Entry 5

Early signs of left politicians thinking about leaving EU

A new development in the Brexit debate in the UK surfaced in mid-summer: there are signs that a few on the British left are beginning to contemplate a possible departure from the EU.

So surprising is this that British rightwingers, not wanting to be an isolated clique of isolationists, have commented on it somewhat gleefully.

The standard argument for the British left is that EU regulations offer some social protection for working people and these regulations are a block stopping their removal by the Conservative government. The European Working Time Directive is an example.

But the Left Lexits are now beginning to argue: if maximum working hours are something worth fighting for, then the British electorate will vote for them in UK elections; Britons cannot keep on relying on Brussels to provide social protection, it’s a lazy policy, if not a humiliating one!

The Lexit argument rests, we argue, on national sovereignty and recalls that the 1950 leader of the Labour Party, Hugh Gaitskill, said in 1962 that: “European integration would mean the end of a thousand years of [British] history”.

These early signs of a UK left rethink shows how Europe can be relied on to reveal usually hidden, deep-seated political emotions in unsuspecting locations, emotions that override party boundaries, i.e. the British left are patriots too.

But so far, only two Left individuals in the Conservative Home blog above were identified and they were from the usual home of British dissent – Owen Jones of The Guardian newspaper and Jenny Jones of the Green (environmental) Party.

Inside Parliament, only a handful of Labour MPs dare to reveal themselves as EU-refusniks and the most well known of them is Kate Hoey, MP of Vauxhall, London. She speaks here .

Note how she pulls out the patriotic card as her first line of attack about the EU:

“The Vauxhall MP also blasted Labour as “extremely unpatriotic”, and suggests that power needs to be shifted back from the EU to Westminster.”

And again: “Get back to our parliament the right to make its own laws, the right to have complete control of our economy, to decide everything that relates to our own country … and of course that is fundamentally opposed to what the original aims of the Common Market were”.

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