Progress | Centre-left Labour politics

A vote for Europe is a vote for hope

Today marks the launch of the cross-party campaign for Britain to remain in Europe.

Events in the headlines show just how vital this is – the tragedy in Ankara on Saturday, the escalation in the Middle East, the thousands of refugees seeking sanctuary in Europe, the advance of Islamic State … all drive home the fact we, the United Kingdom, simply cannot deal with today’s major issues on our own.

Intelligence and security need a global outlook to deal with unprecedented challenges. Add to that the fact that the biggest threat to the future – the environmental issue – is now increasingly turning into a foreign policy matter, given its implications for international affairs.

All the above show how we need Europe. And to me, the European Union is all about achieving together what we cannot achieve on our own.

Safety and security for our people is surely a priority. And of course, jobs. The Tories want us to compete with China in a race to the bottom of salaries and through forcing millions to work more. As a staunch trade unionist I do not think we should give up the standards we’ve achieved so far (many of those provided by the EU, incidentally). Rather, we should develop a European approach to growth, investment in research and development.

The next few months will be crucial for Labour and we have to be on the right side of history – the side that advocates for hope and for a world of peace and security. As Labour’s London assembly candidate in Labour’s number one target seat, Havering and Redbridge, I will be bringing Europe onto the doorstep – and encourage everyone to do the same.

While Zac Goldsmith and the Tories using Europe for their own political point-scoring and internal Tory politics, Labour has the future of London at its heart. In the constituency I wish to represent, Crossrail will bring new opportunities and challenges – it will see new businesses coming into the area and we will have to seize the opportunity. For UK businesses, Europe is crucial as it is a market to export to and trade with, and this means jobs and apprenticeships.

When I chat with tech businesses they tell me London is at risk of losing its place at the forefront of the industry, not least because of soaring rents and inadequate broadband. We cannot afford to lose ground to other districts as tech will provide the jobs of tomorrow. That is why we need a strategic approach to innovation, new partnerships and cooperation at EU level on major research projects.

To sum up, a vote for Britain in Europe is a vote for hope, pragmatism, pride in our country and all that it can achieve.

After our defeat in May, I believe we should all rally behind the campaign to remain in Europe – and help build a grassroots movements in our communities, spanning from universities, creative and medical industries, trade unions, businesses and environmental organisations.

Unity on this issue will be a clear demonstration that the Labour party is thinking first of Britain’s future. While the Tories are putting party politics first over our country, we must not.

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Ivana Bartoletti is chair of Fabian Women’s Network and candidate for Havering and Redbridge in the London assembly election. She tweets @IvanaBartoletti

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Ivana Bartoletti

is chair of Fabian Women's Network and candidate for Havering and Redbridge in the London assembly election

9 comments

  • Great that we now have an all-party campaign, but it’s so sad that Britain is even having this referendum. It seems that it is obvious to people in 27 member states of the EU that you need democratic structures, a free media, an inland revenue and that you gain both financially and in terms of rights at work by being a member of a group of nations trading together. IN the UK, the 28th member state, most people can see you need democratic structures, a free media and an inland revenue (even if you don’t particularly like the way many of them operate), but the obvious advantages of being part of a trading group seem to pass many of us by. A pity. No-one expects most Europeans to love Brussels, but it should be obvious why it is there. As Ivana Bartoletti9 says ‘a vote for Britain in Europe is a vote for hope, pragmatism, pride in our country and all that it can achieve.’ (If anyone wants to know about the Labour Movement for Europe it has an internet site).

  • Nothing presented in this article could not be achieved more efficiently and effectively if led by a British movement giving backbone to Westminster. It is a pitiful characterisation of British governance to suggest that Britain needs the cultural backward workplace of very underdeveloped former Communist East European nations to improve its workplace environment. It is very doubtful that a coalition with Conservatives across the EU backed by big Corporation financiers will be a progressive force in the world – but most tellingly its undemocratic nature will beheld back by the indulgences of the cabals of the self appointed.

  • “Great that we now have an all-party campaign, but it’s so sad that Britain is even having this referendum”. David Poyser will have to expand on why he thinks it is ‘so sad’ that a referendum is being held? I find it incredulous that there are those within the Labour movement that find the experience of being part of a real working democracy ‘sad’.
    I think Labour needs to ask itself some fundamental questions. Is it possible that the denial of political realities is part of Labour’s problems? Is it possible that one of the reasons the Tory’s won an overall majority at the GE is because they put a referendum in their manifesto and that voters voted for them because they liked the policy? Is it possible that Labour’s present leader who stands for what seems to be the polar opposite beliefs of the vast majority of Labour MPs an indication of a party with no coherent political vision?
    So come on Mr.Poyser please explain, what is your problem with democracy at work?

  • You could have a referendum on any issue you like – the existence of the NHS, state provision of free education, or, as I suggested originally, the ability of the state to raise taxes. It is sad that we have reached a situation in the UK that the benefits of being part of a trading partnership with our geographical neighbours (which has a queue of nations wanting to join) is something that is being seriously questioned in the UK. EU membership is not seriously questioned in the vast majority of EU member states. The referendum may help placate the Tory right wing, but surely that does not mean that it was necessarily in the interests of the UK for Labour to promise an EU referendum at the last Election. Obviously, like anyone else, I fully agree that referendums have a role in democracies – it is great for any healthy democracy when you have a lot of participation on a question that people feel strongly about. I am sorry if this argument was not put clearly in my first comment as I am sad that the benefits of the EU for all of us, which are self evident to so many outside the UK, are not well explained here in the UK. (Anyway, the referendum is happening and I think the best thing is to support articles like the one above rather than over-debate whether or not it is a good thing to have it in the first place)
    On the different subject, I think Labour has a more coherent political vision than other parties at the moment, and I think Jeremy Corbyn’s Election has brought a breath of fresh air where MPs are rightly allowed to debate their differences in public http://www.progressonline.org.uk/2014/02/14/the-westminster-village-gaffeocracy-parlour-game/ .

  • So for my benefit and just to be absolutely clear, David Poysner is not sad that there is going to be a referendum on Europe after all. But there is no getting away from the fact that he is still sad “I am sad that the benefits of the EU for all of us, which are self evident to so many outside the UK, are not well explained here in the UK”.
    I have to admit I am sad that David is sad but I am glad that he thinks “…Labour has a more coherent political vision than other parties at the moment”. That should cheer David up. It definitely does for me.

  • ” I am sorry if this argument was not put clearly in my first comment as I am sad that the benefits of the EU for all of us, which are self evident to so many outside the UK, are not well explained here in the UK.”

    Who’s this “all of us” – there is a tier of society in this country that hasn’t seen any benefit at all from belonging to the EU. Those people have been at the bottom of the pile and have had their faces pressed firmly into the dirt; the EU has done nothing but absolute harm to their life chances.

    I wish people such as Mr Poyser would realise that he may gain from belonging to the EU, but he doesn’t speak for “all of us”.

  • If I have the right David Poyser (from quick check on LinkedIn). DP is a Islington Labour councillor and a media consultant at European Parliament. Would you believe it?
    One thing he is not is someone who is prepared to defend their political opinions in a public forum.

  • Well yes, there’s a few very rich people…

    And you see yourself as oppressed. Right. By things like worker’s rights, etc. – that wage bill is up!

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