Tony Laborman

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Tony’s George Galloway Interview

Why the Left must get real about Brexit

By Tony Laborman

Why the Left must get real about a future outside the EU

I don't think the left have thought it through. Part of me would love us to get away from the right wing fat cats in the EU but we may be walking into an ambush. We get 25% tax saved by trading in the EU and when we are out they will have to make us pay something harsh to show the member states how crap it is for nations that leave. Most of the EU countries get more out than they pay in. We were one of 5 that pay in more than we get out. But was that really a bad thing? That system helped the poorer nations and it was a fair. The problem with the EU is that it does not have a democratically elected government. They call it a parliament but it is far from that. There is no ruling party and no opposition as we have in our parliament. The EU is run by officers who are not elected. They are all interviewed and picked by the right wing members. That is why Tony Benn did not like it. If the EU had First Past The Post voting system and a politically controlled government things would be very different. If we got a socialist majority it would be a dream come true for socialism. We could introduce an EU wide living wage and subsidise those countries that could not afford it. That would reduce free movement of labour and all EU countries would be able to share their wealth more fairly. To me that is how we can further the cause of socialism and start adjusting the balance of wealth more fairly. Taxation systems must be reviewed across the EU to ensure that the better off provide the necessary funds to ensure that poverty is eradicated and that the working classes standard of living can grow.

I have tortured myself over this but I can't see how leaving the worlds largest economy in the EU to be out on our own against the US, China, Russia and Asia can be good for us. The bigger the trader the better deal they can get. The EU countries are our nearest trading partners which makes transport cheaper. Despite what some politicians say, if we are out of the EU we have to be outside of the customs union because there is no border solution that would be acceptable in Ireland. The idea of returning to the days of the troubles is really not an option. So the fact is that trading with the EU states from the outside would put the cost of food and goods up considerably at a time when we already have a poverty epidemic after the Tory ravages. Even if we grit our teeth and try to get trading partners elsewhere we will not find it easy. We will not be able to use any clever negotiation techniques with any World Trade Organisation (WTO) country for one simple reason. All WTO countries are not allowed to make any preferential deals with any other country. All other member countries have to be offered the same terms. Why would a WTO country want to trade with us if they can get similar goods at the same price nearer to home? Part of the EU deal was that we grew less food because we could buy it cheaply from countries in the EU with better growing conditions. We are not able to grow anywhere near enough fresh food for our needs and we have to buy most of it from nearby countries which are, of course in the EU and we will have to pay a premium for that.

The right wing of the Tories know that if the Tories are in power and the UK is not in the EU, they will be able to play fast and loose with what they sell and who they sell it to. It is bad enough now.

It is difficult to make a decision about Remaining because the Blairite group in Labour fights aggressively for us to stay in the EU. But their reasoning for this is based mainly on undermining Corbyn’s position. Remember that Labour’s position in the referendum was Remain and Jeremy has said that he personally voted Remain. If we enter an election soon I believe that the Labour position will be Remain. Jeremy is standing back quietly at the moment as all the shadow cabinet should be doing. We should be leaving the Tories to tear their party apart. We are not in an election situation yet and so we do not need to put our heads above the parapet. We can ignore any commissioned polls from the right wing media as not reliable. Because the down turn in voting turnouts was caused through a distrust of politicians fuelled by the expenses scandal there is an argument that people are now more likely to vote for someone they can trust. Corbyn is accepted as a man of integrity and honesty and that is the biggest asset a political party could have in the current climate.

We must think first of the millions that are on their knees through the wickedness of austerity. We can gain power on a Remain ticket and end austerity at a stroke. A few percent of tax on the richest in society can end and reverse austerity. That must be our priority and a Labour government would make it clear to the EU that an end to austerity would be our policy if we remain in the EU. They will accept that as they need us to remain or the 4 other richer nations will have to cover the subscriptions they would have lost from us.

                                  Tony Free