Cameron and the EU

It looks as if David Cameron is once again going to dance rings around Gordon Brown and his ministers
Stuart Weir
5 November 2009

I wonder in despair what it would take to rouse that lumbering beast that we know as the Labour government into decisive action. But it looks as if David Cameron is once again going to dance rings around Gordon Brown and his ministers. Cameron has adroitly mollified most of the Tory Euro-sceptics with his foxy trot round the broken pledge to hold a referendum on Lisbon, and has perhaps picked up quite a lot of support among a public that is also broadly Euro-sceptic, if not noxiously so.

But surely there was an opportunity for Labour to knock him out of his stride? Cameron's neo-liberal instincts may well be in tune with the rump of the party that he leads, but I do not believe that the public would accept that the price for asserting Britain's 'sovereignty' against Brussels should be to lose the social and employments benefits that they receive (unknowingly no doubt) through the EU - holiday entitlements, parental leave and much else. But Labour seems to have lost its traditional instincts in its own move towards neo-liberal politics. A government that wanted to protect the working population - once Labour's raison d'etre - should have protested long and loud about the potential loss of benefits to working people instead of waffling on about the 'bigger' issues of European politics.

Of course, Cameron ought to be more vulnerable on the Tory 'sovereigny' whinge. Sovereignty over the British people, their Parliament and local democracy, yes. But 'sovereignty' over the US that binds us into an unwinnable, illegitimate and unpopular occupation of Afghanistan, no. 'Sovereignty' over corporate and financial business, no. But the government is equally vulnerable on these counts and equally committed to the brute sovereignty over their subjects in the UK that its party shares, albeit unequally, with the Tories. There is a real opening here for the Lib Dems, but they don't have the guts to take it.

We stand for democracy – please support us

We work to investigate and illuminate the crisis of democracy in Britain – and analyse how its failings can be healed.

We bring together outsider voices and diverse opinions.

We do deep investigative journalism exposing the gap between politicians' rhetoric and action.

We publish on and from all the British nations while questioning the nature of the UK.

Unconstrained by party political loyalties, we ask how we as citizens can secure our liberty, human rights, self-government and real democracy.

Who is bankrolling Britain's democracy? Which groups shape the stories we see in the press; which voices are silenced, and why? Sign up here to find out.


We encourage anyone to comment, please consult the oD commenting guidelines if you have any questions.
Audio available Bookmark Check Language Close Comments Download Facebook Link Email Newsletter Newsletter Play Print Share Twitter Youtube Search Instagram WhatsApp yourData