Reflections on the referendum

The last few weeks of Referendum campaigning has brought British politics to the lowest extremes of appalling behaviour I can ever remember.

Looking back at some bad political moments in my life, I recall that when Enoch Powell made his dreadful scare-mongering racist speech in 1968 he was expelled from the Tory Party because even they found it unacceptable. 

Not so now: We have heard Boris Johnson make disgraceful comments about Barack Obama, Nigel Farage has produced a poster with the worst possible racial connotations and now a madman in Yorkshire has thought it ok to murder a young MP, Jo Cox who spent her life as an aid worker and concerned with the rights and welfare of refugees.

The Labour Party is fully committed to a future in and with Europe.  Why does it matter so much to us?

For me it is unthinkable to revert to a small-minded island state which is only interested in leaving the union in order to dominate and colonise others.  Is that what they mean about making Britain great again? I hope not but fear the worst. 

There are good economic reasons for working in harmony and partnership with our European comrades and these have been highlighted by every objective study by every objective financial organisation over the past few months.

But there are even more important reasons not least of which are peace across our continent which as the daughter of a Jewish refugee from Hitler’s Berlin means the world to me. 

As a committed Labour member and trade unionist, I also care deeply about the work that has been done in the European Parliament to safeguard the rights of workers with legislation that demands that we treat people decently at work. The EU has helped to control the hours that people work and give them rights to proper maternity, paternity and straightforward holiday leave that everyone needs to thrive as individuals and as part of their wider families

I was brought up with a sense of hope after a period of desperate world turbulence and fear.  Politics seemed to be about looking at the greater good for society as a whole rather than playing on the fears and anxieties of people in order to manipulate them to hate and reject some of their fellow humans.

If we allow the Brexiteers, the worst excesses of UKIP and the Right wing extremists to win on Thursday, they will have free reign to continue their politics of fear and we absolutely mustn’t let that happen.  We must stay in Europe, work with Europe and the wider world and never ever become insular, mean spirited and accepting of racism ever again.

Please Vote to Remain on Thursday.


Cllr Judi Billing

Hitchin Bearton &  County Councillor for Hitchin North

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  • Hitchin & Harpenden Labour posted about Reflections on the referendum on Hitchin & Harpenden Labour's Facebook page 2016-06-19 18:37:22 +0100
    After horrid events this week and a negative campaign which has brought out the worst in British politics, Judi Billing reflects on the campaign and why it is so important we vote remain on Thursday.