The debate around Britain’s membership of the European Union has been dominated by two ideologies, but unfortunately for leftists like myself both of these are abhorrent. The pro-EU camp is largely comprised of neoliberal capitalists that are more concerned with corporate profits than the lives of ordinary people. On the other hand, the anti-EU campaign is largely consisted of xenophobic Little Englanders who are still ambivalent towards imperialism. Obviously there are notable exceptions to this caricature, for example Labour leader and actual socialist Jeremy Corbyn has come out in favour of continued EU membership, but the media’s focus has mostly dominated by the arguments around economics and immigration. I have avoided writing this piece because I was swinging back and forth on the issue for a long time but now I’m going to lay out why I believe that Britain should leave the European Union.
At the headquarters of the United Nations in New York, Indian Power Minister Piyush Goyal and French Environment Minister Segolene Royal announced that the two nations will launch a programme to promote solar energy in developing countries. As well as demonstrating the good relations between France and India, it has the potential to put a serious amount of money into green energy. This programme will be essential in enabling countries to develop without relying on fossil fuels, and will also spur on technological advancement in the field of renewable energy.
This May elections will be held all over the UK and, although the media likes to play up the drama of election results, the candidates that are chosen will set a lot of the political agenda even in Britain’s highly centralised political system. UKIP will undoubtedly make advances due to the prevailing discourse being focussed on the upcoming referendum on the European Union, but there are also a series of left-wing movements that have gained popularity in the hope of taking a new brand of populist leftism to the electorate. It is the growth of these movements in Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland that I want to put a spotlight on with this piece.
Since the resignation of Pope Benedict XVI, the Catholic Church has been placed in a position which many Catholics are largely unfamiliar with. The Catholic Church has long spoken about the need to be compassionate to those less fortunate, they are Christians after all, but for many years has focussed on social issues. Considering that the Church’s leadership is comprised of exclusively celibate men it always seemed odd that the primary focus of the Church was the sexual habits of its members.
As a part of his party’s programme for government, Jamaican Prime Minister Andre Holness has announced that the country will seek to become a republic. Holness was keen to emphasise that Jamaica will maintain its links with the Commonwealth, but it would seem that the residual influence of Britain in other countries is finally declining. As a republican I welcome this news and I think that with the fanfare of the Queen’s 90th Birthday still in the forefront of people’s minds, I believe that more and more countries will start demanding their own heads of state.
After sustained pressure from trade unions and steel workers, Business Secretary Sajid Javid has offered to buy into Tata’s steel business in Britain. This is overwhelmingly good news as such a move would preserve thousands of people’s jobs and prevent Britain losing a key strategic asset. However its also important on an ideological level as it reveals that the appetite for socialist policies in still there in the wider population, and that the Tories don’t have any ideological bravery. This is an opportunity the Left and doing nothing about this ideological dimension will be a grave error.
Recently Elizabeth Windsor celebrated her 90th birthday and as a consequence the usual pro-monarchy pomp and ceremony was wheeled out. As I’ve said in the past I have no malice or hostility towards the individual members of the royal family, because they are so profoundly uninteresting that it would be difficult to do so, but criticism needs to become more vociferous. The thing that the Queen has always done is stay out of political affairs, both in terms of political commentary and even in casting a vote. Her son, Prince Charles, has not done that and a few days ago the correspondence between Charles and ministers was kept secret. This is unacceptable.