From the TUC

Yet another trade unionist speaks out for Remain

21 Jun 2016, By

Today, a long-time member of one of the TUC’s affiliated unions spoke out in favour of a Remain vote in Thursday’s referendum. The union is the Professional Footballers’ Association (which is neutral on the vote), and the long-time member, now retired, is David Beckham. Twitter went mad, he has been all over the media, and the Leave campaign countered with Sol Campbell, once talked of as a potential Tory candidate for Mayor of London.

David is not the only trade unionist to speak out for staying in the EU, even if he’s the most famous. We’ve heard from union activists around the country and across industries. Unite member Stuart has talked about the impact Brexit would have on the car industry he works for. UNISON activist Angie has told us what she fears would happen to the NHS. Thankfully they haven’t faced the wrath of the Leave campaign, as David Beckham has: despite rejecting ‘experts’ advising how people should vote, many Leave tweeters have attacked his intervention because … he’s not an expert!

Nor have the trade unionists we’ve spoken to (like USDAW member Tracey, who’s worried about the future of maternity and parental rights) had their partners’ twenty year old comments dredged up to suggest that they are split on the question. Victoria Beckham has had to make it absolutely clear that she is on the same side as her husband. Bit of an own goal for Leave there: they started the day with one cultural icon backing Remain and are ending it with two.

But what David Beckham actually said is what’s important. He didn’t claim to be an expert on EU constitutional arrangements, nor did he predict the effect of Brexit on the exchange rate or on trade in manufacturing. He’s an expert footballer, so what he talked about was football, and his experience of playing in Europe and with some of Europe’s top players.

And he talked about his children, and why that made him want the Britain he is proud of to stay part of the European Union. He said:

“We live in a vibrant and connected world where together as a people we are strong. For our children and their children we should be facing the problems of the world together and not alone. For these reasons I am voting to Remain.”

Some Leave supporters say he can’t voice an opinion – a bit of a trend among Leave supporters – because he lives abroad. That’s the Leave campaign led by former Chancellor Nigel Lawson, who lives in France…

But just like Kevin and Maurice, David spoke about what he thinks is best for him, his family and his country. And it’s to remain in the European Union.

3 Responses to Yet another trade unionist speaks out for Remain

  1. John
    Jun 22nd 2016, 3:50 am

    Thankyou for this uplifting article Owen Tudor with an excellent quote from David Beckham. I have been observing from afar the many many articles on should or should not the UK stay in the EU. Since 1973 I have always been & will always be (for the rest of my retirement years) a pro European supporter. Initially that support was for a European defence against the then Russian Communist threat. (& now with the present situation that threat has still has not gone away).

    I just cannot understand the mentality of the right wing Tories who for me are still ‘living’ in the age of Rule Britannia! The world has significantly changed, the UK (& indeed western Europe) are now multi cultural societies. Let us please move forward & not backwards!

    I can understand the anxiety of those working people who are ‘frightened’ as regards their jobs, or trying desparately to find work; the almost breaking point of overstretched state schools, NHS meltdown, lack of housing, the migration crisis as a result of ongoing wars, change in local culture, etc; BUT do they really think that Independent UK Ltd will really solve the present economic & social upheaval. As the TUC have been saying, workers rights will be much more at risk out of the EU. The UK has to be part of the EU team, not an isolated country with individualism at risk of becoming even more paramount at work & in society.

    The teaching of foreign languages, history, culture now needs to become ever more important in state schools, starting in all primaries. Only when full education is just that (including nightschool), will the blinkered vision of those europhobes be seen to be wrong.

  2. Allen Scanlan
    Jun 22nd 2016, 8:43 am

    He doesn’t pretend to be an expert but I do, you see I live in the real world, I was on of the 100s of thousands who have lost there decent jobs working at the big distribution centres up & down the country, to have them closed down & new ones built employing only foreign agency worker on minimum wage & what did the unions do for me, a lifetime labour voter & trade union member, SWEET NOTHING. I don’t need him telling me how to vore

  3. Owen Tudor

    Owen Tudor
    Jun 22nd 2016, 11:11 pm

    Thanks for your comments John, as ever. Sorry I so rarely reply!

    Allen, we have indeed been protesting at the way that unscrupulous employers have used agency workers to displace existing workforces and undermine terms and conditions. I’m sorry about what happened to you and that you don’t feel your union helped. But the answer is not to leave the EU and lose all the protections we currently have as a result, but to put in place stronger rules against that behaviour.