Tuesday, 14 June 2016

Brexit Alert!

The Times reported that "a clear majority of voters want to quit the European Union" as they published the result of their poll. Of course after the last general election a lot of people are suspicious of polls but for once this seems to tie in with what is actually happening on the ground.

Both at work and in my neighbourhood (an inner city London council estate) this is the view of so many of those around me. Next to no-one except me seems to be in favour of remaining in the EU. Even my partner remains "undecided" as some 11% of the population found by the poll.

Those that are likely to make the final difference appear to be Labour voters, most of whom seem unclear on the party's position (which is to remain) and are oblivious to the trade union leaders who have come out in favour.

This in part can be explained by the growing civil war inside Labour which has distracted many activists and is viewed by those who bother outside political circles as simply suicidal.

Most people I know expect the Tories to win the next election. And it's not just because they see Labour as weak and divided.

Corbyn may be the darling of party activists, but he is not going down well with their traditional electorate. Ordinary working class voters differ from the left on so many basic issues.

Corbyn is seen as  anti-monarchy, anti-trident, weak on terrorism and immigration.

Exactly the opposite of so many ordinary voters who would normally be expected to vote Labour.

They do feel abandoned. 

When it comes to patriotism the white working class is clearly at odds with the middle class activist base around Corbyn. People were exasperated at Corbyn's view that he felt "uncomfortable" with a shoot to kill policy in the event of a terrorist attack.

And that's not restricted to the white working class.

Immigration has put an enormous pressure on mixed communities and both black and white inner city residents are concerned about the obvious effects on rents, overcrowding and their children's futures.

During a rebuild on my council estate there was quite obvious anger from residents when recent asylum seekers were prioritised. The result of housing policy rather than a direct favour towards new immigrants and the neighbourhood has visibly changed.

The West Indian community has declined., replaced by Middle Eastern/North African migrants, Algerian (for some odd reason) and Somalian. Leaving the EU won't change that.

The myth that the EU is the main problem for immigration is widespread.

The top groups of people give UK citizenship include Albanians, Indians and Bangladeshis apparently.

Regardless of facts the hostility to the EU is obvious and none of the political parties, and especially Labour have tackled the real issues at the heart of this.

We have a low wage, high rent economy which is strangling hard working people.

That's what needs to be addressed. leaving the EU will in my view only make matters worse. On top of that there will be a bonfire of rights in the workplace and trade unions will be further caste aside.

The EU is not perfect. It does need reform and democratisation. It also needs consolidation. The EU's current tranche of problems arise from expanding it's membership into countries not yet ready. There needs to be a moratorium on expansion for now.

Leaving the EU will damage the economy. It will leave Britain isolated. It is a step backwards.

Labour must act quickly over the next few days to persuade as many of it's supporters and voters to vote to remain in Europe. They must also look long and hard at the gap in what the activists believe and those that the people they claim to represent actually want

The alternative is an unbridled Tory nightmare.

Please vote YES to the EU.

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