The Blog

Why 'Lexit' Is the Best Option for Labour Voters

23rd June represents a rare chance for the British people to exercise actual democracy with regards to the EU. While the 'official' Leave campaign has been one filled with xenophobia and divisiveness, but both sides have also spread exaggerations and falsities throughout. There is one side that has received little media coverage but is one that Labour supporters must consider; Lexit.

Led by Dave Nellist of TUSC (Trade Union and Socialist Coalition), 'Lexit' provides an alternative to the right wing Leave campaign and instead prides itself of removing Britain from a neoliberal bureaucracy. LabourLeave, meanwhile, are capitalising on the 44% of Labour voters who would back a Brexit.

I think exposing the EU for what it is - that is, a capitalist sea of privatisation and appeasement of big businesses - is best done through analysing the Remain myths.

'The EU champions workers rights'

The Posted Workers Directive, which allows domestic companies to hire EU migrants at a lower wage than what is offered to domestic workers does little but increase domestic unemployment and create a race to the bottom, increasing economic disparity.

If we look at the rulings of the ECJ (European Court of Justice) in many instances, such as the Viking and Laval cases, we can see that the EU allowed companies to relocate to take advantage of lower wage rates in different countries.

There is a reason many trade unions have come out against the EU - an organisation which prides itself on being 'a friend of the workers', but in reality, limits them. The majority, if not all, of positive workers' reforms, have come from the bottom up, from trade unions lobbying the British government - and not from the EU - for example, the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 stemmed from unions pressuring the British government, and if we look at EU employment laws, they are often weaker imitations of British legislation; such as the Equal Pay Act and the minimum annual holiday period, laws that will remain following a Brexit.

'Our economy would collapse without the EU'

The only certain thing is that the economy will be uncertain in the coming years following a Brexit. However, as market forces act, Britain's economy will stabilise after a while. OpenEurope's study showed that worst case scenario, Britain's GDP will shrink 2.2% (for context, it shrunk 6% after the 2008 financial crash), but our economy could also grow by 1.6%.

However, if we look at current times instead of speculating, as Cameron admitted on Question Time, we do 'put more in than we get back'. The HM Treasury figures show that while we put in £18 billion a year into the EU, we only get a £5 billion rebate and a £4.5 billion investment back into the UK, meaning Britain net invests £8.5 billion a year into the EU. That's a good price to pay for access to the single market? Switzerland have unfettered access to the EU market for £600 million, a fraction of what they would net invest in the EU had they been a member (£3.4 billion).

Britain will not stop all trading with EU nations should we leave - apart from being economically idiotic for countries such as France and Germany, the Lisbon Treaty also states that the EU must form a trade deal with any nation leaving the EU.

The Common Fisheries Policy is estimated to have cost Britain 115,000 jobs, while the Common Agricultural Policy, while producing just 1.6% of the EU's GDP, receives 40% of the EU budget. This is in addition to unncessary regulation, while overall, has cost Britain £124 billion since 1998.

'The EU is the only thing stopping the TTIP'

Any country is unlikely to veto the corporatist trade agreement in the European Pariliament - however, outside of the EU, as a supposed democracy, we should be able to protest, lobby and hold the Tories to account - and if the people are unable to, maybe left-wing Remain voters should look at changing the whole system rather than relying on the EU to save them.

'Immigration is vital to our country'

Yes. It's extremely important in the day and age of globalisation. However, the EU's migrant policy, as explained before, just enables low wage workers to maximise corporate profits. If we adopt the Swiss model of immigration, where, according to the Swiss Federal Statistical Office, 23.8% of permament residents are immigrants (compared to 11.3% in Britain) - leaving the EU does not mean the UK will cut immigration.

'Our human rights are protected by the EU'

This is false in itself - European legislation on human rights come from the European Court of Human Rights, which is a subsection of the Council of Europe, which has nothing to do with the EU and which contains 47 member states - almost half are non-EU members. Again, leaving the EU does not mean the decisions made from this body are revoked.

We must remember that the EU vote is not a general election - UKIP or the Tory right will not come into power following a Leave vote. Following a Brexit, and the couple of years transition leaving the EU, we will only have two years left with the Tories before electing a new (hopefully Labour) government. Without EU imposition of austerity and neoliberalism, aptly demonstrated by its shameful treatment of Greece, any new elected Labour government will have the necessary powers to, as Corbyn pledges, renationalise formerly public assets (which the EU currently blocks). This creates a more democratic environment as we are no longer dictated economic policy - the British people's mandate will decide Britain's direction. In addition, a Brexit would nullify UKIP's chances in 2020 as they have little else to offer but an anti-EU stance, as well as causing further havoc in the fragile Conservative Party.

Supporters of each side shouldn't sway you either. Yes, Katie Hopkins, Donald Trump and other unsavoury characters back a Leave vote - however, I'd rather us socialists look at Tony Benn, Dennis Skinner and, perhaps, in secret, Jeremy Corbyn, who have all at one time dismissed the EU as neoliberal exploitation. We can also look at leftist writers such as Owen Jones, Paul Mason and Yanis Varoufakis, who have all expressed that they would back a 'Lexit' at another time - however, this is a once in a lifetime referendum and Labour voters, who will decide the referendum, should not waste their chance. I firmly believe it's time to leave an organisation which puts profit over people, privatises public assets and dictates neoliberal ideology to its member states.