat Tories' dangerous school plan

26/5/20

Coronavirus

Coronavirus pandemic news in brief

26/5/20

Coronavirus

More blunders and profiteering in Tory track-and-trace scheme

25/5/20

Coronavirus

Care home workers suffer PPE shortage and job loss fears

22/5/20

Coronavirus

Black and Asian Covid-19 deaths: an indictment of capitalist inequality

20/5/20

Coronavirus

Johnson's reckless 'back to school' plans threaten everyone's safety

20/5/20

Coronavirus

Confidence plummets in Tory strategy for Covid-19

20/5/20

Benefits

Universal Basic Income: not a solution to insecurity and poverty under capitalism

20/5/20

Covid

Furlough cut-off could force millions back to unsafe workplaces

20/5/20

Council

Crisis in council services: Labour must fight or stand aside

20/5/20

Rich

Rich get handouts - workers get pay cuts

19/5/20

Coronavirus

Transport workers and passengers mustn't pay the price

triangleMore News and socialist analysis articles...


Join the Socialist Party
Subscribe to Socialist Party publications
Donate to the Socialist Party
Socialist Party Facebook page
Socialist Party on Twitter
Visit us on Youtube

LATEST POSTS

CONTACT US

Phone our national office on 020 8988 8777

Email: info@socialistparty.org.uk

Locate your nearest Socialist Party branch Text your name and postcode to 07761 818 206

Regional Socialist Party organisers:

Eastern: 079 8202 1969

East Mids: 077 3797 8057

London: 07748 534 891

North East: 078 4114 4890

North West 079 5437 6096

South West: 077 5979 6478

Southern: 078 3368 1910

Wales: 079 3539 1947

West Mids: 024 7655 5620

Yorkshire: 077 0671 0041

ABOUT US

ARCHIVE

Alphabetical listing


June 2020

May 2020

April 2020

March 2020

February 2020

January 2020

2019

2018

2017

2016

2015

2014

2013

2012

2011

2010

2009

2008

2007

2006

2005

2004

2003

2002

2001

2000

1999