No2eu Election Broadcast

I will be voting Labour on 4th June, which is the most effective progressive vote in the South West constituency. There is a very real threat that Labour will lose their only seat in the South West, and we will have three UKIP MEPs. This would be a significant step backwards for trade unionists in the West Country. Glyn Ford is quite an effective MEP, always responsive to the social agenda of the trade unions.

But for those of you who are interested, here is the NO2EU electon broadcast:

155 comments on “No2eu Election Broadcast

  1. Anonymous on said:

    “I will be voting Labour on 4th July,”

    Bit late for the elections andy.

  2. This broadcast certainly doesn’t take any prisoners!

    Hopefuly that will inspire people to actually watch it

  3. Could someone not have edited out the first 40 seconds ?
    On the substance; the EU did not privatise the UK railway system.
    A Westminster government overtly hostile to the EU did that.

  4. Party hack on said:

    Desperate stuff, Eddie (#3) – the broadcast talks of directives which break up and privatise the royal mail/ postal services and the railways. The railway industry in Britain was broken up in accordance with EU directives; there could only have been one purpose – privatisation, which the Tories duly carried through. No, the EU cannot be blamed primarily in this case – but different provisions in the Lisbon Constitutional Treaty would make it almost impossible to take the industry back into public ownership as a public monopoly in a (European) constitutional way. Not that this should stop us.
    Part privatisation of the Royal Mail, the “liberalisation” of postal services and the mass closure of “uneconomic” post offices are policies with even more direct origins in EU directives.

  5. #4, you are talking absolute nonsense.
    The UK railways were privatised by the Westminster government and it absolutely nothing to do with the European Union.
    Perhaps you would like to explain why the French railway system is state owned.

  6. Steel was nationalised by the Tories and later privatised.

    The point is that that adherence to the EU rules prevents public ownership being renewed. Just because rail was privatised seperately from the present day EU rules doesn’t mean it can be renationalised. Unless of course we leave the EU.

  7. #7 “The point is that that adherence to the EU rules prevents public ownership being renewed.”
    That’ll be news to the Chancellor and Prime Minister then, they effectively nationalised a large part of the UK banking sector a few months back.

  8. If Eddie Truman cannot be convinced by impeccably revolutionary and proletarian sources that the EU is a mechanism for carrying through privatisation he should read this impeccably bourgeois volume

    Privatisation in the European Union
    “At the end of the 1970s, the prospect of privatising public enterprises which operated in sectors such as water, telecommunications, railways or air transportation seemed a thoroughly unappealing one in political terms. Not even the future privatisation `champion’, the British Conservative Party, envisaged this kind of reform when it came to power in 1979. Only two decades later, however, privatisation had become a global fashion. The EU region has been at the forefront of these developments. What are the factors that explain this shift?

    Judith Clifton, Francisco Comín and Daniel Díaz Fuentes in Privatisation in the European Union reject the two dominant explanations provided in literature, which include a simple ‘Americanisation’ of policy and a ‘varied’ privatisation experience without a common driving force. Using a systematic comparative analysis of privatisation experiences in each country from the 1980s to the beginning of the twenty first century, the authors show how the process of European integration and the need for internationally competitive industries have constituted key driving forces in the quest for privatisation across the EU. As privatisation slows down at the turn of the millennium, what future can citizens expect for public enterprises?

  9. Pete on said:

    Oh, didn’t you know Eddie: the capitalists are allowed to change their rules when it suits them, in order to defend capitalism. And remember, the banks were simply given the billions, they were not taken over under democratic working class control.

    However, when it comes to our NHS, Network Rail, Royal Mail, the welfare state – these services must be given over to the privateers no matter what under these new EU laws.

    And don’t forget, a lot of this neo-liberal influence in Europe has come from Andy’s New Labour Party.

    Yes, No2EU is fighting against the capitalist EU – but it is also raising the need for an independent working class political alternative to fight to the interests of the working class in Britain. Hopefully, we’ll be here in less than a year’s time doing just that in the General Election with a left progressive working class force.

    The Labour Party is dead. Long live the labour movement!

  10. Pete on said:

    that’s “fight for the interests of the working class in Britain…” whoops.

  11. #9, Nick. I’m well aware of the neo liberal agenda of the European Union, there’s no argument there.
    But what NO2EU are doing is falling into the trap of exaggerating and inventing the evils of the EU in order to appear more anti European than anyone else.
    The railway privatisation line is a great example.
    The UK railway system was not privatised on the orders of the EU.
    In fact at the time the EU was being relentlessly attacked from the right by the Westminster government and in the right wing press as being a crypto socialist nanny state led by the socialist Jacques DeLores.
    It’s a bit worrying that the railway workers union is bankrolling an electoral front that doesn’t appear to know how the UK’s railways came to be privatised.
    And, again, I’ll raise the point that has not been answered; how come in France, a country with much more integration into the EU, uses the Euro etc, how come the French national railways are state owned ?
    On other aspects of the broadcast; I found Dave Nellist’s claim that the collapse in UK manufacturing is due to the EU absolutely extraordinary.
    Dave Nellist, of all people, knows fine well that the collapse of the UK manufacturing is because of the failure to re-invest profit into manufacturing capacity.
    This was something that was drilled into us when I joined Militant in 1983 and it is absolutely correct. Dave appears to have thrown out any sensible understanding of the UK economy in order to be as hostile as possible to the EU.
    The broadcast raises the old bogey of a European military force without mentioning that there is already one called NATO.
    The broadcast flashes up the Euro symbol and talks of unelected bankers. Well the UK does not use the Euro and the Bank of England does not have elected officials.
    As I say, there is plenty to get stuck into the European Union about without resorting to scaremongering and downright untruths.

  12. Wait I’m confused. I’m in the South West and I was so going to vote No2EU. Why would I want to vote for New Labour instead?

  13. I can’t believe the arrogance of:

    “It’s a bit worrying that the railway workers union is bankrolling an electoral front that doesn’t appear to know how the UK’s railways came to be privatised.”

    Just dismissing britain’s most militant Union’s analyse, out of the window. Is there any need to be so insulting?

    For an example of how ‘competition’ is being forced against state owned railways see the Council Directive 91/440/EEC introduced on July 29 1991.

    This directive “requires member states: to grant the rail companies independence from government and introduce commercial management techniques; and to separate the management of infrastructure from transport management”. This infamous directive established a historically unprecedented liberalisation model, instituting a dangerous “vertical split” separating rail infrastructure from the operation of rail services. It stipulates:

    -operational autonomy for railway operators
    -separation of the infrastructure from service operations (as an absolute minimum – although not exclusively – for accounting purposes)
    -open access for international undertakings
    -introduction of track access charges and a sound financial basis for railway operators

    This provided the basis for John Major’s privatisation of British Rail in 1996. The Railways Regulation 1992, which began rail privatisation, was introduced under Section 2(2) of the European Communities Act 1972 to comply with directive 91/440/EEC.

    Of course, Westminster government privatised the Railways, but it was on the back of EU directives, besides, lets look to the future, do you think it will be easier to renationalise our railways with the EU, or without it?

  14. Pete on said:

    10: “I found Dave Nellist’s claim that the collapse in UK manufacturing is due to the EU absolutely extraordinary. Dave Nellist, of all people, knows fine well that the collapse of the UK manufacturing is because of the failure to re-invest profit into manufacturing capacity.”

    This is true. The capitalists DID reinvest their profits – in East Europe – where labour is cheaper and where new EU rules removed trade barriers and taxes to allow them to move their commodities to where they can be sold at the highest price!

    Tut, tut Eddie.

  15. jota on said:

    Good broadcast – an election broadcast featuring trade unionists and talking about the working class and capitalism – brilliant. I’m feeling inspired for the first time in years by the no2eu campaign and what it has the potential to develop into.

  16. christian h. on said:

    Oh bugger. It is simply not correct that BR was privatized on directive of the EU. Period. You can all cook up some indirect reasons – reasons that somehow didn’t force privatization of other national rail companies outside the UK – but the fact remains that claiming the EU forced BR to be privatized is nationalistic BS with no basis in fact.

  17. green socialist on said:

    To be honest I’d rather vote No2EU than bloody Labour.

    For an MEP who will campaign to repeal anti Trade Union legislation vote Green in the South West!

  18. prianikoff on said:

    The broadcast was OK. A little bit amateurish maybe.
    I was a bit peturbed to see an exec member of my union pop up, who I never voted with in my life!
    But the involvement of convenors from Visteon, stewards etc. means it’s a serious working class initiative. Clearly for the repeal of anti-union laws against racism and fascism and for international solidarity too.

    Some of the ideas though, are quite frankly a bit confused.
    “Independent and democratic powers” don’t magically become transformed because they “repatriated” to national governments. No mention of Socialist policies, let alone the possibility of a Socialist Europe. That should be in there for a Euro Election.

    Wonder what the SP says about all this?

  19. Good broadcast that. Someone should tell Brian Denny that John Tyndall’s been dead for years though (the bit at 2:20).

  20. Luke on said:

    I agree, I think it’s a good broadcast. Whilst I disagree with the platform of No2E,U credit where credit is due. The makers and participants should be pleased with the PPB.

  21. #23, jeezo, if you look at the membership of the No2 No2EU Facebook group, either Tommy Sheridan needs to keep his eye on the ball when he’s on Facebook or there’s a really big story there.

  22. Colin Barr on said:

    -24. I can’t see the story. Can you point me in the right direction?

  23. There were good bits and bad bits. Overall though I thought it was poor- just talking heads, no sense of vibrancy.

    Politically it was poor too. Yes some OKish left sentiments but often skewed to arguing that it’s the EU’s fault. Yes EU directives are reactionary and the EU is capitalist but we need a socialist campaign of workers across borders not arguments about the ‘return of our sovereignty’ (Bob Crow 3.40) and ‘British workers snubbed…’ (4 min 20)- yes there’s good stuff on condemning capitlaism, a call for bringing railways into public control, not pitting worker against worker, but it’s mixed with patriotic arguments.

    Capitalism not the EU per se is the problem- British capitalism outside the EU is no better. What we need is militant working class action for socialism and workers’ democracy not this mish-mash. Most of all we need a serious grassroots campaign where working class community activists and rank and file trade unionists vote on program and policy.

  24. Paul Hunt on said:

    26 and 27
    i look forward to permanent revolution standing in the next election to show us all how its done
    ph
    coventry

  25. Ha ha, Eddie Truman, back to the old obsession I see? Why don’t you stop posting on here and concentrate on sticking pins in your Tommy doll?

    And Andy – would that be the same Glyn Ford whose European Elections leaflet condemns the Tories for ‘doing nothing’ to ‘control Britains borders’, and attacks the Lib Dems for bring ‘soft on crime’ for the horrific policy of not locking up people found with drugs for personal use!

    You really are hurtling to the right at a rate of knots if you think it is acceptable to vote for this pathetic, reactionary crap, and the dreadful Glyn Ford who fronts it. I hope he loses his seat, and before you start putting out misinformation, he’d lose it to a Lib Dem or Green.

  26. #28 haha that’s exactly how it has been done- just deciding to stand in the election

    much much better would be to have a series of meetings of campaigns, of rank and file trade unionists and working class activists to decide on policies, candidates and where or whether to stand.

    Socialists would attempt to win workers to socialist policies of course and I think we may succeed- however it’s all about involving people not just deciding that you have the answers – in this case narrow nationalism mixed with leftish reformism.

  27. Karl Stewart on said:

    Well, as a No2EU supporter, I’d just like to say, in a spirit of true left-wing working-class internationalism – COME ON BARCA!!!

  28. Liammm on said:

    well that was a rather epic experience…

    I’ve always been very sceptical of this platform, but the broadcast has made me think alittle more positively to where it could go.

    some of my SWP comrades were invited to a local No2EU meeting tonight, it will be interesting to hear how it goes.

  29. #28

    Don’t you know PR have formed a United Front with the Labour Party at this election Paul?

    The Labour Party may not have actually agreed to this and may not even be aware of it but it’s going to allow PR to win over the ranks of militant trade unionists.

  30. #29

    “You really are hurtling to the right at a rate of knots if you think it is acceptable to vote for this pathetic, reactionary crap, and the dreadful Glyn Ford who fronts it. ”

    The confusion I have over your position is that Glyn Ford and the attitudes he expresses seem mainstream within the historical labourist tradition, that your party, the Militant, used to be members of, and you would have endorsed candidates in the past with these views.

    Is it the recent incarnation of New Labour you reject, or the entire historicall tradiation of the labour party?

  31. Jim Monaghan on said:

    #24 It took me a while to see the story too, that hilarious and typical of Tommys graso of the internet and/or any kind of technology. I have to say he is improvingin recent years. This is quite funny. I wouldnt agree that it is a huge story though.

  32. Andy – it’s New Labour I reject. And there is a difference between formally endorsing an official Labour Party candidate when you’re in the Labour Party and enthusiastically promoting a cynical opportunist like Glyn Ford as some kind of progressive from outside the New Labour shell.

    Can I ask you a genuine question, and this is not meant to be provocative, I’m curious as to the internal situation in Respect – will it survive long past the next general election? I ask this because there seems to be 2/3 tendencies moving in radically different directions at the moment, and there hasn’t really been much discussion of this.

  33. Ger Francis on said:

    An old one. She was elected Leader at an NC meeting quite a few months ago.

  34. Karl Stewart on said:

    I disagree Jim, there’s been plenty of discussion between Respect members on here.
    We’ve heard plenty from the progressives i.e Andy, Salma Yaqoob and George Galloway and we’ve also heard a more class-struggle viewpoint from Nick Wrack.
    As a non-Respecter myself it’s refreshing to hear these discussions being held openly and it compares well with much of the rest of the left.
    As to whether such divergent perspectives can co-exist within the same party in the longer term, well who knows?
    I guess a lot depends on how things develop across the left over the coming period.

  35. Prinkipo Exile on said:

    #38 under the PPERA 2000 (Political Parties, Elections and Referendums Act 2000) every registered political party is required to have a nominated “leader” registered with the Electoral Commission; Respect has always defied tradition by refusing to nominate its sole MP. However if Salma was indeed appointed official Leader by the NC, someone should tell the Electoral Commission pronto because Linda Smith’s name is still down as holding the role on their website!

  36. paulm on said:

    I debated with Glyn Ford on behalf of No 2 EU yestereday, and he didn’t strike me as a synical opportunist. On the contrary seemed to genuinely support some essential class demands:

    opposing Royal Mail privatisation
    supporting the implementation of the working time directive (although I’d argue that a 48 hour working week is far too long it would be a minimal step towards civilised conditions)
    resisting the BNP

    However, Glyn cannot achieve any of these demands when he is part of a party which:

    is proceeding hell for leather to implement privatisation, if necessary with Tory votes
    demanded the opt out from the working time directive
    created the breeding ground for the vile policies of the BNP

    and within which the organised working class no longer have any real influence or voice (something which is fundamentally different from the 70’s and early 80’s, when Militant called for a Labour vote)

    That is the reason why it is a serious mistake to call for a vote for Glyn or any other labour candidate in these elections.

  37. Prinkipo Exile on said:

    #39 Karl – if a broad left wing political party cannot hold strongly divergent views on what are essentially minor tactical issues, such as voting tactics when Respect are not standing, then there is no hope for it.

    This is something the SP and SWP (and some others) have singularly failed to understand over the last decade of their involvement in the Socialist Alliance, Respect and CNWP.

    For this reason I am opposed to presenting any of the range of opinions as more “progressive” or “pro-working class” than any other. There are good reasons for people holding different views on tactics, but that doesn’t affect the fundamental issues on which we all agree.

  38. #41

    Paul

    But the point here is that Glyn is not a New Labour apparatchik, he is relatively mainstream Labour, and is popular with many trade unionists. And it is useful to have MEPs that work with the trade unions.

    Now as it happens, I don’t think NO2EU can possibly win a seat in the SW (11% required), but there is a real danger that Labour will lose. For which reason I will be voting Labour.

    Also, I will be quite honest, i would rather have Glyn as an MEP than Alex.

  39. Ferrier on said:

    Eddie T’s points about which institutions drove privatisation seem irrefutable to me.

    Those on the far left investigating No2EU with an ambit which its controlling parts reject are making a big mistake.

    Nick Wright and his comrades are making a perfectly sensible electoral intervention from their point of view, which over Europe goes back a long way.

    Trotskyists of whatever stripe who are backing No2EU shouldn’t imagine they can change its foundation.

    In any case, the permanent political crisis in Britain must surely open up wider possiblities than a one off anti-EU campaign.

  40. #39

    “We’ve heard plenty from the progressives i.e Andy, Salma Yaqoob and George Galloway and we’ve also heard a more class-struggle viewpoint from Nick Wrack.”

    Well actually is this true? I think you are creating a false polarisation.

    On almost every occassion where there has been a strike, or a trade union issue the whole of Respect has unambiguously backed the working class, and supported militant class struggle tactics. (The only exception being the supposedly “revolutionary” ISG and their friends, who did not support the Lindsey Oil Refinery workers.)

  41. Not that Jim on said:

    Everybody gets their broadcast posted here bar the SLP. The most principled and consistent on the EU since day one. I wonder why?

    I’m just back from a PCS hustings where the Socialist Labour candidate stood out a mile as the best informed on the EU.

    By the way the Indian Workers’ Association (GB) urge a vote for the SLP and no-one else.

    “The Indian Workers Association (IWA) GB make the following announcement:

    ” IWA GB urges all voters to vote Socialist Labour Party

    IWA GB urges all voters in Britain to vote for Socialist Labour Party in the forthcoming European Parliamentary elections on 4th June 2009.

    http://www.socialist-labour-party.org.uk

    Avtar Singh Jouhl

    General Secretary “

  42. #38 Ger, I’ve got to say that as a reasonably avid – but not obsessive – reader of the Respect Paper and of the respectparty.net website, that one had passed me by.

    What is Salma’s role as Leader – is it just a name to supply to the Electoral Commission (cf #40) or is there more to it?

    I appreciate there are many on this site who wish you ill (NB I’m not one of them), so maybe this isn’t the place to do it, but wouldn’t something on the official website explaining this be a good idea?

  43. #46 There was definitely a General Secretary of the Indian Workers Association on my telly tonight saying Vote No2EU. Or was it that bastard from the Association of Indian Workers?

  44. Ger Francis on said:

    ‘i’m curious as to the internal situation in Respect – will it survive long past the next general election’

    Yes it will.

    The internal situation is very good. The original vision behind Respect as a broad left initiative is asserting itself more strongly than ever before. And whereas a few months ago I would have seen success at the general election as absolutely critical, now I think it is less so (although more likely because of the favourable shift in the political landscape).

    British politics is entering into a period of massive political uncertainty. When the political pieces reassemble themselves who knows exactly what the lie of the land will look like. But we can expect it to be polarized and to provide new opportunities for the left. The key thing for Respect is to stay in the game, irrespective of whether or not we get an MP elected, to be able to engage in a new, changed political period. I am very confident we can do so.

    The political crisis and the public’s desire for a different kind of politics have created openness in politics that is favourable to us. Outside of the Greens and ourselves there is simply no other force on the left capable of engaging with anything approaching a mass audience. The challenge for us is to have the verve to respond to that opportunity and at our last NC we had a very useful discussion on how to do so.

    In addition, our work around Viva Palestina compliments this new engagement in that it has served to reconnect and reenergize our relationship with our base and provides a brilliant opportunity to refocus and rebuild in our key areas. Already October’s convoy is creating real excitement and promises to surpass the recent one with hundreds of Respects sympathisers and activists on it. We have the potential to create a new cadre through this work alone.

    Respect is small organisation, without rich backers, but with a national and international profile ridiculously disproportionate to our size. We have created a platform that is real, whatever its limitations, and invaluable for the anti-imperialist left for period we are entering into to. The British left desperately needs a left of Labour electoral alternative and Respect has an important contribution to make in its construction. We are not going away…

  45. Watched the video. NO2EU should be properly re-named the hokey cokey party. Are they in or out? Bob Crow wants to regain “British sovereignty” (which is unattainable without withdrawal) on the one hand but Dave Nellist thinks the EU just needs “reconstituted”.

    Which is it?

    And why in hell give the fascists even more publicity than they’re already getting?

  46. Steve R on said:

    10:”Oh, didn’t you know Eddie: the capitalists are allowed to change their rules when it suits them, in order to defend capitalism. And remember, the banks were simply given the billions, they were not taken over under democratic working class control.

    However, when it comes to our NHS, Network Rail, Royal Mail, the welfare state – these services must be given over to the privateers no matter what under these new EU laws.”

    Birmingham City Council is stealthily privatising all of it’s services, the council is now run by Capita (capita.co.uk – look it up!) which i think is like a hedge fund – just a mass of money-capital, pouncing on the day-to-day lives of ordinary workers, to make money
    (i work in social services, caring for disabled people, seemingly bearing the brunt of the private sector’s continual search for greater profit..!)

  47. This election broadcast raises all the issue we want to fight against such as privatisation, the BNP, attacks on jobs and wages etc. but there’s an elephant standing in the room that appears to go unmentioned.
    It appears as if New Labour haven’t been leading attacks against workers over the past 12 years, the EU has. Blair and Brown hasn’t lined the pockets of bankers, the EU has. This will leave workers scratching their heads wondering why they missed the EU privatising their local NHS services and selling off council housing.
    It lets New Labour off the hook which is very convenient because then the issue of whether or not to support NL at the next general election and continuing TU funding of NL is brushed under the carpet. Perhaps that’s why NO2EU was chosen as the name because it won’t get in the way of NL at the general election.
    Claiming that privatisation is caused by the EU rather than the neo-liberal policies of NL is turning anger away from our own ruling class and stoking up left nationalism.

  48. green socialist on said:

    Greens have a serious chance of getting 11% in the South West and Andy calls for a vote for Labour!
    Glynn Ford is a soft-left MEP who is much better than average (so what!), but he is hardly up to the standards of Caroline Lucas or Jean Lambert on supporting workers rights, fighting for the environment etc… I know that Ricky Knight(Lead SW Green Candidate) is a committed Trade Unionist, an Anti War Campaigner and Anti Fascist.

    The struggle within the Green Party for a more socialist approach in an ongoing one, that’s why I’d urge socialists to join the Green Party and Green Left.

  49. Armchair on said:

    Eddie Truman- the Tory government were so hostile to Europe that they signed the Maastricht treaty.

  50. “Eddie Truman- the Tory government were so hostile to Europe that they signed the Maastricht treaty.”

    Did the EU hold a gun to the Thatchers head when she took on the miners, sold off council housing, started a war in the Falklands and introduced the poll tax? Perhaps it was the best kept conspiracy since the moon landings?
    We should oppose the EU but not revise history and let our own ruling class off the hook.

  51. Karl Stewart on said:

    Prinkipo Exile and Andy,
    Of course you two know a great deal more than I do about the differences within the Respect Party.
    But the divergences, which I’m only aware of from outside, appear to me to be more than just minor tactical differences around this election – they certainly appear to be deeper rooted than that.
    And it’s not a “false polarisation” that I’ve created Andy, that’s an odd view.
    The one perspective – the progressive view – is one that you have put forward several times calling for the construction of a broad alliance of the centre left is not something I’ve imagined.
    And neither have I imagined the viewpoint put forward by Nick, which disagrees with the progressive viewpoint and looks to the building of a new working-class political force.
    Real differences expressed openly here several times.

  52. Armchair on said:

    Ray-is anyone in No2eu suggesting the EU are behind every reactionary policy carried out by a British government? Im not a member of no2eu btw. The point is that the idea that the Thatcher/ Major government were anti-eu is a myth.

  53. Armchair on said:

    And its a myth that helps the tories maintain the support of those who would otherwise support ukip or the bnp, and conversley to maintain illusions in the eu amongst many on the left and centre left including many working class voters.

  54. rachel trickett on said:

    #43 Glyn Ford was a stalwart of the Anti-Nazi League for many years and has his heart in the right place on many things. It would be pretty awful to see him replaced by UKIP, which is a real possibility I understand.

  55. its not the case that the government is being forced to do things it doesnt want to do by the EU, rather; neo-liberal EU directives on privatisation given confidence and justification to the likes of mandleson to implement measures they have wanted to do for a long time :eg part privatisation of the royal mail. there is a relationship between the 2. when the governemnt does something it wants to do but is unpopular it can blame the EU. They can use it as a cover for their own actions.

    thats not to say that the EU is irrelevant. I think the Posted Workers Directive goes to show what the EU at heart is all about. but for all the anti-working class directives and policies the EU has adopted the biggest trick its pulled is convincing some on the left it is their friend!

  56. Doug on said:

    Has anyone read Ford’s election leaflet? Some progressive – it’s just full of pandering to shabby right wing prejudices. Get real, Newman.

  57. David Ellis on said:

    The EU is a treaty between the imperialist ruling classes of Europe made against the specter of working class revolution. Smash this masonic union and there is a good chance that these ruling classes will quickly hang separately given that capitalism is now incapable of reproducing itself economically and is increasingly reliant on naked violence to maintain the rule of its shrinking elites. Certainly the question of which class rules each nation and Europe as a whole will be posed quite directly by the collapse of the EU and answered more favorably in the interest of the workers if that collapse is brought about consciously by the left rather than irrationally by the right.

  58. If you need convincing that Glyn Ford deserves the vote of socialists his leaflet is available online:

    http://www.thestraightchoice.org/full.php?q=86#l147

    Full of progressive sentiments such as condemning the Lib Dems for being soft on crime as they don’t want to jail teenagers who breach ASBO’s or lock people up for recreational use of cannabis.

    The same leaflet condemns the Tories for voting against measures to tighten Britain’s borders and highlights Labour plans that will, “reduce the overall number of migrants”.

  59. paulm on said:

    Doug (and Andy at 42 — late reply because I’ve been leafletting for No 2 EU at Patchway Royal Mail) I suspect that like all Labour Election material it is written not by Glyn Ford but by Millbank or wherever the spin doctors now hang out. The issue is not Glyn Ford’s honesty or whether he is a willing apparatchik or not (I suspect not) it is that despite his motives, good or bad he is a prisoner of a neo liberal apparatus which organised workers are TOTALLY UNABLE to control or transform.

    There is a real need to build an alternative to that apparatus, an independent voice for socialist ideas. A case has been made for that to be achieved through the Green Party, which I don’t agree with , but I really can’t see how any kind of case can be made that voting Labour helps to do anything except frustrate the building of an alternative (hence my initially jumping to the conclusion, Andy that you were advocating a Green vote generally, not just in the NW, apologies for this mistake).

    If Glyn Ford loses his seat, it won’t be because No 2 EU have stood, but because large numbers of workers can no longer be persuaded to vote for New Labour because of their record and because even a ‘progressive’ or ‘social democratic’ figure like Glyn is compelled by the apparatus to put out leaflets which Doug correctly says are shabby. No 2 EU, gives those workers something positive to go to, rather than abstain, or vote for UKIP or even the BNP.

    As for your last sentence Andy, it seems to me to be full of the worst kind of ‘personality’ politics, and unworthy of you. When Militant supported Labour it was not because of the personalities (FFS I canvassed for Michael Cocks!) but because Labour remained the political expression of organised workers. In this electiion, Alex is the representative of the leadership of Britain’s most militant TU, a position which he has won on the basis of consistent work over the years. Yet you ‘would rather have’ someone else, so you will call for a vote for the party that openly aims to undermine that union’s strength and the terms and conditions that they have negotiatied.

  60. Paul on said:

    The EU does force us privatise our railways! I’m currently a member of the Keep Metro Public campaign which campaigning against the privatisation of the Metro system in Tyne & Wear. Nexus (the state owned company which runs the Metro) has been given £300 million to upgrade the Metro but have to go through ‘Market Testing’ to do so. So parts of the Metro are up for bidding! The reason why they are going through ‘Market Testing’ is under an EU prerogative.

  61. PaulM

    Some good points there, but I also look at it from the point of view of the most effective avenue for developing independent political action within and from my own trade union, that is a very long way from wanting to disaffiliate or oppose the Labour Party wholesale, and will not abandon the Labour party until it has explored every avenue for pursuing the union’s agenda through the party first.

    What I think is likely to happen after the general election is that there will be a big argument within the affiliated unions about whether to push for rule changes to try to restore influence in the party. That is the context within which you have to judge the strategic importnace of the RMT’s initiative.

    Therefore it is premature to right off as irrelevant the considerable efforts that GMB, UNITE and Unison are making to get out the Labour vote for Glyn Ford; and the relationship between Glyn and the unions is a relatively good one.

    Personality cannot be entirely extracted from politics, becasue politics is also about building constructive coalitions and relationships.

  62. Andy you have spoken a couple of times about moves within the GMB, Unite, Unison to force the LP onto a more union friendly approach. I think it’s telling that the argument will be over WHETHER to push for rule changes, not HOW they are going to do so. I think this points to the fact that the union leaderships in all cases have no strategy for doing so and are merely presenting a façade of being tough on the LP in order to appease members driven to distraction by the constant New Labour attacks on them.

    This is not surprising given the lack of any stable formation to the left of Labour. While this situation continues then of course people like Kenny, Simpson et al will continue to cling to the wreckage of New Labour in the desperate hope that the right wing that now thoroughly controls the apparatus of the party will relinquish their grip and open up the structures of the party again. This is not going to happen as long as the right wing draws breath and thanks to the rule changes that destroyed Labour as a working class party it is extremely unlikely that the unions will be able to force them to do so.

    I don’t think the big unions will jump ship until they see something better on the horizon. So how are we to get to that point? The RMT leadership have drawn the historical conclusion that the unions need their own political party and NO2EU is part of this process of building such a party. I think it would be a better strategy to get involved in building this process rather than the forlorn hope that New Labour can be reclaimed.

    On the question of the EU I think perhaps some comrades are over emphasising the power it wields in real terms. Yes it’s true that EU directives mandate the privatisation of our health system or could make it legally impossible to renationalise the railways.

    These are important tactical questions that cannot be ignored, as some on the left do, simply because the bourgeois in Britain are as bad or worse in terms of privatisation policy and neo-liberal attacks.

    However the key question for Marxists in relation to resisting neo-liberal attacks or pushing forward pro working class policies like renationalising the railways is not laws on the statute book but rather the balance of class forces at a given time.

    There is no doubt in my mind that the undemocratic set up of the EU and it’s nature as an instrument to force through capitalist policies shifts the balance of forces in a given country heavily in favour of the domestic ruling class. Nevertheless that can still be negated by a militant working class opposition. A good analogy is the anti trade union laws here in Britain. They have an enormously negative effect on trade union struggle. Their abolition must be a priority for every single trade unionist but they do not make victories impossible and in the face of determined working class resistance they can be exposed as a paper tiger, like the workers at Lindsey demonstrated.

    The same goes for EU directives. They cannot be ignored because they mean the working class in Britain, say in a battle to stop the privatisation of the NHS, will be opposed not just by the British bourgeois but also the European bourgeois as well. Say the working class does defeat such measures and the British bourgeois is forced to beat a retreat. This will be opposed by the European bourgeois but the question I would ask some of my communist friends is how many divisions does the EU have? How will they enforce their opposition to a necessary tactical retreat by the British bourgeois in the face of an insurgent working class?

    Let me give you a concrete example. In the mid 90’s the Socialist Party in Ireland led a battle that defeated an attempt to bring in water charges in a mass non payment campaign. Part of the reasons for bringing in the charges was EU directives on the environment and liberalising services. During that campaign Joe Higgins, a revolutionary Trotskyist, came within a whisker of being elected to Parliament in a by election on an anti water charges ticket. This signalled the end of water charges for the Irish government. The EU opposed this and demanded full implementation. The Irish governments response was they would do so if asked but there was a general election in 6 months time and if they did there would be 40 Joe Higgins’ in the Parliament not to mention the fact the courts would grind to a halt prosecuting non payers. The EU relented, meaning Ireland is the only country with no water charges but recently there have been rumblings from Brussels that water charges must be imposed, so it seems the battle may have to be fought again although in Ireland it’s almost become a national past-time of fighting the EU over and over again :).

    It is correct that NO2EU opposes undemocratic EU directives as this is a battle that must be fought but we should not overstate their importance either. The key question is organisation of the working class industrially and politically.

  63. #62 David Ellis; “Smash this masonic union”.
    How naive can you get ?
    Everyone knows it’s the Bilderberg group that rules the world.

  64. Dai Bach on said:

    #46 and #48

    The version of the Indian Workers Association headed by Avtar Jouhl is, despite his recent acceptance of the OBE, an ultra-leftist fragment of the one which supports No2EU.
    Another example of how “consistent” and “principled” the SLP is: its lead candidate in Wales is the eccentric millionaire Richard Booth, who lives at Hay Castle and styles himself the “King of Hay”. See his unfunny nonsense at http://www.richardbooth.demon.co.uk/haypeerage/index.htm. He has no record of being an SLP member, a socialist or a campaigner against the EU – although he does call for independence for the town of Hay (from Planet Earth, presumably).
    And a representative from the “consistent” and “principled” SLP has just been on BBC Radio Wales, in a four-way phone-in sitting around a table with the Greens, UKIP and the BNP.
    I understand the No2EU representative had refused to appear alongside the BNP.

  65. Ferrier on said:

    I would have thought that the SWP would be keen, and understandablyso, on Glyn Ford being reelected, given his role in the ANL and UAF.

    No2EU are of course entitled to stand. But they should recognise that they represent only a small slither of the left and that there are genuine differences which shouldn’t be turned into even more rancourous divisions. They will have to work with others after this election (or maybe not). The SWP’s hUbris last year in London was damaging for the left, but disastrous for themselves.

    The partisans of No2EU on here should take note.

    From the outside it is just so unattractive to see a small Bit of the left concentrating fire on others on the left, including a dedicated anti-fascist, when Britain is facing an election where the right in all its forms is going to gain and maybe make a major breakthrough. It’s like Lindsey German making Livingstone not Johnson the main enemy. And look what happened then.

  66. Sean on said:

    should have just had the two young supporters doing the party political

    To many people, I guess tried to please everyone

    should have just gone for the Youth

    both young presenters were excellent

    not sure about using blavk and white either

  67. Simon on said:

    Andy

    Far to many UKIP posters in South West
    having just come back from Cornwall
    only UKIP and Lib Dem

    Tories, labour and Greens nowhere

    needs to be addressed by the left

    and maybe back to debate on building regional left (Cornish etc)

  68. Daisy on said:

    Dai,

    Richard Booth is a member of the SLP and has been for many years. He is not the top candidate for the SLP in Wales. It was the media who called him “King of Hay”. The SLP, Green or UKIP were not in the same studio with the fascists.

  69. Stuart King on said:

    The broadcast is absolutely in line with everything the campaign tries to do – place all the blame for everything bad on the EU and as somebody said thus letting new labour (and the Tories) off the hook. The whole point is to out-nationalist UKIP etc in the elections. Restore “British Sovereignty” – when has parliament ever been sovereign from British capital?

    Reformist, nationalist AND completely out of touch.

    I was at a Goldsmiths Uni meeting last night, 45 trade unionists and students discussing a couple of school occupations/struggles against privatisation and a a speaker from Metropolitan Uni facing hundreds of redundancies. In a 3 hour meeting discussing academies, Visteon/Ford, occupations, privatisation, the banking crisis NOT ONE PERSON blamed or mentioned the EU. Rather the blame was put squarely where it belongs, on neo-Liberal polices of the New Labour government, the TU bureaucracy wedded to it, and the British capitalist class that supports it.

    The activists know who is responsible for the attacks on workers. They also know who has been responsible for the neo-liberal drive in Europe over the last two decades – the British “sovereign state” under Thatcher/major/Blair/Brown.

  70. Stuart King on said:

    By the way, did they cut the bit where Tony Benn calls for a vote for Labour in the Euro elections?

  71. Dai Bach on said:

    Daisy (#73) wrote:

    “Richard Booth is a member of the SLP and has been for many years. He is not the top candidate for the SLP in Wales. It was the media who called him “King of Hay”. The SLP, Green or UKIP were not in the same studio with the fascists.”

    Daisy, I do not want my criticisms of the SLP to be based on inaccuracies, so thanks for the information. But …
    According to the Independent at http://www.independent.co.uk/news/voting-for-a-new-britain-king-of-hay-stands-as-a-scargillite-unlikely-ally-sings-scargills-praises-1091383.html
    Richard Booth voted Labour and in the last general Election, and Tory before that. Are you sure he joined the SLP many years ago? The Independent report indicates that despite not being a socialist he decided to support the SLP after a chat with Scargill a few weeks ago. If Booth was a long-standing SLP member before then, he stayed uncharacteristically silent about it.
    He is number two on the Wales SLP list, which I grant you is not quite as barmy as being number one.
    But here’s a funny thing. The link in my earlier post to Booth’s website is now unobtainable. Instead, a shorter link goes to the site – but it has been completely revamped in just a few hours. The picture of Booth in ermine and with crown has disappeared, along with most of the crackpot aristocratic stuff on other vanished pages. Whose idea was that?
    My apologies about candidates “sharing a studio” with the BNP candidate in the radio phone-in. It seems that the poisonous wretch who represented the BNP was down the line in a different BBC studio.
    But wouldn’t it have been better for all the other candidates to refuse to take part in that “panel” format with the BNP, as No2EU (and probably others) did – leaving the fascist to do a 10 minute slot alone, ostracised by the other parties who debate each other in separate sessions?

  72. paulm on said:

    In a hurry, #70

    ‘From the outside it is just so unattractive to see a small Bit of the left concentrating fire on others on the left, including a dedicated anti-fascist,’

    I couldn’t agree more, that is why the Socialist Party argued strongly for all of the Left to be invited to the table during the formation of No 2 EU. It is unfortunate that the three most important groups, SSP, Respect and SWP sooner or later decided not to accept that invitation.

    That is also why No 2 EU have not ‘concentrated our fire’ on ‘a dedicated anti fascist’, but on the unremitingly Neo-Liberal New Labour and the other capitalist parties, and the British and EU institutions that they uphold. Just look at the broadcast again if yoou doubt that!

  73. #78

    That is a bit disingenuous paulm, as – for example father and son team Doug and Jim, both SP members in the South West – have been unrelentingly scornful and hostile on here to others on the left, who have different tatical and strategic evaluatiosn t them

  74. The remaining No2EU public meetings in the run-up to polling day on June 4 are as follows:

    BRISTOL (Friday, May 29)
    GWR Staff Association Club
    Temple Meads Station Approach (The Incline)
    Time: 18:30 – 21:30

    PRESTON (Saturday, May 30)
    55th Division Club
    Church Street
    Time: 14:00 – 15:30

    HULL (Saturday, May 30)
    Queens Gardens (near fountain)
    City Centre
    Time: 1pm – 2pm

    WHITECHAPEL (Saturday, May 30)
    Jagonari Centre
    183-185 Whitechapel Road E1 1DN
    Time: 15:00 – 17:00

    LEEDS (Monday, June 1)
    Leeds Town Hall (Albert Room)
    Time: 19:00 – 21:00

    LONDON (Monday, June 1)
    Friends Meeting House (Main Hall)
    173 Euston Road NW1 2BJ
    Time: 19:00 – 21:00

    MANCHESTER (Monday, June 1)
    Mechanics Centre
    103 Princess Street
    Time: 19:00 – 21:00

    CRAWLEY (Monday, June 1)
    St Johns Church Hall
    Time: 19:30 – 21:00

    NEWPORT (Monday, June 1)
    Newport Centre
    1 Kingsway NP20 1UH
    Time: 19:30 – 21:30

    GLASGOW (Monday, June 1)
    Glasgow Lourdes Secondary School
    47 Kirriemuir Avenue G52 3DF
    Time: 19:30 – 21:30

    DUNDEE (Tuesday, June 2)
    Queens Hotel
    Nethergate
    Time: 19:30 – 21:30

    CARDIFF (Tuesday, June 2)
    Sandringham Hotel
    St. Mary Street
    Time: 18:30 – 21:00

    ABERDEEN (Tuesday, June 2)
    Aberdeen Trades Council Club
    Adelphi (off Union Street) AB11 5BL
    Time: 19:00 – 21:00

    NORTHAMPTON (Tuesday, June 2)
    University of Northampton (Room MB8)
    St George’s Avenue (Avenue Campus)
    Time: 19:30 – 21:30

  75. Prinkipo Exile on said:

    PaulM “the Socialist Party argued strongly for all of the Left to be invited to the table during the formation of No 2 EU. It is unfortunate that the three most important groups, SSP, Respect and SWP sooner or later decided not to accept that invitation.”

    When were these invitations sent and when were they turned down?

  76. “I couldn’t agree more, that is why the Socialist Party argued strongly for all of the Left to be invited to the table during the formation of No 2 EU.”

    But that didn’t happen did it. Not surprising then that some felt unable to join in at a later stage when policies and positions had already been decided.

  77. Party hack on said:

    #79 Andy, the last time I looked a “father and son team” in the West of England had not been appointed as the special – or even typical – representatives of the No2EU campaign. The original claim was that the campaign as a whole was “concentrating fire on others on the left” (#70). This is not true of the No2EU broadcasts, the No2EU election addresses or any other No2EU materials that I have seen. Nor is it true of the many No2EU public meetings I have attended.
    There has been a vigorous defence of No2EU’s decision to contest every seat and of its platform etc., as part of a debate on this site and elsewhere with others on the left. No doubt, in the course of this some excessive comments have been made. But, then, from the outset quite a few of the attacks on No2EU from others on the left have gone over the top (“British nationalism”, xenophobic and even – on some sites – “no better than the racists and fascists” etc.)

  78. Ger Francis on said:

    Yes, quite a few attacks have gone over the top. The most legitimate criticism for me is that the No2EU brand will be unable to sufficiently distinguish itself from the right standing under the same slogan. While the slogan ‘no to EU’ has wide resonance for all kinds of reasons, usually reactionary, the campaign ‘No2EU’ does not. I believe what vote it picks up will in the main not be a conscious left wing vote but rather a UKIP vote by default. By contrast the Green candidates in the West Midlands and North West are standing under the unambiguous ‘No to racism’ slogan.

  79. Party hack on said:

    #84 Is the slogan “No to racism” actually in the title of the Green Party list in the North West?
    If not, then it is prominent in the Green campaign just as it is in the No2EU one, so any claim to moral or political superiority is misplaced.
    Certainly, opposition to racism, fascism and the BNP has been prominent in the No2EU brodcasts, literature, speeches, stalls etc. but I don’t feel the need to draw favourable comparisons with anyone else. We should all be featuring this issue as prominently as possible.

  80. NO2EU is quite frankly embarassing. It doesn’t mean anything, apart from leave the EU. This is in line with the aspirations of the most reactionary, pro-US sections of the bourgeoisie and attempts to dress it up in revolutionary rhetoric are laughable. It panders to the reactions of a section of the British working class – something that the Militant has a long history of. The EU should be treated as a polity which we want to change. We can list all the failures and problems with the EU, which are many. But we should see the euro elections as an opportunity to put forward a platform of how we want to change it. European unity is a progressive demand. The policies of neo-liberalism, de-regulation, etc are pulling this apart and leading to a rise in nationailsm, xenophobia, etc. The left should have the wits to rise above both.

  81. Aaron on said:

    #86

    Yes it will read on the ballot “Green Party – say no to racism” or something like that. This is for the North-West and the West Midlands.

  82. #83

    “party hack”

    For sure, i certainly accept that the leadership of the organisationss involved in No2EU are not resposnible for sniping and sectarianism from their more over-enthusiastic supporters.

  83. David Ellis on said:

    #77 `But wouldn’t it have been better for all the other candidates to refuse to take part in that “panel” format with the BNP, as No2EU (and probably others) did – leaving the fascist to do a 10 minute slot alone, ostracised by the other parties who debate each other in separate sessions?’

    That is not a good idea as the BNP play on it being them against the establishment and the more they can point to across the board collaboration between the other parties the easier it gets for them. They can say reds, NL bureaucrats, fuckwit tories, they are all the same. Whilst the labour movement should never give the fash a platform we shouldn’t deny ourselves the opportunity to defeat them in debate on platforms that are provided to them and us by others.

  84. When the No2EU broadcast was shown on Channel 5, the announcer gave their subtitle as “Yes to Europe”. Though I think the same broadcaster misspelt the I in UKIP as “Independance”.

    the BNP play on it being them against the establishment and the more they can point to across the board collaboration between the other parties the easier it gets for them.

    I think this is silly. Don’t debate with Nazis on “labour movement” platforms, but do elsewhere? If some parties debate with them they will say that the political spectrum is divided about whether they are acceptable or not.

  85. I find this whole ‘NO2EU is an unconscious vote for UKIP’ extraordinary. (Especially from people who not to long ago were having brickbats thrown at them for supposedly being ‘in the pay of Bengali businessmen’ etc)

    Where is the evidence for this? Have people been talking to punters on the doorsteps who’ve been saying: ‘Well I was going to vote UKIP but that NO2EU looks even more right wing so I think I’ll vote for that’? If those people throwing this accusations around were prosecutors in a T.V. courtroom drama this would be the point where the judge would shout, ‘Hearsay! Over ruled!’

    Now it may well be that NO2EU takes votes off UKIP and the BNP but that will be because we are talking about some of the genuine concerns people have about the EU and the race to the bottom but from a working class perspective. Surely that is a good thing? This idea that NO2EU will simply garner votes because voters are too stupid to tell the difference between parties is highly patronizing and just a little bit silly.

    People who call themselves socialists and believe in the self organization and emancipation of the working class should have a little bit more faith in actual working class people.

  86. “It panders to the reactions of a section of the British working class – something that the Militant has a long history of.”

    Ahh yes that hoary old canard. I’ve been wondering how long it would take someone like RG to drag that one up. Your evidence for this is?… (Nothing credible of course, just like the type of people who make this ridiculous and baseless accusation)

  87. Neil

    It is a real issue, what in Australia Ii believe they call the donkey vote. Recall the big vote in michael Martin’s constitunecy of people mistaking Socialist labour Party for Scotish labour Party

    A 40 watt bulb UKIP voter will find NO2EU higher up the ballot paper and vote for you by mistake.

    Not necessarily a bad thing, and clearly not your conscious strategy, but it will happen.

  88. 95# I salute that blokes ingenuity. Maybe some one should run as the Conservative Labour Democrats!

  89. Andy your talking about names where one or two letters are the difference between the parties.

    In reality what we have with the above argument about NO2EU is that it’s bad because people will THINK it’s right wing because of the way it appears.

    Now where have we heard that argument before? Is it not similar to those who opposed the Lindsey dispute?

  90. RobM on said:

    To really capitalise on the donkey vote, they should be called Aardvark’s Against EU.

    Are UK ballot papers alphabetical though?

    R.

  91. they are normally alphabetical by candidate surname.

    But in the Euro election i believe they are alphabetical by party description.

  92. David Ellis on said:

    #96 Being against the neo-liberal EU is a socialist position. It is UKIP who have capitalised on there being no left option against the EU to vote for in the past. If people vote No2EU because it is anti-EU then it could not have been a mistake that they didn’t vote UKIP. All this seems like preparing sophisticated arguments in advance just in case NO2EU do rather better than some are hoping.

  93. Ok

    I predict No2EU will get between 0.4% and 1.0%

    That is not a judgement on the politics, it is my estimate based upon the fact there are in many constituenies over 15 parties standing, and the profile their cmapaign has reached so far.

  94. 87 RG is compkletely wron! “NO2EU is quite frankly embarassing. It doesn’t mean anything, apart from leave the EU. This is in line with the aspirations of the most reactionary, pro-US sections of the bourgeoisie and attempts to dress it up in revolutionary rhetoric are laughable”

    The most pro-US sections of the British bourgeoisie, the biggest monopolies and finance capital by and large favour Britain’s further integration into Europe. Of course there are contradictions but the way RG posits them is crude and mechanical.

    Different interests are always trying to reshape the priorities of the main global institutions but a rough settlement exists for the moment. ie The IMF and the World bank are divvied up between the US and EU

  95. Indeed #103

    I beleive RG is posting from Poland, where it is certainly true that the most pro-EU section of capitalists are also the most pro-USA.

  96. David Ellis on said:

    #102 Agree but contributors like the SWP’s Skidmarx are clearly preparing the ground with his `literal democrats’ link just in case they do better: `you picked up confused fascists’ etc. which of course implies that everybody in NO2EU is a fascist because they are against the EU.

  97. #96

    Rather arrogant assumption on your part. Wish I knew why people voted in a particular way. Could you maybe pass on the winning lottery numbers for this weekend?

  98. #105 Don’t know what you mean. I hope No2EU do well. I don’t think any of them are fascists.{I was going to say “despite all of them being fascists”, but given your desire to misinterpret better not. I don’t think any of them are fascists). And, as it appears to need saying, I don’t think it’s fascist to be against the EU.

    And your sixth word is non-sense. I see dead wrong people.

  99. #106

    JIm

    We don’t know why individuals vote the way they do, but when millions of people vote there are statistial trends that show candidates nearer the top of the ballot paper do better.

    No2EU is higher up the ballot papoer than UKIP, so I expect you will be the winner not the loser from any confusion.

  100. Nobody seems to have picked up on the fact that Tony Benn is supporting NO2EU beyond snide remarks. Does anyone think this is significant?

    What with Alice Mahon backing the campaign a majority of the Campaign group MP’s from ’92 now back NO2EU against Labour.

  101. #109

    “Nobody seems to have picked up on the fact that Tony Benn is supporting NO2EU”

    I was astounded! I didn’t like to draw attention to it, because he is a meber of the Labour Party, and it is clearly something that is out of rule. But seeing as hundreds of thousands will have watched the broadcast, I suppose the cat is out the bag!

    If the No2EU vote in any constituency is greater than the amount a labour candidate loses by, then it may come back on him.

  102. I think it’s partly the freedom not to endorse Labour candidates now he’s retired,partly his continued drift to the left. Good. I don’t know if he is still a Labour Party member and whether this is grounds for expulsion.[Note to David Ellis, I’m not calling for his expulsion or preparing any ground]

  103. Jim L. on said:

    I didn’t post #106, but I do agree with the thrust of it.

    I have a few points to make myself though:

    1. Thank you Ger Francis for replying to my question. I think its interesting the way that No2EU has exposed some divisions in Respect, though the way Respect has opened up to other organisations and internally since the split has been welcome.

    2. While Ger Francis answered my question, yet again Andy Newman obfuscates, distorts and misrepresents. Rather than answer questions and deal with the arguments, he resorts to labelling me ‘hostile’ and ‘sectarian’. Not guilty on both counts. What Newman brands ‘hostile’ is actually exasperation at his inability to actually take criticism of his position and actually engage in a debate.

    Newman’s method is to make an argument/throw mud at points or positions that have been not stated, and then to move onto more accusations/suppositions when the previous ones have been shot down. The thrust of my criticisms were never against Glyn Ford personally, but at your contention that he was ‘progressive’ and therefore worthy of a lefty vote. The Labour Euro elections leaflet, which his face is plastered on, is anything but progressive.

    In calling Ford a ‘cynical opportunist’ I may have chosen my words carelessly – ‘abject careerist’ would probably be fairer and more accurate. His anti-fascism may be genuine, but I increasingly find it hard to stomach sanctimonious anti-BNP rhetoric from self-interested Labour politicians, who still pledge loyalty to a party whose anti-working class policies have driven the BNPs rise.

    As for the accusation of sectarianism, if criticising an openly capitalist member of an openly capitalist party is now sectarianism, well then so if criticising any Tory or Lib Dem. The term becomes so broad as to become meaningless. I would also take exception to the idea that any kind of frank of frank debate is somehow ‘sectarian’ – are we all supposed to sit around agreeing on what we already agree on? What would be the point?

    I find it amusing that you think there is somehow some ‘father and son’ conspiracy aimed at criticising you and your views. The more mundane truth is that we have broken self-imposed exiles on this site because we felt a need to contradict some of the misleading things you have said. In future I will avoid this site altogether so I am no longer provoked into wasting my time rebutting your points. I’d have more joy debating a creationist.

    In practice, my political practice is deeply non-sectarian. In a local campaign against a waste incinerator I work productively with Greens and Communists, and the local Socialist Party has had a fruitful alliance with the CPB and the RMT in No2EU. No2EU is not perfect, nor is it any sort of finished article. But it is a historic step in that it is organised labour taking a step in opposing New Labour electorally, and involving various left groups such as the SP, the CPB and the AGS. Ideally, we would have welcomed participation from more left groups, and from an earlier stage to thrash out programme, candidates etc. But we have to work within whatever constraints there are.

    I would hope that the better elements of Respect do not go down the road of lesser-evilism with the Greens or New Labour, but join with the SP, the progressive unions, and other parties to get something organised for the general election, learning from, and improving upon No2EU.

    As for June 4th, if you want to build a left workers alternative to the main capitalist parties, as big a vote for No2EU as possible will help towards that. If you don’t believe a left workers alternative is possible, and that influencing parts of the New Labour husk is the way forward, you’re beyond saving, and I’m certainly not going to waste any more time on you.

  104. Can anyone explain to me what is wrong with working closely with Greens on issues where there is agreement and seeking to find an electoral expression to that agreement where it does not contradict greater tactical or strategic objectives?

    If Respect and the Greens find that their local objectives are best served by electoral endorsement that is fine. To disagree with their decision is not sectarianism it is politics.

    This agreement has a contradictory character. For people who have different objectives in this particular election, No2EU for example, it poses a problem but on the other hand it opens the door to such arrangements and goes some way to dissolving the peculiar strain of Green absolutism that some elements in the Green Party mobilise to hamper wider unity.

    Sectarianism lies n poses one’s party or sectional interest above the interests of the working class as a whole not simply trenchant language or sharp criticism panful that as that may be at times.

    It wlll be worth revisiting this theme after the election

  105. #112

    Andy Newman obfuscates, distorts and misrepresents. Rather than answer questions and deal with the arguments, he resorts to labelling me ‘hostile’ and ’sectarian’. Not guilty on both counts. What Newman brands ‘hostile’ is actually exasperation at his inability to actually take criticism of his position and actually engage in a debate.

    Is that the same Andy Newman who opens up this website for other people to put their views forward, with only the very lightest moderation?

    Is that the same Andy newman who, for example, can be relied upon to give publicity to events organised by other left groups that he doesn’t agree with? And who publishes points of view from a wide range of voices across the left?

    I have no trouble in debating. But I do have a trouble with the scornful approach that you and your dad have to views which are entirely mainstream within the labour movement.

    It is an entirely mainstream point of view in the trade unions that it would be better to have a Labour MEP than a Lib Dem or UKIP. And Glyn has been a decent MEP.

    Now you could try to addres that strategic and tactical issue without the baseless claim that it is a very right wing position, or that voting labour means activley supporting New Labour , and you could try to recognise the fact that the labour party is not a homogenous “capitalist party” as you put it.

  106. Chuckles O'Hare on said:

    This is all well and good but why, in the article on MP’s expenses in todays Independent, does it say that Mark France, one of the instigators of the Julie Kirkbride petition, has resigned from Respect?

  107. #115

    I understand that mark Anthony felt this was the best way to protect the campign to unseat Julie Kirkbride from media misrepresentation.

    It was an honoourable, but I think misguided decision. I hope I speak for everyone in respect when i say that we value mark Anthony’s contribution, and hope he reconsiders.

  108. Luke on said:

    Latest Times/ Populus poll for Euro elections:

    CON 30 -4
    UKIP 19 +13
    LAB 16 -9
    LD 12 -8
    GRN 10 +5
    BNP 5 +3

    I know we have to be sceptical, but still, blimey!

  109. Karl Stewart on said:

    Well Andy, at least you’re not advocating unconditional support for new Labour everywhere – so you’re still to the left of Weekly Worker mate!

  110. Post 116 “I understand that mark Anthony felt this was the best way to protect the campign to unseat Julie Kirkbride from media misrepresentation.”

    “It was an honoourable, but I think misguided decision”

    Misguided yes, Honourable never.

  111. Post 117 “Latest Times/ Populus poll for Euro elections:

    CON 30 -4
    UKIP 19 +13”

    Amazing UKIP the worse fiddlers of Euro expenses on +13 (we do need to remember that UKIP have done well as a protest in Euro elections in the past) – their record on expenses (and policy) needs exposing does it not!

  112. These polls in the run up to an election are more about opinion forming than opinion sounding.

  113. Luke on said:

    BBC News at 10 just gave NO2EU about 30 seconds of air time.

    I’m now going to jump to my prediction:

    Con: 32%
    Lab:17%
    UKIP:15%
    Lib Dem:14%
    Greens:12%
    BNP: 5%
    SNP:2%
    Plaid:1%
    Others:2%

    I know you would jump to being optimistic on the Greens, but I seriously reckon we would eat into Lib Dems and Labour. I think the BNP are going to be halted by a strong(ish) Tory party, UKIP bounce, and a brilliant anti-fascist response, I think the 0.5% NO2EU may pick up will also contribute to this.

    However, on a regional scale it’s difficult to predict, but I will take a stab at the South East:

    Con: 34%
    UKIP: 21%
    Green: 15%
    Lib Dem: 13%
    Lab: 12%
    Others:5%
    (The BNP don’t register down here)

    Once again, optimism maybe, but I think the South East is a strong prospect to see Greens return two MEPs.

    But my predictions are just bollocks really because as I keep saying, anything can happen. Predicting is just a good bit of fun.

  114. “I would hope that the better elements of Respect do not go down the road of lesser-evilism with the Greens or New Labour, but join with the SP, the progressive unions, and other parties to get something organised for the general election, learning from, and improving upon No2EU.”

    You make it sound such an attractive route Jim. Perhaps the starting point of a discussion would be to acknowledge that many in Respect see their support for the Green Party as a perfectly principled response to an objective reality in the North West and West Midlands and cannot be dismissed as “the road of lesser-evilism”.

    And it may be better not to define some people as being “better elements” as that automatically puts the rest into a position of being the worse elements. And perhaps that is not the best way to build trust and unity in action in the future – whatever your differences over one election which will be over in less than a week.

    I’m sure we can all learn from the No2EU and the other campaigns. But learning will involve being prepared to admit to mistakes if they are evident (while rightly claiming credit for any success). And here I really do have a difficulty in assessing whatever vote No2EU gets.

    Most people will only hear of No2EU when they enter the ballot booth. They will not have had a leaflet through their door (a freepost leaflet for every household in England, Scotland and Wales will cost around £300,000 – £400,000 in print fees and since No2EU will have spent £50,000 on deposits there’s not much left for leaflets). Most voters will not have seen the PPB either.

    So they can only go on the name on the ballot form and that doesn’t necessarily look left-wing. I wish it did but it doesn’t in and of itself say anything about the politics of the organisation. So if No2EU do well – it could be a reaction to the main parties mess at Westminster, it could be a conscious left vote but it could equally be a conscious right-wing vote. We simply can’t tell in the absence of private polling and research.

    But I suppose we’ll cross that bridge when we get to it. Only have to wait until next Sunday and then we can dispense with predictions and get on with the much more challenging and difficult task of dealing with the reality.

  115. Party hack on said:

    TLC (125) is misinformed about the extent of the No2EU campaign.
    Most if not all homes in the GLA area are having a Royal Mail delivery of the No2EU election address. Then another 6-8 million are being distributed by RM in at least 12 towns and cities across Britain, with a concentration on areas where the BNP have won a substantial vote in the recent past.
    In addition, I understand that the Midlands, Wales and other No2EU steering committees have arranged for Royal Mail deliveries to at least another 6 parliamentary constituencies in their areas. Again, much of this effort has been concentrated on areas of BNP activity.
    This has all been made possible by intensive fund-raising and by a terrific response from many local RMT branches (you remember – the ones we were told had had this initiative forced on them by their remote, bureaucratic, Stalinist-influenced leadership). TLC’s budget figures are way out of date.

  116. Party hack, I’m prepared to stand corrected and so look forward to the publication of the election expenses.

    But please could you do the left a general favour and let us know the name of the printer that No2EU is using. We could all do with saving money and if you’ve found a way to print 14 million leaflets for less than £125,000 then I’m sure we would love to send them some business.

  117. matt willgress on said:

    “Nobody seems to have picked up on the fact that Tony Benn is supporting NO2EU beyond snide remarks. Does anyone think this is significant?

    What with Alice Mahon backing the campaign a majority of the Campaign group MP’s from ‘92 now back NO2EU against Labour.”

    i wasnt around in 92 – was in 97- but is this true?

  118. external bulletin on said:

    “many local RMT branches (you remember – the ones we were told had had this initiative forced on them by their remote, bureaucratic, Stalinist-influenced leadership)”

    Why do you lie like this? Do you think it does you favours to totally misrepresent what your opponents are saying?

    With the statement I quoted above, you’ve lost all credibility. Try arguing with what people actually say in future if you want to be taken seriously.

  119. paulm on said:

    ‘But please could you do the left a general favour and let us know the name of the printer that No2EU is using. We could all do with saving money and if you’ve found a way to print 14 million leaflets for less than £125,000 then I’m sure we would love to send them some business.’

    I think you’ll find that the name of the printer is on the bottom of the leaflets, in compliance with electoral law, and I believe we did get a very good deal deal from the printers which allowed us to print more than had been initially planned.

    What I do KNOW as a fact is that the impact this and the success of fundraising is that in the South West, one of the most rural regions where we entered the campaign only expecting to distribute the leaflet in Bristol, the leaflet is now going to Bristol, Plymouth, Exeter and Gloucester, with a population just shy of milliion. Though I think that in Bristol it is also going to the whole of the urban areas of South Gloucestershire which would probably take it over a milliion. Yes I have factored in the fact that 1 million people does not equate to 1 million houses, but this leads me to believe that 14 million is not that far shy of the total.

    Re 131, 126 does not purport to be a ‘quote’ but a paraphrase, and very similar, and worse, things were said on here and elsewhere, I don’t have time to trawl through the site for quotes now as I have to get out to leaflet for the election. ANyone in Bristol who wants to join us we are meeting outside Wesley’s Chapel in Broadmead at 12.00.

    I can however quote Pam Jennings, the Unite FT officer representing the Bristol bin workers currently taking strike action who described the No 2 EU meetinging Bristol last night as the ‘most inspiring meeting’ she had attended since she first spoke in public, as member of a Women’s Support Group to the Kent Miners Gala alongside Arthur Scargill. That a relatively small meeing (fewer than 60) can evoke that kind of response indicates that this campaign, regardless of the vote achieved, may well mark the small but important start of a decisive and significant change in politics.

    That is, I think the real response a point made by Andy at 66, politics is about much, much more than personalities, yes personalities come into it, but as a secondary factor, but the responsibility of Socialists, above all of Marxists, and Revolutionary Socialists (which I think you still count yourself as, Andy) is to concentrate on the primary factors, and not elevate the secodary factors to a primary place. Yes, I think Doug and Jim’s contributions to this discussion have been placed too much emphasis on Glyn’s role as an indivdual, to the extent that they have presented what are essentially political (and entirely correct) criticisms in a way that they can be interpretted as personal ones.

    But your assement Andy appears me to be predicated on two errors, firstly that it almost entirely personal. And secondly that in so far as it is political you perceive political instituations and structures as far more permanent and immutable than they really are. Your view of the political future of oraganised labour overly reflects what you encounter in GMWU committee meetings now, and ignores the major shifts that are possible, and which revolutionary socialists should be encouraging, in the very near future as a result of struggles like Lindsey, Visteon (and on a smaller scale the Bristol Bin Strike). It is for this reason that I feel your support for New Labour in this election is rooted in the past and mine for No 2 EU reflects what can be buit in the future.

  120. paulm on said:

    Re-reading my post above, I feel I need to clarify my statement that Andy’s position is ‘almost entirely personal’

    Firstly it is unnecessary hyperbole. What I mean is that it is ‘overly personal’.

    Secondly I should have made it clearer my main criticism of your approach Andy is that I think that you place too much emphasis on whether or not one individual, Glyn Ford, is or is not a member of totally toothless and irrelevant quasi-legislative body. Your admiration for Glyn has led you to take your eye off the ball.

  121. #103 The US does not want a strong Europe as a competitor. Therefore it has always opposed the creation of a strong united Europe. Paradoxically it means that it has supported EU expansion, in order to create a part of the EU which is pro-US and also to weaken the internal unity of the EU. The US therefore promotes a policy of expansion and neo-liberalism in the EU. The left has to support an enlarged and integrated EU. It needs to understand that the neo-liberal policy of the European Unity, built upon the capitalist law of uneven development, is pulling apart the EU and creating divisions between countries. Not least there is a reaction within the richest European states, such as the UK, against the in-flow of labour from the east and the move of industries eastwards. A socialist position however is not to support the break up of the EU and return to protectionism, but to support European unity based upon a new economic framework. In fact this is the only way that the EU can be held together.

    #94 evidence for Militant’s long history of pandering to the reactions of the British working class??? Howa about: black sections, troops out of Ireland, lesbian and gay rights. The history of reaction and economism is a long one.

  122. Ger Francis on said:

    ‘I find this whole ‘NO2EU is an unconscious vote for UKIP’ extraordinary… Where is the evidence for this?’

    The evidence is obvious. No2EU is a very new initiative, with very limited resources. (I am told 8 people attended its meeting in Maanchester. I will be surprised if the Birmingham meeting hit 20). It simply will not have had the time nor money to impact its specific message on public consciousness in a way that clearly differentiates itself from the other ‘no to EU’ parties. As a result its vote, in the main, will be a confused, right wing vote by default. The conscious left wing component of it will be significantly smaller.

  123. “But please could you do the left a general favour and let us know the name of the printer that No2EU is using. We could all do with saving money and if you’ve found a way to print 14 million leaflets for less than £125,000 then I’m sure we would love to send them some business.’

    “I think you’ll find that the name of the printer is on the bottom of the leaflets,”

    Sorry to be a pain Paulm but I live in Greater Manchester so I’m unlikely to see your leaflet in the SW. I haven’t as yet seen a single No2EU leaflet up here so I’m asking a serious question about the name of the printer which has been such a bargain.

  124. 134 (responding to 103) says the US “has always opposed the creation of a strong united Europe. Paradoxically it means that it has supported EU expansion, in order to create a part of the EU which is pro-US and also to weaken the internal unity of the EU”.

    Such an argument can only be sustained by completely abandoning two concepts – the first, of dialectical contradiction and secondly, that of imperialism.

    Sections of British and US capital, deeply intertwined – of course see a united capitalist Europe as embodying a threat to some of their joint and seperate interests. (Capital formation in the is itself is full of contradictions as the grain farmers of the Midwest who would like to export to Cuba understand.)

    But they also see it as an extension of US influence in the region. That is why the US is so keen on beefing up European participation in its wars. And as Britain partly acts as a surrogate for US interests removing Britain from the EU would be an enormous strategic blow to US imperialism as well as reducing the tactical and strategic options of British capital, undermining the project of a EU military intervention force and giving enormous encouragement to the millions of Europeans whose opposition to the neo-liberal agenda is so feared that whenever they vote it down they are forced to vote again.

    It is not possible to justify a reformist (and in Marxist terms eurocommunist or revisionist) defence of European capitalist integration by bigging up the level of contradiction between US capital and more or less integrated European capital. Of course these contradictions exist and sections of capital will take their opportunities to make profits where they can but imperialism is quite used to dividing up the globe in their collective interests. We can take advantage of these contradictions by finding temporary allies for this or that objective (as the Cubans do with consummate political skill). The French, Dutch and Irish referendum campaigns being classic examples.

    This mechanical counterposing of the EU to protectionism betrays a failure to understand that the EU is the instrument of imperialist protection against the developing world. That is why imperialism has divvied up the instrument s of its global domination between US and European capital with the IMF and the World Bank as respective spheres of power.

  125. Armchair on said:

    I am very interested to see what the various individuals and groups involved in no2eu will do when this election campaign is over, as it is clear to me that some if not most have a much more nuanced view than mere left hostility to the eu.

  126. Armchair on said:

    It will have been a complete waste of effort if the whole thing breaks down into its costituent parts when the issue of the eu recedes, as it will until/unless a referendum is held.

  127. Fleabite on said:

    “I will be voting Labour on 4th June, which is the most effective progressive vote in the South West constituency” quote Andy………………..get a life Andy!

    This is the most pathetic sounding comment that you have ever on this, your , blog that I have ever read. You are either seroiously seriously depressed or seriously seriously deluded or possibly both.

    New Labour are going to get slaughtered and quite rightly so.As for “effective” and “progressive”, well, dont make me laugh.Simply trying to call New

    New Labour : Effectively corrupt like all the other greedy self seeking mainstream neo-liberal capitalist political parties.

    New Labour : Progressively the Tory “b” team,fact, and simply sinking fast like dead lead in the water.

    Your blog is called “Socialist unity”

  128. Fleabite on said:

    Dear Andy,

    To continue, before technology went weird on me..simply trying to disguise New Labour by caling it “Labour” simply doesnt wash aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaanymore……………talk about straws.What are you trying to resuscitate and hold onto? I thought you were a member of Respect.

    The body politic is dead, had it , gone, rotten, stinking and stenching.

    Now is the time for Socialist Unity, break totally with New dead Labour and unite the Left.

  129. Caxton on said:

    I have followed this blog with interest and am happy to put a few minds at rest.

    First things first. The question of who printed what in relation to the No2EU campaign came about because certain contributors – I thought rather imperiously -doubted the capacity of No2EU to deliver. When someone tells them the campaign has delivered they then say it could not possibly have been done that on the budget. They get a bit worried.

    So let me put you out of your misery.

    The printer is Leycol, in Bow, east London, a fully GPM sector of UNITE print workforce who are fantastically skilled and dedicated. I have worked with them for 25 years. They work for many unions if not most. They are also one of the largest and most accomplished sheet fed printers in Britain. The two campaign members who ‘pressed the button’ on the printing are also well known GPM UNITE members. Leycol printed 10.5 millions leaflets customised to each region and an all- Britain leaflet. Substantial further print runs were commissioned from local printers by regional campaigns. The 16 largest cities in Britain were selected to which we added substantial deliveries in areas where the fascists had been especially active.

    Can I finish with a word to the doubters. If you want to get the economies of scale that result from a 10.5 million + print run, the first thing you have to do is get off your arrogant pedestal and stop your bystander speculation of which votes will go where and why, build an all Britain campaign that has a combative and clear platform, goes after the parties of capital tied to the EU, take on the fascists wherever they raise their heads in working class communities, find 70 exclusively working class active trades unionist candidates prepared to put their heads above the parapet, film an all Britain and bilingual Welsh election broadcast which goes out on 8 channels and then fight lawyers to get those broadcasts onto TV uncut, run a website now with 10k visitors a day, establish and defend a youtube Channel [check out the battle with the fascists on the NO2EU Youtube Channel] , hold 200 meetings and leafletting sessions.

    You would be amazed that the price of printing comes down, but the enthusiasm, involvement and financial contributions of new and old and revived activists to the Campaign, go up.

    On 4 June for the first time I will be able to vote in a Euro election. No2EU is the voice of those who in Britain want to oppose the EU by bringing Britain’s communities together rather than splitting them apart. Defend public services and workers’ rights. Vote No2EU

  130. Well Caxton, the Socialist Labour Party are not johnny come lately’s to that point of view. Ask big Bob.

  131. Karl Stewart on said:

    Good question Armchair (138) and (139),
    I certainly hope the No2EU people will meet up as soon as possible after Thursday to discuss where to go from here.
    My view is that I’d like to see the SWP involved in that process too and that then agreement can be reached on jointly fielding “workers party” candidates in constituencies across the country at the next election.- although hopefully under a working-class electoral name, let’s not continue with “No2EU” please?

  132. David Ellis on said:

    Karl: clearly you wish to juxtapose whatever results from the NO2EU campaign to what already exists in Respect when what is needed is a principled unity of these two class struggle electoral umbrellas and a joint and serious discussion on how to approach the next general election, what is necessary and what is possible. Unfortunately your idea of a workers party seems to be little more than an alliance of hopeless sects and sectarians with the sole and only purpose of `getting’ Respect.

    #135 `As a result its vote, in the main, will be a confused, right wing vote by default. The conscious left wing component of it will be significantly smaller.’

    I don’t think this is true Ger. The right have benefited from a confused left-wing vote in the absence of the possibility of voting anti-EU in the past. Opposing this imperialist alliance is objectively progressive if we put forward a socialist programme for the individual nations and Europe as a whole in its place.

  133. Beyond the EU lies a future of socialist nations living in harmony. All that stands in our way comrades is Brussels. For once we get back our soverignty back the working class will surely want socialism! Yeah right.

  134. David Ellis on said:

    RG: It is not a question of the working class surely wanting socialism but with the alliance of European imperialists broken the question of who rules in each individual state will be posed most sharply. Even if that results in a defeat for some of the working classes of Europe due to crappy leadership at least the oppressed nations of the South and East will face a weakened enemy.

    That said, I must, as i’m sure thousands of others will, urge the movers and shakers of No2EU and Respect not to allow temporary tactical differences lead to an irreconcilable split in the left vanguard for egotistical or self-serving reasons as this could seriously damage the ability of the working class to fight back in this increasingly disturbing recession. These two groupings need to get together after the Euros and discuss the way forward and how they are going to relate to the Labour left.

  135. Party hack on said:

    David, don’t waste time responding to the self-important, supercilious provocations of sectarians like RG. He is, you may recall, ‘frankly embarrassed’ by the No2EU initiative.
    Embarrassed, that is, by the scores of public meetings (80 people in Bristol last Friday), millions of leaflets, election broadcasts etc. opposing a big business, militarist EU, opposing neo-liberal policies, attacking the racists and fascists, defending trade union rights and industrial action, defending jobs and public services and urging working class unity in Britain and internationally.
    Its such an embarassing alternative to attacking everyone else on the left and disappearing up your own backside.

  136. Opposing the neo-liberalism of the EU is one thing. Opposing the EU full-stop is another. The idea that countries in the east will face a weakened enemy if the EU is smashed is not true. These countries will be left facing a global free-market economy without any of the subsidies, right work in the West, etc. It will strengthen the most reactionary sections of the bourgeoisie in these countries and create huge conflicts. The EU is a contradictory body. Some of it is progressive and a lot of it is not. The NO2EU campaign may have the rhetoric of socialist internationalism but it builds upon the reactions of the working class from an imperialist country. Such a campaign would never exist in a poorer country from the East because there would be no social base for it. How do you propose building an alliance with workers from Poland when you want to smash the very institution that allows them to find work? How many Poles have you got voting for you on Thursday do you think?

    Oh and #149 why the personal attacks?

  137. Party hack on said:

    Sorry if you thought nmy responses too personal – but your previously haughty and dismissive remarks are symptomatic of an arrogance on the far left which appears to be especially pronounced in imperialist Britain.
    You seem to pretty sure what workers think in eastern Europe, and what could and could not exist there eg. ‘Such a campaign [hostile to the EU] would never exist in a poorer country from the East because there would be no social base for it’.
    Really? I can’t speak for the RMT or the Socialist Party, but the CPB has extensive links with Communists, socialists and militant trade unionists in the Czech Republic and Hungary, for instance. There has been extensive campaigning there against different EU initiatives, although much of it is kept out of their and our media.
    But you obviously have much better links and sources of information than me or the CPB.
    By the way, sorry to have caused you so much embarrassment with our mass campaigning – although I have met mostly positive responses from people on city and town centre stalls, pleased as they are that there is a left of centre, anti-EU campaign in this election.

  138. Karl Stewart on said:

    Hi David,
    At (146), you say:
    “Karl: clearly you wish to juxtapose whatever results from the NO2EU campaign to what already exists in Respect when what is needed is a principled unity of these two class struggle electoral umbrellas and a joint and serious discussion on how to approach the next general election, what is necessary and what is possible.”

    I don’t think I want to “juxtapose” the two as you say Dave, it’s really n ot as simple as that.
    No2EU and Respect are not two wholly monolithic organisations for a start – within Respect, as you should well know given that you have said that it is your party, there are different perspectives, some members have said that they agree with a “workers party” viewpoint and others have argued for a broad progressive centre-left alliance.
    And among No2EU supporters, there are similar differences – some agree that a “workers party” is needed, while others still feel that the Labour Party can be won as a force for socialism and others broadly agree with the progressive wing of Respect.
    It’s a lot more complex than the crude “No2EU v Respect” way in which you present it.
    As for a “joint and serious discussion on how to approach the next election,” yes of course this would be a good idea.

    As for your closing point here:
    “Unfortunately your idea of a workers party seems to be little more than an alliance of hopeless sects and sectarians with the sole and only purpose of `getting’ Respect.

    I’m not motivated by a desire to “get” Respect, whatever that means, and my own opinion as to the type of party that I think our class needs is for a party of socialists and communists whose aim is to replace the rule of the capitalist class with the rule of the working class.

    Like it or hate it, it’s a fairly straightforward idea – it ‘aint rocket science – and, given that there are tens of millions of working-class people in the UK alone, it’s an idea that has the potential of appealing to the vast majority of people.

  139. #151 The way the EU has impacted on the workers in Eastern Europe is highly contradictory. On the one hand it has helped push through the course of neo-liberal reform. This means that although the shock-therapy reforms, connnected to the reintroduction to capitalism, occurred outside of the EEC/EU the prospect of joining the EU helped to keep them on course. Once inside the EU then a new situation has arisen. 1. The direct subsidies and funds from the EU has given some bulwark to neo-liberal capitalism. This has come in the form of funds for infrastructure development, subsidies for farmers, etc. This is a type of Euro-Keynesianism and involves some redistribution of wealth from the richer countries to the poorer ones. As socialists we should support such actions. 2. It has allowed workers from the East to move and work in the West. The right of workers to work in other countries is also a demand we should suppport. 3. It puts pressure on the governments to stop subsidising ‘unprofitable’ industries. For example, in Poland at the moment the European Commission is demanding that the shipyards return the funds they received from the government, which would mean that they close down (including the Gdańsk shipyards where the Solidarity strikes began in the 1980s.)Socialists should obviously oppose this.

    This is what I mean by a contradictory situation, and the slogan NO2EU does not address it. The EU plays upon the uneven development of Europe in order to extract more surplus value from the working class. However, by campaigning to smash the EU means entering a new period of protectionism, whatever the actual (sometimes progressive) intentions of that campaign may be. Protectionism will hurt the workers from the poorer countries more than the richer states. The way in which the 1930s depression dispoportionately impacted upon the East European states is a good example of this.

  140. David Ellis on said:

    #152 `It’s a lot more complex than the crude “No2EU v Respect” way in which you present it.’

    Which of course Karl is not the way I presented it. In fact, if you look you will see that I specifically urged that it not be so presented.

    `Like it or hate it, it’s a fairly straightforward idea – it ‘aint rocket science – and, given that there are tens of millions of working-class people in the UK alone, it’s an idea that has the potential of appealing to the vast majority of people.’

    The question is how to get from A to B. Propaganda can help to a certain extent but not as much as political nous and political intervention. The trouble with the self-serving progaganda sects is that they drop their programme in order to make deals when they should be making deals in order to realise their programme.

  141. RG (147) doesn’t get it. The enemy is not in Brussells it is the British ruling class, deeply integrated with US and European capital, that buttresses its hegemony with economic, political and military institutions and alliances that render power and decision making ever more opaque.

    Ask yourself this question. Would it be easier to achieve working class state power if Britain was free of NATO? Then ask yourself the next logical question. Is capitalist power in Britain defended solely by military means?

    Of course not, power is political, economic, ideological etc etc.

    If Britain’s membership of the EU was a useful stepping stone to working class political power or if it presented better opportunities for the British working class to confront ‘actually existing capitalism’ would the most reactionary sections of big capital, the banks, big monopolies etc be in favour of membership?

    The point about defending elements of British sovereignty is that it presents better conditions for winning popular sovereignty