New Labour uses entirely the wrong man and the wrong argument to attack David Cameron on his EU policy, ahead of Thursday European parliamentary elections:
Labour’s constitution commits it to put “power, wealth and opportunity in the hands of the many, not the few”. Devolution, freedom of information, incorporation of the European convention on human rights into British law, and party-funding reform are a record of merit. Gordon Brown set out the links between economic, social and political reform on taking office. He said that we had to go further. He has taken the project forward most recently in the work on a constitutional renewal bill.
And yet it’s put power, wealth and opportunity into the hands of the few. It’s fought against its own freedom of information provision, regularly slanders its own Human Rights Act and has done next to nothing to reform party funding. Brown isn’t offering anything of note for constitutional renewal, indeed he alongside Blair ditched the Jenkins Report advocating proportional representation after Labour took office and found it an inconvenience. This government has avoided any positive engagement on the EU at all since taking office. Where’s the case for the Euro? Where’s the referendum on the Lisbon Treaty?
A week today, while Labour MEPs will start work on taking forward manifesto pledges on the economy and environment, Tory MEPs will be frogmarched by their leadership out of the mainstream centre-right grouping in the European parliament. The Tory MEP Caroline Jackson calls it “pathetic”. Every European leader I meet thinks it mad to give up influence with the mainstream for a deal with Latvia’s Fatherland and Freedom party.
is entirely right, but it’s too late. It’s hypocrisy in the extreme to say that the Tories are being eurosceptic or europhobic when Labour has failed to make the slightest counter-argument. Remember Blair taking sides with Bush rather than the EU over Iraq? The Tories may have an asinine and borderline dangerous policy regarding the centre-right bloc in parliament, but their offer of a referendum will succeed in focusing minds, in sharp contrast to Miliband’s limp policy of…what exactly?
People do feel a sense of powerlessness in politics. Domestic political reform is vital to that. Gordon Brown has been arguing this and will carry it forward. There is also an international dimension – the “runaway world” needs politics.
They do indeed Foreign Secretary, and New Labour is now entirely to blame. Brown hasn’t argued for such reforms at all, and it’s why he really has to lose his job this week. Cameron’s nationalistic argument has gained ground partly by default, but partly because this government has regularly itself pandered to such sentiments. It only has itself to blame. Brown, Smith, Straw and all their discredited ilk must go as a matter of urgency.