E P Thompson on Europe

In Uncategorized on January 12, 2019 by kmflett

Extract from an article E P Thompson wrote on Europe in the (pre-Murdoch) Sunday Times in 1975

As we move towards a Parliamentary decision on Brexit there has been discussion (not least in the Guardian) about whether there is a case from the left for leaving the EU. There certainly is in my view. It echoes but is not the same as that made in the first European Referendum in 1975.

Aditya Chakrabortty made the excellent point (again in The Guardian) that many of those who voted to leave in 2016 did so for reasons that were at least partly on the left-opposition to austerity for example. However the left campaign to leave the EU was weak and the right gained hegemony.

That was probably the key reason why I (and I suspect many others in Tottenham where I live) voted to remain. A  recognition that on balance leaving now would most likely strengthen the racist right.

Thompson makes the point that he, and we, were and are Europeans. The debate is about whether a particular economic and political configuration of European states is a good idea.

The debate is also about even if it is decided it is a bad idea when it might be a good time to think about leaving.

The country is clearly split on that and the first task now is to unite against the impact of austerity and the racist right. If that can be done a more sensible discussion on  Europe might eventually be possible



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