‘Panama Papers’ scandal shows why UKIP & Tory EU outers can’t be the voice of Leave

DNupdated

Former Labour MP and Socialist councillor Dave Nellist

The Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition (TUSC), one of three EU exit organisations vying for recognition from the Electoral Commission to be the official Leave campaign, today called on the Commission not to award official status to any group that has received funding from individuals or companies named in the ‘Panama Papers’.

Last week TUSC submitted what the BBC called a ‘surprise bid’ to be the designated Leave campaign in June’s EU referendum (click here for BBC article) against the Tory and UKIP dominated exit campaigns, Vote Leave and Grassroots Out.

Dave Nellist, a former backbench colleague of Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, who is now the chair of TUSC, said:

“Designation as the official Leave campaign will give political authority to the group chosen, access to the media including TV broadcasts, and, not least, substantial public funding – £13 million for starters for a freepost mailing.

“It would be an outrage if taxpayers’ money went to organisations whose funders do everything to avoid paying tax!

“Ex-Tory donor and now UKIP member Aaron Banks, for example, one of the key funders of Grassroots Out, has been named in today’s Guardian as ‘appear[ing] as the shareholder of a British Virgin Islands company called PRI Holdings Limited’, with shares from PRI also reported as having been transferred to Elizabeth Bilney, the chief executive of Leave.EU. Vote Leave is also not short of wealthy business backers.

“At the very least the Electoral Commission should do a proper audit of the business backers of Grassroots Out and Vote Leave before they make their designation decision, even if that means disrupting the EU referendum timetable.

“Legally the Electoral Commission has to be satisfied that the campaign they choose ‘adequately represents’ those supporting a particular outcome in the referendum. Organisations funded by tainted money certainly wouldn’t meet that test.

“Alternatively, they can designate TUSC as the lead campaign for Leave.

“The Panama papers controversy, showing how the elite have a common interest in bending the rules for themselves, is another example of why either of the reactionary Leave campaigns will be too easily dealt with by the equally big business-dominated ‘Britain Stronger in Europe’ Remain campaign, because they all operate within the same economic, political – and tax-avoiding – framework.

“TUSC, on the other hand, has a completely different standpoint and would provide an anti-austerity, anti-racist and socialist alternative to the EU that would offer a far greater challenge to the Remain campaign than Vote Leave or Grassroots Out ever could”.

Last Friday TUSC issued a challenge to Vote Leave and Grassroots Out for a public debate: ‘Who should be the voice of Leave? Trade unionists and socialists – or bankers, Tories and ex-Tories?’ Only now it should be, ‘Trade unionists and socialists – or bankers, Tories and tax avoiders’.

As Russell Brand prepares to take on Farage…time to build the fight for socialist revolution

As Russell Brand prepares to take on Farage…time to build the fight for socialist revolution!

Brand

Brand

Many people across the UK are waiting in eager anticipation for the battle between Russell Brand and Nigel Farage on Thursday night’s BBC Question Time programme (11 December).

Over the recent period Russell Brand has been an outspoken critic of austerity and the political establishment where all three parties, Tory, Labour and Lib Dem, believe ordinary people should pay for the crisis. The 99% suffer at the hands of global capitalism and the 1% at the top continue to prosper. Brand’s series of shows, ‘The Trews’, have become popular as an expression of anger against the system, while his book, simply titled ‘Revolution’, captures the growing mood for change in society.

Meanwhile Farage has falsely painted himself as an opponent of the same political establishment, which is rich considering he is of true right-wing banking stock and would carry out even worse austerity given half the chance. UKIP, despite how it portrays itself, is very much part of the capitalist system, and part of the problem. For example, its two new MPs were recruited from the Conservative Party!

Fire minister Penny Mordaunt is also on the Question Time panel; three days after the latest firefighters’ strike in defence of pensions see the following footage of the demonstration in Buckinghamshire to defend sacked firefighter Ricky Matthews.

However the debate pans out on Thursday night, the Socialist Party is dedicated to fighting for revolutionary change and putting working people in control. There are sufficient resources in Britain and worldwide for us all to lead much better and fulfilled lives but under the status quo it is in fact the outmoded capitalist system which is holding us back.

If you agree with Russell’s call for a revolution and want to fight for socialism we need to make sure it is not just a pipe dream but that collectively we make it a reality.

The time to act is now – The Revolution needs you! Join us in the Socialist Party and our sister parties worldwide in 45 countries as part of the Committee for a Workers’ International, and let us make it happen!

If you are interested in joining with us to build a revolutionary socialist force in Britain and across the globe fill in the form below and we will be in touch.

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