One wonders what Tony Benn, that great maverick Democratic Socialist, would make (if he were still alive today) of Jeremy Corbyn’s miraculous overnight conversion to Europe after a 40-year resistance against the EU and all it stands for.
The principles that made Tony Benn and Jeremy Corbyn such vocal anti-Europeans are the same today as they were in 1975 and are still, I believe, at the heart of this referendum - namely democracy, sovereignty and accountability.
Labour, since the last general election, have now become an irrelevance in Scotland and their traditional working class base in England continue to abandon them for UKIP. Now Labour have decided to put the white flag up and are urging us to surrender our sovereignty to un-elected eurocrats in Brussels because ‘they do a lot for worker rights, human rights and maternity rights’.
It seems like the Labour Party have forgotten that it was originally founded to champion social justice and democracy, so why do they want to out-source our democracy to Brussels when we have an opportunity to break free from its shackles.
If in the highly-unlikely event the Tories were to change or scrap any of this workers legislation (if the people vote to leave Europe) then the Labour Party should fight its corner and try to get back in Government to reverse it through our own democratic process in the next general election.
The political left for me have generally been a huge let down in this referendum campaign when it comes down to standing up for core democratic principles.
It seems almost like they are suffering from a kind of politically correct paralysis and are fearful of associating themselves with nationalist right wing politics of Nigel Farage and UKIP if they were to be in favour of withdrawal. Ironically, if we were to leave the EU we could not only regain a degree of control but actually we would be able to adopt a fairer and less discriminatory immigration policy as no one country would have an exclusive right to free movement here.
Whatever the outcome of the referendum, this is a rare and genuine exercise in democracy when every vote will count (unlike in general elections when millions of votes are not worth tuppence because of our first past the post electoral system) so for that I am grateful.
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