Progress | Centre-left Labour politics

We must fight for our European future

The referendum result was close. Let’s not pretend otherwise. This was not an out-and-out rejection of our European future. It was simply a case of a lot of people being misled by a campaign that played heavily on immigration, and which strayed from the truth about a number of other important issues.

Now we are looking at a Brexit which is going to hit hard the most vulnerable in our society. It is going to hit hard plenty of people who had never even thought they would be vulnerable. Already we see multinational corporations lining up to reduce their stakes in the United Kingdom, if not to leave completely.

Let’s be clear, the Brexiteers are not interested in our sovereignty and workers’ rights. All they want is a free market where the money men can make their brass, unfettered by regulations, and the rest of us be damned.

Yet this is not what the public voted for. About half of us voted to stay in the European Union with all its failings. Of the other half, only a small amount voted to leave the EU because they actually wanted to leave the EU. Other issues were at play; all of us who campaigned know that because we spoke to voters on the doorstep. Immigration was a big one, but it is also one that will not be fixed by leaving the EU. Brexiteers in the immediate aftermath of the vote made this clear. That is one where the Leave campaign sold us a dud.

Others wanted to give Cameron a kicking. I can empathise with that, and they did so too. Many treated the vote as a way of expressing their frustration with six years of economic stagnation.

None of these reasons amount to a justification for catapulting the UK into economic meltdown with all the devastated lives that will result. The future of our children is at stake. Their rights to good jobs and international relationships. Their rights to explore neighbouring countries and study abroad cheaply and easily. I would be the first to admit that the EU is far from perfect, but these are things worth fighting for. They affect Labour voters and Labour constituencies as much as any.

And what are Labour politicians doing about it? Too many seem to be meekly surrendering to the perceived ‘inevitable’, at just the point at which they need to be campaigning hard on this most critical of issues.

Please, please come out and start fighting! Your country needs you now more than it has ever done before. This issue is not lost. The campaign was a disaster but there is still appetite for a fight. Those of us who are still out here are doing our best but we need some political big hitters to cover our backs. We need our politician friends to come out fighting for what we know to be their beliefs.

What we cannot do as a party, especially those of us on the modernising wing, is retreat into a dark place to mourn what could have been while taking our eye off what is. If we abandon this fight, future generations will never forgive us.

I do believe Labour should have a red line on Brexit and it should be this: a 52-48 vote, based on the most abysmal of campaigns, is not sufficient mandate for a catastrophic abandonment of our prosperous future. As a party we should not be arguing for soft Brexit rather than hard Brexit, we should be arguing for no Brexit. And we should be doing it loudly, publicly and consistently. After all, there is little point to the Labour party if it is not fighting for people’s jobs and futures.


Christabel Edwards is a Labour party activist. She tweets @Christabel321


Photo: thesleepingfish

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Christabel Edwards

is a Labour party activist


  • Bang on, Christabel! I agree with you 100%. As soon as I heard the result of the referendum I yelled at the TV, “we’re not coming out”. I have attended Remain meetings – another one quite soon. That woman – Theresa May – never was a remainer; she kept pretty quiet during the campaign, waiting to see how the vote went and she’s now the most ardent brexiteer in the country! The tories are just waiting to destroy our country; they will cut our services to bits and will privatise everything that’s decent

  • I fully support what you state that we need fight for the right to keep our membership. MPs should have guts to excise their parliamentary sovereignty and dismiss this reckless advisory referendum, based on a complete fabrication which has stolen the future of our children and stems from a few within the conservative right wing and then projected onto the public.

    All the issues regarding immigration, deindustrialisation, social exclusion being the rupture of the social bonds of societies in with low pay, unemployment, a harsh social security system that starves people into relying on food banks and forces them via sanctions into very low pay work even if you have a degree or not in with shocking housing issues regarding rents are all internal political issues and will not go away.

    Globalisation and the virtual world banking industry of the offshore can only be tackled at the EU and international level. I do not see this government tackling the role of Multinationals. It has to be done at an EU level. Global Political Economy has to be more balanced towards more moral, ethical DNA centred, only this can only done at the EU level with the political leverage the EU has upon other Multi-lateral government organisations.

    We are only starting to see now the negative effects and already we see the tory party moving in on the middle ground as I predicted. We have heard that a soft brexit will leave the UK about 3% loss affect and a hard brexit up to 8% loss affect on the economy. WWII was 4% loss effect on the economy as it has been stated by the BBC. The fco do not have the capacity or the money or the experts to negotiate. The tory party polices are in tatters as they now seek to spend more and bakctrack on their policy of balancing the books and we have seen the IMF suggest that it is brexit and politics of new protectionism affecting global growth .

    We need the House of Lords Labour members and our labour MPs to be up in arms over Brexit and raise their full political might as never before.

    By being at the centre of EU we have the opportunity to be truly progressive and forward thinking and seek a more balanced europe in with profit for a noble cause and seek a more balanced global political economic system by seeking that the EU is closer to the people.

    As I stated in an email to the President of the EU Commission as a local UK person. The flame will not go out for us in the UK as we fight on to keep alive to be part of the EU, but will also passed onto the younger generations to keep ablaze this flame, this concept towards being a member of the EU. To dream is living proof one day it can be achieved physically. I feel my sovereignty as a member of the EU has been unlawfully stolen away. He did reply.

  • Tell me, Wayne, how are the EU the best people to tackle “Globalisation and the virtual world banking industry” when Manuel Barroso, retires from his position as EU Commission President and goes straight into a job with Goldman Sachs?

    Your rosy view of the European Union is beyond naive (and it is the EU we’re leaving, not “Europe”)

  • I did canvass during the campaign but the message from on high was only to canvass inTory areas! It seems to me we are losing touch with our voters on both sides of the party. Maybe the truth is that so called “bigots” are traditional Labour voters. Remember Gordon Browns incomprehension when he actually was put in contact with a traditional Labour voter. Is the Labour party a party for the working class or should it be a progressive party for the more educated and enlightened.

  • Poor stupid little manipulated electorate, to think to know what they want or think what is wrong this must listen to Progress…

  • Poor stupid little manipulated electorate, to thick to know what they want or think what is wrong this must listen to Progress…

  • As a Labour Party member of 48 years,it has always puzzled me that the Labour Right,so self-consciously “moderate” and “centre ground” is fanatical to the point of hysteria about the EU,ever since the days they kept the Tories in power in 1971 to facilitate entry.UKIP would love to go to our voters and say “You voted out but Labour wants to nullify your votes”Remainiacs,please get a life,and move on.

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