Join the Socialist Party Join us today!

Printable version Printable version

Facebook   Twitter

Socialist Case for Exit

Link to this page:

Posted on 20 June 2016 at 13:53 GMT

TUSC chair Dave Nellist, photo Paul Mattsson

TUSC chair Dave Nellist, photo Paul Mattsson   (Click to enlarge)

The media - and the Electoral Commission - must reflect on their role in creating a 'climate of hate', says TUSC

From a TUSC press release:

With EU referendum campaigning resumed, the Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition (TUSC) today appealed to broadcast media workers to consider the role that the organisations they work for have played in creating the climate of hate that formed the backdrop to the shocking and horrific murder of Labour MP Jo Cox last Thursday.

The Electoral Commission was also criticised by TUSC - a left-wing exit group - for its decision early in the EU campaign to give political authority to the reactionary Vote Leave organisation, led by Tory Brexiters Boris Johnson, Michael Gove et al, when it was under no legal obligation to grant 'official designation' status - and millions of pounds of public funds - to any campaign group at all.

Dave Nellist, the former Labour MP who is now the chair of TUSC, said:

"People are still in shock at the brutal murder of Jo Cox and, with campaigning now resuming for Thursday's ballot, must be hoping for a different kind of debate. But part of achieving that will be to understand how what has rightly been described as a 'climate of hate' has developed around the EU referendum.

"The primary responsibility lies with the pro-big business politicians on both sides of the EU debate, how they have framed the terms of the debate and the bigoted and inflammatory rhetoric that has been used by them and in the tabloid media.

"But we also need to look at the role of the broadcasting organisations, still the most powerful media, and official institutions like the Electoral Commission, who have gone along with and reinforced that framing".

The official narrative

Clive Heemskerk, TUSC's national election agent and coordinator of its EU exit campaign, said:

"Right from when the referendum was announced it was clear that the pro-Remain establishment wanted to create a narrative that all those who opposed the EU were one reactionary lump. It would be easier, they felt, to deal with the policy positions of the reactionary Leave campaigners, who as pro-big business and pro-austerity politicians themselves operate within the same political and economic framework as the Remain campaigners.

"This meant a concerted effort to bury the fact that there were alternative voices in the traditions of the late Tony Benn and Bob Crow - not just those in TUSC but in the wider working class movement - who opposed the EU from a completely different, anti-austerity, socialist and internationalist standpoint.

"The pro-Remain Guardian columnist Martin Kettle summed up the strategy when he wrote back in December, 'if voters come to see the Brexit option as a step towards a Nigel Farage universe, then the result this time could be much closer to 1975's two-to-one pro-EU outcome than currently seems possible' (18th December 2015).

"But the consequences of framing the debate in this way were all too predictable. It served to boost the legitimacy of the reactionary Leave politicians and their racist arguments in front of the millions of working class voters who are determined to vote against Cameron's hated government - and the capitalist establishment generally - for a range of reasons far wider and diverse than the single question on the referendum ballot paper.

"Of course, bolstering those who are now the backbone of the reactionary Leave campaigns didn't start with the EU referendum debate. Notoriously, Nigel Farage has been one of the most regular panellists on BBC's Question Time since 2009, well before UKIP had parliamentary representation. But their profile has been ramped up out of all proportion in the EU debate.

"This year, for example, the BBC awarded UKIP, with just one MP, three party political broadcasts outside elections (while giving none to the Green Party even though it also has one MP), while Farage was chosen as the 'spokesperson for Leave' in ITV's debate with David Cameron. Which senior figures in the media organisations took these decisions and how do they justify them?

The Electoral Commission's role

"One factor that no doubt will be used to excuse the broadcasters' promotion of the reactionary Brexiters was the decision of the Electoral Commission to choose them as the 'official' Leave campaign. But this did not have to happen.

"TUSC wrote to the Electoral Commission calling for them not to make any lead campaign designation for Leave and asking for a meeting to outline the case for this (see ). The legislation explicitly allowed the Commission not to designate a campaign organisation on one side or both.

"Our petition backing this call was signed by trade union officials, including national presidents and executive committee members, representing hundreds of thousands of trade unionists. The PCS civil servants union also wrote to the Electoral Commission with the same demand (see ).

"TUSC itself has been the sixth-biggest presence on ballot papers in elections for the last four years - we have polled over 350,000 votes since our formation in 2010 - and, for example, in Liverpool we have outpolled both the Conservatives and UKIP in the last two mayoral elections in what is Britain's eighth biggest city.

"But the unelected Commissioners peremptorily rejected this call - with no explanation - and even TUSC's request for a meeting to discuss our concerns. As a result of their decision the divisive messages of the reactionary Vote Leave group - their referendum broadcast blaming the NHS crisis on migration rather than underfunding and privatisation, the freepost leaflet etc - were subsidised by over 10m of public money.

"The Electoral Commissioners too should reflect on their contribution to how the EU referendum debate has developed".

Donate to the Socialist Party

Coronavirus crisis - Finance appeal

The coronavirus crisis has laid bare the class character of society in numerous ways. It is making clear to many that it is the working class that keeps society running, not the CEOs of major corporations.

The results of austerity have been graphically demonstrated as public services strain to cope with the crisis.

The government has now ripped up its 'austerity' mantra and turned to policies that not long ago were denounced as socialist. But after the corona crisis, it will try to make the working class pay for it, by trying to claw back what has been given.

  • The Socialist Party's material is more vital than ever, so we can continue to report from workers who are fighting for better health and safety measures, against layoffs, for adequate staffing levels, etc.
  • Our 'fighting coronavirus workers' charter', outlines a programme to combat the virus and protect workers' living conditions.
  • When the health crisis subsides, we must be ready for the stormy events ahead and the need to arm workers' movements with a socialist programme - one which puts the health and needs of humanity before the profits of a few.
Inevitably, during the crisis we have not been able to sell the Socialist and raise funds in the ways we normally would.
We therefore urgently appeal to all our viewers to donate to our special coronavirus appeal.

Please donate here.

All payments are made through a secure server.

My donation


Your message: 


Related links:


triangleWakefield Socialist Party: Splits in the EU

triangleBattered Tories face divisions and growing anger

triangleYork Socialist Party: EU splits and divisions grow over Covid-19 crisis

triangleAs coronavirus crisis intensifies, class antagonisms deepen

triangleGreece-Turkey border refugee crisis


triangleCapitalist press attacks Tory incompetence

triangleSupport the working-class press in 2020

triangleBirmingham home care strikers close to victory!

triangleSchool staff demand action on pay and testing at NEU conference


triangleTime to relaunch TUSC

triangleThe Socialist inbox

triangleNew twist in Derby TUSC election agent case


triangleMay ends in June! Boot out the Tories!

triangleTories facing electoral meltdown


triangleThe role of the Socialist during the corona crisis

Jo Cox:

triangleTotnes MP uses coffin controversy to distract from brutal NHS cuts


triangleSaving the music industry from pandemic and austerity

News and socialist analysis

News and socialist analysis



Tories' obesity plans - blaming individuals not the profit system



Capitalism's 'vaccine war' shows need for socialist cooperation


Labour Party

Labour payouts: unions must discuss political representation



NHS pay: 15% for all now



From first wave to second? Capitalism's Covid failures



What would socialist universities look like?



Huawei: what's behind Johnson's u-turn?



Fight for our livelihoods... Fight for our lives!



Saving the music industry from pandemic and austerity



Luton Council sunk by airport investment: fight for funding, not speculation!


The Socialist

Getting the Socialist over the summer



Fight for the NHS



Tories using pandemic to privatise NHS more


Them & Us

Them & Us



Nationalise Tata Steel to save jobs

triangleMore News and socialist analysis articles...

Join the Socialist Party
Subscribe to Socialist Party publications
Donate to the Socialist Party
Socialist Party Facebook page
Socialist Party on Twitter
Visit us on Youtube



Phone our national office on 020 8988 8777


Locate your nearest Socialist Party branch Text your name and postcode to 07761 818 206

Regional Socialist Party organisers:

Eastern: 079 8202 1969

East Mids: 077 3797 8057

London: 075 4018 9052

North East: 078 4114 4890

North West 079 5437 6096

South West: 077 5979 6478

Southern: 078 3368 1910

Wales: 079 3539 1947

West Mids: 024 7655 5620

Yorkshire: 077 0671 0041



Alphabetical listing

August 2020

July 2020

June 2020

May 2020

April 2020

March 2020

February 2020

January 2020