At Something New, we believe that the UK should remain part of the European Union. But we also know there are major problems with it, particularly around democracy and efficiency. The thing is, we’re better off fixing those from the inside, not stepping away, and so we’re encouraging citizens to Vote In on June 23rd.

The European Union is cause for celebration throughout the world. With the forming of the EU, conflict turned to co-operation, and peaceful progress replaced bloodshed.

In recent years, the rise of nationalist parties across Europe has sown new division amongst Europe’s democracies. Their campaigns of fear are polarising public opinion, and threatening the peace that Europe now enjoys after centuries of war.

David Cameron is himself responsible for sowing some of that division with his anti-EU rhetoric. We were told this week that he has secured a “new deal” for Britain in Europe. So what did he get?

  1. Britain is no longer tied to the principle of “ever-closer union”. In other words, we’re not interested in furthering the peaceful co-operation that we’ve worked to build between European states. Thanks Dave(!)

  2. It’s now possible for any member state to ask for permission to suspend benefit payments to other EU citizens for 7 years if the member state can demonstrate that such benefits are too high a burden on the state. Whether or not you agree with this “benefits ban” (we don’t), demonstrating it is going to prove difficult for Cameron given that UK nationals are more of a “burden” on the welfare state than EU migrants. Also, the amount of money involved is frankly tiny in the grand scheme of things - why have we made such a fuss over this?

  3. Europe’s financial centre - London - is scared that the EU might introduce rules to limit irresponsible behaviour by bankers. Cameron has secured a way of delaying or avoiding such measures, the latest in many attempts by Tory MEPs to stop bankers being held to account for their actions. We can all feel good about that, right?

This is nothing to celebrate. And it does nothing to address the genuine issues about the European Union that need looking at.

Something New’s membership includes both europhiles and eurosceptics. Far from the “division” that the media would like you to think that sows, as they do with Labour and the Tories, it brings us a broad range of perspectives. Our unique approach to building a political party means we respect diverse opinions, embrace them, and can find common ground.

In this case that common ground (as expressed in our manifesto) is that the EU is a force for good but with problems.

When we’re renegotiating with the EU, this is what we want to see being talked about:

  • Reducing unhelpful and wasteful bureaucracy, such as by abolishing the Strasbourg seat and making Brussels the permanent home for the European Parliament.

  • Major reform or removal of the Common Agricultural Policy, to operate in harmony with the natural environment and remove market distortions.

  • Reform fishing policy and quotas to reduce waste, thus helping fish stocks to recover.

  • Reform the broken carbon emissions trading scheme.

  • Increase transparency and democratic control, to ensure the European Union remains a progressive democratic force as opposed to a regressive one.

  • Britain is clearly economically stronger within the EU, though we would prefer to remain outside of the Eurozone, as recent developments have shown that monetary union can be harmful to democratic decisions of member states.

Being outside the EU won’t stop austerity at home, protect workers rights, stop the privatisation of national assets like the NHS or end the shameful funding of weapons of mass destruction while child poverty increases. In fact, there are countless EU rules and measures that force our national government to work in our interests rather than against them.

Leaving the European Union will be a blessing to neoliberals like Nigel Farage and David Cameron who believe that the “free market” is more important than equality, human rights and liberty. Brexit would result in more privatisation, further undermining of human rights and the erosion of our civil liberties thanks to an electoral system that fails to represent the will of the people.

We must stay in a reformed Europe, but not the selfish, corporate-driven “reform” of David Cameron and his party financiers. We must stay in and build a truly reformed Europe that works for the betterment of its citizens through real democracy.

Even if we do choose to stay, the battle will not be over, and we hope that people from all political backgrounds will join in pushing for positive change within the EU for a better and more secure future.

Join us, vote IN on 23rd June, and then let’s work to build a 21st century democratic EU from the inside.