Why Irish Socialists Should Vote to Leave the EU

This post is something of an appeal. If you’re reading this try to ignore everything I’ve ever written or said before about Socialism. That’s not the point of this article. This is all about the EU Referendum and I’d like the argument contained in this post to stand on its own two feet. In short, try to forget that I’m a free market Libertarian. Focus only on the argument, not the arguer.

So here goes. My point is that if you are an Irish Nationalist Socialist, Irish Republican Socialist or Northern Ireland Socialist the best way to vote in the upcoming EU Referendum is to vote for the UK to leave the EU. My argument is that the UK leaving the EU suits your cause better.

Here’s why.

  • First of all, a leave vote is a vote against the British establishment. Just think about it, big business, private equity firms, the Sauv-Blanc-swilling City types all want you to vote to remain. Even the CBI, the mouth-piece of big business, wants you to vote remain. The back-bone of the British establishment. So kick them where it hurts. Vote to Leave.
  • The entire Irish establishment wants you to vote remain. The same crowd that oversaw the banking crisis, the bank bailout, the state bailout, and the austerity program, the failed bankers, the pigs that had their heads in the trough during the Celtic Tiger years, all these people want you to vote remain. I recently attended a brexit debate organised by the (bailed-out) AIB Bank in Dublin. The room was packed with bankers…bankers everywhere appalled that they had a Brexiter in their midst (me). Let’s tell them what we think of their incompetence and their failed investments. Let’s Vote to Leave. 
  • Some of Irish Socialism’s greatest supporters in Britain plan to vote to leave. Tony Benn would, had he been alive, been campaigning for a leave vote. Jeremy Corbyn voted to leave the EEC in 1975 – at a time when the EEC was more like a free trade area than the political union it is now. And, of course, George Galloway, will be voting to leave. Show solidarity to Socialists who have supported your cause. Vote to Leave.
  • You might have the impression that those nice lefty organisations like Friends of the Earth, and those nice border bodies that encourage peace and reconciliation (like the Centre for Cross Border Studies) are all behind a remain vote. Hardly surprising, of course, when they are funded by the EU. If you are concerned by inequality in Ireland, look no further than those bodies funded by the EU and at the salaries they are paid. Ask yourself, are those arguing loudest about the merits of the EU in the pocket of the EU? When you are satisfied with the answer then vote to leave.
  • If you’re an Irish Socialist you may also be a Nationalist. You’ll have aspirations toward Irish independence, and the establishment of an all-Ireland Socialist government in Dublin. But if you were to win independence and Irish unification, wouldn’t it be bitter-sweet if you found that a unified, independent Ireland was, in fact, just a puppet state, told what to do by Brussels. After all you’ve had a taste of this. The austerity programme was mandated by the EU. The EU ignored the referendum vote against the Lisbon Treaty and insisted the Irish vote again until they voted the right way. So if you want a truly independent Ireland vote leave and then encourage your Socialist friends South of the border to start campaigning for Ireland to vote to leave the EU as well.
  • Britain and Ireland have had a troubled history. But there is peace. Our two countries have never been closer. Remember that the modern British Labour Party was born in Belfast. Remember that many of the largest trade unions organise across the UK and Ireland. If you want to campaign for worker rights the best place to achieve them is here, on home turf. So, on June 23, vote leave.