I sent the letter below in October 2017 to the Labour Party. In view of Jeremy Corbyns insistence in an interview today that he would press on with imposing brexit if labour won an election without referring back to the people first, I checked what I had written and decided to post it on my blog page. In fact most of my points stand, though I was wrong about one thing, a large majority of labour members and supporters want to remain and want an opportunity for a public vote on the matter. The level of anger I have seen today related to the guardian article below is worse than I have ever seen it. People who I have followed who have remained with labour defending the party working for the party are feeling completely let down today. The Labour Party must listen to them if it is not to make itself a minor footnote in the history books when they are written about the Brexit disaster.
Here is the article that prompted my post today
Here is the article that prompted my post today
My original letter
Dear Labour Party
I am sorry to say but for some time I have felt I cannot support the Labour Party by being a member and have therefore cancelled my direct debit. I will continue to support Labour campaigns on local issues and local candidates where appropriate but as a member I feel very constrained to express my opinions which it seems are at odds with a large portion of the current membership.
The contentious issue for me is Brexit. I am 100% against Brexit – I think it is the most damaging and dangerous political direction ever taken by a British Government in my lifetime and I feel disappointingly that most of the Labour Shadow Cabinet continue to take a very weak confusing and schizophrenic line towards Brexit. I understand in a way, Labour are trying to keep the support of hard brexiteers amongst labour voters and woo back UKIP voters and they want to honour the result – but frankly all members of a government including HM opposition have a primary duty to put the good of the country before ANYTHING ELSE INCLUDING THEIR OWN PARTY.
Leave won the EU referendum with a very small majority which in my view simply was not a big enough majority to warrant such a massive and disruptive and damaging change. In addition watching the government lurch through negotiations as all the realities unravel it is increasingly obvious to anybody with a modicum of sense and logic that leaving the EU is so incredibly complex and damaging that it serves the country very poorly to continue down this extremely damaging path or to support in any way the government on this policy.
Furthermore the long standing wholly unwarranted British hysteria about immigration which, it grieves me to say, has been spread not only on the right of politics but also amongst some Labour party voters, members and MPs has been hugely hurtful and harmful to EU citizens some of whom have been here for decades, since they were children. This is perhaps the worst aspect of Brexit because it was fought by its proponents primarily on anti-foreigner arguments. I actually joined the labour party in 2015 because I was extremely distressed at the growth of the anti-immigration narrative that was all over the press and TV and having always voted Labour I thought I could support them more directly in their principles that all citizens should be treated fairly including people who have settled here from other countries. I sense that this is not really what Labour is wholeheartedly behind nowadays and many are simply increasingly indifferent to the reality that members of our communities in effect are being treated as second class citizens and any deal that is done will change their current status as equal EU citizens to something less. I must be free to oppose this anti FOM narrative resolutely in the name of family and friends who may or have already been affected and in memory of my parents who came here in the sixties as foreign migrants and started a new life here. We, their children, have gone on to create employment and spend our working lives paying taxes and contributing to our local communities and contributing to the growth the economy. Every serious study has shown that the story sold to some parts of the electorate that EU27 citizens have been driving down wages is false and again it grieves me that some members of Labour Shadow Cabinet and MPs have on occasion actually publicly promoted this false argument in order to support giving up EU membership. The anti-immigration narrative plus the shambles of Brexit negotiations unfolding has also hugely damaged our standing in the eyes of our strategic partners overseas too and HM opposition should be firm in its opposition to this.
I run a business which since the 2008 crash has seen most of its strongest growth in sales throughout Europe – this has counterbalanced the poor growth we have seen in our UK markets in the same period. As a small business without the single market we will see significant damage to that income stream as our bureaucratic and export costs and complexities increase in whatever the new arrangements end up being. The best Brexit is no Brexit from the point of view of the wellbeing of our business and the security of the local people we employ whose livelihoods depend on us continuing to remain strong and viable.
Brexit overshadows everything else in these worrying times – no issues such as poor wage growth, housing or austerity can be addressed properly in a post Brexit UK as even just the costs of its negotiation and implementation will be enormous without even starting to take into account the long term economic damage to our industry and business.
After months of indecision from me about my labour membership and increasing disquiet at my personal position which is at odds with the Labour party and the disappointing lack of firm anti Brexit policy from the national party, I feel I must follow my principle. My money and time will be better spent not on political parties but specifically supporting grass roots/cross party Anti Brexit campaigns for the time being. My resignation is no personal reflection on individual members I have come across who have been in the main very nice people or indeed on Welsh Labour and the work they do in the Welsh Assembly, but I feel this is the right thing for me to do.
I wish The Labour Party the very best of luck in the future.
Maria del Pilar Gomez