The State Opening of Parliament and the Queen’s Speech are always lavish and exciting occasions, but the pomp and ceremony have masked a Government coming apart at the seams. The Tories are bitterly fighting amongst themselves. Whilst Cameron’s eye is on Europe, his potential successors are sizing up his job. A Tory Game of Thrones! The White Walkers are out to get him. Winter is coming. Before we pity this beleaguered Prime Minister, remember it’s his weakness that brought us to the brink of exit from Europe, an exit that would be disastrous for Britain.
A vote to leave will almost certainly mean another recession, higher prices, fewer jobs, more years of austerity and further cuts to struggling public services, upon which we all rely.
EU membership gives us access to half-a-billion people, the largest single market in the world. British companies can trade across Europe without paying tariffs or facing other barriers. We export more goods and services to Europe than anywhere else. Four million British jobs depend on it. We attract investment from overseas companies, because we are a gateway to the rest of the Europe.
There are many reasons for voting to stay in the EU. The rights we enjoy at work, such as rest periods and paid holiday, are underpinned by EU rules. If Johnson, Gove and the Tory Brexiters get their way, many hard-won rights will go.
Being in the EU makes us safer. Former heads of MI5 and MI6, former police chiefs and army generals have argued that by working with our closest neighbours, we are better able to tackle cross-border crime and terrorism. These challenges do not stop at the White Cliffs of Dover. Pulling up the drawbridge won’t help us resolve them.
Talking to people on Newham’s streets over recent weeks, I get a sense that a majority of Newham voters want to remain in the EU. This might be true across much of London, but let’s not be complacent. London is often different to the rest of the country. Please make sure you vote, because every vote will count.