FBU & RMT leaders debate EU at Barnet Momentum

FBU & RMT leaders debate EU at Barnet Momentum

Tired of hearing the ‘blue on blue’ debate that has so far characterised the EU referendum debate Barnet Momentum invited FBU General Secretary Matt Wrack, and Steve Hedley, Senior Assistant General Secretary of the RMT to debate the Lexit and Socialist Remain positions.

They were joined on the platform by Helen Davis, Chair of Barnet UNISON and SWP, and Vicki Morris, Chair of University of Nottingham UNISON and AWL, both in a personal capacity.

A straw poll at the start of the debate showed the room was split 70 – 20 in favour of Remain with about 10 per cent of the 50 who attended undecided. There must have been 20 contributions from the floor and it was good to hear the Labour movement debating the issue in a comradely fashion and in a way that teased the issue out.

It would be fair to say that most of the Lexit speakers from the floor were members of the SWP and the SP, although there was a member of Labour Leave and ‘Grassroots Go’ in the audience. The bulk of independents had a Remain position.

Two matters remained unresolved for me. First, that as Paul Mackney argued, if Lexit win the vote will they not be the flea on the back of a UKIP elephant? Second, the Remain side had not much to say about the core nature of the EU project, neoliberal, free market and an adjunct to NATO.

However, both sides agreed that if a socialist government in Britain faced the Syriza dilemma then an exit based on class struggle would be a necessary solution.


Will McMahon

(Chair of the Socialist Network)

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