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Graham Stringer MP: The EU Monster

The MP for Blackley and Broughton on Chris Bryant, British jobs and the in/out referendum

Published on August 18th 2013.


Graham Stringer MP: The EU Monster
 

IT'S worse than I thought. Piqued into action by the almost universal criticism of the Shadow Cabinet’s Trappist silence their response was a complete embarrassment.

It is extraordinary that Labour, the main left of centre party, which carries the hopes and aspirations of many ordinary, working and unemployed people is still supporting the job destroying, fascist creating, democracy eroding EU monster.

Chris Bryant, Labour’s Shadow Immigration Minister, in a desperate search for positive headlines launched an attack on Tesco and Next for employing a “large percentage” of staff “from Eastern bloc” countries. Unfortunately, Chris had not done his basic research properly and had got his facts wrong. Embarrassingly his draft speech had been circulated to the press beforehand and critical parts had to be withdrawn.

Chris BryantChris BryantThe slapdash preparation of what should have been a significant statement was not the worse part of this sad tale. What was exposed was the lack of coherence of our policy, a much more significant failure. Precisely the point that I and other Labour MPs had been making when our patience finally snapped at the lack of visibility of the Shadow Cabinet.

The key point that Chris wanted to establish, if only he had done his homework, was that British employers should prioritise the employment of British workers over workers from the rest of the EU. Unfortunately, this conflicts dramatically with the way Labour’s front bench have prosecuted their EU policy in the House of Commons.

Support and enthusiasm for nearly every EU initiative is the hallmark of their approach; from the recent accession of Croatia, with its porous borders and absence of the rule of law, to support for the continuation of the Euro. Unfortunately, it is the European Union and its court, the European Court of Justice, that prohibits support for British workers in the way envisaged.

It is one thing to make a muddle of a press release, it is quite another to not understand the contradiction between support for the European Union and protection of British workers and our democracy, both of which are threatened by the EU.

An absolutely fundamental principle of the EU is the free movement of labour. Recent rulings by the European Court of Justice (the Laval and Viking cases) have reinforced this by a ruling in relation to the free movement of labour within the single market which further undermines the position of workers by eroding national pay rights. 

The leadership of the Labour Party seems to have a nostalgic view of the EU, believing it to be the embodiment of a social democratic ideal of peace, prosperity and democracy. The reality is very different. The Euro has created unprecedented high levels of unemployment and perpetual recession in the member states bordering the Mediterranean (levels of youth unemployment are regularly over 50%). The failure of the economic policies pursued by the unelected European Commissioners has created fertile ground for the far right.

It is extraordinary that Labour, the main left of centre party, which carries the hopes and aspirations of many ordinary, working and unemployed people is still supporting the job destroying, fascist creating, democracy eroding EU monster. It is even more extraordinary that some members of Labour’s leadership believe that only nutters support a referendum and our exit from the EU. This puts them at odds, in round terms, with 80% of voters who want a referendum and the majority that want to leave the EU altogether. This is not a sustainable position.

In or out? Up or down?In or out? Up or down?

Either the Labour leadership has to make a case for staying in the EU and abandon ill-thought through publicity stunts, or it has to dump its wholehearted support for the EU and establish policies which support the interests of the people who vote for us and those that we wish would vote for us. If we continue to do both then we will not only be accused of hypocrisy but there will be many more Chris Bryant style car crashes ahead.

Ed Milliband’s speech to the annual Labour Party conference at the end of September should give an absolute commitment to an in-out referendum on our membership of the EU. I would not envy being a candidate in the European elections next May if we are the only party denying the electorate a vote in the referendum. It simply isn’t credible to say that we trust you, the electorate, to vote for us for Members of the European Parliament but that we don’t trust you to decide whether or not we should be in the EU.

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13 comments so far, continue the conversation, write a comment.

AntipopulistAugust 18th 2013.

"to support for the continuation of the Euro." How are you an MP. How is this a responsible policy to advocate to the masses. If you can't work out the economic and political Armageddon that would ensue from a policy of the Eurozone suddenly breaking up the Eurozone, than you shouldn't be in a position of power. You are a populist preaching to the masses what they want to hear. This isn't respectable. It's dangerous. This "rant", for its not an article smacks of someone who has no idea about how the EU works or what it is.

2 Responses: Reply To This...
Get Britain OutAugust 19th 2013.

@antipopulist, that was a wonderfully stereotypical Europhile comment: "The EU is self-evidently a brilliant idea, so if you don't like it it must be because you don't understand it. As for a referendum ... are you mad?! The peasants are far too thick to be trusted with important decisions like this." So where will find this philosopher king to rule over us? Oh, you. Right. How convenient. A question: which outcome from your 'responsible, respectable and safe' policy of continuing with EMU are most proud of? a) The ongoing rise of a neofascist party in Greece. b) The deepening divisions Northern European and Mediterranean nations. c) The soaring youth unemployment.

AnonymousAugust 20th 2013.

Sorry Get out but you've fallen for a missleading argument there. The EU is not the cause of those problems its the Euro. the UK is happily in Europe without the Euro and we dont have these dificulties, monetry union was the mistake, we didnt make it so we dont need to pull out of the EU to fix it. In any event Monetry union was a bad idea but only because those mediterainian states were completely incompetent at managing their finances and that again was not the fault of the EU.

JonAugust 20th 2013.

I live in Doncaster North - DM's seat. I drink in a pub there. To a man and woman every voter is a Labour supporter. There is not one that openly has anything good to say about the EU. Several (including me) are thinking of voting UKIP.... This is the first time that I have read something which says what I think about the Labour leadership ... well said ! ... If I ever saw my MP (he isn't often here) I would tell him the same ... I suspect that he (along with the rest of the shadow cabinet) would not listen ...

AnonymousAugust 20th 2013.

Is Graham Stringer a supporter of the British monarchy, by the way? Just asking.

1 Response: Reply To This...
AnonymousAugust 20th 2013.

What has that got to do with it? A lot of us HIS CONSTITUENTS are NOT !!!!

Poster BoyAugust 22nd 2013.

Left Twix, right Twix. Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dum, Bill Cash and Graham Stringer. Who would have thought a Labour MP would revert to the same old fault line of Europe that so divided the Tories? The reality of course is that the backbenches are flailing in the realisation there is no turning back and nowhere to turn, old Labour died in the last century. New Labour can only exist by occupying the same ground as the Tories. There is no policy, because it’s the same policy other than around the margins and Mr. Stringer vents his frustration against Milliband’s Shadow Cabinet because he refuses to accept that Labour is ideologically bankrupt. And as if to prove it, cue his same difference euro scepticism...

DavidAugust 24th 2013.

Mr Stringer likes to talk as if he has some political principle but in reality he has zero.If a Labour government scrapped every project that benefits this city he would not resign,he will stay collecting his MP salary no matter what.No matter what policy there have over Europe he will not be prepared to resign.

AnonymousAugust 24th 2013.

most people really dont care one way or the other about the EU. Its just not a topic of conversation or an issue of concern. You just dont hear ordinary people discussing it. To me the issue of Europe is a handy smokescreen diverting attention from how poorly our over centralised wesminster party system serves the country. We need powers devolved down from Westminster - THATs the real issue.

espoirAugust 27th 2013.

We pay, some £10bn a year, thats £200m a week after receipts, mostly to rich landowners. Well you could have a clean city, cycle lanes, trolley buses on Oxford Rd., clean rivers and canals, renovated council houses, and roads that are resurfaced instead of full of patches and potholes. We pay for all those new roads and railway stations in Spain and look at the thanks we get. The EU is all about the "world order" and the UK giving America world influence in the EU and being rewarded with the special relationship.

the Whalley RangerAugust 27th 2013.

You ought to discuss more *local* politics, not national content - the national press is full of much better stuff on a daily basis, with instant updates and voting system. You also need to check your log-in policy. I have been able to log-in, but not able to *remain* logged in when moving around on your site. That is a very annoying glitch which would prevent many from posting. Is that your intent?

AnonymousSeptember 4th 2013.

im having similar issues!

AnonymousSeptember 4th 2013.

We don't need devolved powers the Mcr Chiefs cannot be trusted with OUR money ffs! Not in Cronytown Manchester! Bernstein has fought for this already and its not doing us folk on the street any favours. More crime, more litter, more overpriced private housing, more chains squeezing independants out? Goldman Sachs, Henderson and many other fund managers moving in to rape and pillage Manchester. If anything its just proving that this lot are still failing to balance the books once again. Stringer is another useless red whose opinion i care not one jot about, he is a labour clone through and through and until we actively vote him out he is firmly here to stay unless we all wake up and ask what has he done for me? Zilch. Thats not proper democracy no one should stay in post this long, he is apathetic and doesnt care about the average decent honest working Joe Bloggs unless they vote labour or are affiliated to some phoney tenants association or club! Can we have some other political reps maybe from other parties not necessarily from Manchester, an outsiders looking in perspective perhaps? Im sure many other readers are with me on this....keep feeding them bias and brainwashing bullshit and they'll keep voting me back. Some of us deserve better Graham. I for one need change.

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