Socialist Worker

Tories cry Wolff over EU

Issue No. 2666

Harland and Wolff shipyard in Belfast

Harland and Wolff shipyard in Belfast


Harland and Wolff, the Northern Ireland shipyard, is facing closure. The remaining workforce are fighting bravely to defend their jobs 

Among the platitudes from politicians something odd happened.

As one Harland and Wolff shop steward Barry Reid put it, “The government keeps quoting European law—that’s all we get out of them, European law.

“It’s very strange when on 31 October we are out of Europe. So why are they hiding behind European law when they don’t want to believe in European law?”

The Tory government and its bigots in the DUP repeatedly say Britain must leave the European Union (EU) because they claim EU legislation is bad for business.

Socialist Worker is against the EU precisely because it is good for business.

But when it comes to workers the government says it can do nothing because the EU stops the state from nationalising. In fact Harland and Wolff could easily be nationalised, as it was in 1975.

And nationalisation doesn’t have to be about bailing out the bosses when they get into trouble. It can be more than a stop-gap until the company can be sold off again.

And it could be a step towards another kind of economy, where different priorities from capitalist competition could begin to govern production.

That means looking to the interests of the occupying workers not the bosses, bankers or the EU.


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