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Political Fallout: Murder of UK MP Jo Cox Could Change Brexit Vote Outcome

© AFP 2023 / Daniel Leal-OlivasPeople hold Union Flags and the EU flag at a kiss chain event organised by pro-Europe 'remain' campaigners seeking to avoid a Brexit in the EU referendum in Parliament Square in front of the Houses of Parliament in central London on June 19, 2016.
People hold Union Flags and the EU flag at a kiss chain event organised by pro-Europe 'remain' campaigners seeking to avoid a Brexit in the EU referendum in Parliament Square in front of the Houses of Parliament in central London on June 19, 2016. - Sputnik International
As the Brexit referendum in the United Kingdom is just a couple of days away, Sputnik’s Brian Becker discussed with British Rail, Maritime and Transport Workers (RMT) Union member Eddie Dempsey the possible effect that the brutal murder of a pro-EU Labour lawmaker Jo Cox may have on vote.

A union flag is left in tribute to Labour Member of Parliament Jo Cox in Birstal near Leeds, Britain June 17, 2016. - Sputnik International
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The killing of Cox, who was a backer of the “Remain” campaign and in support of refugees entering the EU, is being widely associated with the referendum in Britain, Dempsey said, while speaking with Loud & Clear. Following the bloody tragedy, the first assassination of a parliamentary member since 1990, telephone surveys in the UK showed a seven-percent swing toward remaining in the bloc.

“It’s pretty clear this will have an effect [on the upcoming vote],” he said, despite that the “attack itself wasn’t motivated by EU referendum.” The murder has promptly shifted the focus of the referendum debate to the question of immigration, he stated, which “is not what the debate is about at all.”

In the view of Dempsey, a Brexit vote “is a democratic question” that separates people across the political spectrum in Britain. On the one hand, he said, there is a pro-EU camp, consisting of the middle class and the largest part of transnational capital, including big banks and the government. On the other, there are leave campaigners that include working class members and the poorest of the labor market.

Dempsey explained that originally the entire British labor movement, “all of the trade unions and all the labor parties but one or two” were in opposition to membership in the European Union. “The principle of sovereign national democracy isn’t really the sole property of the Left.”

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But the trends were reversed in 1988, when then-European president Jacques Delors delivered a speech to the Trades Union Congress (TUC), vowing a “social Europe,” with full employment for British miners who were on strike at the time.

This marked the emergence of the right wing of the Labor party, that has “long been struggled in favor of the European Union,” the politician said. However, the left wing, headed by politicians like Jeremy Corbyn who have traditionally been opposed to the EU, remained.

Dempsey, who is left wing, says that the EU concept is “undemocratic,” as it undermines the principles of public ownership of services and industry.

“The EU treaties and legislation specifically takes many industries and many public services out from our ability to take them back into public ownership. It makes socialism illegal.” 

Giving an example of EU policies, he said that under the Brussels' plan, UK nationalized railways will be privatized by 2019.

The EU was formed “by a roundtable of European industrialists” as a tool for establishing market based on neoliberal principles across Europe. The bloc is essential to “subvert national democracies, impose austerity everywhere and get access to markets, making sure they [states] have as much public services and industries in private hands.”

“Cooperation in conjunction with the European Commission, which is unelected, by their working groups forming legislation, and that’s been passed down to the European Parliament, which is the only institute European citizens can directly elect people to. Moreover, they cannot propose anything, they can only reject or accept [decisions].”

Pro-Brexit flags fly from a fishing boat moored in Ramsgate on June 13, 2016. - Sputnik International
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The issue of widespread immigration has been put in the center of the Brexit debate after the parliamentarian’s murder, and it overshadows the genuine source of troubles that the EU brings to sovereign countries like the UK — the free labor movement within the bloc.

Citing former British Labour Party politician John Reed, Dempsey said that the EU’s goal is to support free labor coming into the bloc from the countries that join the union, “on a basis of implemented wage discipline. They use free movement of labor to drive workers across the national borders in order to drive wages to be depressed.”

The referendum will take place on Thursday June 23.

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