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Labour supporters, now IN-Crowd participants, make their point on the occasion of Jeremy Corbyn's visit to Hastings last week (photo: Rachel Lever).

Labour supporters, now participants in The IN-Crowd, make their point on the occasion of Jeremy Corbyn’s visit to Hastings last week (photo: Rachel Lever).

IN-Crowd argues Left’s case for staying in EU

Various elements of the Left in Hastings have joined forces to set up The IN-Crowd, under whose banner they will campaign together for Britain to stay in the European Union. Rachel Lever describes the politics behind its formation and gives details of a public meeting on Friday 3 June.

We hope the title says it all: fun, partying, art, music to galvanise the anti-Brexit campaign.

Admittedly the EU message is normally more associated with red-tape and stodge, petty regulations and photo-calls of Angela Merkel and serried ranks of besuited men. So what’s the party about?

First, there’s the familiar litany of what the EU has ever done for us – 57% of our trade, clean beaches, visa-free travel, farm subsidies, human rights act, break-up of monopolies, holiday pay, equal pay, health and safety and protection at work, safe products and … a war-free continent.

Much of what we regard as “our” welfare state (even sadly depleted) actually stands on European foundations.

But what binds many of us is much more visceral: do we want the Little Englanders to win and leave us stranded on a small island off the coast of Europe run by off-the-leash attack-dogs hungry for meat.

These, as senior Tory Chris Grayling made perfectly clear, can’t wait to ditch all those rights: on Day One, he said, they would be looking to repeal the human rights law that the EU has made mandatory. And Brexit campaigner Priti Patel told the Institute of Directors that leaving the EU would enable us to cut workers’ rights and regulations by half. [See below for an expert view on the rights most at threat.]

That’s exactly what they mean by “taking back control”: giving all the tax-dodging, zero-hours employers carte blanche to do with us as they please. Parental leave: forget it. Extra pay for weekend work: forget it. Safe workplaces: forget it.

The Little Britain we’ll get won’t take us back to a pre-EU paradise of sunshine and Enid Blyton, but all the way back to a Victorian hell of mass sweated labour and food banks for the “undeserving poor”. Be afraid. Be very afraid.

So our message is: make sure you get registered to vote before June 7, which is next week.

The IN-Crowd, a group spanning Labour, Momentum, Solidarity, students and trade unionists, will be out and about highlighting the common anti-austerity struggles on both sides of the Channel and highlighting women’s rights, the plight of refugees, climate change and Hastings’ own Euro connections that are an essential part of our local economy.

So come and bring your ideas to The IN-Crowd planning meeting on Friday 3 June at 6.30pm in the Observer Building (53 Cambridge Road, Hastings TN34 1DT), and let’s see how big a splash we can make in the next three weeks.

Workers’ rights under threat from Brexit

Michael Ford QC, in an independent legal opinion written for the TUC on the consequences of Brexit for UK employment law and workers’ rights (copy here), suggests that, based on past history and extant policy documents, the workers’ rights most vulnerable to repeal are:

  • Collective consultation, including the right for workers’ representatives to be consulted if major changes are planned that will change people’s jobs or result in redundancies (as have been used in recent major announcements in the steel industry)
  • Working time rules, including limits on working hours and rules on the amount of holiday pay a workers is entitled to
  • EU-derived health and safety regulations
  • Transfer of Undertakings (TUPE), i.e. the EU-derived protections to the terms and conditions of workers at an organisation or service that is transferred or outsourced to a new employer
  • Protections for agency workers and other ‘atypical’ workers, such as part-time workers
  • Current levels of compensation for discrimination of all kinds, including equal pay awards and age discrimination.


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Posted 19:27 Wednesday, Jun 1, 2016 In: Politics


Please read our comment guidelines before posting on HOT

  1. Patrick Burton

    The ‘Left’ is a late, and sometimes rather lukewarm, convert to supporting the EU. Those of us who always supported the EU against the likes of Tony Benn, must welcome this conversion to European internationalism.

    In my view, Rachel Lever gives a rather lopsided account of the benefits of the EU. Here are a few questions: –

    57% of our trade, (but a massive deficit to the EU); Visa-free travel, (but we need passports); Farm subsidies, (farmers had subsidies before we joined and the CAP, the biggest cost of the EU by far, put in place for French farmers, is a massive distortion); Break-up of monopolies, (I thought the ‘Left’ was for nationalised monopolies and wanted to renationalise the railways and energy, both illegal within the EU); Holiday pay, (pre EU); Equal pay, (theoretical, even now); A war-free continent (possibly helped by the Cold War nuclear stand off?; Yugoslavia civil war and non-action by EU required NATO action, Blair and Clinton led}

    Rachel’s list of ‘forget its’ paints a rather fire and brimstone account of what would happen if the UK were to leave the EU; it assumes a sort of extreme Tory right wing takeover. This is rather in line with much of the lurid rhetoric of the pro and anti campaigning. The most that is commonly agreed is that there would be an economic ‘shock’, which would, long term, possibly lead to a smaller economy and hence lower wages and benefits. And our European holidays will be more expensive this year, as the pound will go down further.

    Rachel does not talk about some of the non-benefits of membership (such as the lack of national control of fishing rights and regulations affecting exporters to the non-EU). And she doesn’t mention the hottest argument surrounding the referendum, immigration. Like it or not, it has become projected as a primary issue by the press and politicians. And the rules, as highlighted by Michael Ford, don’t answer the questions posed by Farange and the Tory ‘Right’, which having lost the economic arguments against the EU have alighted on this old chestnut.

    And as there have been historically, and are currently, obvious benefits for industry, culture and better-trained workers in free movement of labour, so the anti-immigration argument has been centred around low paid EU workers either taking ‘our jobs’, or undercutting British workers; and putting pressure on services and housing and infrastructure by an actual perceived increase in EU, and non-EU, immigration.

    Surely the self-styled ‘Left’ should not be ignoring but engaging with issues which affect workers and others. Where necessary admitting some people do lose out, but what we can to do about it in our wealthy, but unequal society.

    Comment by Patrick Burton — Monday, Jun 13, 2016 @ 15:32

  2. Julia Hilton

    After the meeting we agreed to invite all the people of Hastings and St Leonards who want to stay IN the EU to come down to Hastings pier on Saturday 11 June at 11.00 am to be in what we hope will be a huge group photo of all the diverse people of Hastings and St Leonards that want to stay IN Europe.
    You can also come and make a banner or placard saying why you are voting Remain at the Observer Building at 6.30 pm on Friday 10 June. Materials will be provided but if you have any paint, markers, large sheets of card, they will be very welcome.
    Please forward this to all your friends who are thinking of voting Remain and share the event on FB

    Comment by Julia Hilton — Thursday, Jun 9, 2016 @ 10:22

  3. Andy Ammo

    I’m in with the Out crowd.
    The European Parliament doesn’t even allow elected representatives to initiate legislation. What kind of democracy is that? The frequent relocation from Brussels to Strasbourg is a waste of money, incessant and insulting. Then there’s Juncker’s taxhaven expertise, and the corporate stitchup known as TTIP.
    The economic performance of the Eurozone has been abysmal, and is spreading misery and extremism in southern Europe. Yet the Remain campaign say that the EU means jobs. (Who knew?)
    It’s high time for some accountability and extensive reform. Otherwise let’s get out.

    Comment by Andy Ammo — Saturday, Jun 4, 2016 @ 14:01

  4. DAR

    Nice to see such “balanced” coverage in “HOT”. No surprise, really. Most of the stuff listed here that’s attributed to EU membership could have been introduced by our national government anyway – and there’s no way of proving otherwise e.g. clean beaches, health and safety regs etc. And it’s funny how no mention is made of EU fishing policy in this article when we live in a fishing town – I wonder why?

    Comment by DAR — Thursday, Jun 2, 2016 @ 14:51

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