Wednesday, 13 April 2016

Vote To Leave

It is time for voices to be raised in the labour movement to say
Vote to Leave!

In a few months, each of us will have to answer the following question in the referendum on the UK’s membership of the European Union: should the United Kingdom remain a member of the European Union or leave the EU?

We call on everyone to vote to leave the EU

Leaving the European Union is the first practical step we must take in order to break with: 

• privatisation – and the ban on renationalisation – which hands over to the banks and private interests all of the public services won by the working class thanks to the struggles of our organisations and especially our trade unions;
• the ban on state aid and renationalisation in response to the destruction of industry, e.g. steel;
• the elimination of collective bargaining agreements as required by the EU in the name of competitiveness;
• the deregulation of employment contracts and the promotion of zero-hour contracts, which is the source of job-insecurity and poverty wages;
• the anti-strike and anti-trade union policy being used to drive down the cost of labour. The new anti-trade union bill puts the finishing touches to Thatcher’s anti-trade union laws, which have never been repealed by any subsequent government;
• austerity, which is the EU’s DNA and leads to the destruction of pensions, education, social housing, the NHS and every local public service, as well as strangling local government, further adding to poverty and social inequality;
• the policy referred to as “fiscal responsibility”, a variety of social partnership, which aims to co-opt the labour organisations into the process of applying the budget austerity policy imposed by the EU and implemented by the various governments;
• the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP), which is a Trojan horse for US big business and militarism.

Vote to LEAVE!

It is the task of the labour movement to say that the only way out of austerity, casualization, privatisation, deregulation and flexicurity, which are all enshrined in EU Treaties, directives and recommendations, is to vote to leave the EU.

Our appeal launched by trade unionists is a contribution in that direction. Opposing any kind of xenophobic isolationism and insularism, we stand on the ground of international solidarity with all the victims of EU policies, and especially the people of Greece.

Our appeal – which is not opposed to any other current or future initiative working in the same direction – is addressed to all those – youth, workers, trade unionists, whether affiliated to the Labour Party or not – who stand for democracy and the labour rights won through struggle by their trade union and/or political organisations.

We share the view of the Trade Unionists Against the EU (TUAEU) campaign: “The promises of “social Europe,” launched 30 years ago are being replaced by the realities of “anti-social Europe”, with attacks on workers’ rights across Europe driven by the EU institutions.” 

We share the view of the Labour Leave campaign: “The treatment of Greece by the institutions of the EU has clearly shown that (…) the European Union (…) favours financiers and corporations over workers and public enterprise.” 

The EU and its Treaties, with their anti-worker Articles, are neither negotiable nor modifiable. Obama, Cameron, Blair, the CBI – one only needs to see who are the staunchest defenders of staying in the EU in order to answer the question: “serving what kind of policy?” 

To this list should be added all the institutions of the EU; not only the European Central Bank or the European Court of Justice, but also the European Trade Union Confederation (ETUC), an organisation whose function is to try to associate the national trade union organisations with the EU’s policy. 

After calling on the people of Greece not to leave the EU despite the savage policy inflicted on them, the ETUC is now calling for the UK to stay in the EU. 

Voting to leave the EU will not only contribute towards winning back everything that has been stolen from us by means of that tool in the hands of the banks and the speculators.

It will also deliver a fatal blow to it, and so will help each of the peoples of Europe win back the powers and sovereignty that have been confiscated from them.

Starting this campaign right now will give us a better chance of winning. Let’s rally together, regroup our forces and push for a vote to LEAVE!

First endorsers (All personal capacity): Kelvin Hopkins, Labour MP for Luton North; Kate Hoey, Labour MP for Vauxhall; Graham Stringer, Labour MP for Blackley and Broughton; Roger Godsiff, Labour MP for Birmingham Hall Green; Ian Hodson, National President Bakers Union BFAWU; Ronnie Draper, General Secretray BFAWU; Tariq Ali, Broadcaster and author; Brendan Chilton, General Secretary, Labour Leave; Doug Nicolls, Chair, TUAEU; Lindsey German, Writer, Anti-War Campaigner; Vince Mills, Scottish Campaign Against European Federalism; Nigel Griffiths, Labour Leave Scottish Organiser; John Boyd, Secretary (Labour Movement), Campaign against Euro-federalism; Alex Gordon, Secretary, Paddington No.1 branch National Union of Rail, Maritime & Transport Workers (RMT); John Sweeney, Labour Leave Trade Union Officer – UCATT; Noah Tucker, Tottenham CLP GC; Henry Mott, Unite L 1339 Br Southwark; Diana James, Islington Unison Assistant Branch Secretary; Keith Dunn, Labour Party, Tottenham CLP; Eric Hill, National Pensioners Convention, retired members officer Islington Unison; Jane Doolan, Islington Unison Branch Secretary; Mike Calvert, Islington Unison deputy Branch secretary; Terrance P Luke, retired member Islington Unison; Paul Filby, UCATT, Liverpool Sec. Construction Safety Campaign; Nick Phillips, Unite; N. M. Nat Queen, University of Birmingham, UCU; Cllr Kevin Bennett, TUSC, Warrington Borough; Jenny Densham, Islington unison steward; Will Podmore, UCU London Region; Ann Green, British Pensioners & Trade Union Action Association, Campaign Against Euro Federalism CAEF; Fawzi Ibrahim TEAEU, UCU (retired); Ivan Beavis, retired; Jacqi Johnson, retired; Alice Mahon, former Labour MP for Halifax; Martyn Lewis, Morning Star Leighton Buzzard Branch; Debbie Fossey, Teaching Assistant, Islington Unison; George Waterhouse, RMT Young members; Keith Veness, Thanet South CLP; Cllr Richard Cotton, Camden Labour Councillor; Stefan Cholewka, secretary GMATUC, secretary Rochdale MBTC, secretary NW Region Co-operative Party; Margaret K. Taylor, chair Rochdale Co-operative Party; Peter Durrant, Kings Lynn; Tony Conway, Chair Coventry People's Assembly; Tony Goss, Torquay; Phil Sedler, Unite Community; Graham Knight, Shop Steward Unite; Cllr Gerard Rice, Labour Thurrock; Tony Conway, GMB, CPB Coventry; Gerrard Sables, Unite, Vice Chair Taunton and District Trades Council, CPB; Kim Bryan, UCU, General Secretary SLP; Marian Brain, CWU Ladywood; Jennifer Lindley, Self-Employed, Labour Derbyshire Dales; Roger Meena, Unison Leicester West; Harry Smith, former Liverpool City Surcharged Councillor, Socialist Party; Chris Bambery, Author of A People's History of Scotland; Andrew Reynolds; Kevin Hayes, Southampton TUSC; Barry M Jones, Unite; Derek Addy , CWU; Lorraine Ford, Labour; Paul Clark, Unite, Communist Party South Croydon; Harsev Bains, Unite; Communist Party of Britain – CPB Edinburgh Branch; Phil McGarry, Chair Left Leave Scotland and RMT Political Officer Scotland; Tony Dowling, Chair People’s Assembly North East; Joseph Choonara, SWP; Charlie Kimber, Editor, Socialist Worker; Stefan Simms, Ealing NUT Secretary & National Executive Member for Outer London; Richard McEwan, UCU NEC; Karen Reissmann, Unison NEC; Mandy Brown, UCU NEC; Alan Gibson, NUJ NEC; Carlo Morelli, UCU NEC; Gordon Scobie, Edinburgh CPB; Phil Lenton, retired Unison National Secretary; Huw Williams, UNISON; Dean Ryan, Shop Steward, Islington Unison; Polly Smith, Unison NEC; Denise Facey, Islington Unison; Tam Dewar, CWU, Scottish Labour; Dr Michael Magee, retired; Paul Wade, CPB; Ken Muller, Joint Secretary, Islington NUT; Paul Williams, PCS Department for Transport Group President, National Executive Committee; Tom Barker, Socialist Party Unite; John Rees, Counterfire; Claire Solomon, Counterfire Steering Committee; Brian Caton, Former GS, Prison Officers Association; Ian Kerr; Tommy Sheridan, Co-Convenor Solidarity; Steve Hedley, RMT Senior Assistant General Secretary, Labour Party; Jackie Mulhallen, actor and writer; William Alderson, writer and health campaigner; Jim Philp, Branch Secretary RMT, Labour Party; Colin Canham, Treasurer of Retired Members branch of Unite the Union; Gawain Little, National Executive member, National Union of Teachers.

Mikey Calvert:


  1. I presume you voted Tory in 2015, then.

    Since they were the only party to pledge a referendum on this issue, and their election victory is the only reason we're finally getting one.

    1. I have never been in favour of a referendum. But we are having one. If it goes the wrong way - and who in the general population wants to vote for Priti Patel? - then we'll be stuck in the wretched thing forever, with no right to complain about anything at all. Referendums are a very bad idea.

  2. Oh, I agree. That's entirely the fault of our Big Two political parties. Since neither of them supports national independence and both support the EU a referendum is now the only way we were ever going to get a choice on the matter.

    It's not about voting for Priti Patel (who wants to vote for George Galloway either?) and anyone who votes on that basis plainly isn't mature enough to be voting at all.

    Mind you, If Ed Miliband had had his way, it would be even worse and we'd now have 16 year olds on the electoral roll and the European Commission presumably conducting the In campaign on Snapchat.

  3. But Newsnight couldn't find any of them to ask on.

    1. Good heavens, no. Which country do you think that this is?