Green and Labour parties join forces to support the keep Britain in Europe campaign
Local Green Party and Labour Party members came together on Saturday (February 27) in Marlborough High Street campaigning to keep Britain in Europe. They had a stall, handed out information leaflets and answered questions from local shoppers and visitors to the town.
"We have a common agenda on Europe" said Bill Yates, a local Labour Party activist, "and we will work together on issues we agree on." Sam Page from the Greens agreed: "Staying in Europe is good for jobs, good for the environment and good for Britain".
They found that many people wanted information so they could decide for themselves: many people were anxious for information: "It's good to get literature because I haven't made up my mind yet," said Brian from Bristol. More than half the people the members spoke to were still undecided.
It needed careful explanations to undo some of the misinformation put about on the EU - whether it is EU cows having to wear nappies (Daily Mail) or the EU restricting the coffee drinking habits of British consumers (Daily Express).
They had a long discussion with a Marlborough couple. The husband insisted that the EU has done nothing to help ordinary folk - they tried to persuade him that working people in Britain enjoy many rights thanks to the EU - among them safe working hours, extended parental leave and longer holidays.
His wife was more impressed with the argument that it was the EU that established the legal principle that men and women should receive equal pay for equal work. She also agreed that new food labelling rules introduced by the EU make it easier to identify what is in your food and where it comes from. It looks, they discovered, that the referendum on EU membership in June will split families just as the referendum on Scottish independence did.
By lunchtime it was getting very cold and some of the group went for a coffee. There they found they had to explain how the Swiss and Norwegians' connection to Europe works. They do not simply enjoy the trade with EU countries without being members. Per capita the Norwegians pay a similar contribution to the EU as Britain does now - but they have no say in making EU laws and regulations.
They will be in the High Street again on Saturday, March 19 to keep the debate going.