Britain needs to rethink its role in the world after its decision to leave the European Union, opposition Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn told an audience at the United Nations in Geneva on Friday.
“Britain is at a crossroads,” he said. “The decision by British people to leave the EU in last year’s referendum means there has to be a lot of hard thinking about our role in the world.”
He said some people wanted to use Brexit “to turn Britain in on itself rejecting the outside world and turn everyone into a feared competitor”. Meanwhile, others want to turn Britain into a “deregulated corporate tax haven, with low wages and limited rights, cut-price public services and in a wholly destructive race to the bottom”.
But Corbyn said the Labour Party offered a different future. “We want to see a close and cooperative relationship with our European neighbours outside the European Union, based on solidarity as well as mutual benefit and fair trade, along with a wider proactive internationalism across the globe.”
In a wide-ranging speech, the Labour leader outlined how to tackle what he sees as the “greatest threats to our common humanity”: the growing concentration of unaccountable wealth and power “in the hands of a tiny corporate elite”, climate change, the refugee crisis and a “bomb first, think later” approach to resolving conflict.
“In Africa alone $35 billion (CHF35 billion) is lost each year to tax dodging and $50 billion to illicit financial flows, vastly exceeding the $30 billion that enters the continent of Africa as aid. As the Paradise and Panama Papers have shown, the powerful and super-rich cannot regulate themselves,” he said.
Corbyn added that the UN had a “pivotal role to play to advance a new consensus, and common ground based on solidarity, respect for human rights, international regulation and cooperation”.