It is fitting, as the last post paid tribute to LWM’s founding member George Morran, that this one takes up a theme related to the work George has undertaken for many years. LWM co-founder Colin Hines recently wrote in response to Peter Wilby’s advice about creating:
“. . . a fairer Britain with a better balance between the returns to capital and labour . . . to build a common alternative to “the free market show” and to consider how the EU, currently a tool of international capital, can be turned into something better”.
“Site here to sell here” policies in every EU country, allied with “invest here to prosper here” constraints on cross-border money movements, would allow nation states to see off big business’s most potent threat – relocation.
Governments also need to be able to take back control of immigration in order to meet the democratic wishes of their people, to lessen pressure on social provision and to prevent the permanent loss of the brightest and the best from poorer EU countries.
Peter Wilby is right that no one country can protect its inhabitants from the ravages of open borders and that changes have to come at a European level. However, it is unreasonable to expect such courage from politicians alone. The politically active must get out of their issue-specific comfort zones – be they social policy, environmental protection or reducing inequality – and realise that their campaigns are rendered more difficult with open borders.
The protection and rebuilding of local economies and hence the re-establishment of local political control is the goal Europe must demand.