Socialist Worker

LETTERS: Would leaving the EU boost the right or damage the Tories?

Issue No. 2501

London mayor Boris Johnson

London mayor Boris Johnson (Pic: UCL Institute of Education)

Jeremy Corbyn’s speech in favour of staying in the European Union (EU) gave the Remain campaign badly needed credibility.

Corbyn said that any new Tory government, emboldened by a vote to leave the EU, would go on the rampage against workers.

However, a Leave vote would not only mean the end of David Cameron. It would make any new Tory government weaker and more divided than its predecessor.

Neither does the evidence so far back up the claim that a Leave vote could only benefit the right.

Ukip, with a worse than expected result in last year’s general election, has been sidelined. Tories in the Vote Leave campaign, meanwhile, have been busy changing their clothes.

Iain Duncan Smith claims that he left the cabinet because he opposed disability benefit cuts. Notorious right winger John Redwood said leaving the EU would save the NHS.

Both claims have rightly been treated with contempt. But they show what arguments Redwood and IDS believe will win votes.

None of this has stopped London mayor Boris Johnson playing the racism card.

But it does mean that there’s plenty of space for the Lexit campaign to make the internationalist case for an EU exit.

Roddy Slorach, East London

I am voting to Remain in the European Union (EU) referendum.

If the Leave campaign wins the right will be more confident and the broader left movement demoralised.

But I am disappointed with the Lexit campaign’s leaflet.

The leaflet says, “We defend the rights of refugees”. But it does not mention that Socialist Worker, and we who support it, is for open borders and against all immigration controls. Ukip is ignored. The words Islamophobia and migrant do not appear.

The Left Leave campaign should confront these issues head on. 

Jim Nichol, East London

Problems aren’t over in Iceland

Three weeks ago huge protests in Iceland toppled prime minister Sigmundur Gunnlaugsson. The Panama Papers showed that his family had millions of dollars held in a tax haven.

Getting rid of him was a victory for ordinary people.

But it quickly became clear that there would not be any real change in the government.

New prime minister Sigurdur Ingi Johannsson tried to defend his colleague saying, “It is complicated to have money in Iceland.” He meant it’s easier to avoid tax abroad.

And MPs closed ranks to avoid the early election that demonstrators demanded.

Now the demonstrations have quietened down and it shows the real problem in Iceland beyond the corrupt rich—there’s no serious political opposition.

The Left-Green Movement was elected in 2009 when the Tories were driven out due to the financial crash.

But it destroyed itself by imposing austerity.

The Pirate Party now leads in the polls with 43 percent. But its programme is mostly about the rights of the individual.

It has no strategy for social justice at a time when people are desperate for an alternative.

Tens of thousands have demonstrated. Last year mass strikes won real gains in wages and conditions.

But lack of leadership is making the struggle for real change harder.

Sarah Ensor, Manchester

After check off gain, keep fighting union bill

The government suffered another setback in its attack on union rights last week.

The Lords rejected attempts to force the end of check off, where union subs are deducted from pay. This is an important gain for the trade union movement. The government cancelled check off in civil service departments in an attempt to destroy the PCS union. It forced us to run a campaign to switch every member over to Direct Debit.

We were more successful than some had predicted. But the union still saw a significant cut in its budget and it took up considerable time and resources.

We must still oppose the Trade Union Bill, crucially the plan to set a 50 percent minimum participation in strike ballots.

But we can’t rely on the goodwill of the Lords. We need to politically prepare to take action if the law is used to prevent any group of workers taking action.

Pete Jackson, Birmingham

Join our tax rebellion against the system

A new people’s tax rebellion, led by the organiser of Compassionate Revolution Dr Gail Bradbrook, was recently launched with a national press open letter.

Predictably it received virtually zero coverage in the mainstream media.

This rebellion is an example of ordinary people taking principled direct action.

We are offering a conduit for the outrage people feel at the recent Panama revelations.

We are not powerless in the face of these abominations of unprincipled capitalism.

We are initially inviting 5,000 citizens to join us in withholding a small amount of VAT (or £50 of income tax). They can then voluntarily donate it to an appropriate organisation, such as Disabled People Against Cuts or the NHS.

We aim to shame our politicians into meaningful action.

The press letter can be viewed at and you can pledge to join the campaign at

We urge Socialist Worker readers to join with us in taking back power to create a fairer, more sustainable society. 

Dr Gail Bradbrook and Dr Richard House, Stroud, Kent

Boat dwellers fight attacks

Boat dwellers on the Canal and River Trust (CRT) waters have been forced to leave the water in their hundreds.

Over 200 boat dwellers handed in a 29,000-strong petition to Downing Street against this. It was the first national protest, but won’t be the last.

Marcus Trower, National Bargee Travellers Association

Housing sales are ideological

Tory plans to sell off affordable homes could push up the housing benefit bill by £4 billion.

Poor people will have to claim benefits to afford steeper rents.

This shows the selloffs are ideological—about freeing up the market in housing.

Anna Stevens, Oxford

Racist policy caused deaths

The deaths of around 400 people trying to cross the Mediterranean last week (Socialist Worker, 20 April) are not accidents.

They are the deliberate result of the European Union’s racist Fortress Europe policy.

It’s time to open the borders.

Sasha Simic, East London

Knowsley and academy risk

Halewood Academy in Knowsley plans to close its sixth form.

It would mean no school in the borough would offer A-Levels.

Academies are bad for education.

Denise McLoughlin, Merseyside

Stop fawning over parasite

You could not escape the media bombardment of reporting the queen’s 90th birthday last week.

She has two a year and should be 180 years old—which would be worthy of the coverage.

The media said it was fantastic that she had lived to 90. It is not.

She is a very wealthy woman who has only known a life of luxury.

Neil Terry, Bradford

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