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Democrat Editorial - May-June 2008 (Number 108)

Just Get Britain out of the EU

Even before the referendum in Ireland has taken place, EU circles and Irish Government Ministers have said they will ignore a majority No! vote. Irish Government figures have also said it will make no difference even if the electorate reject ratification of the Lisbon Treaty. This is weeks before the Referendum setting up a double 'heads we win, tails you lose' state of affairs to dampen the growing No! vote in Ireland. Even an Irish MEP proposed in the so-called European Parliament that a No! vote should be ignored.

The Lisbon Treaty, or more correctly the EU Constitution, is the last Treaty. There will be no more. If put in place the Constitution gives a blank cheque to the Federalists and their HQ in Brussels to do virtually anything they like. Witness the talk about what powers a President of the EU would have which are not spelled out in the Constitution. The same goes for the de facto EU Foreign Secretary. Neither the EU President nor EU Foreign Minister would be answerable to an electorate.

At the same time the EU's Court of Justice has taken another decision to remove the right to collective bargaining which goes straight to the jugular of trade unions and all the people they represent. There have been two judgments given against the right to collective bargaining (Viking and Vaxholm). Added to these is the Ruffert case which bans a minimum wage under the Posted Workers Directive. And, that is before the extra powers this Court would be given by an EU Constitution. They are tasters of what is to come.

These are just two aspects of the direct attack on and removal of all forms of democracy. It has been the labour and trade union movement in Britain that has won many aspects of democracy including: the right to vote; elect and remove those who govern us; the welfare state; state education; the NHS; trial by jury; and many more aspects of national life.

Setting capitalism as the only system allowed is part of the EU Constitution. Already in place are Directives for privatisation of whole industries including railways and postal services. EU legislation is specifically designed to hand everything to big capital. In the pipeline is a Healthcare Directive to 'open the market' and would be the end of the NHS as a free service. The Commission is deliberately sitting on this Directive until after the Irish Referendum.

Britain is in the penultimate stage to join the euro single currency. This entails the government carrying out the strict criteria and draconian restrictions on public sector spending. This was a factor in the debacle over the 10p tax imposed on the lowest pay packets.

The alternative to all the above - Euro-federalism, the EU Constitution, EU dictaks, demise of democracy and attacks on the labour and trade union movement - is simple. Withdraw Britain from the EU. Then, Britain would not be subject to EU legislation or policies. This would enable international co-operation and trade with any country across the world rather than being restricted to the single or common market.

Instead of paying £6,000 million each year, equivalent to £115 million each week, into the EU Budget the money could be used to: improve the NHS; increase state pensions; sponsor apprenticeship schemes; provide smaller classes in schools; and fund wider support for technical and arts classes in schools. Taxes could be used to encourage manufacturing to provide jobs. Before Britain joined the Common market manufacturing, shipbuilding and mining were the backbone of the economy and millions were employed in these industries. Now manufactures and energy are imported.

Formal democracy, which entails electing MPs to parliament, should be returned to the position of the institution which governs Britain rather than an unaccountable Commission in Brussels.

Getting Britain out of the EU would return the right to self-determination, national independence and democracy. This would be in the best interests of the vast majority of people in Britain.