If we jump off the ledge on Thursday, we will fall hard

by Joe Anderson

In 48 hours’ time we will take the biggest decision about our country’s future since we declared war on Nazi Germany in 1939.

Forget 1975. Back then the choice of staying in the (then) European Economic Community was a no-brainer, given we had barely been a member for three years.

This referendum on whether we stay in the EU or not is much more important and the impacts will be felt much more broadly.

We’re not declaring war on a country, but we are in danger of declaring war on the future.

If we decide to leave the European Union after 41 years as a key member, then we need to be prepared for what comes next.

It’s a grim future of neo-liberal economics, where we are buffeted about by global powers far larger and more powerful than us.

For Labour people, it means something else too. It will mean that the right wing of the Tory party has succeeded at last in its bid to get us out of Europe.

Margaret Thatcher will be jumping for joy from the afterlife at the prospect of Brexit.

Rights that have been hard-won will be easily lost. Social and environmental directives will be repealed, leaving workers, consumers and the environment at the hands of unbridled market forces.

Does anyone really think a Tory government will lift a finger to protect the working time directive when the deadbeat employers who want to sweat their workforces get into Number Ten and lobby Prime Minister Boris?

Of course they won’t.

What they call red tape, we call basic rights.

The danger for Labour voters next week is that we cut our noses off to spite our face.

That concerns about immigration, or just a lack of enthusiasm about the EU will mean we throw away our place in Europe, imperil millions of jobs and tip the economy into recession.

But if you’ve experienced hard times you never want to see them return.

Liverpool benefited from £2 billion of European funding when we were flat on our back in the 1980s. It was a lifeline that kept us going after Thatcher’s government was going to leave us to ‘managed decline’.

I lead a city that simply cannot afford the luxury of being eurosceptic.

People here know what dole queues, derelict factories and rusting cranes look like. We’ve been through it before and I hope to Hell we aren’t ever going back to those times.

But if we jump off the ledge on Thursday and opt to go it alone in the world, we will find that we fall hard.

So we have to convince our people that they will make all the difference in this referendum.

It’s too close to call and Labour voters will now decide whether we stay in Europe or whether we quit.

But if they choose to leave the EU, that’s the only choice they will get to make. Once we’re out the door, the people in charge will be the right-wing of the Tory party, make no mistake about it.

They will be driving the agenda from there and we will be bundled into the car boot.

The Tory shires, places that don’t know real economic hardship, can afford to wallow in their petit-nationalism. Labour areas can’t.

Places like Merseyside, Greater Manchester, South and West Yorkshire, the West Midlands, South Wales and the West of Scotland will be hardest hit by the economic shock of coming out of the EU.

This is where unemployment will bite hardest. This is where public services will be squeezed most. This is where factories will close because we’ve lost access to the single market.

We will pay the price for Boris Johnson’s ambition and the obsessions of the eurosceptics.

Sometimes politics comes down to deciding not just who you stand with but who you stand against.

This Friday, I don’t want to see Nigel Lawson, Norman Tebbit, Iain Duncan-Smith and the other gargoyles of the Tory right wallowing in victory. I want to see them smashed to pieces.

Then we can get on with building a new Europe of social and economic progress.

Joe Anderson is Labour Mayor of Liverpool

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8 Responses to “If we jump off the ledge on Thursday, we will fall hard”

  1. John P Reid says:

    Margret Thatcher may be jumping for joy from the after life at a prospect of Brexit, so labour voters better not vote the same way as the deceased Fatcha, didn’t the Sun run a headline with a seance in 1987 that Hitler was voting labour!

    As for cutting our noses to spite our face, we haven’t been members of the EU for 41(sic it’s 44) years we were members of the EEC a common market, nothing to do with 80% of our laws being made the EcHR deciding to over rule our legislation or open borders
    The cutting our nose to spite our face, is the fact that this referendum has show what the labour Islington establishment think of our working class vote, we’re thick, racist, violent, can’t handle or money, can’t be trusted to make decisions and have the middle class to make it for us, and if we disagree it shows how right they are that we should be held in contempt, for daring to suggest we want soverignity,

    Bacuse the middle class Gaurdian readers are so much better people than us,that they’re right to feel morally justified to lie about us, saying how stupid we are we need to be told how to be better as our dumbness lead tour racism.

    And the Labour Party thinks the working class will vote labour again,

  2. Bob says:

    Anderson would be far better dealing with the City of Liverpool than pontificate like this, I don’t see any other ‘mayor’ or council leader speaking out.

    Whoever wrote this is no historian, as WW2 started on the 1st of September 1939 when the Germans marched into Poland and Great Britain along with France declared war on the 3rd.

    Get history right, Margaret Thatcher did not agree to the concept of managed decline as advocated by Geoffery Howe, but sent Heseltine to Liverpool to start the regeneration of our city. The money came from objective one status but the was UK taxpayers money recycled and toop sliced throught the corrupt edifice that is the noe eu. No more money will be forthcoming unless taxes rises as that money is now being spent in eatern and south eastern Europe.

    Th eu, is slowly breaking apart, the euro is a poor currenct without fiscal union. Look what happened to Greece with the ECB. IMF and the pressure of Germany to submit. The government of Italy was replaced by an eu appratchek.

    Lastly joe, as a union man why did they not support your industrial tribunal claim instead of fthe council tax payers of Liverpool forking out £89k for your lrgal bill.

  3. Frank Sellers says:

    I see you have altered this article without admitting the simple piece of ignorance and laziness/lack of checking in the original. Nor have you had the honesty to print my comment about the original.

  4. Ian says:

    I agree with the line taken in the article, but think it would be foolish to think that the aftermath will only be a challenge for the Tories. This referendum has also shone a light on the difficulties a party founded essentially to fight a class-based struggle of a century gone by is having in facing up to the world of the 21st century.

  5. Mr Akira Origami says:

    Thursday!…..Labour have already jumped off the ledge.

  6. john P reid says:

    akira Origami the opinion polls in swing seats will be intresting after the party confrences

  7. Tafia says:

    41 years as a key member,

    We aren’t a key member. The countries that are in both the eurozone and schengen are the key members, the rest (incuding us) just have cameo roles.

  8. Tafia says:

    John P Reid – Bloody well said sir! I take my hat of to you.

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