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Election campaigns :: No2EU
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28 May 2009
Working class people are rightly furious about MPs huge 'expenses'. The sheer arrogance of MPs is astounding. Caught like rabbits in the head lights, they still claim they did nothing wrong when they asked us to pay for everything from KitKats to clearing out the family moat!
Some of them are now offering to pay back some of the money but only because of the outrage from ordinary workers. The claims of some of these MPs are bigger than the yearly wages of many workers.
The excuses are astounding. One MP whose constituency is Luton had her second home in Southampton so she could maintain her relationship with her partner. Women who clean offices in the morning, work as teaching assistants or in a school kitchen by day and then have another job in the evening will know all about not seeing their family. Not for them, though, the luxury of a second home and taxi fares at tax payers' expense!
Even when they clearly acted against the rules, MPs say they were "too busy" to check. Working people would sacked for such a lame defence. Meanwhile people who claim benefits are slammed by the same MPs as scroungers and don't get such light treatment if they over-claim.
MEPs are no exception. Some MEPs can make a million pounds in their time as 'our' representatives. Floating in their privileged bubble, MPs and MEPs are completely detached from the reality of working class people's lives. Now a blast of fury has left them quaking.
To protest at the main parties many people are looking for an alternative. But no one should be fooled that the far-right UKIP or BNP offer any solution. UKIP MEPs are as mired in corruption as the rest - they even had an MEP jailed for corruption! The BNP is a far-right racist party with a Nazi leadership, who want to ban strikes, and in councils carry out cuts and privatisation the same as the rest. None of these alternatives are a voice for ordinary working people.
Some people may think the Green Party is a left alternative, but the reality is that in the European parliament they have supported privatisation, including the Postal Services Directive, which is what the government is using to part-privatise Royal Mail. But in these European elections there is a working class alternative. No2EU - yes to democracy is a working class list in the European Elections. For the first time, a national trade union, the RMT rail workers' union, is standing candidates against New Labour and all the main parties.
The list in London is headed by Bob Crow, general secretary of the RMT. Around the country other candidates include sacked Visteon workers who won a great victory against Ford, Lindsey construction workers fighting to defend jobs and pay, council workers, postal workers, nurses, teachers and Socialist councillors. In London, Onay Kasab, secretary of public sector union Unison in Greenwich, is on the list. Onay's Unison branch has won one of the best deals for pay for low paid council workers in the country, and he also has a tremendous record of fighting racism and against the BNP.
No2EU candidates will not claim overinflated salaries and expenses on the European gravy train. They have pledged not to benefit financially if elected.
Socialist Party public representatives have a proud history of standing for election as workers' representatives on a workers' wage. Coventry Socialist Party councillor Dave Nellist is a No2EU - Yes to Democracy candidate in the West Midlands. From 1983 to 1992 Dave was an MP and only took the average wage of a skilled worker and the expenses needed to do the job - these expenses were vetted by local trade unionists. He gave the rest to workers' movement causes.
The No2EU - Yes to Democracy coalition wants unity between working people world wide, including across Europe. The only way we can fight against attacks on jobs, pay, conditions of work, and cuts and privatisation of our services is when we all stand together. But the EU is not this. The EU is a bosses' club, an agreement between big business governments to get a large market for the major corporations, to maximise profits and thereby the exploitation of ordinary working people. Its directives are used to privatise services such as Royal Mail and the NHS, and are used to break trade union agreements on pay. Vote No2EU - Yes to Democracy on June 4
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Article dated 28 May 2009
The Socialist, weekly newspaper of the Socialist Party
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