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June 26, 2016 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal — In the aftermath of the Brexit referendum which ended with a vote in favor of the UK leaving the European Union, Links has republished a variety of statements reflecting the views of key left forces in England, Scotland and Ireland.
Brexit vote spells political crisis in Scotland and UK
Scottish Socialist Party website — Commenting on the Brexit vote SSP National Spokesperson Colin Fox said:
“This result first and foremost represents an unprecedented rejection of the anti-democratic, neo-liberal EU by one of its most significant and powerful constituent nations.
Regardless of this Brexit vote socialists must work here and across Europe in alliance with other progressives to replace the neo-liberal xenophobic policies which put the needs of working class people way behind the profits of a rich elite.
Described throughout the referendum campaign by both sides as the most important political decision Britain has taken in 40 years the decision to leave the EU has worldwide reverberations economically and politically.
David Cameron’s gamble to keep the Tory party together has failed spectacularly. His ‘Project Fear’ tactics backfired too and the UK electorate has in effect rejected the EU saying ‘better the devil you don’t know’.
The belief in greater prosperity outside the EU has won out, as did the idea the UK would enjoy greater political sovereignty and be able to “take back control” from a faceless, unaccountable, undemocratic institutions in the grip of the 1% rather than the 99% of its citizens.
But the Leave side won on the back of popular worries over immigration and the impact on jobs, wages and public services like health and education.
The consequences of this outcome will be far reaching politically and economically. David Cameron will resign as the result represents a humiliating vote of no confidence in him. His resignation will ignite a bitter leadership battle inside the Tory Party and will likely be followed by a General Election within the next 6 months as the new Tory leader seeks to capitalise on Labour’s disunity and disarray.
Westminster can sidestep the 5 year fixed term rule if the Government loses a vote of confidence or if two thirds of MP’s vote to dissolve and force a new election.
Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership will also be challenged as the Labour right wing blame him for this result and a bitter battle every bit as vicious as the Tory contest can be expected.
For the SNP, it must face the reality that this vote does not ‘automatically’ trigger a 2nd referendum on independence. Not only will Westminster not grant it there is no clear majority for Yes on this basis.
The left must face the new political circumstances and highlight the social and economic problems facing working people of insecure work, falling wages, cuts to public services and austerity which impact on our lives every day.”
Sinn Féin : Brexit from Ireland logical conclusion following EU Brexit
June 24 —Sinn Féin website — Sinn Féin Regional Development, Rural Affairs, Arts and the Gaeltacht spokesperson Peadar Tóibín TD has stated that there is an immediate imperative FG/Independent government to open negotiations with Britain over the constitutional future of the north of Ireland.
The Meath West TD said:
“The Brexit decision will affect the lives of hundreds of thousands of Irish people north and south with regards trade, work, education, shopping, leisure and sport. Brexit will physically reduce the market within which our businesses function and it will reduce opportunity for all the people on the island.
“Before the Brexit referendum, Fine Gael admitted that normal life would not be the same if Britain chose to leave. Will they now passively simply accept this negative change?
“To protect people north and south from this damage, the Government has a moral responsibility to institute the necessary changes to rebuild the all-Ireland economy. Also if it is unacceptable for Scotland to have its democratic will obstructed, the same is true for the north of Ireland.
“This is a once in a century opportunity for us all on these islands to redesign our constitutional future. We should grasp this opportunity with both hands. We need a government that will be ambitious, bold and creative for Ireland at this critical juncture. However, I am concerned that the ‘Little Irelander’ mentality within the regional political parties of Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael will paralyse the southern establishment at this vital time.”
Momentum statement on Britain's vote to leave the EU
June 24, 2016 — Momentum — Yesterday, the British people voted to leave the European Union. Momentum, which campaigned to remain in the EU to transform the EU, respects the decision taken by the electorate.
We recognise that people voted ‘Leave’ for many reasons. Much of this vote reflected anger in communities which have experienced many years of industrial decline with the subsequent loss of secure employment. Many such working class communities have been utterly neglected for years by those in power. Millions appear to have chosen ‘Leave’ to vote against the unfettered globalisation that has seen living standards stagnate or fall, as the cost of living rises. We share this scepticism of big business dominance, austerity and distant elites, be they British, European or Global, and share that demand for a country where working people have control.
Many ‘Leave’ voters usually vote for Labour or are working people Labour should represent. Now the Party and the whole labour movement needs to show the country that it alone can offer working people genuine control over their lives, workplaces and communities.
Labour must clearly demonstrate how it will improve lives through policies that will increase wages, tackle the housing crisis, and give people a greater say at work and in their communities.
If we do not, we will not only be failing to advance the policies that will benefit working people but also could enable the populist right, who blame immigrants, not the powerful for the problems in our country. Part of the Leave campaign empowered these racist, reactionary forces, who peddle hatred and offer false hope. We must redouble our efforts to stop migrant scapegoating, focus our attention on the needs and desires of the overwhelming majority, and offer a real programme of hope for our people.
Although we will leave the EU, our movement remains an internationalist one. We must continue to work with our friends, partners and allies across Europe in the shared struggle against austerity, to tackle climate change and to build a sustainable economy with full employment for all the peoples of Europe.
EU Referendum: a disastrous outcome
June 23, 2016 — Left Unity — Left Unity Executive Committee has issued the following statement on the outcome of the EU Referendum:
Left Unity deplores the Leave outcome of the EU Referendum. This referendum came from pressure from the far right – driven by anti-immigration sentiment, fuelled by racism. This has been the most reactionary national campaign in British political history, resulting in an open emergence of the extreme right.
In Brexit Britain, we still face austerity, poverty and extreme inequality: the rotten policies of our government are still here. Brexit will not be a loosening of the shackles of neo-liberalism as some on the left have argued. It will be an unmitigated compounding of the same policies by the British ruling class. We deeply regret that the working people of Britain have been deceived and manipulated into believing that Brexit will bring about relief from the grinding austerity that is destroying lives and communities. We will now work tirelessly to oppose those who would divide us further. We will fight to defend the rights of working class communities and rebuild support for socialist ideas.
We will step up the fight against neo-liberalism here – opposing all cuts, defending the NHS, fighting for decent housing – and across Europe, because the problems we face cannot be solved on a national basis. These are international problems faced by the working class internationally and this requires solidarity and cooperation across national boundaries. We cannot cut ourselves off from our allies: the peoples of Europe in our shared and common struggles. Unity is strength and that means unity of working people, poor and exploited people, across borders.
We call on all those who reject this disastrous turn in British politics to unite to oppose racism, to defend the rights of migrants and to fight to protect and extend workers’ and other rights that are now under threat. We reject the ‘divide and rule’ methods of our ruling class, setting one worker against another, wherever they come from, and turning one community against another. The problems we face result from the neo-liberal, deregulatory, anti-working class policies imposed by successive British governments, not from immigrants and refugees – our fellow working people. We have been proud to share this position with the Labour leadership, the TUC and the overwhelming majority of trade unions and we will work together to take these principles forward.
We may be heading out of the EU but it is more important than ever to work in solidarity with other workers and communities. Movements and left parties throughout Europe are mounting their own massive political opposition to neo-liberalism, against austerity and poverty. We stand a better chance of defeating our own ruling class by working together with the people of Europe with shared strategies in common campaigns.
We watch the advance of the left in Europe – particularly where there is newfound cooperation and unity in Spain and Portugal – with our hearts filled with hope. We send our solidarity and best wishes to Unidos Podemos in Spain for success in their election this weekend. We see the struggles of the French workers against the imposition of the new labour laws and convey our solidarity to these and other struggles. But we also watch with grave concern the rise of the far right across Europe as well as in Britain. We need urgently to consolidate our forces against this growing tendency.
Left Unity emerged from the struggles of the European working class and is proud to be part of the European Left Party. We must unite the working class across Europe, to defeat neo-liberalism and the far right. We are in a period of profound economic and political crisis – both in Britain and across Europe – with increasing political polarisation and intensifying class struggle. The basis on which that struggle can be fought and won has to be absolutely clear. We will fight to rebuild the British left on uncompromisingly anti-racist, pro-immigration terms, making no concessions to the false narrative that has dominated the referendum debate. We appeal to all those who share this perspective to join us and work with us.