2 Jun 2016

Corbyn and Irish Diaspora: all hands to EU pump

Jeremy Corbyn turned on the media at his speech in central London this morning when it was suggested it might be his fault that Labour supporters don’t know which way their party leadership is facing on Europe. The claim comes from the Remain campaign, supported by their own private polling and they express it with real concern.

He said it was the fault of the media for not covering his energetic nation-wide campaigning for the EU.

But his stump speech for Remain is not like anyone else’s and it reflects the concerns of a man who has long thought the EU is a bad idea.

Mr Corbyn attacked the “hype and histrionic claims” made in the campaign (and seemed to have fellow Remain campaigner George Osborne in his sights there). He slated the draft trade treaty with the US which he thinks gives a green light to rapacious US corporations wanting to slice contracts off bodies like the NHS.

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Listing the virtues of the EU he started with environmental protections, talking about cleaner beaches and protecting bees. He moved on to EU worker protections and said the danger was that a Tory government negotiating Brexit would rip them up.

Separate to all this, we take a look in tonight’s Channel 4 News, at Irish citizens voting in the EU referendum. An estimated half a million with Irish passports who are resident in the UK are entitled to vote in an arrangement (reciprocated for UK citizens in the Republic) that pre-dates the UK joining the EU.

The Irish government is making a push to make sure these people it hopes will come out for Remain are registered to vote.

In pursuit of that vote, the Irish Prime Minister Enda Kenny’s been over. He flew Ryan Air to Stansted to emphasize what his office insisted was a “private visit,” but check out the posters, campaign t-shirts and quotes for the cameras and you might be forgiven for thinking it looks a lot like a campaign visit.

That’s exactly the sort of thing a government wouldn’t normally tolerate from the leader of another country. It’s one thing to fire up Chancellor Merkel (today) to say a few pro-Remain words, likewise the Spanish and Dutch Prime Ministers (yesterday), not to mention President Obama and a cast of others. But actually campaigning with your own nationals on foreign soil in the hope they can swing the vote in another country would normally be the stuff to provoke a diplomatic incident.

We showed the footage of Enda Kenny to Leave supporter Dr Liam Fox, who last year tried to get the Irish citizens disenfranchised. He said this sort of intervention could only be happening with the encouragement of no. 10 and that, I understand, is exactly right.

The older generation of Irish migrants living in the UK won’t all vote as Enda Kenny would wish judging by our random sampling at the GAA game. They sounded a lot like many other voters in that age cohort.

Michael Kingston of “Irish for Europe” says British people might just be grateful to the Irish if it’s a narrow win and it’s the Irish wot won it. Liam Fox didn’t sound so sure.

Tweets by @garygibbonblog

10 reader comments

  1. Nigel Dugmore says:

    To control immigration after Brexit there would have to be full border controls between Northern Ireland and the Irish Republic.
    Will this not destroy the peace process?

    1. Ryan says:

      If Brexit happens and full boarder patrol is implemented, we are taking a step back in time. All the forward movements the Irish and British people have made will have been for nothing. No one wants boarder patrol throughout Ireland, I am an Irish citizen living in the North of Ireland. I want to be able to freely travel across Ireland without boarder controls. If we exit the EU, i can only see trouble for the North and Republic of Ireland.

  2. Linda says:

    I would just like to say that I felt a little resentment to the attitude of the Channel 4 reporters towards the environmental element of Mr Corbyn’s speech. This is the important issue in the EU decision for me and it is never explored…the sarcastic comment about bees was just arrogant bad manners. I am fed up hearing about immigration, finances, etc and never anything about environmental matters or animal rights….these matter very much. Brexits say that we want to make our own choices, but no government cares about animals, Ivory trade, processing whale exports through Europe, etc…..Cameron wants to bring back fox hunting. We need to stay to have a greater say on animal welfare, and environmental issues….and bee protection covering Europe not just United Kingdom.
    There should not have been the sarcasm in the report, it was arrogant.

  3. Virginia Turner says:

    Re the “Corbyn and Irish Diaspora: all hands to EU pump”. It may help and support the 100,000’s of Labour Voters if you publish Jeremy Corbyn’s speach today in full!! The full Video please!

  4. JoeNorton says:

    Thank you for highlighting the input of Irish passport holders voting on a British issue and that the Irish prime minister, no less, has been here campaigning for the Remain camp and encouraging Irish nationals to vote Remain. So that might well mean that the British choice on whether to Remain or Leave the EU is determined by foreign nationals, some of whom may well be sympathetic to the Republican cause. Just why Irish passport holders are entitled to vote in British elections is beyond me but is yet another example of the way the English and Welsh electorates have been sold down the river by those elected to represent our interests. None of them come out of the Palace of Westminster with their honour intact. It is a disgrace.

  5. Linda Heiden says:

    Shame on you, Gary Gibbons, and Channel 4 News!! In his 1 June major speech on Britain’s position in the EU, Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn made a strong, well-argued case for remaining in the EU. Instead of reporting the substance of Corbyn’s speech, you implied that Corbyn was responsible for leaving voters confused about where Labour stands. Instead of reporting Corbyn’s key environmental, labour, economic and human rights arguments, you belittled the speech for beginning with a discussion of bees and beaches, despite the way Corbyn used these topics to underline fundamental environmental issues. Instead of providing fair coverage of this important event, you juxtaposed it to a report on Boris’ bumbling attempts to auction a cow! Do Boris’ ridiculous antics really deserve more serious treatment than a major speech by the leader of the Labour Party?!
    I am disgusted that Channel 4 news has chosen to join in, rather than challenge, the undemocratic, hugely biased reporting of Corbyn and his wing of the Labour Party. For the first time in a generation, Britain has a real choice between two very different political leaderships. Channel 4 News’ reports serve only to obscure and belittle Corbyn and his team. Labour Party members remain solidly behind Corbyn because we know about his policies and principled commitment to ordinary people. It is the unfair, biased reporting of Channel 4 news and other media outlets that prevents Corbyn’s message reaching the wider public, leaving them confused about where Labour stands. Please bring your reporting up to the fair and unbiased standard which the British public deserves.

  6. Philip says:

    However, Corbyn is pretty accurate about the media. For instance, the BBC website news front page showed a criticism of him for not making “remain” speeches by a union leader, as the top story. That was then replaced by Corbyn’s speech for considerably less time, before being relegated to nowhere by the BHS story and by Merkel’s intervention. You don’t expect the Mail, Sun, Express, Telegraph or Times to cover pro-Remain speeches, especially by Corbyn – and the Guardian is more interested in Blairites attacking Corbyn than reporting what he says anyway. Which leaves the Mirror and the TV. How much time has Channel 4 devoted to covering Corbyn’s speeches? Or the BBC, ITV or Sky? (Practically none – because you’ve all been devoting your time to the intra-Tory fighting which you regard as more newsworthy. Admit it!

  7. Brian Collins says:

    I wonder if Liam Fox is the son or grandson of Irish immigrants.

  8. Chris says:

    Peace in Europe for 70 years, and an ability to act as a block when legislating for climate change are just two of the greatest benefits of the EU which no one is talking about. The Good Friday agreement has built peace in NI too. Why would anyone want to wreck any of this?
    The risk of leaving is a greater risk than staying, whether economically, or for stability or peace. The UK government (of the time after the brexit vote) will decide specific policies on EU reform and individual trade deals etc. The vote leave campaign cannot specify what will happen in the event of a brexit vote being a win for the leave campaign. If leave win, I for one, will be going to live in Ireland!

  9. farcalled says:

    another anti-Remain, anti-Labour, anti-Britain site.

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