Out of the EU we can get on with the essential business of rebuilding our manufacturing, nationalising our railways, postal services, utilities and energy companies; we can reinvest in our public services and the people who provide them. We can protect our NHS from TTIP or any equivalent, we can develop our schools under public control, and start to provide workplace security and decent wages and pensions for all.
TUAEU supporters knew as they spoke around the country that people were fed up with the consequences of deindustrialisation, austerity, pay freezes, worse pensions and the feeling of powerlessness that has accompanied mass unemployment, precarious working, poverty and being subject to decision makers ever more distant from democratic accountability.
We have been denied a vote on the EU for forty one years. Over that time it became more remote, more centralised, more in the pocket of the banks and large corporations and more dismissive of democracy. It’s founding fathers like Monnet were always clear that it was a project designed to ‘abolish the nation state’.
His successors like the current EU President Junkers, who transformed a country called Luxembourg into no more than a tax haven, inherit this hatred of nations and people’s democracy. Britain’s referendum vote has therefore shaken their whole project to the core.
We can expect other calls for referendums throughout the EU countries from populations who never had a chance to vote on joining, and amongst some who did, but now regret it.
In the trade union movement we are used to democratic practice. It was our predecessors who established the universal franchise and concepts of participative and representative democracy in our workplaces and community organisations.
We hold our leaders to account for their actions and mandate them to do what the collective wants them to do. That is what we require across the country now -implementation.
No obstacles should be put in the way by a House of Commons dominated by those who campaigned for remain.
Obstacles will be put in the way by the banks, spivs and speculators. They were busy all during the night of the referendum gambling on this and that. And isn’t it incredible that a vote of the people of Sunderland can affect the value of sterling. What power we have!
The money market moguls, who were the main supporters of remain, are highly volatile and preparing for another crash. This no doubt will be blamed on the good people of Sunderland and those like them.
The British people, as TUAEU expected, have decided to reject the whole basis of the anti-democratic European Union and its essential commitments to austerity, and the ‘free’ movement of capital, labour, goods and services. Policies will have to be implemented to focus on removing these principles from our society and rebuilding our real economy and public services.
It was a highly organised trade union movement that gave a great sense of purpose and integration to the nation. Trade unions work on behalf of workers throughout Wales, Scotland, and England and of course our closest neighbour, Ireland.
Our needs as workers and trade unionists, our shared problems, our interests are in common and our values radiate together in opposition to superficial divisions and the scourge of racism.
There must be a return to active trade unionism in every workplace to provide the bed rock for following through the decision to put people first and engage the entire population in working again with confidence towards shared goals.
At last the spirit of 45 has returned. We owe it every bit as much to our grandparents as to our grandchildren to get involved and end the neoliberal nightmare. This nightmare has sought to ruin the achievements of the past and remove the life chances of the future.
The key to this is a new expression of peoples’ power, an exertion of the will of the majority over the tiny minority supporting the banks and large corporations. Since 1975 the main EU supporters in the Tory Party pulled apart our manufacturing, sold off our utilities and public services, diminished local democracy and introduced mass unemployment and zero hours contracts. A verdict on all this has now been given.
Free of the Lisbon Treaty we will now be able to build true international solidarity with the countries of Europe and beyond.
Meaningful internationalism needs to return. Some during the referendum overlooked what was happening to workers and unions in Greece, Portugal, Spain, Italy and France because it inconveniently exposed the real nature of the EU.
Trade unionists In Britain continually told us that solidarity with our brothers and sisters in EU countries as their collective bargaining structures and rights were under attack, was needed more than ever. TUAEU visited several countries and international conferences to try and maintain this international responsibility.
Trade Unionists across the globe wrote to us urging us to leave the EU and give a signal to progressive people everywhere that as a powerful nation and as the first unionised working class, we needed to give a major signal that the neoliberal agenda that has swept most of the world can be defeated.
We ourselves can do it. We all have a mandate, we must all implement it.