Europe: Ed Miliband should push the nuclear button


4:33 pm - December 9th 2011

by Sunny Hundal    


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The UK is now politically isolated over Europe, the centre-right alliance that Cameron dreamed of is in tatters, and the long-term damage to our economy by being in the outer-rim of a two speed Europe will be significant. But all that is irrelevant for now.

The way the news is being spun and digested by the right-wing media, Cameron will be able to claim a significant victory and unite Tory Eurosceptics behind him. The latter would like nothing more than isolationism so in fact their jubilation is unsurprising. I’ll admit, I called it wrong when I thought he’d be humiliated..

But this leaves Ed Miliband with only one real option: to push the nuclear button.

He should ask Cameron if he will call for a referendum on the EU itself to clarify whether the UK stays in or out.

Let’s be clear about this: the EU is now effectively dead. As Wolfgang Münchau says in the FT today – ‘The only way to save the eurozone is to destroy the EU’.

Germany and France’s priority now will be to save the Euro. It now looks more likely than not they will. They won’t care about riding roughshod over EU laws or agreements to ensure the Euro survives.

Pro-Europe Labourites are effectively stuck defending an institution that even its core members don’t much care for anymore. It is a walking zombie and there’s no reason why Labour should continue being wedded to it.

There’s only one way Ed Miliband can now force David Cameron’s hand on this: by asking him for a referendum. It would obviously be the more democratic option.

But calling for a referendum would expose the fact Cameron doesn’t want to be out of the EU despite the crumbs he has thrown at his Eurosceptic MPs. It would put him in a bind and expose the farcical situation that Britain is in now.

The confusion on the left

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About the author
Sunny Hundal is editor of LC. Also: on Twitter, at Pickled Politics and Guardian CIF.
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Reader comments


1. Leon Wolfson

You hate democracy THAT MUCH?

You evidently slept through the blatant vote-buying of the previous referendum. Unless we have at LEAST the (inadequate) protections of a general election on funding and press access, then you’re simply attacking democracy. (And even then I dislike referendums)

If we’re “out”, we get an anti-democratic EFTA/EEA deal to keep our economy alive.
If we’re “in”, Cameron continues to isolate us in the EU.

There is NO benefit. Period. It gives Cameron’s stance legitimacy, even.

The lie dems must be so pleased they entered into coalition with Bill Cash. They have nothing to show for it. Not even a referendum on pr.

Liberal Voice must be so pleased.

Cameron doesn’t want a referendum. He wanted to sound that way to get the Tory leadership, and before the General Election, but now he won’t follow through.

And while a load of folks on the right would love to have one, none of them has a credible Plan B.

Moreover, those salivating for a referendum should remember that in 1975 when Wilson called one the polls were 2 to 1 for a No vote.

Whether the EU continues on depends to an extent on sorting the Euro and Eurozone, which this agreement will not do, as I already posted:

http://zelo.tv/tz3Swq

And I’d like to see Miliband press Cameron on a referendum.

Why. Why is this about Ed Miliband again? He’s shown no leadership, insight, initiative or anything approaching constructive criticism in this whole mess.

Hype someone else Sunny, FFS. If you joined Labour to help influence their direction, how about getting rid of this wet towel of a leader and get someone who is actually capable of opposing Cameron properly? Or stop looking for opportunities for Labour to play some dirty politics?

5. Leon Wolfson

@3 – And where’s the benefit? It won’t stop us being isolated, won’t get us into any treaties, won’t stop the Tories trying to “repatriate” employment law so they cancel it.

He’s shown no leadership, insight, initiative or anything approaching constructive criticism in this whole mess.

Go on – what would you want to see happen?

I was pretty much in favour of EU membership till recently. However it is now clear to me that the current proposals are fundamentally undemocratic and that they are banning the left from effective participation in politics. There is no point in electing a left wing government which is legally obliged to pursue a “balanced budget”, because there is no left wing programme which can be implemented on those terms. We have seen which way Europe jumps when faced with a choice between democracy and plutocracy. If the imposition of unelected people to follow an imposed austerity programme which will damage the people without even solving what the markets see as the problem is not enough to lead one to reject the whole enterprise then surely this further step to permanent misery for all bar the wealthiest is?

7 That is why the left was against the EU from the beginning. They saw it as free trade capitalim being imposed from the top, with bankers ruling the roost. Incidentallythat is exactly what tories liked about it.

That is why I laugh in the face of all these eurosceptic nation sovereignty defendinf tories. They were happy to sign up when they thought it was just free trade.

@Leon:

If we’re “out”, we get an anti-democratic EFTA/EEA deal to keep our economy alive.
If we’re “in”, Cameron continues to isolate us in the EU.

But that means the UK is in a zombie position all of its own (unless the Tories lose in 2015).

10. HarryBigBreeches

@4 @6

Ed Miliband has written 13 paragraphs in today’s Evening Standard.

After 9 paragraphs of negatives (not one positive statement): he states:

‘The list of questions is long’.

Then 4 paragraphs of what I expected to be answers:

‘clear case for deaper co-operation’

‘basic principle……single market…shaped by all’

‘no way to run a foriegn policy’

WHAT WOULD YOU ACTUALLY DO ED?

Got a strategy banging around in that empty head of yours?

“Go on – what would you want to see happen?”

I’d like you to stop being some tepid NuLab stooge, particularly one for its current leader.

What I want to see happen is neither here nor there. I’m not the one who thinks I can “re-vitalise the liberal-left through discussion and action”. You are stagnation incarnate.

Oh dear Tom. Instead of frothing at the mouth with 70s style tirades and insults, let us know when you have something intelligent or interesting to say.

Leon – not clear what you’re arguing for or against. EU is now effectively dead. Pulling out makes no difference. It is now purely symbolic.

13. Leon Wolfson

@12 – Oh right, isolationism and trade barriers are just peachy? Sunny, you’re an idiot.

(Feel free to ban me for it, that’s about your speed, apparently)

This is heady stuff Sunny, but you’ve not really said whether or why you think withdrawal from the EU or a referendum thereon would be good for the country. The suggestion seems to be that it is a good opportunity for some cheap point scoring.

For me, it is too big an issue to be quite so cheap about.

“Pro-Europe Labourites are effectively stuck defending an institution that even its core members don’t much care for anymore. It is a walking zombie and there’s no reason why Labour should continue being wedded to it.”

I quite agree but anti-EU Labourites are hardly noticeable. Labour in general has been rabidly pro-EU for the best part of 15-20 years albeit largely because of the sheer schadenfreude of exploiting Tory splits on the EU rather than any real principle.

Are you really suggesting that Ed Miliband is more eurosceptic than Cameron? Or that there are any Labour front benchers who could credibly campaign for exit? More credibly than the Tories? Really?

Perhaps there were some signs in Miliband’s conference speech ( http://botzarelli.wordpress.com/2011/10/03/the-miliband-muddle/ ) and attacks on EU competition law in the NHS and the public procurement rules for Thameslink trains but they were too cryptic for the general public to see him as a credible eurosceptic. Similarly, Douglas Alexander sounded a couple of weeks ago like he was taking a sceptic but pro-EU line but reversed out of it sharply today http://botzarelli.wordpress.com/2011/11/18/life-in-the-fast-lane/ .

In any case, if there is a collapse of the EU why would there be any need for a referendum at all? A unilateral decision to exit without referendum would be the nuclear response to your proposal. The Lib Dems might well walk and there would then be a General Election (a much better referendum on the EU as it would allow the issue to be argued in the context of what each party would do in the event of their preferred option happening). Would Labour campaign in that GE on a platform of staying in or rather, going further to join the eurozone replacement for the EU? I doubt that Cameron would campaign positively to stay in in the circumstances of EU collapse.

11 Reveals himself as a “concern” troll.

@5: “Yes, you keep pretending that isolationist xenophobia is a good thing, and that word’s meaning is static.”

You – and Sunny – evidently have absolutely no understanding of what’s fundamentally wrong with Eurozone economics or why what has been proposed at the summit goes no way towards resolving the pressures deriving from diverging competitiveness between Eurozone states. Like most other governments around the table apart from Britain, you think its all about the intoxicating politics of more European integration. It isn’t.

Try this from The Economist latest issue showing the trade imbalances for Eurozone countries:
http://www.economist.com/node/21541454

Greece has a current account trading deficit amounting to 8.4 pc of national GDP, Italy’s trading deficit is 3.7 pc of national GDP, for Spain it’s a deficit of 3.8 pc, for France it’s a deficit of 2.4 pc. OTOH Germany has a current account trading surplus of 5.2 pc of national GDP and the Germany economy is about a third of the Eurozone total.

Trading deficits of those magnitudes create internal recessionary pressures in those Eurozone countries which have been alleviated by national governments running compensating budget deficits financed through borrowing and more borrowing – which is why they have run into borrowing problems. But curb the budget deficits by greater fiscal disciple and what alleviates the recessionary pressures???

Interbank lending in the Eurozone has dried up because banks believe the Eurozone could break up and banks would then be left with loans to defaulting governments and banks in those countries which will revert to depreciating national currencies if the Euro fails. Fortunately, the ECB has a long last stepped in to provide loan facilities to banks to ease the shortage of bank liquidity.

Chanting silly political slogans does nothing to resolve the underlying economic issues but Merkel and Sarkozy are too dumb to appreciate that. They and others think that the politics of integration trumps the economics. It doesn’t, which is why the Eurozone economy is in the mess it is.

Btw Britain’s banking problems were overwhelmingly due to the way the Scottish banks – RBS and HBOS – were run.

@ Sunny: “EU is now effectively dead”.

I’m not sure what you mean by this, or why you think this is the case.

The current direction appears to be towards closer and deeper union, not fragmentation (and “ever closer union” is a key founding principle).

Leon – I know its Friday but that’s no excuse to get drunk off your face at lunch and then spend all afternoon and evening posting silly, illegible messages on blogs.

Joe: This is heady stuff Sunny, but you’ve not really said whether or why you think withdrawal from the EU or a referendum thereon would be good for the country.

I think a referendum would be more democratic. On the EU itself – I’m not sure what benefits there are more of staying in – we have effectively been ousted. This is why so many Libdems and Europhiles are angry. There’s no point pretending things can continue as they have.

Jack: The current direction appears to be towards closer and deeper union, not fragmentation

Amongst euro members, sure. Not UK though. There is absolutely no appetite here for more integration. So we’re effectively out.

Why do you fantasize man? We are not fucking leaving, to get a result such as todays is a once in a life time kinda thing…

21. Chaise Guevara

@ 19 Sunny

“Leon – I know its Friday but that’s no excuse to get drunk off your face at lunch and then spend all afternoon and evening posting silly, illegible messages on blogs. ”

Come off it. The record will show that Leon and I are hardly bosom buddies, but he’s raising genuine concerns about your suggestions. You’re doing that thing where you insult people because you can’t think of an answer. It’s fine to treat bona fide trolls like that, but not people who actually engage with the article, regardless of how much you disagree with them.

For myself, I think attacking the EU in the hope of winning Labour the next election is extremely short-termist.

22. Leon Wolfson

@19 – I drink alcohol once in a blue moon, and certainly not on it now. The only drug in my system is caffeine. I stand by what I said.

To dismiss the entire EU as an irrelevance because of the actions of the Tories is silly.

@Chaise: “I think attacking the EU in the hope of winning Labour the next election is extremely short-termist.”

Agreed. What we really need is more robust analysis of the reasons for the Eurozone failings. More and more fiscal discipline with austerity measures won’t resolve the recessionary pressures generated by chronic trade imbalances.

This is quite interesting from Bloomberg………….

“European Union leaders dropped their demand that investors share the cost of bailouts as Germany abandoned a campaign that helped deepen the two-year-old financial crisis.

Limiting so-called private-sector involvement to the terms accepted in International Monetary Fund bailouts was part of a package agreed upon in Brussels early today as leaders met to forge tighter economic bonds to stem the crisis.

“As regards private-sector involvement, we have made a major change in our doctrine: from now on we will strictly adhere to the IMF principles and doctrines,” EU President Herman Van Rompuy told reporters at a briefing. “Or, to put it more bluntly, our first approach to PSI, which had a very negative effect on debt markets is now officially over.”

So in effect the EU has bowed to the power of the global elites who think austerity is for the little people. The IMF is one of the most anti democratic pro elite organisations going. No wonder all those bankers liked pushing all their private debt onto the tax payer. Granny will starve so the elites go free.

The answer will be OUT, and the Labour Party will isolate itself from public opinion by campaigning for IN. More to the point, it doesn’t answer the question – what does IN mean? In the Euro? In the Austerity Union proposed today? The whole thing is collapsing.

As for this deal, it’s crummy.

http://theoldpolitics.blogspot.com/2011/12/other-people-write-good-stuff.html

for five good explanations why.

But what does “In” mean in that case, and how popular does Ed make himself by campaigning for it? In the Euro? In the Austerity Union proposed today? Shades of the AV referendum all over again.

Today’s deal is crummy. Cameron did the right thing, albeit for the wrong reason. Here are five people explaining why:

http://theoldpolitics.blogspot.com/2011/12/other-people-write-good-stuff.html

“No wonder all those bankers liked pushing all their private debt onto the tax payer. Granny will starve so the elites go free”

Government’s the absolute moment every penny of that debt was taken out, pushed debt onto the tax payer. There more than happy to do that…

Chaise: The record will show that Leon and I are hardly bosom buddies, but he’s raising genuine concerns about your suggestions.

You mean like saying Bob @ 17 was making it all about Jews? (I deleted the comment). Yeah… ok.

For myself, I think attacking the EU in the hope of winning Labour the next election is extremely short-termist.

I called for Ed Miliband to call for a referendum, not to withdraw. I do hope occasionally that people read my articles instead of attacking me over somethign else.

The reason for dropping the previous private-sector haircuts policy was because that made the banks very reluctant to take up the bonds of highly indebted governments where default and dropping out of the Eurozone were considered likely prospects or to make bank loans to businesses and households in those countries.

The effect of the haircut policy was to intensify recessionary pressures in the Eurozone. Fortunately, the European Central Bank, at long last, is now making 3-year loan facilities to Eurozone banks to alleviate liquidity shortages as interbank lending has dried up for fear of being left with bad assets.

Eurozone economic policy has been almost consistently behind the curve – which is one reason why British sentiments are very cautious about letting the EU set financial regulations for the London financial markets. There is a deeply embedded belief that they don’t realy know what they are doing because of economic illiteracy.

30. Chaise Guevara

@ 28 Sunny

“You mean like saying Bob @ 17 was making it all about Jews? (I deleted the comment). Yeah… ok. ”

Fair enough, but if you delete the offending post but reply anyway. it looks like you’re talking about his other posts.

“I called for Ed Miliband to call for a referendum, not to withdraw. I do hope occasionally that people read my articles instead of attacking me over somethign else.”

A referedum would be a withdrawl. Maybe you want Ed to call for a referendum and not get one, but that sounds like a dangerous game.

31. Man on Clapham Omnibus

@12 dont have a go a Tom , Sunny. I’ve yet to see anything intelligent coming from you. Maybe instead of sucking up to your Labour heroes who frankly are going absolutely nowhere you could step back a bit and be more analytical about the role the Labour Party isnt playing. This site could be about policy instead of a rerunning of old leftie diatribe.A bit sad.

32. Dick the Prick

Isn’t the problem that a referendum needs 2 sides and, as far as it seems at the mo, i’m not sure what ‘in Europe’ means. Also, couldn’t Cammo use it to go for a general election? Good political talking point Sunny but not necessarily nuclear, plus, factor in what Alec Salmond’s response will be as he’s gonna be caucussing this weekend.

Apologies for double post, wasn’t showing up.

“On the EU itself – I’m not sure what benefits there are more of staying in – we have effectively been ousted.”

Only if they resort to the practice of arbitrarily abrogating or sidestepping solemn treaty undertakings.

And what are the chances of that happening?

35. Leon Wolfson

@28 – Given how blatantly the AV referendum was rigged, that IS a call with withdraw from the EU. Given the blatant vote-buying of that referendum, you have just spat in the face of British democracy.

The ONLY possible reason for holding another without safeguards is to empower secret funding of the no campaign, since I’m sure the Yes campaign will be as transparent as it was during the AV campaign…

I’m sure you’ll delete this as well, a disclaimer I’ll be using constantly now.

“Eurozone economic policy has been almost consistently behind the curve –”

Unlike of course US/Uk policy that has no debt at all, and has bailed out the elites casino gambling by taking their debts onto the public.

Way to go IMF Ye HA, Ye Ha

37. Leon Wolfson

I expect this will be deleted…

@34 – Yes, the UK keeps on stepping on treaties and agreements. Given your beloved Cameron’s record of bargaining in bad faith, the chance is real low.

@30 – It’s not a game. It’s a direct call for withdrawal, given the conditions surrounding referendums. It’s a direct game of Brinkmanship, believing that it’s better the UK withdraw. I agree in many ways, bluntly, given how much BETTER the EU has protected us and the opt-outs the UK would LOSE in an EFTA treaty.

That’s not to say it’s better we’re better off losing our influence, of course.

As Cameron showed with the clause he wanted to ban certain forms of deals happening only in Euros, there are MANY ways the Eurozone and the new treaty block can legally shut the UK out. Bluntly, they SHOULD at this stage. The Tories will not argue in good faith.

Good day to bury bad news. Tom Watson just tweeted that the govt have put out ministerial hospitality register showing meetings with Murdoch.

Am I the only one who thinks Labour have missed a massive trick by not screaming from the rooftops that Cameron was batting for bankers, not Britain?

Sally: “Unlike of course US/Uk policy that has no debt at all, and has bailed out the elites casino gambling by taking their debts onto the public. ”

That’s silly. Economic policies in different monetary areas are often very different and it’s absolutely crucial to understand the distinctive reasons for the failings.

GW Bush was enthusiastic about borrowing to cut taxes for the rich and the Republicans in the UD Congress are resisting any increase in taxes to rein back the budget deficit. Try this interview on YouTube with Warren Buffett, who is a billionaire, on why he and the rich in America should pay more in taxes:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Cu5B-2LoC4s

In Britain, general government expenditure as a percentage of national GDP in 2007 was a whisker above Germany but lower than in Denmark, Sweden, the Netherlands, France etc – according to OECD data.

In relative magnitude, the failings of British banks which had to be bailed out by the government were largely due to the mismanagement of the Scottish banks – RBS and HBOS – and because the Financial Services Authority failed to regulate as thoroughly as it should have, as was admitted in the Turner Review of 2009. The banking failures of 2007/08 were preventable but easy high loan-to-value home mortgages – of 100 pc and better – and the resulting house-price bubble were very popular until it was realised that the ladder for home ownership was being pulled up..

The deep recession of 7 pc in lost GDP in Britain from 2008Q1 to the trough in the following year dramatically reduced tax revenues – which is one of the main reasons why the budget deficit as a percentage of national GDP shot up.

I’ve discussed @17 the reasons for Eurozone problems.

41. Leon Wolfson

@39 – Well yes, that’s Labour. The left should be doing that, and will.

@39 Well, yes and no – but the deal as agreed is pro-banker too. It promises no more haircuts. 100% of the irresponsible lending will be paid back to the lenders, no matter what the cost.

43. Leon Wolfson

@43 – Unfortunately, yes.

As a side-note, financial regulation is qualified-majority voting. Who’s going to stand alongside the UK to block changes now, precisely?

Ouch.

This is a tough one. It could mean the collapse of the government if Cameron loses a vote of no confidence, leading to an election which Labour would probably win against a leaderless conservative party. On the other hand it would be childish, because Cameron doesn’t have the votes to put forward a referendum if he wanted to since Labour, half the Conservative party and the Lib Dems would vote no since it would plunge us into chaos.

I don’t have much to say, I feel bruised by it all-I used to hope that Britain’s place could be at the centre of Europe, but the EU hasn’t helped my mindset. This scheme feels hare-brained and totally lacking any path to recovery-a plan for the next crisis not this one. Though they probably see the UK ‘plan’ of doing things through QE as turning us into Italy-remember paying L1500 or whatever for a cup of coffee? That could be us if this lasts for a decade or more.

@Fiona-agreed, broadly. It does seem a plan for a ‘German’ type of country: slow growth, low borrowing, high spending but high taxes as well. As a plan for Greece it seems far too tight given the mess they’re in. They need to borrow lots now or companies that the recovery depends on will collapse.

I’m not sure I buy the more excitable responses. 26 countries will now get on doing whatever they think needs to be done in order to avoid further tantrums from the UK. This may indeed be legally questionable. They don’t care. Cameron succeeded in what was his only real goal which was to avoid coming home with anything at all, however favourable, which required ratification. He now has the adulation of the flat earthers and won’t (he hopes) need to mention Europe again for four years, meanwhile the 26 will get on with the grown up stuff reasonably confident that they won’t be hearing another peep out of Flashman.

“Am I the only one who thinks Labour have missed a massive trick by not screaming from the rooftops that Cameron was batting for bankers, not Britain?”

That graphically illustrates why you understand nothing about the reasons for the problems of the Eurozone and why there are solid reasons for believing that those who run the show there really don’t understand what they were doing are what they are doing. Try @17.

In previous threads, I’ve been very free about criticising British bankers and bankers’ bonuses but that is logically independent of concerns about the economics of the Eurozone.

It is possible for both Eurozone economics AND the management of British banks to be deeply flawed. But that doesn’t mean we should have confidence in the regulation of Britain’s financial system by the Eurozone.

Let’s be clear about this: the EU is now effectively dead.

Then there is not much point in having a referendum, is there?

48. Anon E Mouse

I agree with this article.

The polls show Ed Miliband is a complete irrelevance like the majority of the Labour Party at present and anything he can do to raise his profile can only be a good thing.

He will end up going down as being more ineffective as Neil Kinnock and by jumping on bandwagons such as phone hacking that no one outside the Westminster bubble cares about he really needs to be taught a lesson about how the public in this country view the EU.

Labour are so out of step with public opinion it’s laughable and all we can hope is Miliband reads this article, acts on it’s advice and the party gets shot of him ASAP.

With that clown Miliband leading Labour it means the official opposition in this country is a joke and Cameron has a free hand to do as he pleases – for Labour to be doing so badly considering the cuts says it all.

Listen to Sunny and take your best shot Ed – you’ve never done a single days work in your life what do you have to lose….

49. Leon Wolfson

@48 – And your crusade to get the Labour party to cut it’s throat continues.

That you feel you have to do this speaks volumes about how far the Tories feel they need to go.

@ Leon in passim:

Of course, if you don’t want your posts deleted, you could always refrain from abusing/misrepresenting other posters, and constructively engage with what others have written.

51. Anon E Mouse

@49 – Leon Wolfson

It doesn’t need me to cut the Labour Party’s throat – by letting the union dinosaurs force the hapless, unelectable Ed Miliband on them has done that. Look at the polls. Every time Miliband speaks it set Labour back.

And I don’t know if you’ve noticed but David Cameron and the tories are in government.

Labour has behaved disgracefully towards the poor in this country and deserves everything it gets and right wing trolls like yourself only to help the government’s causes. As you well know.

Now lay off the booze and get yourself home Wolfy boy…

48 Sorry to burst your bubble but if this country only cares about Europe, how come Labour won 3 straight elections against Eurosceptic tories? Answer is people vote on other issues.

And people should care about phone hacking because it was being used to run and intimidate their politicians. It was the mafia Murdoch crime family.

53. Leon Wolfson

@51 – Nope, the Coalition is in government. Even with Labour losing votes term after term, and with a hideously unpopular leader, the Tories couldn’t come up with a majority.

Tory trolls like you undercut Labour because you know full well that that and the Gerrymandering are the only hope you have now what the LieDems have disintegrated their support base.

You’re the one on the hard stuff, not me, and I’m at home. I don’t feel the need to let my epeen make me wander.

Good to see that old-fashioned concepts like “the national interest” are totally irrelevant to the Sunny analysis of What We Should Do Next.

“But is it good for the Labour Party ?”

http://punkpatriot.blogspot.com/2011/12/man-bulldozes-his-own-home-rather-than.html

This is great. Bank forecloses on his house, so he knocked down with a bulldozer. I’m sure the elites will demand strong action against the litte peopl. They won’t want this to catch on.

I love it that a whole bunch of people have come here accusing me of not thinking ‘about the national interest’ without having a fucking clue about what they would say themselves.

owhere you could step back a bit and be more analytical about the role the Labour Party isnt playing.

I already have. Keep up
http://liberalconspiracy.org/2011/11/25/what-in-gods-name-is-labours-response-to-the-eurozone-crisis/
and
http://liberalconspiracy.org/2011/12/02/we-need-to-re-assess-our-approach-to-europe/
and
http://liberalconspiracy.org/2011/10/21/why-labour-is-making-two-tactical-mistakes-on-the-eu-referendum/

Now please. Unless you have something intelligent to say – whether in agreement or disagreement – say so. Just whining that I don’t have anything to offer because you don’t like it just makes you look like a tool.

57. Leon Wolfson

@55 – Burn it all is superficially attractive, but frankly is more like those calling for us to get out of Europe right now, slashing and burning our economy, EXCEPT the city. (And when that was attacked, after…)

58. So Much For Subtlety

The UK is now politically isolated over Europe, the centre-right alliance that Cameron dreamed of is in tatters, and the long-term damage to our economy by being in the outer-rim of a two speed Europe will be significant. But all that is irrelevant for now.

Sorry but what possible damage could Britain suffer by being on the outer-rim of a two-speed Europe? Our problem is that we are not on the even-more-outer-rim of being in the Free Trade Zone but not in the EU.

He should ask Cameron if he will call for a referendum on the EU itself to clarify whether the UK stays in or out.

Cameron will ignore him. Cameron does not want to destroy the British economy but he is a firm supporter of the EU. Everyone knows this would be lost and the British people would vote to leave.

Germany and France’s priority now will be to save the Euro. It now looks more likely than not they will. They won’t care about riding roughshod over EU laws or agreements to ensure the Euro survives.

It is hard to see how they will save the Euro. It is dead. It has to go. The only question is what else it is going to take down with it. But stop and think for a moment – why would we want to be part of a club where the leading members feel perfectly happy ignoring the law and their own agreements when it does not suit them? Destroying the rule of law is a high price for membership.

But calling for a referendum would expose the fact Cameron doesn’t want to be out of the EU despite the crumbs he has thrown at his Eurosceptic MPs. It would put him in a bind and expose the farcical situation that Britain is in now.

So it would lose him no votes either way. Why would this help Labour?

I wish people would stop referring to the EU as a free trade area. It is not, and has never been a free trade area. The EU is a customs union, if it was a free trade area it would not impose a common external tariff on some goods entering the union. The EU would rather subsidise the sloth of fat bone idle French farmers than allow poor African farmers to freely sell their produce in the EU. Free trade is free and has no tariffs.

60. Leon Wolfson

@59 – So NAFTA is…

@58 – Darn straight, the vote for leaving would be bought just like the AV vote. That was such a disgrace…British democracy wouldn’t survive it long in all likelyhood (the union would disintegrate).

And right, so, stock up on canned goods? Great, you do that. When we’re hunting through the ruins, I’ll bet on me.

I think that the EU is grossly undemocratic, and now it has the half-baked Euro in place in 17 countries.

As the current woes demonstrate, it must either fully integrate into an unwanted, even more undemocratic United States of Europe, or return back to independent nations with floating currencies, in a free-market area. No more, no less.

Ed should propose an in/out referendum for the following reasons:

1. It is the right thing to do
2. It is what voters across the political spectrum want
3. It would be very popular.

The current EU is no place for the democratic left. Unless the EU introduces more democracy and stops interfering with how Nations run their economies, I want no part of it.

If the UK left the EU, we would not lose trade – people buy goods based on price and suitability. Most of the claims of what would befall the UK outside the EU are no more than scaremongering in my view.

The reason why the political elite doesn’t want referenda on the EU is simple – they know they will lose. They are just clinging on to the power.

An offer of an in/out referendum would be transformative for democratic participation. Go for it Ed please (though I doubt you have the kahunas to)

62. Leon Wolfson

@61 – It MUST go as you want, right. Never mind you tens of millions who will be economically devastated!

1. It is completely contrary to representative democracy. I want referendum on the cuts, and I understand why I’m not getting one.
2. Prove it. With a study, not a poll.
3. Popularism is the route to disaster. It’s throwing away the principle which can lead to electoral success, and sounding good for the crowd – it plays right into the Tory hands, they can rightly claim that Labour is a pale shadow.

We wouldn’t “lose” trade, we’d have our economy utterly devastated unless we signed up to a significantly LESS democratic EFTA/EEA agreement. That IS what happens when you have trade barriers slammed into your face, people stop being able to afford goods.

They don’t want a referendum, because the damage done to democracy by the last one was immense. The blatant vote buying and media lies, if repeated, would lead to – correctly – international condemnation and the death of any hope of democracy here for decades, if ever…the Tories would of course buy the referendum, the UK would break up and the Tories gerrymandering and social cleansing would have their full effect, establishing a permanent Tory majority in England.

And you *claim* to be on the left?

@63

I am of the left, I can assure you.

I fundamentally disagree with your whole analysis, but I do have the time or energy to go through that in detail.

It evidently didn’t occur to the BBC Today staffers or to Heseltine, when he was interviewed this Saturday morning, to ask the obvious intelligent questions about the EU summit:

1. What caused the crisis or crises in the Eurozone?

2. Will the policy proposals at the summit for a Eurozone fiscal union to enforce fiscal discipline with punitive sanctions resolve the causes of the crisis or crises?

It evidently hasn’t occurred to Ed Miliband either to ask those fundamental questions.

This hiatus isn’t just about Eurosceptism, mongering a new EU Constitution and power broking. We need prior agreements on the diagnosis of the Eurozone’s problems before considering the appropriate remedial policy options. The EU summit got nowhere near that logical progression.

65. Leon Wolfson

@63 – I don’t take assurances, I take what people actually type.

And of course you can’t defend your views. No surprise there.

@64 – Of course you want the EU to do nothing and fall.

I don’t think Sunny ever realises that when he advocates Ed Miliband do X because “it’ll be a really wizard wheeze, and gets a cheap point score over the Tories – no, I haven’t considered what’s in the national interest, it’s propagandising I’m interested in, we’re in opposition now, we’re allowed to play cynical” then it’s almost certain Labour HQ won’t do it, because the really fucking obvious retort from the Government is that Miliband is a pipsqueak operating far below the level of events who is only doing X to cynically score a cheap point. Seeing as, y’know, that’s pretty much Sunny’s justification for doing X in the first place.

Keep it up lad, one day the man might be daft enough to take you up on this kamikaze advice.


Reactions: Twitter, blogs
  1. Stephen Fulham

    Europe: Ed Miliband should push the nuclear button http://t.co/yQqz7JUB

  2. Gordon Anderson

    Europe: Ed Miliband should push the nuclear button http://t.co/yQqz7JUB

  3. Leon Green

    RT @sunny_hundal: My view on #Europe: @Ed_Miliband should push the nuclear button & call for a referendum http://t.co/QTx8PwWZ

  4. Jamie

    Europe: Ed Miliband should push the nuclear button http://t.co/uAHR5UfF #Cameron #EU #Eurozone

  5. Adam Richards

    My view on Europe: Ed Miliband should push the nuclear button and call for a referendum http://t.co/0yqm3sAh

  6. Laughlan

    My view on Europe: Ed Miliband should push the nuclear button and call for a referendum http://t.co/0yqm3sAh

  7. Tim Aldrich

    My view on Europe: Ed Miliband should push the nuclear button and call for a referendum http://t.co/0yqm3sAh

  8. Alex Braithwaite

    Europe: Ed Miliband should push the nuclear button | Liberal Conspiracy http://t.co/IYuK49w8 via @libcon

  9. Jonathan Gunson

    My view on Europe: Ed Miliband should push the nuclear button and call for a referendum http://t.co/0yqm3sAh

  10. Mike Morgan-Giles

    *@libcon: Europe: Ed Miliband should push the nuclear button http://t.co/Wg999LB0 by @sunny_hundal

  11. Europe: what Miliband should do now « Though Cowards Flinch

    […] thinks Ed Miliband should now: [A]sk Cameron if he will call for a referendum on the EU itself to clarify […]

  12. mkpdavies

    http://t.co/UWLbGqgw
    "But this leaves Ed… http://t.co/7nkDWiJJ

  13. Kirsten Young

    http://t.co/bHviEigs Europe: Ed Miliband should push the nuclear button | Liberal …

  14. sunny hundal

    Jon Cruddas pushing Ed Miliband on an EU referendum http://t.co/FMbvmwU2 // excellent. I've been arguing the same http://t.co/0yqm3sAh

  15. dsugg

    Jon Cruddas pushing Ed Miliband on an EU referendum http://t.co/FMbvmwU2 // excellent. I've been arguing the same http://t.co/0yqm3sAh

  16. River Flows

    Jon Cruddas pushing Ed Miliband on an EU referendum http://t.co/FMbvmwU2 // excellent. I've been arguing the same http://t.co/0yqm3sAh

  17. fauxpaschick

    Jon Cruddas pushing Ed Miliband on an EU referendum http://t.co/FMbvmwU2 // excellent. I've been arguing the same http://t.co/0yqm3sAh

  18. Daniel Hannan

    Jon Cruddas pushing Ed Miliband on an EU referendum http://t.co/FMbvmwU2 // excellent. I've been arguing the same http://t.co/0yqm3sAh

  19. Dave King

    Jon Cruddas pushing Ed Miliband on an EU referendum http://t.co/FMbvmwU2 // excellent. I've been arguing the same http://t.co/0yqm3sAh

  20. Fredrik Jansson

    Jon Cruddas pushing Ed Miliband on an EU referendum http://t.co/FMbvmwU2 // excellent. I've been arguing the same http://t.co/0yqm3sAh

  21. duona

    Jon Cruddas pushing Ed Miliband on an EU referendum http://t.co/FMbvmwU2 // excellent. I've been arguing the same http://t.co/0yqm3sAh





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