Tata Steel workers marching outside parliament, 25.5.16, photo by Scott Jones

Tata Steel workers marching outside parliament, 25.5.16, photo by Scott Jones   (Click to enlarge: opens in new window)

Sarah Sachs-Eldridge, Socialist Party national organiser

What is missing from 99% of the EU referendum coverage? An independent working class voice, that’s what.

In the Guardian Irvine Welsh wrote: “Cameron and Osborne versus Johnson and Gove tempts one to just kick back and enjoy the sight of those blustering, cynical toffs at one another’s throats.

“The roll-call of suits droning on about ‘business,’ ‘trade’ and ‘regulation’ drives home that the argument is essentially a neoliberal one: does the EU or an independent UK offer us the best opportunity to rip off our citizens?”

And he certainly has a point. On both sides are politicians who have spent decades fighting for policies that have seen an historic transfer of wealth from working class people to the bosses.

Wages as a share of GDP (total economic output) fell from a 1975 peak of 65% at the end of the post-war boom to 53% in 2008, while profits swelled. And don’t we know it!


That’s why socialists arguing for an exit from the EU do not suddenly drop their opposition and campaigns against governments who are at war with workers and young people. Far from it. But we also have to point out that there could and should be another voice apart from the racist, capitalist elites.

While silenced in the media, largely because most of the trade union and labour leaders have gone behind Remain and the EU, workers are not standing back from the fight against austerity.

While not coordinated or on the scale of the French movement yet, there are a number of strikes in Britain. This is in part inspired by an understanding that the divided Tories ‘are for turning’.

Some Tory MPs are now calling for Cameron’s fall, in or out. Backbencher Nadine Dorries has said that if Remain loses or wins narrowly Cameron is “toast within days”.

A Leave vote will further weaken the Tories and most importantly it can strike a blow against an institution, the EU, that has as its primary role the driving through of the bosses’ neoliberal agenda.

See also the editorial of the Socialist:

Tories tearing themselves apart over EU referendum: vote leave to get Cameron out