In the past few weeks I have spelt out as best as I can the issues that people are concerned in an unbiased way. I promised to explain how I am voting and why and I do so below in an article published today. How each person votes is entirely up to you and I fully respect and understand why people disagree with me and will be voting to remain. Jeremy Corbyn and Tom Watson are voting to remain, Dennis Skinner and I are voting to leave but we are united in wanting to see the back of this Government and will continue to oppose their cuts and defend the NHS. My call on the people of Bassetlaw is to say that everybody must vote on June 23rd.
The Labour Party is nothing if it can’t represent working class interests. But too few Labour MPs are campaigning for Britain to leave the European Union on June 23. Why? Because in Westminster people are inculcated into Westminster establishment politics too much. And people have been terrified about talking about immigration.
But on polling day they are going to get a big shock across the country. They are going to get a big shock about how Labour councillors vote, they will get a big shock about how Labour members vote. And it shouldn’t come as a shock how many Labour voters will vote. Because a people’s revolution is under way. This is about returning power to the people. At the heart of our problems, we have at all times now one arm tied behind our back by the European Union and there is nothing we can do about it.
Nowhere is that clearer than with the free movement of people, which has, is, and will continue to undermine pay and conditions in working class communities. It is not sustainable to have 300,000 new people added to the population every year.
It has created two kinds of people in this country: the people who gain from this and the people who lose out.
If you live in London and you want a cheap nanny, and a gardener and a cheaper plumber you can get really nice, really good people cheaper than you could before and you can go to a different restaurant every night and eat a different kind of food.
In the North of England, in the Midlands, in South Wales, people do not get those benefits. They get the problems.
In areas like mine the schools have got huge numbers of new children coming in. They do an absolutely brilliant job, as does the health service dealing with new people, but it costs them money, it shifts their expertise and resource. It has an impact and the impact is huge. So the speed of change is worsening inequality in the country. And that is not going to change unless we leave the EU.
I don’t want to live in a country with 80-90 million people living in it. I don’t want everything to be one big city. And the only way you can deal with that is by controlling borders. Here is another side to it. Many Labour colleagues say we should stay to protect workers’ rights. But the poorest in society are the ones who have been hit by agency workers and zero hours contracts already. They are the ones who have been hit by labour flexibility with so many workers coming into the country.
The reason I’ve concluded that we have to come out is it’s impossible to change the EU from the inside. David Cameron couldn’t even get agreement on child benefit being stopped for people here with children abroad. Even something as absurd as that cannot be changed because EU structures won’t allow it. People want control over their own lives. They don’t want people at a distance controlling their lives anymore.
Labour MPs also say they don’t want to campaign to leave because they don’t want to be on the same side as Nigel Farage and John Redwood.But this is about each family in Britain. It’s about you. It’s not about me, Farage or David Cameron.
It’s about what kind of country we want to live in in 20 or 30 years’ time. Do we want to live in a country with another 10, 20 million people living in it? Do we want to live in a country where big business can do a deal with the European Commission and we just have to deal with it? Or do we want to live in a country where power is shifted back to this country and our Parliament but actually as well beyond that back to local people?
So if you are a Labour voter you can proudly vote on Labour values to the leave the European Union. You are voting for fairness, you are voting for rights at work, you are voting for the NHS. And you are voting for a country that is not increasingly run by big business in co-operation with the European Commission.
Take others along to the polling station with you. Let’s see a record turnout in working class communities.