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  • Published in Opinion
David Cameron meets with President Juncker in Brussels. Photo: Georgina Coupe

David Cameron meets with President Juncker in Brussels. Photo: Georgina Coupe

The EU referendum will be held on 23 June. There are many reasons why Britain should leave the EU. Alastair Stephens lists just five

1It would strengthen the position of all those fighting austerity in Europe, especially the south.

Nobody has ever left the EU. Brexit would prove that this can happen without the sky falling in. It was precisely this fear that disarmed the Greeks in last year's crisis. The EU called their bluff. They had to be willing to leave the Euro if the ECB and EU did not relent in demands for ever more austerity.

Fear of an unraveling of the EU would force the EU and ECB to placate rather than punish the southern members.

2It would protect the next Labour government from challenges to reform under European law.

Neoliberalism is hardwired into the EU and its laws. Any attempt to break with this consensus would be challenged under European law.

For instance, Corbyn, along with most people now, want the railways brought back into public ownership.

However, under the Railway Directives rail tracks and the trains must be run by separate companies and both public and private sector organisations must be allowed to bid for the contracts.

Any attempt to reverse the neoliberal policies inflicted on this country for thirty years will quickly run up against such barriers. Challenges under European law would throw changes into legal doubt or reverse them.

This would be easily avoided if it was the Tories who had already taken us out of the EU.

3The British, European and US ruling classes all want us to “stay”.

The British ruling classes, the owners of big business and high finance, nearly all want Britain to remain in the EU, as does those of the EU, if for slightly different reasons.

The United States also want Britain to stay. In part because they see Britain as a loyal ally which serve their interests at the top table of the EU, but also because of the fact that NATO is increasingly part of the European set up. Brexit would disrupt this.

4The EU is turning into Fortress Europe.

The EU is increasingly turning into a racist institution in which thousands of miles of fences are put up to keep people out and camps are built to corral and process migrants. Fortress Europe would also be a white Europe in which the cheap labour of eastern Europe is exploited whilst people from the Global South are excluded.

5Brexit would mess up the Tories for a generation.

The Tories have squabbled over the EU for a generation now, despite the ruling class consensus for membership. Arguments over it brought down Thatcher and trashed John Major’s government. Previous controversies, such as over the Corn Laws (which caused the Tories to split) and controversy over tariffs, have also disturbed the party for decades at a time and kept it from power.

Brexit would tear the Tory party apart and could well bring them down.

Considering the speed with which they are destroying the welfare state, exiting the EU, a neoliberal club of little merit, and bringing them down, would be well worth the trouble.

And it would wipe the smile off David Cameron’s smug, rich, privileged face. Possibly worth it just in itself.

Alastair Stephens

Alastair Stephens

Alastair Stephens has been a socialist his whole adult life and has been active in Unison and the TGWU. He studied Russian at Portsmouth, Middle East Politics at SOAS and writes regularly for the Counterfire website.

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