Jeremy Corbyn could transform the Brexit debate: but does he want to?

Charlie Lees

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The tone of the debate ahead of the European Union referendum on June 23 has been shrill and disappointing. As with the 2014 Scottish independence referendum campaign, arguments on both sides have been simplistic, focusing on voters’ fears rather than their hopes, and appealing to their worst – rather than their best – natures.

British voters are being badly served by their political elites and also by a Westminster-focused media that is largely transfixed by process rather than substance. For there is much of substance to talk about. As my University of Bath colleague Aurelien Mondon recently argued: “debating the future of Europe is essential. But when will we start?”

The poverty of debate so far provides the Labour leader, Jeremy Corbyn, with a huge opportunity if – and it’s a big if – he has the imagination and wit to take advantage of it. In a speech on Europe on April 14, Corbyn argued that there was a “strong socialist case for staying in the European Union”, saying that it protected worker’s rights and could act as a force to tackle tax dodging and corruption.
Original languageEnglish
Media of outputOnline
PublisherThe Conversation
Number of pages1
Publication statusPublished - 15 Apr 2016

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  • Jeremy Corbyn
  • Brexit
  • European Union (EU)
  • British voters


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