Why a strong Labour voice in the EU is absolutely vital

Anneliese Dodds, pictured at Carfax in Oxford, which bucked the UKIP trend in the recent European elections

Anneliese Dodds, pictured at Carfax in Oxford, which bucked the UKIP trend in the recent European elections

First published in News

FIRST of all, I would like to thank all those people who voted Labour in the recent elections in Oxford.

Labour did well in this city, and despite wall-to-wall Farage-mania in the national media, UKIP came a desultory third in Oxford. It is worth reflecting on why our city – like many others in the South East – bucked the trend and overwhelmingly supported Labour in the European elections.

First, Labour was clear that while we support being represented in Europe, we also need the EU to change.

Many Oxford residents’ jobs depend on our European links, whether we’re talking about workers at BMW in Cowley, apprentices at the Fusion facility in Culham, or teachers at our language schools. But the EU is not just important because of the jobs which depend on the European free-trade area.

From my many discussions on the doorstep with neighbours and other Oxford residents, many feel very strongly that we can’t deal with modern challenges like climate change, internet crime, human trafficking or competition from low-wage countries, without co-operating within Europe.

However, I think most people in Oxford who voted Labour were not voting for the European status quo.

Unfortunately the EU has been controlled by right-wing parties for the last few years. We can see the impact of that everywhere, from food banks in our own city to soup kitchens in Athens.

Cutting public spending too far and too fast has made the economic crisis worse, nowhere more than in the UK.

Despite our coalition Government´s rhetoric, one in five young unemployed people in Europe are British – a shameful statistic. Labour is part of the Socialist and Democrat group in the European Parliament, which wants to see real change in Europe.

Our top priority is to see real, sustainable economic growth and more high-quality, decently-paid jobs.

This is rather than zero-hours contracts and forced self-employment that – combined with the high cost of housing here – are pushing many working Oxford people into poverty.

Above all, we have to tackle the disgrace of youth unemployment. Labour in the European Parliament pushed for the ‘Youth Employment Guarantee,’ which provides training or job opportunities to young people out of work.

The British coalition Government is the only government out of all 28 European countries that refuses to take part in the guarantee, for ideological reasons.

As a result, our young people have to wait far longer to get help than other European young people. Labour in Europe also wants to cut out unfair competition in the labour market. We are determined to tighten up rules that let agencies employ foreign workers on lower pay than British workers – measures which the UK coalition Government shamefully lobbied against.

Above all, though, we want an EU that is accountable, and where MEPs are visible and accessible. Although I have only been officially inaugurated now at the start of July, I’m looking forward to having an office set up here in Oxford soon, and engaging with local people as much as possible. It only takes a few hours between saying goodbye to my family and getting on my bike in Rose Hill, to sitting in the parliament in Brussels – but sometimes they seem like separate worlds.

Far too many MEPs in the past – particularly those from ‘Eurosceptic’ parties like UKIP – have been elected and then just disappear for the next few years until election time comes round again. I want Oxford residents to know that they will always have a voice in Europe through their Labour MEP for the South East.

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Comments (2)

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2:20pm Thu 3 Jul 14

Andrew:Oxford says...

Labour keep going on about zero hour contracts.

In practice though, they are incredibly useful. It means that the employer and employee don't have to waste time with re-doing DBS (CRB checks) when they work time-to-time for the same employer - a whole lot less HR admin too.

I have a twelve-hour contract. A major UK co pays me for one hour per month to be available - whether I'm needed or not. It's great for a second job.

The really, really important thing in a city like Oxford is that NHS Professionals - the internal NHS temping agency works on zero-hour contracts. So skilled NHS staff with a standard contract can easily do additional hours without the cost of going to external private agencies.

Just make sure you aren't unwell on the day Labour ban the zero-hour contract - I suspect the result would cause greater damage to the NHS than anything Labour try to blame on the Conservatives.
Labour keep going on about zero hour contracts. In practice though, they are incredibly useful. It means that the employer and employee don't have to waste time with re-doing DBS (CRB checks) when they work time-to-time for the same employer - a whole lot less HR admin too. I have a twelve-hour contract. A major UK co pays me for one hour per month to be available - whether I'm needed or not. It's great for a second job. The really, really important thing in a city like Oxford is that NHS Professionals - the internal NHS temping agency works on zero-hour contracts. So skilled NHS staff with a standard contract can easily do additional hours without the cost of going to external private agencies. Just make sure you aren't unwell on the day Labour ban the zero-hour contract - I suspect the result would cause greater damage to the NHS than anything Labour try to blame on the Conservatives. Andrew:Oxford
  • Score: 2

6:24pm Thu 3 Jul 14

Jameslouis says...

This woman is. Complete and utter idiot, we have already seen what has happened whine the Joke Labour Party forced an illegal policy upon the public, namely open door immigration, murders cannot be sent back to there own country, rapists, terrorists, jobs being taken by immigrants over crowded hospitals, schools, what a complete idiot this woman is thank god these politically correct loonies are not in power, what a brainless ignorant idiot, if you are going to make comments learn what's going on in the world first,there is no Democracy in this country as joke Labour did not have a referendum before they adopted this open door immigration policy, like Nazis they forced it upon the UK. I thought hitler had died. The trouble is Oxford is full of these politically correct uneducated, ignorant anti English freaks
This woman is. Complete and utter idiot, we have already seen what has happened whine the Joke Labour Party forced an illegal policy upon the public, namely open door immigration, murders cannot be sent back to there own country, rapists, terrorists, jobs being taken by immigrants over crowded hospitals, schools, what a complete idiot this woman is thank god these politically correct loonies are not in power, what a brainless ignorant idiot, if you are going to make comments learn what's going on in the world first,there is no Democracy in this country as joke Labour did not have a referendum before they adopted this open door immigration policy, like Nazis they forced it upon the UK. I thought hitler had died. The trouble is Oxford is full of these politically correct uneducated, ignorant anti English freaks Jameslouis
  • Score: 1

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