This event clashed with England’s goalless draw with Slovakia. The coincidence impacted on attendance slightly. Nonetheless, an assortment of the local left gathered to hear the arguments of representatives of Left Unity, the Labour Party, Syriza UK and the Green Party. The female panel made several pertinent points about the referendum on Britain’s membership of the UK, while there was a period of respectful silence to honour the memory of murdered Labour MP Jo Cox.
The contentions made were persuasive enough. In particular, the idea of leftists voting to leave the EU was criticised. The shortcomings of the current political situation were acknowledged, but an optimistic case for Europe was made. Contributions from the floor were of genuine interest, and a strongly anti-racist message was put forward.
Natalie Bennett of the Green Party highlighted the fact that air pollution does not respect national borders. Further, she spoke of the need for European cooperation to combat climate change. With a supportive audience, she seemed relaxed without being complacent. Perhaps there can be more collaboration across the fragmented left after the referendum, especially if the Labour Party embraces the policy of proportional representation for Westminster.