Fighting political battles

A representative of ‘Trade Unionists Against the EU’ has been a regular correspondent in the Guardian letters column recently. I responded to his most recent assertions with a letter of my own, published today:

Fawzi Ibrahim (letters, 30 March) wants to use the EU referendum to inflict maximum embarrassment on the government. He need not worry: the Conservative party’s civil war on the subject means that, whatever the result, damage to its credibility is assured.

Far better, then, that he ponder a little deeper on which way to vote. As a trade unionist, Mr Ibrahim might consider that it is no coincidence that the most vehement opponents of our EU membership are to be found on the neo-liberal right wing of the Conservatives and in UKIP. They hate the EU because its common market comes with common rules to protect consumers, workers and the environment. Those rules can certainly be improved, but their very existence is enough to make neo-liberal ideologues apoplectic.

The Labour Party (from leader to grass roots) and most trade unions stand united in campaigning to remain in the EU — not because it is perfect (what is?), but because we recognise that political battles must be fought at the appropriate level, and this includes the European level. Battles are not won by walking off the battlefield.

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