Analysis

Corbyn wants to be for many not few. Better to stay in EU

by Luke Lythgoe | 08.03.2018

If Jeremy Corbyn truly believes in his mantra of “for the many, not the few”, he’s better off staying in the EU, a new report by the left-wing campaign group Another Europe is Possible shows. Here are six ways that cancelling Brexit would advance Labour’s plans.

Make mega-tech play fair

The EU is taking a tough line with tech giants. Google was handed a £2.1 billion fine for abusing its dominance in the search engine market. Meanwhile, new proposals would make tech companies pay taxes in countries where they’re economically active and not just where they have physical offices.

Tax haven clampdown

Moves to harmonise corporate tax across the EU could clamp down on tax havens. The UK, which counts a number of tax havens among its territories, continues to oppose this. Corbyn’s Labour could instead help drive reforms. It would be a far cry from many Brexiters’ aim to turn the City of London into an offshore haven.

Protecting migrant workers, stopping locals being undercut

Corbyn has spoken against exploitation by employers of EU nationals, paying them the lower wages of their home countries and undercutting local workers. The EU, and in particular Emmanuel Macron, are well underway to reforming these so-called “posted workers” rules by introducing an anti-undercutting principle.

Digital rights

Corbyn has championed strong digital rights in Labour’s digital democracy manifesto. But all the big discussions on digital privacy, intellectual property and security online are happening at an EU level. After Brexit the UK would probably have to follow these rules anyway if it wants market access. From inside the EU, Labour could ally with other social democratic parties, plus Greens, Liberals, Pirate parties and campaigners, to push a progressive digital vision.

Climate change

Through the Paris climate change agreement, the EU is pushing the international fight against global warming. A strong united stand is especially important now Donald Trump’s America is championing fossil fuels again. EU plans for clean energy and cutting emissions are ambitious. The UK could help lead these initiatives from within the EU, promoting green innovation and investment, and preventing policies being watered down by big business and short-sighted national interests.

Call to alms

Corbyn and the EU both generally lean towards humanitarian rather than military responses to conflict. The EU is the world’s largest aid donor. Having the weight of a military power like the UK behind it would help. In contrast, Brexit would stop the UK and EU working as closely on foreign policy, tempting rivals like Putin’s Russia into a show of strength, which in turn would make conflict more likely.

Even if Corbyn reaches Downing Street post Brexit, he’ll be presiding over an economic mess. He should, instead, listen to his allies and come out strongly against Brexit now.

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Edited by Hugo Dixon