THE BLOG

The EU Is Highly Corrosive to Labour and Progressive Values

20/01/2016 17:33 GMT | Updated 20/01/2017 10:12 GMT

The launch of Labour Leave is the catalyst for the thousands of Labour supporters across the UK to show that they do not share the Europhile views of the establishment within the Labour Party.

Back in 1975, the British public did not vote for a United States of Europe. Now they have their chance to say what they think. Great socialists such as Tony Benn, Hugh Gaitskell, Peter Shore and Clement Attlee were deeply opposed to a European super state, so I am sure they would have joined the podium and supported Labour Leave, the socialist and progressive campaign to leave the EU.

The EU is the opposite of the progressive organisation it purports to be. It spends 40% of its budget on a broken agricultural scheme that prevents farmers from less developed countries selling their wares in Europe, while dumping excess pesticide-pumped food on African markets, disrupting the livelihood of many poor farmers. Not only that, but the EU has a long history of assisting tax evasion. Juncker, the current president of the European Commission, organised sweetheart deals for big multinationals in his previous job, which was only possible due to EU connivance.

But at its very worst, the EU is highly corrosive to Labour and progressive values.

Some people see the EU as a left-wing voice in a right-wing country. That is simply rubbish.

The European Council is dominated by right wingers, who hold 19 out of the 30 positions. The biggest group in the European Parliament is the Conservative EPP, who also hold the position of Presidents of European Commission and Council. The organisation believes far more fanatically in austerity than Osborne, forcing it on Spain, Portugal, Italy and, most spectacularly and self defeatingly, on Greece. In this, the heart of democracy and civilisation, the EU ordered in riot police, deposed the government of Labour's sister party PASOK, and introduced biting austerity that lead to a 200% increase in HIV cases and the collapse of the public health system, as well as mass unemployment. The great waste of youth across the EU due to mass unemployment means that left-wing parties, from the Catalan CUP to the Greek Communists, are now deeply opposed to the European project.

We need a separate campaign from the Greens, Ukip, Tories and Lib Dems, because while we all have the same aim and will cooperate, our values are progressive and socialist so we have a different vision of the UK from them, one that resonates with millions of people across the country. It Is our job to speak to them, especially as the Leave side has around a 17% lead amongst our core working-class voters. We have great faith that many members of the rapidly expanding Labour family will join us in the campaign, as EU policies such as TTIP and rules against state aid will prevent us re-nationalising the railways and force privatisation on the NHS. Jeremy Corbyn himself saw the conflict between socialism and the EU, voting for Leave in 1975, and he spent 32 years proudly voting against the EU in Parliament, which only stopped on his ascension to leader.

All wings of the party are represented in the Labour Leave campaign, so we can boast of being a broad-based movement looking back at a proud history of Labour Euroscepticism and forward to a more democratic and progressive future outside the EU.

Kate Hoey is the Labour MP for Vauxhall and Co -chair of the Labour Leave campaign