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EU Referendum: Webchat with Alan Johnson MP, Tuesday 24 May at 12.30pm

(96 Posts)
BojanaMumsnet (MNHQ) Fri 20-May-16 15:21:45

Hello

We’re very pleased to announce a webchat with Alan Johnson MP on Tuesday 24 May at 12.30pm. Alan is the Chair of the official ‘Labour In for Britain’ campaign, aiming to persuade voters to keep the UK in the EU.

Alan entered Parliament as Labour MP for Hull West and Hessle in 1997 and filled a wide variety of cabinet positions in both the Blair and Brown governments, including Health Secretary, Home Secretary and Education Secretary. He has also published two award-winning memoirs, ‘This Boy’ and ‘Please Mr Postman’.

Please do join the chat on Tuesday, or if you can’t make it, please leave a question here in advance. And do bear in mind the webchat guidelines - one question each only (follow-ups allowed if there’s time) and please do be polite.

The EU referendum will be held on 23 June (and yes, we are doing our utmost to line up some ‘Out’ campaigners for webchats too!)

Thanks
MNHQ

changeznameza Fri 20-May-16 17:46:03

Omg can you just tell him I love him grin

And I will be voting IN and I would like to thank him for being the best politician! Not to mention the most handsome. Can't wait for the webchat

DurhamDurham Fri 20-May-16 18:14:43

Oh I've always liked Alan smile
He just seems so genuine and human......with a lovely air about him.......and twinkly eyes........but anyway, I digress grin

WhirlwindHugs Fri 20-May-16 18:49:05

I'vebeen enjoying the labour in campaign, really heartening to see so many unions etc supporting unity in Europe.

Question: do you find it frustrating when you debate an issue with someone and they don't listen to what you've said but just repeat/rephrase their point of view? How would you respond in that situation?

SpringingIntoAction Fri 20-May-16 19:23:04

Hello Alan

Why is labour supporting a campaign that is funded in part by Goldman Sachs, JO Morgan, Citigroup, hedge funds and big corporations who don't seem to be the natural allies of the working man or Left-wing voters in general?

howtorebuild Fri 20-May-16 19:47:59

I would have loved Alan to have run for Labour leader.

Alan, during canvassing for Labour at the local elections, our members are split on the EU. Some were not keen to to tell me why. It turned out they were scared. There were genuine concerns about terrorism and mostly about competition for low paid and low skilled employment leaving them in hardship. Regardless of the EU outcome, I believe we will remain, the party really needs to address this.

The clash isn't about racism, it's about cultural clash issues (for example my Polish neighbours didn't issue a party wall notice or agreement and worked 7 days a week for months 8am to 10pm, not nice in a semi when they chisel off every piece of plaster in the house and it effects your health) and competition.

I had to work hard with Google translate to help them understand about a dozen incidents in 9 months of their environmental nuisances, criminal and civil illegal activity. Had I wanted to I could have got them in a lot of trouble, instead I helped them understand the law. My neighbours are nice people, they were unprepared for a different culture and laws.

There have been tears in our CLP over anti polish racist graffiti. I really wish there was something in place for people to understand the cultural and legal differences when the move to another country and to deal with overcrowding in houses. It would help everyone on a personal level and reduce public service pressure.

I will probably be called racist now, for recounting my experience, if so fair enough you have your opinion.

Limer Sat 21-May-16 00:10:54

I have family in Hull and think very highly of Alan Johnson. I've read both his memoir books.

Sadly I'll be working when the web chat is live, but I'd like to ask Alan how the Labour party can support Remain? Thousands of Brits are thrown into the underclass scrapheap because EU migrants are prepared to accept lower wages and worse working conditions. Alan's book "Please Mr Postman" has chapter after (endless) chapter about union negotiations he's made and won, to improve working conditions for UK postmen back in the Seventies - but now he's prepared to chuck all that away?

Alan went on strike to win better working conditions for postmen. Nowadays, anyone going on strike (or even admitting to belonging to a trade union) would be dismissed and replaced without an eyelid being batted. And the Labour party is behind this? Surely they realise that if labour is unlimited, the bosses are laughing all the way to the bank?

AnnaForbes Sat 21-May-16 00:40:49

Alan, you accuse Brexiters of demeaning the Referendum debate by throwing threats and ridiculous terms around. Do you not think the remain campaign's Project Fear with its endless array of amorphous scare stories about has been more demeaning, not only on this issue but for political debate in general?

ipsogenix Sat 21-May-16 07:46:51

I'm an (Scottish) economic migrant living in England. I've give my eye teeth to go home and live near family. Please can you ask Alan why the UK and EU governments are not doing more to make employment opportunities in places other than the south of England? There are too many of us here, and we do put more pressure on the NHS, schools and houses. Well I do anyway.

lostindevon Sat 21-May-16 10:01:53

Place marking

OTheHugeManatee Sat 21-May-16 15:57:29

Alan, how can you support the EU when you have seen the devastation its austerity-obsessed and inhuman policies are wreaking throughout the southern Med? How can you believe the EU's interests are aligned with those of ordinary working people when its institutions magnify the voices of bankers and corporate lobbyists and intentionally marginalise those of ordinary people by chipping away at democratic accountability?

BornFreeButinEUchains Sat 21-May-16 19:22:49

www.spectator.co.uk/2016/02/jeremy-corbyn-is-the-out-campaigns-secret-weapon/

"The ‘out’ campaign offers a simple explanation for the left’s lethargy: in their hearts Corbyn, Unite and the rest do not want us to stay in the EU. As one Vote Leave spokesman said, ‘It’s extremely sad to see that Jeremy, who is for all his faults a conviction politician and a lifelong opponent of the EU, has been gagged by the clapped-out Blairites rejected in the Labour leadership contest."

SpringingIntoAction Sat 21-May-16 19:40:25

Corbyn noticeably says '*The Labour* position is to REMAIN. He never says I (Corbyn) recommend REMAIN.

Perhaps he has been gagged by the Blairites, but he's stupid if he has allowed this.

Party popularity rises and falls - one day the SNP support will decline, one day (soon) the Tory support will drastically decline and Labour may find themselves electable again - but an election victory would then be pointless as the EU would have eroded the power of the UK government to that of a Parish Council (a time Ken Clarke famously said he looked forward to).

MrsWembley Sat 21-May-16 19:42:15

Placemarking really, as I'm still undecided, and it would be very useful to hear a Labour PoV for remaining, especially in light of the earlier comments about the flooding of the jobs market with cheap labour and the rush of Big Business to clamour for Staying In...

BtW, Alan, I'm not a Labour voter, never will be, but I'm very open to hear your thoughts. You've always struck me as Not An Idiot and are therefore someone I will happily consider the views of.

BritBrit Sun 22-May-16 05:14:55

Perhaps someone could ask him why they keep saying leaving the EU would end worker rights (a lie) when most of those rights predate the UK joining the EU e.g Holiday Pay 1938, Equal Pay 1970 & why Labour would not continue these rights after Brexit

A4Document Sun 22-May-16 11:18:20

Is Britain capable of being a great country without the EU?

Littleconfettiblue Mon 23-May-16 10:58:35

What are the consequences for Jeremy Corbyn's leadership the outcome of the referendum is to leave the EU?

I don't want him to leave!

Dancinghorse5 Mon 23-May-16 14:17:32

I have been seriously put off voting for the remain side because of the ridiculous " over the top " claims of Armageddon if we should have the temerity to vote to leave . PLEASE Cameron , don't treat us like idiots !

macska Mon 23-May-16 21:40:22

How can Cameron be an effective leader of the Remain campaign? He's spent most of the last six years telling us how the EU is in need of reform, whilst failing to clear up the common misconceptions about "EU scroungers" and such like.

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Vote UK Forum vote-2012.proboards.com/

romanrainsalot Mon 23-May-16 21:58:37

I'm with Dancinghorse5 on this one. I am sick of the doooooom message from Cameron & co. It gets more ridiculous by the day. The price of broccoli will quadruple if we leave EU!

Dear Alan

I'd like to hear some of the positive things that could happen if we remain in the EU - what are the upcoming issues the EU will be debating that could make a difference to our lives?

ginghambox Mon 23-May-16 23:53:05

Alan you are one of the very few Labour politicians I have any time for but can you tell me the date of the plague of locusts after Brexit so I don't need to put the washing out.

DoctorTwo Tue 24-May-16 04:39:52

Hello Alan, how lovely of you to speak to us. I see that Cameron and George 'The Gidiot' Osborne are warning of a "year long recession of our own making" if we leave the EU. Would a short period of economic turmoil be preferable to a permanent state of recession such as is being forced on Greece, Spain, Portugal, Italy, France, Ireland etc by EU mandated austerity and the insistence of the banking sector that we pay for their criminal behavior mistakes?

sandgrown Tue 24-May-16 07:53:29

Hello Alan . Can I first say how much I enjoyed your books. If we vote to stay in the EU will politicians still fight for concessions for Britain? I think many people are worried about the loss of control and that as the EU increases in size it will be harder for Britain to have any influence. If we believe what is written in the media many more migrants will be heading for Britain. If that is true what is it that we have here that is so special and should we fight to protect it ?

Chippednailvarnishing Tue 24-May-16 09:21:11

Hi Alan,
I’m very torn on the EU question as the majority of people where I live are employed in Financial Services, which will no doubt suffer if we choose to leave.

However given the state of certain economies in the EU such as Spain and Portugal, how can we carry on being members of the EU but also ensure that we aren’t going to have to bail other failing economies out in the future?

user1464038319 Tue 24-May-16 11:20:54

As an EU lawyer I experience the EU directives and debate daily. The EU is currently moving to remove zero rating of VAT across all EU states. The UK enjoys the highest number of zero rated goods and services including most FOOD STUFFS, CHILDREN'S CLOTHES, BOOKS. At a time when we are faced with communities having to resort to food banks because they can't afford to buy food, when we are trying to increase literacy among children can you justify adding 20% VAT to FOOD, CHILDREN'S CLOTHES, & BOOKS? Frankly this is just one of the reasons despite being an EU lawyer I will be voting to leave - I care more for my people than my job shame our politicians don't think the same way.

MegCleary Tue 24-May-16 11:40:16

Staunch in voter here. I am so disappointed in the level of debate and scaremongering on both sides. Is there any way he can think of to raise the level of debate?

Janefromdowntheroad Tue 24-May-16 11:46:52

Hi Alan

Anecdotally both in real life and online there seems to have been a rise in first time voters registering for this vote. People who previously have never had an interest in voting.

There is evidence to show that turnout is lower amongst the working class than any other social class.

Given they are more likely to vote for Brexit why do you think this vote had galvanised them to register for this vote?

BornFreeButinEUchains Tue 24-May-16 12:15:20

Can you tell us what the EU will look like in ten years time, with Turkey - and countries like Albania in the club.

Do you feel this will be a beneficial contribution to the UK and its citizens?
How do you think our services, will cope?

Do you think the last Labour government acted in the best interests of its citizens and if so, how can you explain why the poor white male is was at the bottom of the social heap?

IamAnIAMSgirl Tue 24-May-16 12:21:10

Place marking!

confuugled1 Tue 24-May-16 12:22:27

I'm an undecided voter - mostly because I believe that we're being put into a Lose:Lose situation, whichever way the vote goes sad Which is a shame because I love going to Europe, and love the idea of close European ties.

However, the EU of today and the future is very different from the original EC that we voted to join so many years ago - and not all of it for the better. The European Parliament seems to be a law unto itself that cares only for itself and wants to make everybody and everything in Europe identical, rather than seeing that differences are not necessarily wrong, just different, and by imposing one way of doing something on everybody in the EU will work for some countries and not for others, rather than finding a solution that works for everyone.

I guess my ramblings (sorry!) are leading me to the question of why should I vote for Remain rather than Brexit given that neither of them seem to give a good deal to the United Kingdom? I get why it's important and that there's a lot riding on it for everybody involved - but it seems very difficult to find unbiased reporting, nobody can know what will happen afterwards either way yet seem to be stating what will happen with confidence. The whole thing leaves me feeling scared and vulnerable.

AlanJohnsonMP Tue 24-May-16 12:26:23

test

AlanJohnsonMP Tue 24-May-16 12:28:32

Hello,

Great to be back at Mumsnet after an eight year absence, during which I've grown older and Mumsnet has, deservedly, got bigger. I have my answer prepared to the question, what's your favourite biscuit - I just need someone to ask!

AlanJohnsonMP Tue 24-May-16 12:29:20

ginghambox

Alan you are one of the very few Labour politicians I have any time for but can you tell me the date of the plague of locusts after Brexit so I don't need to put the washing out.

Hi ginghambox,

I can confidently reveal the date of the plague of locusts is 24th of June if we vote to leave - in which case, the plan is to grant locusts free movement, anywhere in the EU.

Janefromdowntheroad Tue 24-May-16 12:30:03

Bet it's a Lotus

Chickenbrain2009 Tue 24-May-16 12:31:24

I would like to ask Alan how, as a Socialist , he can justify staying in the EU when it is so corrupt and is run for the benefit of big business rather than the people. The EU is a source of misery and unemployment for millions, particularly the young in Southern Europe. It seems to me that no true Socialist can support it.

CFSKate Tue 24-May-16 12:33:58

I also am undecided and feeling scared.
My worries about remaining,
Too much immigration - I don't want to build all over the countryside to house whoever wants to come here. Quality of life/environment matters.
I read you can't have open borders and a welfare state - I am disabled and need the welfare state.
I read the EU is not democratic and that decisions are made by people that we didn't vote for, and the people we did vote for, i.e. MPs/MEPs don't have so much say. People fight to get the vote, why would we give up its power?

PirateSmile Tue 24-May-16 12:34:53

Hi Alan. Good to have you here.

My question relates to the fact that I fear large swathes of working-class people will vote out as they appear to be fearful of immigration and are moving further to the right. Why is that? How have the Labour party contributed to this happening? Is it because Labour are increasingly London-Centric career politicians (in the Milliband mould)?

ThroughThickAndThin01 Tue 24-May-16 12:36:24

Good question, Pirate.

AlanJohnsonMP Tue 24-May-16 12:36:29

romanrainsalot

I'm with Dancinghorse5 on this one. I am sick of the doooooom message from Cameron & co. It gets more ridiculous by the day. The price of broccoli will quadruple if we leave EU!

Dear Alan

I'd like to hear some of the positive things that could happen if we remain in the EU - what are the upcoming issues the EU will be debating that could make a difference to our lives?

Hi,

There are lots of positives about remaining including continuing access to the biggest commercial market in the world, with no tariffs, or no tariff barriers.

If we compete in the single market in services, which makes up 80% of our economy, it will yield much more prosperity and many more jobs. We should also, in doing this, include digital services.

On digital gaming, for instance, we are second in the world, behind the US.

There are many more aspects of the social dimension of Europe, which we should tackle, including the ability of some companies to use a loophole in the Agency Workers Directive to undercut the going rate in sectors such as construction. That is within the gift of the member states and we have plenty of allies willing to work with us to deal with this.

Primarily, the EU is about free speech, democracy and the rule of law. It won the Nobel Peace Prize in 2012 because of its role in promoting those very important concepts.

And that should remain at the heart of everything the EU does.

Janefromdowntheroad Tue 24-May-16 12:36:54

Pirate, yes that's what I was sort of asking. I knew lots of working class people who have never even registered to vote who are actively campaigning for Brexit.

Why do you think this is Alan?

PirateSmile Tue 24-May-16 12:37:46

Thanks ThroughThickandThin01

Janefromdowntheroad Tue 24-May-16 12:39:30

I thought the UK was about democracy, free speech and the rule of law. How can an unelected group of people proposing legislation be democratic?

ThroughThickAndThin01 Tue 24-May-16 12:43:03

The UK is about free speech, democracy and the rule of law. Why would we expect any less from the EU? It's fundamental, not a selling point.

AlanJohnsonMP Tue 24-May-16 12:45:30

sandgrown

Hello Alan . Can I first say how much I enjoyed your books. If we vote to stay in the EU will politicians still fight for concessions for Britain? I think many people are worried about the loss of control and that as the EU increases in size it will be harder for Britain to have any influence. If we believe what is written in the media many more migrants will be heading for Britain. If that is true what is it that we have here that is so special and should we fight to protect it ?

Glad you enjoyed the books! I fear there is a fundamental misunderstanding, both about the way the EU works and the powers that it has.

Essentially, we have ceded control on trade competition policy, customs and the preservation of fish stocks.

Everything else, are matters either where we are in total control or we agree that by working together with others, we can have a beneficial outcome. Agriculture is a good example, as is the environment. We do cede some sovereignty to Brussels, just as we do to the UN, the WTO, the IMF etc.

But I agree with Barack Obama, it doesn't modify Britain's voice - it amplifies it. That's particularly true in respect of Article 6 of the Treaty of Rome, that commits all Member States to the principles of freedom of speech, democracy and the rule of law, which are very much although not exclusively, British principles. As for the reports of more migrants heading for Britain, I think we need to be working with our partners in Europe to resolve these problems which will not go away if Britain leaves the EU. Indeed, we'd be worse off in respect of migrants from outside the EU because at the moment we're part of the Dublin Accord, which means between 1 and 2 thousand asylum seekers are returned to the first country they arrive in, in accordance with this important EU agreement.

We are outside Schengen which means nobody enters this country without having their passport checked and we reject those whose criminal record or our suspicion that they may be engaged in criminal activity means that they shouldn't be allowed to enter the country. Thanks to our EU membership we have also effectively moved our border from Dover to Calais, an agreement which is unlikely to survive Brexit.

As for Turkey, in 30 years only one of the 36 chapters that have to be closed in negotiations to join the EU has been completed. And serious problems exist both with human rights in Turkey and their refusal to recognise Cyprus as a legitimate country.

Turkey will not be joining the EU any time soon and Britain, along with every other Member State has an absolute veto over any countries seeking to join.

Ganma1 Tue 24-May-16 12:45:56

Hi Alan
We've been told by the Bremainers that house prices could fall by 10% if we leave the EU. I wish it were true as it would be the biggest incentive for young people to vote Leave; my sons have no prospect of ever saving enough money to put a deposit on a house, they are "generation rent". House supply to demand is going to get worse as immigration continues to soar. Doesn't that mean ever rising prices?

Chickenbrain2009 Tue 24-May-16 12:47:51

I am very disappointed, so far Alan seems to be avoiding answering many of the questions. Its no good just answering questions if they are not probing.

TresDesolee Tue 24-May-16 12:48:43

Alan, Alan, what's your favourite biscuit

AlanJohnsonMP Tue 24-May-16 12:51:13

Janefromdowntheroad

I thought the UK was about democracy, free speech and the rule of law. How can an unelected group of people proposing legislation be democratic?

Actually the EU is all about democracy, freedom of speech and the rule of law. It's enshrined in Article 6 and countries that knew very little about any of those principles such as Spain under Franco, or a whole swathe of Eastern European countries that were under the totalitarian heel of the Soviet Union, have benefited from their membership.

There's an important point here about how the EU works.

It's true that so-called bureaucrats propose legislation in exactly the same way that civil servants do in Whitehall. For those proposals to become EU law, they have to be agreed by the ministers of elected governments and in most cases, by an elected Parliament.

There is no perfect institution. Certainly not the place that I work in, where for instance we have an un-elected second chamber and no written constitution. But given the prize of countries working together across our continent and replacing war-war with jaw-jaw (to quote Churchill) it works reasonably well although nobody in the remain camp believes that there is no room for improvement. Reform is a process not an event. And you can't reform anything from outside.

AlanJohnsonMP Tue 24-May-16 12:52:10

TresDesolee

Alan, Alan, what's your favourite biscuit

I've tried to think of a European biscuit with 28 different ingredients but have decided to plump for a boring old chocolate digestive.

Janefromdowntheroad Tue 24-May-16 12:52:12

Ganma1, the housing scare tactic was a huge own goal for the remainers. They don't seem to realise the scale of young voters anger over housing prices.

AlanJohnsonMP Tue 24-May-16 12:53:13

MegCleary

Staunch in voter here. I am so disappointed in the level of debate and scaremongering on both sides. Is there any way he can think of to raise the level of debate?

I can understand your disappointment. We have from the start tried to make sure our campaign didn't get into the same realms of hyperbole that we've seen elsewhere.

However, on many occasions, you are forced to respond to a media headline and the more outrageous the comment, the bigger the headline.

So for instance, we'd like to talk about the legitimate areas of concern around free movement, i.e. exploitation and unfairness. But when faced with the headline (and lie) that Turkey will be joining the EU with 75 million of its citizens congregating at Calais, it's hard to have a serious debate.

My view is that Europe is still primarily about peace. And although we are 41 years on from the last referendum, the fact that there have been no world war on our continent since the beginning of this project is still a legitimate and inspiring message,

As is the fact that countries under dictatorships such as Spain, Portugal and a whole swathe of Eastern Europe, have converted from oligarchy to democracy without a shot being fired.

Countries working together on our continent can achieve much more than countries working in isolation in an increasingly inter-dependent world.

AlanJohnsonMP Tue 24-May-16 12:59:12

CFSKate

I also am undecided and feeling scared.
My worries about remaining,
Too much immigration - I don't want to build all over the countryside to house whoever wants to come here. Quality of life/environment matters.
I read you can't have open borders and a welfare state - I am disabled and need the welfare state.
I read the EU is not democratic and that decisions are made by people that we didn't vote for, and the people we did vote for, i.e. MPs/MEPs don't have so much say. People fight to get the vote, why would we give up its power?

I understand your worries, particularly in the light of so much misinformation that's been drip-fed to the British public over the years by a Eurosceptic press.

Let's look at each of these issues carefully.

Firstly, we do not have open borders. Free movement within the European Union has been part of the deal since we signed up 43 years ago. It's the reason why 2.2 million Brits live and work in other EU countries.

It's why there is a reciprocal health service agreement for the many Brits who retire to Spain for instance, to receive treatment without having to come back to use the NHS.

As for its democratic legitimacy, it was our sovereign Parliament who voted in 1971 for Britain to become members of the EU and can decide at any time to repeal that legislation. Our Parliament has also agreed to every major change form the Single European Act to enlargement, when 10 new members joined. And the vote in Parliament was such that not a single MP walked through the No lobby (ie it was unanimous).

As for the decisions reached in Brussels, they are confined to issues that we all gain advantage by sharing with other countries, such as trade, competition, the environment and preservation of fish stocks. The only country in the world that doesn't cede any of its sovereignty to anyone is North Korea. We would not be giving up our power or the vote by remaining in the EU. A vote to leave would mean Britain turning its back on the huge advantages of working with our neighbours on our continent has brought in 70 years of peace since the end of the Second World War.

Ganma1 Tue 24-May-16 12:59:35

Digital gaming - second in the world to whom? USA? They're not in the EU. The Isle of Man? Neither are they. Does that include online gambling? I don't want the UK to be a leader in this particularly pernicious and corrupting industry (gambling). Indeed, if we were outside the EU maybe we could pass our own laws to limit this modern day curse.

Chickenbrain2009 Tue 24-May-16 13:01:46

Not just Housing. A local school nearby was unable to place 100 local children. What is the point of having a catchment area when your catchment area is, in effect, the whole of the EU?

AlanJohnsonMP Tue 24-May-16 13:01:55

Limer

I have family in Hull and think very highly of Alan Johnson. I've read both his memoir books.

Sadly I'll be working when the web chat is live, but I'd like to ask Alan how the Labour party can support Remain? Thousands of Brits are thrown into the underclass scrapheap because EU migrants are prepared to accept lower wages and worse working conditions. Alan's book "Please Mr Postman" has chapter after (endless) chapter about union negotiations he's made and won, to improve working conditions for UK postmen back in the Seventies - but now he's prepared to chuck all that away?

Alan went on strike to win better working conditions for postmen. Nowadays, anyone going on strike (or even admitting to belonging to a trade union) would be dismissed and replaced without an eyelid being batted. And the Labour party is behind this? Surely they realise that if labour is unlimited, the bosses are laughing all the way to the bank?

Hi,

It's difficult to imagine how the Labour party could not have supported us remaining in the EU, given that we are an internationalist party that believes in solidarity.

We had a unanimous decision at our conference - 93% of our MPs signed up to Labour In for Britain and every major affiliated union, ie the ones who support the workers you are talking about, is supporting our continued membership.

If you take a glance at the people seeking to convince the British public to leave, you won't find many philanthropists or people with a track record of fighting for trade union rights.

The fact is that Europe has provided through its social dimension, protection for workers to a level unprecedented in our history. The minimum wage is of course an issue for Parliament but the right to paid holiday, time off for emergencies, for part-timers to get the same hourly rate as full-timers, those on temporary contracts to get the same wage as those on permanent contracts, the right to paternity and maternity leave, the introduction of the European Works Councils and TUPE (which protects terms and conditions when a company has been taken over) are all guaranteed by Europe.

There are legitimate issues about exploitation which the Agency Workers Directive (another part of the social dimension) helps to avoid.

Walking away from all of this so that Britain can become at offshore, anything goes, race to the bottom, certainly does not appeal to me.

Ganma1 Tue 24-May-16 13:05:07

What difference will it make if Turkey are a member of EU or not once they have free visa access to the EU as promised in the recent deal by the EU? It isn't as simple as Remain are claiming - that they will not be joining "for a very long time". Turkey has been the center of forged documents and people trafficking and won't this just get worse once free visa acceess for Turkish citizens is allowed?

AlanJohnsonMP Tue 24-May-16 13:06:13

A4Document

Is Britain capable of being a great country without the EU?

I tend to think that Britain is a great country because of our ability to look outwards and engage with the rest of the world. I listened to some on the Brexit side who always bang on about Europe being something that's done to us with Britain portrayed as the 6 stone weakling on the beach, having sand kicked in its face. I think this is part of a superiority complex that confuses nationalism with patriotism.

Britain's values of freedom and democracy are not exclusive to us and we should be working with other countries who have similar objectives to solve the problems we all face in an increasingly inter-dependent world.

Chickenbrain2009 Tue 24-May-16 13:07:34

But I was in Iceland a few months ago and they have reciprocal arrangements for healthcare, and they are not part of the EU. You cant have a reciprocal arrangement with another country without being part of the EU. They are two separate things. Why would we want to cede sovereignty when we can negotiate agreements anyway?. I think thats a red herring myself...more designed to try and frighten people.

WhirlwindHugs Tue 24-May-16 13:08:56

If you take a glance at the people seeking to convince the British public to leave, you won't find many philanthropists or people with a track record of fighting for trade union rights.

Very true Alan!

Chickenbrain2009 Tue 24-May-16 13:11:31

Sorry, should have read CAN have an agreement without ceeding sovereignty.

AlanJohnsonMP Tue 24-May-16 13:12:15

Ganma1

What difference will it make if Turkey are a member of EU or not once they have free visa access to the EU as promised in the recent deal by the EU? It isn't as simple as Remain are claiming - that they will not be joining "for a very long time". Turkey has been the center of forged documents and people trafficking and won't this just get worse once free visa acceess for Turkish citizens is allowed?

Turkey has a very important role in resolving the refugee crisis. That crisis won't go away if Britain leaves the EU and in my view, we have a moral responsibility to work with others to resolve them.

The recent agreement approved by our Government only allowed 90-day visa access to the very small proportion of Turks (around 4%) who have a passport. It is not free movement and the quid pro quo is for Turkey to play a much more role in preventing people trafficking from their shores.

As for forged documents, this is not uniquely a Turkish problem. And again, we have to work with others to resolve it. I'm afraid that the leave side are engaged in the biggest scare story of all, by firstly producing a poster which says that Turkey will join the EU when that can only happen if Britain votes for them to join and at best, will take 30-40 years to even get to that point. And by the ludicrous claim that somehow 75 million Turkish people are going to be congregating at our borders. The Turkish community in Britain makes an important contribution to our society and Turkey as a secular state will be an important player in future debates about the major problems that threaten our security.

AlanJohnsonMP Tue 24-May-16 13:18:07

Chickenbrain2009

But I was in Iceland a few months ago and they have reciprocal arrangements for healthcare, and they are not part of the EU. You cant have a reciprocal arrangement with another country without being part of the EU. They are two separate things. Why would we want to cede sovereignty when we can negotiate agreements anyway?. I think thats a red herring myself...more designed to try and frighten people.

You make a really important point. But here are the facts.

Iceland is one of several countries (including Norway and Switzerland) where the government wanted to join the EU but were unable to win popular support. There was terrific goodwill among EU member states towards Iceland. A good will that's unlikely to be in place for us if we wrench ourselves away from the EU after 43 years of membership. The main issue is this: Iceland has access to the Single Market, and accept almost all of the conditions including free movement. They have absolutely no say in how Europe operates. That and the reciprocal arrangements you mention, may be fine for a country with a population of less than the city of Hull, that I represent, but it would not be right for a country like Britain and indeed the reciprocal healthcare arrangement would in my view be an early victim of a vote to leave.

The important issue is that Iceland have ceded sovereignty in order to sign up to the EU free market. They have no control, neither do Norway and Switzerland.

Janefromdowntheroad Tue 24-May-16 13:19:15

The response re not having open borders is utterly disingenuous

As long as you have an EU passport and you're not a criminal (that we know of as many EU criminals have slipped through) then you can come here without let or hindrance. Regardless of contribution, skills or intent. How is that not an open border?

Ganma1 Tue 24-May-16 13:19:24

"the very small number of Turks (4%) who have a passport" - there is nothing to prevent all 75 million applying for a passport now that they have an opportunity to work in the EU! Isn't this a typical case of misusing statistics (4%) to prove a point?

AlanJohnsonMP Tue 24-May-16 13:24:14

Janefromdowntheroad

Hi Alan

Anecdotally both in real life and online there seems to have been a rise in first time voters registering for this vote. People who previously have never had an interest in voting.

There is evidence to show that turnout is lower amongst the working class than any other social class.

Given they are more likely to vote for Brexit why do you think this vote had galvanised them to register for this vote?

The short answer is I don't know. But I hope the reason why more first-time voters are registering is that this is a much more important and profound decision than even a General Election. It could well be that people are registering to vote to leave but I suspect (and hope) that we're seeing more 18-24 year olds registering in response to a very comprehensive campaign by universities, the NUS, the Electoral Commission and others to make sure that that under-represented group registers to vote.

They have until June 7th.

You're right about turnout being lower amongst working class communities. There's a whole issue here around feeling of alienation and anti-politics. It may also be a feeling that in General Elections their votes don't matter because they don't live in marginal seats and are unlikely to influence the outcome. In this referendum, every vote counts equally. And I hope that message is getting across because it doesn't matter if the vote is for remain or leave, it needs to be a high turnout so that it is a genuine expression of the public's view.

AlanJohnsonMP Tue 24-May-16 13:28:58

Janefromdowntheroad

The response re not having open borders is utterly disingenuous

As long as you have an EU passport and you're not a criminal (that we know of as many EU criminals have slipped through) then you can come here without let or hindrance. Regardless of contribution, skills or intent. How is that not an open border?

I don't accept the disingenuous allegation at all. An open border applies in Schengen countries where there is no requirement to be checked at all.

That doesn't apply here. And around 6,000 people have been refused entry. For instance, under Schedule 7 of the Terrorism Act 2000. As for people let through without let or hindrance, that is exactly the same for Brits choosing to go and live abroad. Here's a question for you as an obvious supporter of Leave - in fact, there's two questions: Firstly, if we leave, how would you stop people crossing from the Republic of Ireland into Northern Ireland. Secondly, London has 17 million tourists a year, over half of whom come from other EU countries. How will you differentiate between the Polish plumber and the Polish tourist? My expectation is that the benefits of the benefits of the Single Market are too great to lose and that the likely outcome for Leave is a Norwegian solution, which means accepting free movement anyway.

AlanJohnsonMP Tue 24-May-16 13:29:55

Really enjoyed Mumsnet and my plate of chocolate digestives. On current frequency, I'll see you all again in 2024 in time for the next referendum!

PirateSmile Tue 24-May-16 13:32:48

Hmm.

Chickenbrain2009 Tue 24-May-16 13:33:41

I am sorry, but that answer makes no sense to me. When I was in Iceland the people there told me that they had looked at the EU and decided against it. OK. But are you SERIOUSLY trying to tell me that the EU wouldn't want to negotiate reciprocal care when it would be clearly to the benefit of their citizens? In effect you are saying if we leave the EU is going to behave in a spiteful way to 'punish' us even if their own citizens lose out. If I were to accept that then I would have to see the EU as an organisation more bent on retribution than the best interests of its citizens. Alternatively, they wouldn't behave in that way and would want to deal. I resent the idea that the EU, as an organisation which you say is bent on democracy would behave in a retributive way towards the country which had decided to leave by a democratic vote. If life is going to be made such hell for us, then in effect you are saying that staying in is Hobsons choice, and we should not dare to oppose them.

slug Tue 24-May-16 13:38:16

On the subject of Project Fear, did anybody else sit open mouthed at the Leave campaign's ad last night on BBC? It didn't bother with words apart from £35 million per week to the EU (with no mention of how much comes back in various forms) The advert mostly consisted of:

1. Poorly done graphic of all the hoardes of new potential immigrants from potential new EU member states

2. Think how many hospitals could be built with £35 million per week?

Picture of run down waiting room and grumpy patients and staff (Daily Mail sad face worthy) Caption: Britain in the EU

Picture of bright new hospital and happy faces. Caption:Britain outside the EU.

They obviously couldn't think of any other arguments because the whole lot was repeated twice from start to finish. hmm It even made my disinterested teenager snort with derision

Chickenbrain2009 Tue 24-May-16 13:38:38

Well, is that IT! Sheesh, what a disappointment. I felt patronised.

ThroughThickAndThin01 Tue 24-May-16 13:43:05

This chat has done nothing to allay my worries about staying in! The only argument i can see for staying, is for peace and stability. A lot of questions seem to have been avoided.

All the best though Alan. I am a fan (generally).

ThroughThickAndThin01 Tue 24-May-16 13:44:43

slug I agree, they need to up their game if they want to win over undecided voters.

claig Tue 24-May-16 13:49:44

"Erdogan poem: Court bans German comedian Jan Böhmermann from repeating controversial verses
...
Prosecutors haven't yet decided whether to file charges under a little-used German law forbidding insult to foreign heads of state, which could be scrapped by 2018.

The case has caused outcry from groups advocating freedom of speech, who are calling for the law to be scrapped.

Hugh Williamson, Human Rights Watch’s Europe director, said: “The poem is certainly highly offensive, but it is in situations such as this when we need to stand up for protection of free speech.

“Germany bears responsibility for having such a bad law on the books and the sooner it is repealed, the better.”

www.independent.co.uk/news/world/europe/erdogan-poem-court-bans-german-comedian-jan-boehmermann-from-repeating-sexual-verses-a7035896.html

Is this EU free speech?

Janefromdowntheroad Tue 24-May-16 13:51:14

Chicken yes think that was what he as saying. Basically they'll go off in a big sulk. The same people who were awarded the Nobel Peace Prize hmm

claig Tue 24-May-16 13:54:14

'Actually the EU is all about democracy, freedom of speech and the rule of law.'

Was Alan reading off a crib sheet handed to him?

icedbunny6 Tue 24-May-16 13:59:48

That was pretty uninspiring - I'm disappointed.

Who is coming in to represent the other side MNHQ?

Chickenbrain2009 Tue 24-May-16 14:00:52

Janefromdowntheroad...it doesnt present the EU is a very flattering light does it! What he said in effect was that the EU is happy to let its own citizens suffer rather than come up with a civilised agreement arising from a democratic vote! I mean, does that sound like the sort of organisation I would want to belong to? Sounds more like a Dictatorship! I am not impressed with the peace argument either. The EU is becoming increasingly unstable, there are a lot of unreported riots going on over there, I know because I have friends abroad. We don't hear about it because of the referendum. Plus a crime wave. People are unhappy. This has pushed me more towards Leave, I think, I really don't like the sound of the way things operate and I can't see any sign that it will improve. 'Stay in or we will punish you' sounds like blackmail to me and a rather hollow threat at that. Sheesh.

claig Tue 24-May-16 14:11:45

''Actually the EU is all about democracy, freedom of speech and the rule of law.''

"Mr Corbyn addressed his previous Euroscepticism, saying: "Over the years I have been critical of many decisions taken by the EU, and I remain critical of its shortcomings; from its lack of democratic accountability to the institutional pressure to deregulate or privatise public services."

www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-eu-referendum-36039925

Which "rule of law"? Is that British made law or is it decided elsewhere and by whom?

Chalalala Tue 24-May-16 15:49:22

On the Iceland point: it's really not that complicated, and nothing about vengeful hatred from the EU

If you want the Iceland deal for Britain, you can probably get it (Gove said it was a no-go, but for the sake of argument).

as an EEA country you will get: access to the single market, most of the reciprocal arrangements

in exchange for: free movement of EU citizens, payment of substantial contributions to EEA states

you won't get a say in any of the decision the EU takes, but will have to follow all the single market rules and regulations.

Does this sound like a good idea?

val53 Tue 24-May-16 18:15:47

All you need to know to decide in or out

www.youtube.com/c/piffleTV

Limer Tue 24-May-16 18:24:40

Thanks Alan for the web chat.

But hmmm, 4/10 this boy must try harder Alan.

Not a peep about oversupply of labour and the resultant growth of the workless underclass.

And the Polish plumber vs tourist being questioned at the airport is crazy. What do we already do about the Chinese plumber vs tourist?

Dancinghorse5 Tue 24-May-16 20:03:44

I totally agree Chickenbrain - I have not been convinced by any of these points - especially the extraordinary claim that EU Commission safeguards democracy ! What planet are you on , Alan ? NONE of the commission have EVER been elected - they are a self appointed bunch of buraucrats . If we ever wanted to get rid of them - no chance . Is this what you mean
by " safeguarding democracy " Pull the other one , Alan .

0phelia Tue 24-May-16 21:09:52

Labour are an internationalist party that believes in solidarity

In otherwords Labour are totally dependant on the immigrant vote since they have walked away from the British people. Shame it hasn't quite worked out for them.

Rubbing their core working class base noses in multiculturalism has only driven them to UKIP in droves. Labour are a lost cause, irrelevant, out of touch and patronising.

Limer Tue 24-May-16 22:30:58

If you take a glance at the people seeking to convince the British public to leave, you won't find many philanthropists or people with a track record of fighting for trade union rights.

Whereas if you take a glance at the people seeking to convince the British public to remain, you'll find droves of them - Cameron, Osborne, and most of their cronies. All famous for their philanthropic lives and strong trade union allegiances.

PirateSmile Wed 25-May-16 08:49:52

Whilst I am going to vote to remain and I'm a supporter of the Labour party I'm very disappointed with Alan Johnson's replies.
As for this,
If you take a glance at the people seeking to convince the British public to leave, you won't find many philanthropists or people with a track record of fighting for trade union rights.
Sadly, philanthropists and trade unionists aren't the people responsible for creating new jobs, which is what ordinary people in the UK are in dire need of at the moment.

Chickenbrain2009 Wed 25-May-16 13:07:14

Chalalala. When I was in Iceland the economy was booming. The reason people voted against it was because they felt it would undermine their autonomy. I didnt find anyone particularly unhappy with the status quo, which is more than can be said here. As for the contribution, well thats checks and balances isnt it. We make a substantial contribution anyway, and none could compare Iceland with the UK. What they have done is to safeguard their independence. Of course if you trade with a countryou need to apply their regulations, but none suggests that we should have a political union with China , or the US. There are 167 other countries not in the EU, and the amount we export to the EU is reducing year on year. Many of the countries outsiede of the EU are doing better than countries that are in. The idea that the EU is the be all and end all is a very parochial one. The world has changed, things are much more global now. The EU reminds me of the Titanic, cumbersome, with first and third class citizens. I think it is causing division, not diminishing it. On balance I have decided to vote leave. I was quite happy with a Common Market but the current EU is a disaster. There may be a short term hit, but I would rather get into a lifeboat now than be dragged down in the downdraft. Europe has always been more given to extremism than us, and to me the EU increasingly looks like an Empire.

Chalalala Wed 25-May-16 13:20:55

Chickenbrain, that may well be so. But Iceland is in the EEA, and those are the EEA rules.

I'm not arguing with you here, if you think the UK should leave the EU and do what Iceland did (ie be in the EEA instead), then great. I'm just telling you what the "price" is - same EU immigration, same EU rules, and no longer a say on devising the rules.

As I said the "Leave" campaign ruled out this option, so if that's what you're voting for you may well end up disappointed.

Winterbiscuit Wed 25-May-16 15:28:48

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Chickenbrain2009 Wed 25-May-16 17:47:44

Chalalala, if that is the case so be it. I would rather be poor and free. If we have to break away entirely its a price worth paying, I have now decided. People died for that, all we are being asked to do is risk a recession! There are more important things in life than money.

A4Document Wed 25-May-16 18:03:15

Hear hear Chickenbrain2009 flowers

SpringingIntoAction Wed 25-May-16 19:47:00

If you take a glance at the people seeking to convince the British public to leave, you won't find many philanthropists or people with a track record of fighting for trade union rights.

Oh dear. Alan's researchers are doing a poor job briefing him.

Tony Benn - anti-EEC campaigner because he recognised the democratic deficit

The late Bob Crowe - General Sec of the RMT Union - anti EU

Rail Maritime and Transport Union - officially anti-EU

Trades Unionists against the EU

www.tuaeuc.org/

because the suspension of trade union collective bargaining is a strict condition of EU 'bailouts' in Ireland, Portugal, Romania and Greece, The European Commission, IMF and the European Central Bank, the Troika now directly intervene in wage negotiations, Trade union rights are an obstacle to restructuring labour markets.

James Dyson, inventor and anti-EU, is quite a philanthropist
www.jamesdysonfoundation.co.uk/

Roger Daltrey, The Who's lead singer - anti-EU is a fund raiser for a a patron of The Teenage Cancer Trust

Alan is very naive if he thinks voting to REMAIN is going to protecct workers rights. He should look at who is funding the REMAIN campaign, Goldman Sachs, JO Morgan and Citigroup- all international banks, Hedge funds, and big corporations, many of which dodge tax in the the EU. I don;t think many of these organisations have worker's welfare uppermost.

The best way to safeguard workers rights is to live in a Parliamentary democracy where you can vote a Government in and out of power, instead of handing your power to Brussels so you can be controlled by an EU bureaucracy.

SpringingIntoAction Wed 25-May-16 19:54:00

There are more important things in life than money.

Hear hear.

Economies are sometimes strong and sometimes weak. That cycle has been happening for hundreds of years.

But if you make your own laws you can make the laws to need to stimulate or dampen down an over-active economy.

You cannot do that when you have handed control of your laws to the bureaucratic EU.

Yannis Varoufakis the Greek Finance Minister admitted that during the Greek finance crisis Greece was unable to default on its Euro debts and return to its own currency to to recover its economy - as Argentina did, because Greece had given up the drachma so had no alternative currency. It is now trapped in Euro-limbo as more and more debt is piled on it by the ECB and IMF.

Mooingcow Wed 25-May-16 21:29:49

Yesterday 21:09 0phelia: Labour are an internationalist party that believes in solidarity. In otherwords Labour are totally dependant on the immigrant vote since they have walked away from the British people. Shame it hasn't quite worked out for them. Rubbing their core working class base noses in multiculturalism has only driven them to UKIP in droves. Labour are a lost cause, irrelevant, out of touch and patronising

Beautifully put. I'm driving on polling day and I've been knocking on doors of streets and streets of white working class people who feel dismissed and demonised as racists by the party that's supposed to put them first.

They are disappointed and disillusioned. They feel they have been made out to be thick and xenophobic by Labour politicians and they are pretty fucked off.

They are offering in their dozens to get people to the polling stations.

SpringingIntoAction Wed 25-May-16 21:36:25

* In otherwords Labour are totally dependant on the immigrant vote since they have walked away from the British people.*

Well they are going to be sorely disappointed in this referendum because the overwhelming choice of the BME voters I have spoken to is for LEAVE.

Chalalala Thu 26-May-16 07:49:41

There are more important things in life than money.

Absolutely. But let's keep in mind that when we talk about "money" here, we're not talking about an extra holiday or a new iPhone. On the scale of the country, a decrease in GDP means less funding for public services including the NHS, it means more unemployment, it means less protection for vulnerable people.

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