The EU Referendum can only be won with Labour voters. The consequences to our community of a Tory/UKIP led Brexit are real and serious. That’s why this fight is our fight.
Tonight in Dartford, two Tory MPs will spend the evening arguing with each other about Britain’s membership of the EU. The event will be unfortunately, typical of how of referendum debate has been framed with the public – an internal argument within the Conservative Party played out against a power struggle for the keys to 10 Downing Street. The escalating ‘blue on blue’ civil war is meat and drink for the media – who know that this sort of bun fight sells papers and attracts viewing figures.
Labour knows that the referendum and the devastating impact of a vote to leave are far, far more important than what’s going on in the Tory Party and short term political capital.
We also we know that we are in the fight of our lives from now until 23 June. I’m asking every member of Dartford Labour to help campaign to Remain from now until polling day.
Let’s be clear – this isn’t an academic exercise or a debate at the Oxford Union. There will be very real, tangible and damaging effects of a vote to leave – affects won’t be felt by Boris Johnson, Michael Gove or Nigel Farage. The impact of leaving will instead be felt by millions of working people across the UK – including here in Dartford. These are the communities that we all got into politics to fairer and more prosperous places. These are the communities are will pick up the bill for Leave’s reckless gamble with our economy, our rights and our future – that’s why this fight is Labour’s fight.
We’ve heard this morning that Britain won’t be able to stay in the single market if we leave the EU. That will have a devastating impact on our businesses and the people who work in them. Vote Leave are still refusing to come clean about the employment rights they will cut. Their bus is still driving around the country with a £350m lie written on it. There is now a real risk that the NHS might fall into the hands of people who have previously said they want to privatise it.
Most worrying of all is that Boris and co are now adopting the nasty, divisive, rhetoric on race and immigration previously reserved only for UKIP and Donald Trump. There is no positive future for Britain of this type of backward politics – but we need to face up to the reality that there is very real prospect that Britain may vote for isolation – and everything that goes with it – if Remain doesn’t make the positive case in the next two weeks
It’s Labour – and Labour supporters who will determine the result of this referendum. I genuinely wish that the Conservatives weren’t hopelessly divided on Europe – but the fact is they are. We can’t rely on them.
As Andy Burnham rightly pointed out yesterday, Labour needs to do more to win the argument amongst those who are undecided on how to vote, or may be considering Brexit. We also need to do more to ensure those favouring remain get out and vote on 23 June So far, not enough people have heard the positive Labour case to stay in. Let’s change that together. We all have a responsibility to get out there and campaign for a Remain vote.
If you can help the Remain campaign in Dartford over the next two weekends, then please leave a comment below or email me on Jonathon.hawkes@Dartford.gov.uk
Cllr Jonathon Hawkes
Leader – Dartford Labour Group