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It is now clear that the best way to avoid TTIP being inflicted upon us is to leave the EU.
President Obama has well and truly given the ‘Out’ campaign a terrific boost. He has just arrived in Britain and stated that should Britain leave the EU, then we shall be at the back of the queue as regards trade agreements with the United States. Since the major threat to Britain from the United States is the imposition of TTIP, the Transatlantic Trade and Industry Partnership, then it is superb news that we can dodge this huge potential blight upon our lives by leaving the EU as quickly as possible.
TTIP threatens that any resistance to the imposition of mass privatisations, including the NHS, will mean that any British Government can be taken to court by American corporations. It is well known that these corporations, along with the whole American system is highly litigious and there is no doubt that the ‘wolves of Wall Street’ are already licking their lips in anticipation of taking over British state owned institutions for a mere pittance. The European Union is currently in secret negotiations with the Americans on how to impose this coercive measure. The workers in the EU are not even allowed to know anything about these negotiations!
This shows the completely undemocratic nature of the EU. Obama has given us a great opt-out chance from this Doomsday scenario!
We have already had a bonfire of workers’ rights since being in the EU.
As a staunch opponent of the European Union over the decades, Jeremy Corbyn’s sudden abandonment of his old viewpoint has shown all the backbone of a jellyfish. Those who signed up temporarily to vote for him in the Labour Party leadership election must be gravely disappointed at the rapid rate that he has abandoned many of his old political positions. The anti- NATO and anti- austerity stances are just two that have also shifted quickly and significantly.
It is absolutely outrageous to mention a bonfire of workers’ rights if we leave the EU. British workers have seen nothing but a total diminution of their rights since we joined this bosses’ club back in 1975.
One of the most important of these rights is that of decent well-paid employment. The list of industries that the EU regulations have forced us to close down or prevented us from defending include the British coal industry, the British ship building industry and more recently most of the British steel industry. We have been unable to provide cheap, readily available rail transportation for the use of our workers. Large parts of our Country, for instance North Devon and North Cornwall have no rail connections to the national network. EU directed privatisations have resulted in overcrowded and grossly overpriced train services in many other areas. Other types of Public transport have been decimated in many rural areas.
British manufacturing, once heralded as ‘the workshop of the world’ has been in continuous decline because of membership rules. Meanwhile, decent employments have been replaced with pittance based jobs in fast food outlets, supermarkets and low quality service jobs in, for example, accommodation and holiday industries. Before our membership, a man could normally support his family on his weekly wages without the necessity of his wife having to work. This no longer holds true. Back before we joined the EU, British workers could expect large annual wage increases and even under Ted Heath’s Tory regime of the 1970’s, there were 10% increases across the board. Workers these days count it a bonus to hang on to their jobs!
A further decimation of workers’ rights has come with the introduction of laws designed to prevent those in struggle from supporting each other. Consequently, secondary picketing in industrial actions has been outlawed and trade unions have been threatened with sequestration of their assets in strike situations. Furthermore, obstacles have been placed in the way of trade unions calling strikes. These include complicated ballot requirements and the need for large positive percentages being required for strike votes to become valid. These requirements compare with parliamentary election votes when Governments can become elected with 24% of the electorate. Similarly, police commissioners can be elected with ridiculously low percentages. Furthermore, it is also probable that some right wing M.P.’s have overspent in elections when forming part of the governing elite. The Electoral Commission seems to be in the pockets of the Elite since it fails to uphold electoral rules on spending and has also handed public money to right wing groups in the European referendum campaign. It is clear that the SLP should have the bulk of any monies available in the ‘No’ campaign since many of its members have been opposing EU membership since at least 1975, long before the UKIP’s and Boris Johnsons of this world appeared upon the political scene.
British workers should also have the right to eat decent wholesome food. With the EU, we have seen the sneaking into our diets of G.M. foods from US giant corporations. We have noted the pollution of our food through complicated re-routing of products such as meat throughout Europe. People buying beef products have been found to have been really purchasing horse meat. Perfectly eatable food has been required to be discarded because it has not met stupid EU regulations. Forcing British workers to eat substandard foods has also led to a vast increase in health and dietary problems, including obesity.
British workers should also have the natural right to easily affordable and comfortable housing. EU regulations, however, have played their part in causing a huge housing bubble with vast swathes of properties being out of the financial reach of ordinary people. Social housing has become a miserably small housing sector whilst private renting of property has, as we would expect, meant overcharging, exploitation and large scale misery.
One of the main claims made on behalf of workers across Europe is that membership of the EU has brought peace. This is another lie, however since socialist Yugoslavia was deliberately broken up by EU and American backed violence. The EU has also intervened in other European countries such as Turkey and Ukraine, where violence has also featured on a large scale.
To be objective in regard to the EU, it was set up as a bureaucratic ‘bosses’ club with ex- Nazi sympathies largely to the fore. It is no surprise, therefore, that British workers’ rights have been whittled away since our membership. It is claimed that the socialist elements in the EU will give us protection against right wing political attacks. The evidence of the aggressive bullying of Greece and the fact that only 30% of the make-up of the European Parliament bear any socialist traces gives the lie to this. The mass privatisations of TTIP, as advocated by Obama and the US, will not be resisted by elements operating within the EU. Neither has our membership in the least protected us against tax evasion and avoidance by the rich and powerful. British workers will continue to be the ones picking up the tab if we don’t vote to get out of this shambles as quickly as possible!
The LAST name that you would want to hear!
With thousands of jobs in the British steel industry under severe threat as a result of disinterested foreign ownership (as well as many British Capitalist politicians), the continuation of this vital industry in the UK should mean that Public Ownership should be the obvious priority.
Such are the strange times that we live in, however, that even some British Trade Union leaders (along with Tories and some Labour Party ‘Tories’) are publicly spouting that this is not the answer.
We have seen all the ‘hand-wringing’ over loss of vital industries before. Huge swathes of the Labour Party failed to support the British coal miners in 1984-5 when the political decision by the Tories was made to close the Industry. The ‘triple alliance’ had historically meant that the Steel Unions and Rail Unions should have come out in solidarity with the miners. The Rail unions were generally sympathetic but the Union leadership of the Steel industry failed to stand by the unwritten but historically traditional requirement of giving support.
Further treachery to the working class came in the form of the Labour Party leadership which used weasel words of half-hearted support for those fighting for their futures. One of the most infamous in this treachery to the miners came from the then leader, Kinnock, who made much of his working class origins. He blamed the miners’ leadership for the 1984-5 strike, in effect saying that they were ‘crying wolf’ over pit closures. History and subsequently revealed documents have revealed that there was indeed a Tory political agenda for pit closures and that the miners’ leadership were totally correct in their actions.
In the intervening years, the Kinnock family got well and truly on the European ‘gravy train’. With their amassed wealth, it seems strange that they need to even soil their hands in the business of modern day politics. The latest Kinnock to reside in the House of Commons is now being wheeled out by the Establishment controlled media, again weeping crocodile tears, this time over steel plant closures. With support from such sources, the steel workers should be worried-VERY worried! It is not a name that you would want to hear being involved if your industry was in jeopardy.
The EU club for bosses has given no protection to the jobs of British workers so why should any Trade Union or political party of the ‘left’ continue to support membership?
Diane Abbott stated on BBC Question Time the other evening that all the British Trade Unions were in favour of staying put in the European Union. She was immediately corrected by a fellow panellist who pointed out that at least two Trade Unions, ASLEF and RMT are calling for a British exit from this club devised for and on behalf of Europe’s bankers and bosses.
It is very perplexing why any British Trade Union would wish to remain inside this organisation which resembles a modern day ‘Tower of Babel’. The biblical Tower of Babel was a structure in which countless different languages were heard in a complete mixture of anarchy and confusion. The track record, since we became members of the then Common Market, for the jobs of British workers has been abominable. We have seen the closure of British coalmining, shipbuilding, steelmaking, decimation of manufacturing, including car making, running down of the railway infrastructure and the removal of vast swathes of well - paid British workers’ jobs abroad. The main European Country that seems to have benefitted from this British demise seems to have been Germany. The protection given to British workers in other spheres like housing and taxation from membership has also appeared to be non-existent. Why then would we rely on the EU to protect us against the attacks from US capitalism like the imposition of TTIP, whereby companies like Monsanto could sue the British Government if it resisted further introduction of genetically modified foods? The political impact of the ‘left’ within the EU has a track record of being and continues to remain minimal.
Similarly, the US ‘Establishment’, including Obama, has been calling for us to remain in the EU. This should be a big clue as to why we should get out as soon as possible. The undemocratic nature of the EU organisation with the Council and Commission not having the ‘bother’ of popular elections also means that British workers have little chance of protecting their rights. At least, our own Parliament would have a chance of advancing the cause of workers’ conditions and rights if we once more truly governed ourselves. Not that the Labour Party has made any effort in that direction over recent decades where they have almost continuously acted in the interests of the bankers and ‘big business’.
The British main media, of course, are only giving voice to ‘right wing’ opposition spokespersons of the EU. They are not prepared to vent any left wing discussion on reasons for EU withdrawal. This is a re-run of the 1975 referendum when the British people were sold a ‘false prospectus’. We were told that we would be joining a purely trading organisation, not a political union of states with its own law making, financial system and army. For that 1975 referendum, expenditure for the ‘In’ campaign was nine times that of the ’No’ campaign. It is remarkable that we on the left managed to secure a third of the vote for the ‘No’ campaign. As then, big business and most of the British ‘Establishment’ want to stay on their own ‘gravy train’ at the expense of the rest of us.
The silencing of the true ‘left’ in British politics on this and other issues should spur us on to kick up a hell of a ‘stink’ with media outlets like the BBC who seem to wallow in their own mire of sleaze and political bias against the true ‘left’ of British politics.
The whole political and philosophical circus built around Thatcherism, Reaganomics and Blair-Brownism is outdated, discredited and irrelevant to today’s World.
The current economic woes that the World is suffering from had their origins in the economic illiteracy and consequent policies, including deregulation of the banks, that flowed from the Thatcher, Reagan period of misrule and subsequent ‘like - minded’ regimes.
Further to the economic chaos, however, there were attempts to build a whole revisionist culture alongside the economic backwardness of the period. One example of this was with the wave of ‘revisionist’ right-wing historians in Britain who were naturally promoted in the rabid ultra Conservative leaning British mass media.
The levellers of the English Civil War period, for instance, were deemed by these neo conservative historians as not being radical. The intention was to cut off the British working classes from their philosophical and theoretical roots.
We have now, thankfully, moved on so that today, we are building up a generation of post revisionist historians prepared to look objectively at such subjects.
In the political sphere, however, some in the British media seem unable to move on from the old discredited era. Blair and Brown's cronies and political acolytes are continually wheeled out to put their spin on things. Blair himself, in fact, has piped up again in connection with the forthcoming EU referendum. He states that a ‘no’ vote will result in Scotland being ‘divorced’ from the rest of Britain. This is the same sort of political ‘blackmail’ that we were subject to in the recent General Election when it was said the Scottish ‘tail’ would wag the ‘English dog’.
Blair and the rest of the ‘Establishment cronies’ should consider that there is an alternative scenario. That is of Britain voting to leave the EU followed by Scotland voting to remain part of the whole British political system with the opportunity to revive trading links with the Commonwealth and the rest of the World.
Corrupt capitalists given a helping hand by their political cronies.
What a surprise to all of us to find that any potential investigations into the theft of billions of pounds by the corrupt capitalists running the banks and financial institutions in Britain have been dropped!
As has been stated recently, the Tory party is the political wing of the bankers and hedge funds. These people, after causing the near financial breakdown in 2008, have continued their irresponsible and often criminal actions up to the current year. Occasionally, the mainstream media are obliged to reveal glimpses of what is really afoot in the financial sector, as with the illegal fixing of Libor rates. Despite these rare revelations, however, the general public still await prosecutions of the individuals concerned. The corrupt British establishment are certainly looking after ‘their own’ when it comes to paying the price for illegality. The art of kicking sensitive criminal cases into the ‘long grass’ has become a speciality of successive capitalist political regimes in Britain.
Unfortunately, it is the working class in Britain that has been picking up the bill for this massive wealth distribution in favour of the less than 1% ‘have loads’ in the population. The austerity measures placed on British workers by politicians from all the main capitalist parties, including the then ‘new, blue’ Labour party, has been sickening to witness.
What the British economy requires is a complete rebalancing since it is built on such insecure foundations. Today, the reliance on the service and financial sectors has put our economy at a severe disadvantage compared to other states such as Germany. The reason is that there is a political hostility to manufacturing and heavy industry from the British ‘establishment’. They perceive support for socialism coming from the working class employed in these sectors. As a Party, we see the need for urgent action to restore heavy industry in Britain, including clean coal technology mining, steel manufacturing, shipbuilding, railways expansion etc. The rules of being members of the European Union have involved the running down of all these heavy industries. They have been moved abroad to developing countries like China and India. The debate about global warming has also involved right wing politicians in Britain calling for closure of heavy industry. As Piers Corbyn has commented, however, this has been just a cynical political ploy to move jobs abroad to places where Labour rates are lower and the effects of heavy industry on CO2 emissions in Britain are, according to Corbyn, pretty negligible.
Similarly, Britain, once the workshop of the World, has been robbed by the City financiers and their political cohorts of its manufacturing base (as in the Slater-Walker asset stripping era). These are the sorts of industries that can pay real, liveable wage rates, not the flimsy call centre and fast food types of insecure unemployment, with generally low wage rates, upon which the current generation of school leavers is being forced to rely.
Seasonal Greetings to SLP members and supporters.
The Socialist Labour Party wishes health, happiness and success to our members and supporters in 2016. We, as always, approach the new year with optimism, especially because of our strong set of policies and values which are particularly topical and relevant.
Again, we remember those members and supporters who have fallen in the long march towards a socialist future in Britain and the world.
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