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.
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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