The Great Unknown - by David Mathieson
The Great Unknown
David Cameron has staked his political future on the promise of a referendum about Britain’s membership of the EU. There are, however, more questions than answers surrounding the Prime Minister’s pledge. The result, of course, is the most important. Polls suggest that the most likely outcome will be a vote to stay in but it would be naïve to rule out a no vote leading to ‘Brexit’. The timing is still unknown: the referendum must be held before the end of 2017 but could be next year. The terms of the of Britain’s continued membership have yet to be negotiated and it is not even clear what the talks between Cameron and the other head of governments will cover.
Despite the Tory fumbling on Europe Labour is clear. Our party is committed to staying in the EU because that is what is best for British jobs, the British economy and British interests in the world. We are much stronger fighting our corner as members of the EU club than leaving and shouting from the sidelines. Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn is unequivocal about Labour support for Britain in the EU and in a recent article for the FT he spelled out why. Europe is the only forum in which we can address the key challenges for our country such as climate change, international terrorism, tax havens and mass migration.
This is not to say that Labour does not want to see change in the policies and structures of the EU. As Jeremy Corbyn writes ‘Labour wants to see change in Europe that delivers for Europe’s people’. Through our MEPs and inter party relations Labour will raise concerns about a series of proposals. A further damaging free market de-regulation in the EU economy, the TTIP trade deal being negotiated behind closed doors and the treatment of Greece are just some of the areas where our representatives can make a difference.
Jeremy Corbyn and the Labour party are committed to upholding Britain’s interest on all these and a number of other issues. But to do that Labour recognizes that we have to be at the centre of decision making in the EU ‘to win you have to be in’. That is why we will be campaigning for a vote for the EU whenever Cameron calls the referendum. What we will not do is abandon our national interests by walking away from the world’s largest, wealthiest trading block leaving Britain isolated in the great unknown.