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The EU referendum - a letter from Mark

We will have a range of views in our CLP about the EU referendum including which way we voted.
There is one thing for certain this will certainly have a momentous effect on our Country, the Union, Europe and all political parties.
Here is a letter to Jeremy Corbyn from one of our local members with his views - please feel free to share your thoughts in our comments section.
 

 

From: Mark Young 
Sent: 26 June 2016 10:42
To: 'theteam@labour.org.uk'
Subject: RE: Yesterday's European referendum
 
Dear Jeremy
 
Sadly I and many thousands, if not millions of labour party members and voters cannot and will not  “respect the decision of the British people” as you put it. The British people voted at the last general election and that ended with a Conservative Party that fought on a clear manifesto of holding a referendum, trade union reform and continuing austerity, did we accept that? No we carried out campaigning on issues that were close to our principles. The Labour Party is overwhelmingly in favour of remaining part of the EU.
 
On Thursday night a majority of those voting voted in favour of leaving the EU, but in most of our major cities  people voted to remain. In London, Scotland and Northern Ireland people backed remain. On Friday and Saturday I spoke to many people who voted both to leave and remain. What was clear that the remainers are dispondant, depressed and angry; many leavers appear not to be elated but are now questioning whether they voted the right way, yes they did not take our advice and recorded a protest vote. The people were lied to by the exit campaign; they were lied to about immigration, they were lied to about the £350 million punds, they were lied to about democratic accountability, they were lied to about TTIP. The leave campaign had no credible plan for exit. How then can that be a democratic decision of the British people?
 
Let us look at the issue of immigration in more detail: the area’s that have felt the least impact of immigration (apart from places like Boston) appear to have voted to leave on the fear of immigration. You yourself, and I applaud you for it, stood by and said that immigration should not be an issue in the referendum. The free movement of people across Europe should be valued. What we should be saying as Socialists is that workers rights need protecting across Europe, you have said that and I welcome it. It would appear that many of those people who voted for exit on the strength of the immigration issue are not people who usually vote in elections and who if they did vote would in all probability vote for UKIP or further right. Do we really want these people to sway our policy?
 
There is a petition circulating at the moment calling for a new referendum on the basis that a simple majority should not have been enough. Even Farage as long ago as March was saying that a 52/48 split would not be decisive and that it would mean unfinished business.
 
For the sake of my Children and Grandchildren, for the sake of decency, for the sake of our Party you should now be saying that we will not accept the referendum result as binding, we should build a coalition on the basis of maintaining our membership of the EU and calling on the Government to hold a General Election on the basis of either ratifying our leaving or not. We live in a parliamentary democracy and it has to be for MP’s to decide on our final position no parliamentary majority exists for a leave position.
 
A general election fought on the basis of lets get the best deal now we’re out will not regain votes from Scottish people, it will not get the racists voting for us (unless we move to their position), A general election fought on those grounds will see us lose even more ground we will not get young people who feel deserted backing us it will lead to another majority Conservative government.
 
Finally you say we did not back project fear, but project fear were right, we are now facing an unprecedented economic and social crisis. Scotland and perhaps even the North of Ireland will be looking for exit from the UK.
 
I have been a Labour Party member since 1978. I share many of your principles. Please Jeremy show some leadership, dare to be different! "
 

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commented 2016-06-30 11:38:46 +0100
Gary Younge on the ball.“The choice before us now is whether we are finally ready to confront the issues that we have blissfully denied and engage with the communities we have carelessly ignored.” which is much the same as Corbyn’s comment “One clear message from last Thursday’s vote is that millions of people feel shut out of a political and economic system that has let them down and scarred our country with grotesque levels of inequality.” http://www.theguardian.com/politics/2016/jun/30/brexit-disaster-decades-in-the-making
commented 2016-06-28 18:22:53 +0100
Interesting times but no need to panic!
It’ll take a long time to exit even if Art 50 is triggered, and it will include debate and vote in Parliament.
It’s fine for Corbyn to stay cool and “respect the decision of the British people” as there is plenty of time to see how things pan out. We can also relax – having a ring-side seats watching the tory party clowns, and perhaps consider how we could get closer to the greens and the SNP
In any case this is democracy so we all should “respect the decision of the British people” whether or not we like it.
But we also need to consider Corbyn’s “One clear message from last Thursday’s vote is that millions of people feel shut out of a political and economic system that has let them down and scarred our country with grotesque levels of inequality.”
In my view knee jerk reactions are not good. Respecting the decision of the British people means looking closely at this one clear message and seeing how we should deal with it.
Corbyn seems more aware of this than anybody – how can we bring them back in, and how do we correct gross levels if inequality.
As for the PLP defectors – this is panic of the worst sort. Even if a better leader than Corbyn is waiting in the wings there are more intelligent ways to bring him/her out.
Corbyn is more than anything a pragmatist and would recognise the need to bow out if there was a better candidate.
commented 2016-06-26 12:30:41 +0100
I completely agree with the sentiments expressed in your letter but do not believe that the Party can be seen to reject the Referendum result. What we can do, is to make it clear that we continue to believe that membership of the European Union, even in its current unreformed state is beneficial to everyone in Britain except some employers who want more freedom to exploit others. We should make it clear that at the appropriate time, and for the benefit of the British people, we will take Britain back into the EU.
In the unlikely event that we won an early general election (something which the Blairites in the PLP are doing their best to make unlikely) we would ask Parliament to reject the result of the referendum. As this would be a manifesto commitment and as we would make it clear that a significant number of people were misled during the Referendum, we would have a democratic mandate to do this.

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