Good to see Labour in for Britain launch today with the campaign headed by the credible and down to earth figure of Alan Johnston. Labour has launched its campaign for the UK to stay in the EU, claiming the country’s security depends on its continued membership. The campaign, led by ex-Home Secretary Alan Johnson, will be run separately to the cross-party, pro-EU campaign.
He said the Paris attacks underlined the need for Britain to “stand shoulder to shoulder with our allies in Europe”. Campaigners for an exit said the EU had not responded quickly enough to terror threats, making the UK less safe. David Cameron is to hold an in/out vote on the EU by the end of 2017, but an exact date has not yet been set. The prime minister has said he will not set the date until he has secured an agreement from the other EU leaders on his renegotiations. Mr Cameron has said he wants the UK to stay in a reformed EU, but has not ruled out recommending leaving if he cannot secure the change he wants.
Speaking at Labour’s campaign launch in Birmingham, Mr Johnson said there was “no progressive case” for Britain to leave the 28-member bloc and suggested that doing so would expose the country to greater risks. “There is nothing patriotic about condemning this country to isolation,” he said. “The first duty of any government is to keep our country safe and I firmly believe that leaving the EU would fail that test. From the European Arrest Warrant to cross-border data sharing on terrorists, the speed of our response is vital.”
Alan Johnson launches Labour In Campaign, "The arguments boil down to simple fact: Britain is better off in Europe." pic.twitter.com/ssfKufzzOj
— Amy Fowler (@AmyAbroad) December 1, 2015
He said ” Britain is better off in Europe. It is clear that being in the European Union brings us jobs, growth and investment. The EU has helped to secure workers’ rights and make consumers better off too. That’s why Labour is in for Britain.”
“The lesson from Paris is clear: to tackle terrorism we must stand shoulder to shoulder with our allies in Europe. The security of Britain is inextricably linked to staying in Europe.” Mr Johnson added: “With challenges like the refugee crisis, terrorism and Russian aggression on the EU’s borders, Britain is stronger when working with our allies, committed to peace, democracy and international law.”
The Campaign points out:
3 million British jobs are linked to trade with Europe.
* Half of British exports go to Europe and these were worth £227 billion last year.
* There is £26.5 billion investment in Britain every year.
* Many British workers’ rights, including the right to holiday pay, come from our EU membership.
Mr Johnson was asked to head Labour’s ‘In’ campaign by acting leader Harriet Harman earlier this year. The former postman and trade union official held a series of Cabinet roles in the last Labour government before leaving frontline politics four years ago. Here is his excellent video setting out his stall.
It may be remembered that despite all the huffing and puffing from the Tory / UKIP Party on Europe Labour is the only party which actually gave the UK Electorate a referendum on EU membership in 1975 when on a high turnout 67% of those voting supported EU membership, almost twice as many as those against.
It was the Conservatives under Edward Heath who brought Britain in and Margaret Thatcher at Maastricht who copper fastened free movement of people within the EU. This latter right enables a British person to move anywhere within the EU even if they have no job, buy or rent property and get the same benefits and healthcare as locals. For an example just look at the West of Ireland where many British people find it better to be on the (higher Irish) dole than in Manchester. Or on the Spanish Costas full of Kippers who left Britain because it is “going to hell with all these foreigners!” and now gently pickle their livers in gin knowing they will receive superior Spanish medical care.
Alan Johnston remembers the debate well, as he says in the excellent campaign video below, he delivered leaflets for both sides as a 25 year old postman with 3 young children. We all know what David Cameron was doing at that time which is why he is trying to sell us a pig in a poke now!
Today, powered by its readers and contributors, from its cyber eyries in Ireland and the centres of the Irish Diaspora The Eagle casts its Cold Eye on Life and Death and much in between.