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From: The Socialist issue 906, 15 June 2016: Exit the bosses' EU

Search site for keywords: EU - Letters - The Socialist - Socialist - Tories - Labour - Socialist Party - Southampton - Austerity - UKIP - Leicester - Leeds - South London - Jobs - London - Anti-austerity - Belgium - Boris Johnson - Conservative party - Democratic rights - Jeremy Corbyn

The Socialist Inbox

Letters: EU referendum

Do you have something to say?

Send your news, views and criticism in not more than 150 words to Socialist Postbox, PO Box 24697, London E11 1YD, phone 020 8988 8771 or email

We reserve the right to shorten and edit letters. Don't forget to give your name, address and phone number. Confidentiality will be respected if requested.

Views of letter writers do not necessarily match those of the Socialist Party.

RMT banner No to EU austerity, photo Paul Mattsson

RMT banner No to EU austerity, photo Paul Mattsson   (Click to enlarge)

Remainers rethink

Socialist Party members have been having really good discussions about the EU with people we have met in Southampton. Some of them have already decided to vote Leave and are pleased to at last find an organisation putting forward the same arguments for it as they are.

Others we have talked to are undecided, or voting to remain in the EU. They are often wary of apparently voting the same way as Ukip and some Tories. But they do not for one moment believe the likes of Gove and Duncan Smith are belatedly developing a social conscience.

These people have been very interested when we have explained the socialist case for leaving the EU. Quite a few have said they will now reconsider.

Jane Ward, Southampton

Register reversal

Cameron, in a seemingly democratic move, extended the EU referendum voter registration deadline by two days. However, his record on democratic rights is shabby.

The current registration system reduced the number of people registered by one million compared with the old system. This was predominately young people who are less likely to vote Tory but whose support Cameron wants in the referendum.

The government also implemented changes earlier than advised by the Electoral Commission - because it wants to reduce the number of constituencies and redraw boundaries to increase its majority.

Rather than putting barriers in place of electoral registration, the Socialist Party believes voters should be able to register up to and including election day.

David Maples, South London

Jeremy Corbyn speaking at last year's Durham Miners' Gala, photo MG

Jeremy Corbyn speaking at last year's Durham Miners' Gala, photo MG   (Click to enlarge)

Coup conspiracy

I'm always reluctant to give the Blairites too much credit for foresight or conscious analysis. But it seems to me that one big reason the Labour right wing doesn't want to leave the EU is that it would almost certainly shatter the Tory party - and could therefore propel Jeremy Corbyn into Number 10 before Christmas.

This would be too soon, before they could mount a coup against Corbyn.

So in fact, the Labour right actually wants to keep the Tories in power - until they have managed to wrest back full control from Corbyn and the rank and file.

This 'Strategy 2020', as you could call it, is sadly winning. Corbyn and McDonnell don't fully realise the trap they have been suckered into.

However, the Tories are so weak - and support for Remain is so weak - that Corbyn could still be in Number 10 in months. Workers would gain massively in confidence from this, demanding Corbyn's original anti-austerity programme is carried out in government.

You can see why Cameron, Blair, Hilary Benn, Tom Watson and all the British establishment are crapping themselves right now...

Tim Wall, Newcastle

Tory turmoil

Those in the left Remain camp, alongside trying to prettify the EU, have attempted to rubbish the Socialist Party's argument that the aftermath of a Leave vote could split the Tories. Instead they believe the Tories would be certain to unite around Michael Gove or Boris Johnson.

Yet those reading this week's 'Economist' on Corbyn and the referendum will see the lines: "If Britain left, the Conservative Party could tear itself apart. If there were a snap election, he might stand a chance of forming a Labour government."

Of course, the neoliberal Economist is horrified by the possibility. It exhorts Corbyn to behave like a good pro-capitalist politician and appear on platforms with Cameron, like Sadiq Khan and other Blairites, to secure a Remain vote.

Due to pressure from the Labour right, Corbyn has spoken in favour of Remain, albeit keeping a low profile. But given how terrified the Economist is of even this diluted position, imagine if he had put himself at the head of a pro-worker Leave campaign. It would have blown the Tories and Ukip out of the water.

The Economist's fears are another vindication of the arguments put forward by the Socialist Party.

Iain Dalton, Leeds


With the vote on membership of the EU fast approaching, the question of workers' rights - and how best they can be protected and extended - has been granted a level of scrutiny unusual in the capitalist press.

But welcome though it is, the debate has been posed in misleading terms. The Remain campaigners tell us there will be a "bonfire of rights" should we vote to come out. The Leave campaign points to the increasingly totalitarian role of the EU.

Both groups employee a zero-sum, all-or-nothing logic, which has led to understandable fear and frustration.

As evidenced by the repressive labour laws currently being forced on France, Belgium, Greece, Britain, and elsewhere, neither the EU nor national governments can be trusted to ensure our rights. The organised working class - the trade union movement - is, as it has always been, the only guarantor of workers' rights.

Although we cannot individually control the outcome of the referendum, we can control whether or not we are in an organisation which has a proven track record of defending and advancing our rights.

Join a union and join the international fightback against austerity!

Tom Barker, Leicester

Thank EU!

And when I was laid off twice in a month, when trying for a hundred jobs, applying in vain when you're over 45 to be part of the zero-hour army, I thought: "Thank goodness the EU protects workers' rights!"

Mike, Southampton

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