Lib Dem MEPs won’t fight for a fairer Europe like Labour will

Even if you're frustrated with Brexit, abandoning Labour won't make the UK or Europe a better place.

Once again, this European election is not being fought on policies or on the impact that parties might have in Europe. It is being fought solely on who likes/dislikes Brexit most.

This framing commits some Remainers to abandoning Labour for the Liberal Democrats or TIGs/Change Now/Remain Alliance/ChUKs.

I understand peoples’ frustration over Brexit but I urge all Remainers to spend a few moments and reflect on what the manifestos offer.

The Liberal Democrats proudly proclaim their intention to fight Brexit. However, their manifesto barely mentions the poverty, inequality, lack of investment and lack of good stable jobs that plague not just the UK but the rest of the EU too.

These conditions were some of the causes of Brexit and we must overcome them to stop it.

However, the solutions to these problems don’t appear in the Lib Dems’ programme.

They praise European Parliament policy achievements: an end to workplace discrimination; the social chapter (working time directive, maternity and paternity leave etc); the ban on roaming charges.

These battles though were not fought and won by the Liberal Democrats’ European group – the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe. They were won by Labour’s group – the Socialists and Democrts.

The core values and policies that give us hope the EU can be a force of social good and which make us so determined to stay have been largely achieved by Labour’s wing of the European Parliament.

It is Labour MEPs who have tried their best to curb the neoliberal trend that the EU has seen over the last few decades under the centre-right European Peoples Party group.

This neoliberal trend led not just to Brexit but political crises all over the continent.

Now, instead of just listing past achievements, we need plans for the future that are bolder and more radical.

Instead of extolling the virtues of individual enterprise like the Lib Dems, we recognise that some of us start off with more advantages than others and some of us live in areas where succeeding is easier than in others.

That is why targeted investment in struggling areas is one of Labour’s pledges – not just for the UK but the whole EU.

As part of the Socialists and Democrats, Labour is committed to tax reforms to clamp down on tax dodging by corporations.

It is committed to democracy and transparency for trade deals and only signing up to trade agreements that enhance human rights and environmental protections.

Instead of tinkering around the edges of a carbon economy, Labour and the Socialists & Democrats group at least recognise the importance of overhauling our industries, our transport and our job markets and have committed to a Just Transition Fund.

A radically new economy is needed – and Labour will push for a green new deal for Europe to deliver a sustainable present and future for all.

On migration, all progressive voices recognise that we need to push for better policies from all major parties.

However, Labour recognises that climate change will throw communities into turmoil and the need for a political culture that values human lives without applying arbitrary labels on their skills and contributions based on how much they earn.

Desert Labour now and you might be letting the Brexit Party in through the back-door, making it even more difficult for those of us on the inside genuinely pushing for a better stance on migration from the Labour party.

The rise of the far right is a shared and pertinent threat across the continent.

It is, however, vital to have the right analysis and politics to tackle it within the communities where it spreads.

This is a challenge that European countries will only solve by working together to enhance conditions of ordinary people across the continent and celebrating migration while making practical commitments to legal and fair resettlement programmes.

As a Labour activist and a European migrant, there is a lot to be frustrated about with the Labour Party when it comes to Brexit.

But it is a grand delusion that withdrawing your vote from them now would deliver the political power make-up to actually solve the issues that drive people’s anger and fuel further division.

If you think Brexit is just a political glitch that can be erased and we go back to ‘normal’, perhaps the lack of political will to transform the world on behalf of some vocally Remain parties is really not a deal breaker for you.

Are you though deeply worried about Brexit’s implications, its impact, about the direction of political processes that led us to Brexit?

So don’t hand Brexit Party leader Nigel Farage a victory by voting for a politically tepid manifesto with a catchy soundbite plastered on it just to give Labour a bloody nose.

Alena Ivanova is a Labour party member and Momentum activist in Tower Hamlets

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4 Responses to “Lib Dem MEPs won’t fight for a fairer Europe like Labour will”

  1. nshgp

    Problem is that working class Labour is going to vote TBP.

    80 bn a year for May’s deal
    80 bn and more a year if we remain.

    1.4 bn is the schools funding short fall to put that in context.

    Your maroon passport is very expensive.

  2. Phil

    They’ll fight to stay in Europe though, like Labour won’t.

  3. John Sanders

    Alena’s article misses the point. The European election will be about Europe. Starkly simple maybe but, until we have a 2nd referendum and/or revoke Article 50, every election will be about Europe. That is because all else flows from that. Remain opens the gate to addressing all the other things we all want to do – poverty, inequality, lack of investment and lack of good stable jobs – and which Labour does not have a monopoly on.
    In the short term, losing to Farage is a problem. However, Brexit would bring us a long term catastrophe which we think is too important to allow Labour even to Lexit.

  4. Rebecca Gethin

    I think we should vote on progressive policies that will shape the kind of Europe we want to remain in. For me, that is strengthening the Labour arm and addressing the causes of the vote for Brexit in 2016. British Labour seems to have lost its way atm admittedly but there is a wider European Labour movement. And whatever the outcome the govt will put their own spin on it and it won’t be acknowledging a lean towards Remain!

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