I appreciate the attention you give to letters from concerned people so I hope you will reply to mine.
I am older than you and proud to have grown up in a small working class terraced home with socialist parents who knew very hard times. I am particularly proud of certain events in my lifetime in which I have participated whilst remaining of independent mind politically.
As a father of two small children and without being a member of any organisation, I travelled alone to London to sit in the Stranger’s Gallery of the Commons to watch and listen to Howe and Heath sell our country into the EC by 8 votes majority by deceit and by withholding the terms of entry from MPs. I was privileged to film great friends of mine, Labour MPs Nigel Spearing and Eric Deakin quoting their memories of that final debate and their speeches from copies of Hansard open on their laps. As Nigel stated as the last Labour MP to speak before the government winding up “It is like being asked to sign a blank cheque”. The film can be found under Nigel Spearing’s name on the internet.
Along with Tony Blair, Gordon Brown you first gained your seat in Parliament in 1983 and that would have been on the Labour manifesto promise that, if elected, Labour would take us out of the EU as Blair on his candidate address to his Sedgefield constituents stated clearly that membership was bad for trade and jobs. Labour after that defeat changed its policy to support on the encouragement of Kinnock and later lost.
You say that you are committed to remain in the EU for reasons I find questionable and inconsistent. I understand and I agree with you that you would nationalise our railways.
My first question to you therefore is how can you nationalise legally or at all whilst a member of the EU?
My second question is that you and I are greatly concerned about protecting our NHS, jobs and services against financial austerity cut backs. We pay according to present official figures, £33,000,000 net every single day to the EU. Presumably therefore you believe it is better to give this money away every day by remaining in the EU rather than spending it to prevent the closure of care homes, closure of libraries, post offices, cut backs to social, police, fire brigades and ambulance services and increasing council taxes plus being unable to legally provide state aid to save what is left of our steel industry? Incidentally I worked 51 years in engineering manufacturing watching it all go downhill especially in the West Midlands after joining the “Common Market” that was supposed to give us all greater prosperity and job security.
You and I remember the visit to England by super-salesman Jacques Delors in 1988 and the fine job he did whilst addressing the British TUC. I wonder what British seamen still think of being replaced by cheaper workers on Irish ferries and what, as only one example, the crushed, unemployed workers in Greece think of the EU rather than the view of their government? I think growing violent street demonstrations, not only in Greece, give the answer. We remember the famous newspaper headline “Up Yours Delors” in response to Delors attempts to force European Federalism on the UK. The TUC hierarchy remain surprisingly committed to EU membership.
As for worker’s rights, we recall the replacement of 543 directly employed seamen on Irish Ferries by predominantly eastern European agency crew in 2005. That resulted in Irish Ferry ships being laid up in Welsh and Irish ports for nearly three weeks. That dispute eventually was resolved but led to the employers being given the green light to proceed to outsource crews at lower incomes on its Irish vessels and reflag its vessels to Cyprus. I understand that all vessels then became managed on a contract basis to Dobson Fleet Management based in Cyprus and all new employees employed by Dobson. No doubt this meets with the TUC and your stand on international workers solidarity but I wonder what the replaced seamen still think of what has happened.
I am opposed to Conservative austerity measures, puzzled by what appears to be your inconsistent stance on EU membership and I never thought much about Liberal Democrats musings. I am aware and appreciate that you have opposed various treaties over the years.
I look forward to your reply but with regret that my father is no longer alive to compare your present Labour policies with those of much earlier days before Blair, Mandelson and Campbell did a makeover on the Labour party. I hope you will reconsider providing support to Lord Rose and Britain Stronger in Europe and now come out in favour of leaving. I prefer an outward looking future for the UK free to decide its own future and laws. It is why some of my relatives were killed to protect and to help liberate the countries and peoples of Europe.
With best wishes,