six battles

Julian Priestley

Julian Priestley

the author

Julian Priestley is the author of five books and many articles, reviews and opinion pieces, covering many political themes.

read more

The left of left

The idea for a book making ‘the left of the left’ case for Europe came out of a fairly well-oiled dinner with Harlem Desir, then leader of the French Socialist party, and some British Labour friends. By the time it came to settle up the bill, I had been talked into editing a series of contributions from half-a-dozen Labour friends (MEPs and officials) showing how being members of the EU helped British socialists to advance the progressive agenda – on economic and social policy, on the environment and trade and foreign policy, in the fight against racism and in its overall political aims.

It was written with a view to impacting on the internal Labour debate in 2013/2014 and arguing against Labour supporting a referendum. Indeed on this last point, we won the argument and Labour resisted a referendum until the 2015 election results made one inevitable. I like to think that our more left-field arguments provided some material for the Corbynistas during the referendum itself. But serious debate was drowned out during the essentially ‘blue on blue’ contest.

Leftwing publishers, Lawrence & Wishart, edited and published the book and asked us to produce a second edition in 2016 pre-referendum, updating the political argument. Editing a book is sheer misery of the ‘herding cats’ variety: made for the most part bearable in this case by the genuinely interesting contributions of Glyn Ford, Linda McGavan MEP, David Martin MEP, Derek Reed, Patrick Costello and Nick Costello.