Socialist Worker

The ruling class is terrified of leaving the rotten EU

Issue No. 2509

Top Tories David Cameron and George Osborne

Top Tories David Cameron and George Osborne (Pic: Number 10)


Campaigning in the referendum on Britain’s European Union (EU) membership resumed on Monday after a pause following the murder of Labour MP Jo Cox.

David Cameron didn’t hesitate to hijack revulsion at her death into support for a vote to Remain.

He tweeted, “Jo Cox’s strong voice in the campaign to remain in the EU will be missed”.

Stock markets rallied after polls put Remain back in the lead following Cox’s death. Investors had pulled out £70 billion from FTSE 100 companies in just three days last week fearing a Leave vote.

Bosses held up the stock market turmoil as a reason to vote Remain to safeguard the economy.

But it shows the hollowness of claims from some on the left that leaving the EU would strengthen corporations and the rich.

The ruling class is terrified of losing the EU that helps it rule.

Kathleen Brooks, research director at online trading compmay Gain Capital, said, “The markets have always been more comfortable with the UK remaining in the European Union”.

Car industry bosses were the latest to put out a statement insisting on a Remain vote.

Right wing TV presenter Jeremy Clarkson joined David Cameron to call for a Remain vote. Clarkson released a video on Monday of this week complaining that a Leave vote would make it more expensive to film his TV programme.

The right wing Mail on Sunday newspaper devoted a two page editorial to the case for Remain.

In such company, it was no surprise to see the racism that has characterised much of the campaign continue last week.

On the Leave side, Ukip leader Nigel Farage unveiled a racist poster showing refugees coming into Slovenia with the slogan “breaking point”.

It was widely condemned by Tories on both sides seeking to distance themselves from Farage—including defence secretary Philip Hammond.

But Farage’s foul poster is cut from the same cloth as Hammond’s own remarks about “marauding” Africans and David Cameron’s reference to a “swarm” of migrants.

On the Remain side, leading Labour figures lined up to call for caps on immigration from the EU.

Instead of bending to the racism of the campaigns, socialists should defend freedom of movement—and campaign against all immigration controls.

With immigration put at the centre of the EU debate it will be no surprise if many of those who vote on Thursday are motivated by racism. Yet it’s clear this is not the only factor.

The arrogance of the Remain campaign with its preaching “experts” and economic blackmail strikes a raw nerve.

Millions of working class people are rightly angry and resentful about how they have been made to bear the brunt of the economic crisis and given no say.

They want a chance to hit back. And by lining up to defend the EU, the top Tories, Blairites, bosses and bankers have made clear that this is such a chance.


Osborne takes punishment

Chancellor George Osborne was humiliated last week after his attempt to threaten voters with a “punishment budget” backfired.

He claimed that leaving the European Union would automatically cause economic chaos and a £30 billion “black hole” in the budget.

This would supposedly have left him no choice but to make even more cuts and raise taxes.

But 65 Eurosceptic Tory MPs pledged to vote against it.

This scuppered both the budget and Osborne’s credibility as a potential Tory leader.

It further fuelled expectations of a Tory leadership crisis in the event of a Leave vote.


If you enjoy Socialist Worker, please consider giving to our annual appeal to make sure we can maintain and develop our online and print versions of Socialist Worker. Go here for details and to donate.

Mobile users! Don't forget to add Socialist Worker to your home screen.