David Beckham. Photo: Richard Young / REX / Shutterstock
Yet another trade unionist speaks out for Remain
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…
— TradesUnionCongress (@The_TUC) June 21, 2016