Outside the marginals

a commentary on the politics that followed the UK 2010 & 2015 elections

An Argument to Remain – at last?

Today a non-hysterical argument was finally made for remaining in the EU.

It stands in interesting contrast to the “Vote Leave to get a Drier Conservative Government” argument that we are increasingly seen put forward by the Quitters. (Dry? Think Thatcher and Wets vs Drys) Imagine Gove, Grayling, Patel, (Boris) Johnson, and the likes of Rees-Mogg, Bone, and Farage forming a “caring conservative” government with more cuts in taxes (particularly for the richer who are meant to pay taxes but funded by doctrinaire cuts in services) and a bonfire of regulations that protect us.

This is a “Hansarded” version of the actual speech which unfortunately was a “bit too comprehensive”.

We have a distinct agenda — a vision to make Britain better and fairer for everyone, by engaging with our neighbours in Europe.

Through the social chapter and other directives, Europe has delivered us:

  • Over 26 million workers in Britain benefit from being entitled to 28 days of paid leave and a limit to how many hours they can be forced to work;
  • Over eight million part-time workers (over six million of whom are women) have equal rights with full-time colleagues;
  • Over one million temporary workers have the same rights as permanent workers;
  • 340,000 women every year have guaranteed rights to take maternity leave.

We can’t rely on the Tory Government to defend workplace rights. Leave supporters have stated they want to water down workers’ rights and rip up protections against discrimination, exploitation and injustice.

We are overwhelmingly for remain, because we believe the European Union has brought investment, jobs and protection for workers, consumers and the environment.

But also because our membership offers a crucial route to meeting the challenges we face in the 21st century, on climate change, on restraining the power of global corporations and ensuring they pay fair taxes, on tackling cyber-crime and terrorism, on ensuring trade is fair with protections for workers and consumers and in addressing refugee movements.

Britain will be stronger if we co-operate with our neighbours in facing those challenges together.

The problem is; does this argument get devalued if we know who made it? Certainly we can expect the media to rubbish it. But that probably says more about the media (and its owners) than it does about the person who made this speech.

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2 thoughts on “An Argument to Remain – at last?

  1. David Williams on said:

    I sometimes see you comments in the guardian I missed out replying to you regarding the IFS see your reply to passtherock)

    The problem is that we associate with brands, If you say Labour, people think of spending too much money whether it is true or not.

    I am now 50 years of age and I came from East London and I remember it being implied that black people were too lazy to be Milkman (there was even an article in the Sun about it ). Every year I came back from Uni as a undergrad late because we had post exam projects so I never got the cushy jobs so I ended up at the old labour exchange. What surprised me was when I got there at 5am there was only black people waiting there. I looked at the article and looked at all these black people and wondered what would white people think.

    It made me realise that perception is everything reality means absolutely nothing. You said you’re disenchanted with politics actually you should be disenchanted with the people whom vote we are just too lazy to find out and are spoon fed what we ‘know’.

    • “Perception is Everything” was the title of a paper that I think most business schools were getting their students to read back in the 1980s. Now using Google Scholar to search for that title brings up multiple papers!

      The reality is nothing – if people don’t realise. So if you can manage “the perception” you are well on the way to achieving your objective. Conversely trying to ignore the management of perception (as I think one particular party leader is) just hands over the management of perception to others – in this case the press. And as the Hillsborough coverage showed the press is very good at managing perceptions.

      However if too much of a gap is created between perception and reality (excess spin) there is a risk that people may “wise up” and see things as they really are. (Think of Ratner and his comments about his company’s jewellery.)

      In this referendum if the Stayers can break through the perception that the Quitters have generated – that an enormous amount of money is “sent” to the EU every day and that it could all be spent on the NHS*, they would sow doubts in the veracity and trustworthiness of the whole Leave campaign.

      * It’s a lie because:

      • the figure they quote is before the rebate
      • they do not take into account the money we get back – would we be willing to cease payments to support regional development, farmers, science etc.
      • if they were willing to starve these areas of funds and “give the whole of the (net) amount to the NHS”, the impact on the NHS budget would be far smaller than the Quitters make out (unless they pre-shrink the NHS budget – which many of them admittedly want to do)

      Managing perceptions when dealing with national budgets is easy – stick lots of noughts on the end and it looks big – but in population terms we are a big country. Divide a big number by a big population and suddenly it looks much more reasonable!

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