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As millions go to the polls to vote in the European elections today, scepticism of the European Union is at an all time high.
NO2EU North West candidate, George Waterhouse explains why he believes withdrawal from the EU is in the best interest of workers.
Why are you standing for NO2EU?
I’m standing for NO2EU because I am sick and tired of the neo-liberal one way street that is enforced as part of the conditions of membership of the European Union. This means privatisation, austerity and the destruction of effective trade unionism. Being in the EU removes our national sovereignty and prevents us from pursuing the economic policies we want to. Neo-liberalism has been a disaster. The rich have got richer and the poor have got poorer.
What are your aims by standing on this platform?
We want to strengthen our publicly owned services and renationalise that which has been privatised. We want the state to have the freedom to intervene and invest in British manufacturing. These are illegal policies if you are a member of the EU.
What distinguishes NO2EU from other left parties like TUSC, the Greens and Labour?
Unlike other left-wing parties we are anti-EU and want a referendum. Other parties profess a wish to reform the EU-but how can this be achieved? What structures are there by which we can reform it? The EU was, is and forever will be a neo-liberal bosses organisation dedicated to the free movement of goods, capital and labour. It sees public services, nationalised industry, the welfare state and effective trade unions as a block on this, and wants to destroy them. Yet the EU is so corrupt, so undemocratic that it will forever be this way.
NO2EU has been accused on nationalism – what do you say that?
NO2EU wants out of the EU because of democracy, we want our government to have the power to introduce popular policies, such as the re-nationalisation of transport, energy and utilities-that are outlawed by the terms of EU membership. That is not nationalism that is common sense.
How are you different to UKIP?
UKIP wants out because it hates foreigners, we want out because we think the race to the bottom promotes hatred of foreigners.
We want to be part of Europe, we want to have links with Europe, but a Europe of independent, sovereign states with the freedom to build equal and happy societies, not the beggar my neighbour capitalism that the EU promotes. In fact this view is shared by countless brothers and sister across Europe, trade unionists and campaigners who we have stood together with outside the gates of the EU parliament in Brussels, standing against EU enforced austerity and privatisation.
How likely would a yes vote be in an EU referendum?
Polls currently suggest that the British public favour withdrawal, but you can be assured that, like the 1975 referendum, all the resources of international capitalism would be poured into the campaign to keep us in their favoured body that does so much to promote the interests of the bankers over the people in general.