Tuesday, April 5, 2016

#Brexit: The Case for Democratic Reform

Karl Eastham - Guest Contributor (which sounds rather grand, but I don't know what else to say. Ed.)
Being an elected Labour Party member and a Eurosceptic is a lonely business. Lumped into the same camp as fruitcakes, loonies and closet racists, our isolation from both the left and right-wing mainstream only increases. However, speaking to members of the Labour Party and the public more generally, two things become clear. Firstly, there is a left-wing case to be made for Brexit and, secondly, there are Labour voters out there who want it heard.

So here are just a few reasons why I’m convinced that we need to make the argument for a Brexit in order to best protect the people we fight hard to represent.

#Brexit: Countering the Confusion of Remain

In this, my second ‘blog on Europe, I’m looking to tackle the arguments made by the ‘Remain’ campaign. Before I start, for the cynics, my earlier, first post sets out the positive reasons to leave and my third (to come) looks constructively at the benefits as I see them for industrial strategy taking the steel industry as an urgent case-in-point. There are lots of comments made about how negative the ‘Out’ campaign is, and they can often seem justified – but this is often because it’s being fought on the terms of the ‘In’ campaign, of tackling the status-quo.
So here are my handy, but brief, objections to the case to remain:

#Brexit: The Constructive Case to Leave

I’m opposed to being in the EU, and it surprises me greatly when this revelation is met by surprise by people on the left. The reasons for Euroscepticism, as expressed by ordinary voters are not right wing ones, they’re left wing ones; it’s just that the mainstream left in the UK has failed, on this issues as with so many others, to connect real world concerns with left wing solutions, and have allowed the Conservative right to own the realm of a different Europe.

Indeed, in the whole debacle of a renegotiation which has offered nothing new, we’ve allowed the vision of Britain’s reformed Europe to be led by Cameron’s dog-whistle nationalism, and the referendum debate – and its aftermath whatever the result - is in danger of that too.

But let’s say this, first and foremost: I believe in political union, in social union, and I think those should come first. This union should be a global one, ever increasing, but based on the principle of subsidiarity, where we empower everybody from the family to every worker of the world in an accountable, ordered way for the purpose of bettering the lives of working people. This is a totally new model of European integration (and beyond), and certainly not reform of the old, not a reform of what we have now.

I’ve written two posts – this details the constructive case for why I’m voting out; the other challenges the confused case made by the liberal left in Britain.