We are in Brexit extra time, and the European elections that should never have been are now a mere five weeks away. Just like in football matches, the additional time must be played flat out by Labour to win these elections. And if our party now plays to a no-Brexit game, we will be on the way to leading not just a Britain, but a Europe for the many.
Political events have opened up the prize of a thumping victory for our party on May 23rd, paving the way for the Party of European Socialists (PES) candidate for European Commission President, Frans Timmermans, to gain power. Even if the UK is to depart the European Union on October 31st – and I sincerely hope we don’t – a big win for our Labour Party can hold the key to shifting the EU to the left.
It would be political folly for us to even consider supporting Brexit-lite if we are instrumental in tilting the balance of power in the Commission towards working people. And, let’s face it, close alignment with the EU – which our party wants – makes us rule-takers, whereas a winning vote in May could make us king-makers. Choosing the latter as the best way to serve our socialist cause should be a no-brainer.
The PES manifesto on which our Labour candidates will stand posits a New Social Contract for Europe. It’s very bold, inspired by Corbyn’s manifesto. It tackles head-on the biggest challenge facing our generation and those to come – climate change – by promising decarbonisation and a just transition. As you would expect from any socialist manifesto, it’s also big on equality, fair taxes, fiscal evasion, quality public services, social and economic protections for working people and an end to austerity. I will proudly be on the knocker selling to our electorate this vision of a Europe for the many, not the few. I’m sure I will be joined by tens of thousands, our vast army of members who are excited by the prospect of another Britain within another Europe being firmly within our grasp.
Internationalism beats time-warped British imperialist delusions, hands down. It can defeat this toxic Tory Brexit too. A project of the right, by the right, for the right. Our Labour candidates for European parliamentary elections need a manifesto commitment for a confirmatory public vote on any Brexit deal. We can’t allow the Greens, the Liberals, the SNP or the Welsh Nats to squeeze our vote. Brexit ambiguity has served its political purpose and will not serve as an electoral strategy. Clarity of conviction will be our vote winner.
Our polling position has improved quite significantly since we started supporting and voting for a confirmatory vote in Westminster. Let’s build on this momentum. A clear, unequivocal manifesto pledge to a confirmatory vote will do just that. With our internationalist view of a Europe for the many, we will smash the Euro elections, Brexit and the Tories. Defeats for Conservatives in the local elections next month are certain. A heavy defeat in a national Euro poll will bring the government down. The route to a Corbyn premiership before the year is out now depends on our solidarity with our socialist sisters and brothers in Europe. Vive socialisme international! Vive solidarité! Vive Corbyn for PM!