So the Conservatives once again are about to implode over Europe with David Cameron’s false promise of a 2017 IN /OUT Referendum to appease an extreme right-wing populist party called UKIP – the so called United Kingdom Independence Party. In reality this is a one man band backed by cranky millionaires such as Stuart Wheeler and Paul Sykes who have been expelled from the Tories. Like most opinionated rich men they have long since ceased to be accountable and have no trouble buying willing hired help. Whether they can buy British Democracy is another story as a long line of Rich Cranks have found out to their cost.
The Kippers and the Neanderthal Wing of the Tory Party do not like to be troubled with the facts (as I know they don’t cope very well) but Free Movement of people within the EU was agreed by treaty by A TORY GOVERNMENT in 1973. These treaties and Britain’s EU membership were put to the British people in a referendum in 1975 and were endorsed by them. Let me say that again SLOWLY – LABOUR is the only party which has given Britain a Referendum on Europe – PERIOD.
Labour’s only option on the enlargement in Eastern Europe was to ask for transitional arrangements for Poland, Romania and Bulgaria which it choose not to do. This was largely out of a sense of gratitude to the people of Poland, who we went to war for in 1939 and who fought bravely and died by our side in defeating fascism only for their country to fall under dictatorship. I, for one, am very proud of Labour’s principled decision. The practical effect of this and the hugely positive of the EU can be seen by looking at Poland a country which had a quarter of its population killed in World War II and had its soil used for the worst mass murders in modern history by its Fascist occupiers.
The contrast with Poland and its immediate neighbour Ukraine is dramatic and stark. In 2004 when Poland joined the EU its GDP was roughly the same as Ukraine’s today it is three times the size and Poland is a dynamic modern country for all the pains of transition making a real effort to meet the needs of its citizens and very much where it belongs, in Europe and not behind an Iron Curtain.
I reiterate I am very proud of Labour’s principled decision on free movement of people giving a reality to Labour market efficiency in Europe and making a free market possible. This made the UK the most dynamic economy in Europe until the madness of the ConDem’s engineered austerity in 2010 which means the Coalition will have increased the UK’s Debt in 5 years by more than Labour did in 13, a mess the new Labour Government will need to address in 2015.
It is this free movement which has changed the mindset of all Europeans from narrow self defeating and uncompetitive protectionism. It allows British people to live and work freely in the world’s largest market and 2.6 + million Britons have already made that choice. It means that when an unemployed bar worker from Whitby goes to Ibiza to work in a bar or club for the summer, or longer, despite not knowing the language or even understanding the culture in a yoghurt pot there is nothing to stop him. When a British couple retire to a Brit community on the Costa del Gin there is nothing to stop them, even if they are old jailbirds. That is how it should be.
The European Accession Act of 1973 was a solemn treaty freely entered into between Sovereign Nations agreed by their Parliaments intending to create continuing and binding realities between those nations. When Labour came to power in 1974 it kept its promise (which the Tories opposed) to give the people the choice to accept or reject these treaties in a Referendum. This they did decisively by 67% on a 65% turnout. How then 40 years later as people have adjusted to and benefited from the right of free movement, the right to residence and ownership of property, the right to procure services and goods, the right to establishment, etc: to deal with a festering sore in the Tory Party is it in anyway ethical or trustworthy to renege on these treaty commitments after companies, investors and individuals have made plans and dealt with this certainty over 40 years.
It is the most untrustworthy and Looney of tunes to even pretend these can or should be undone. It is absolutely untrustworthy and a lie to suggest somehow Britain can turn back the clock, leave the world’s biggest trading bloc, nor choose not to compete and adapt in a changing world which does not owe it a living. It is the height of stupidity for the Conservative Party to bastardise its principles to compete with an extreme right-wing party that wants to spuriously suggest immigration has “destroyed” the sixth richest country in the world, one which merrily invited itself to take over a quarter of the world’s land mass and rule 40% of its people, for its own enrichment. A party that wants to say “stop the world, we want to get off, ” which has never even organised bin collections and which doesn’t even have back of fag packet policies for most areas of reality we would have to deal with as a nation.
An integrated Europe free from war, strife and sterile nationalism was Winston Churchill’s vision for a Europe scarred by conflict and cruelty. It is strange that this Labour commentator has to restate this Conservative principle. It is a great pity, apart from islands of integrity and intelligence such as Michael Heseltine and Ken Clarke, that more Conservatives don’t restate their own principles and the reality of a Single European Market bound by Treaty and endorsed by Referendum which this country and its people unequivocally committed to. Trust is fundamental to all relationships, how can the world and its investors trust Britain as long as the Conservatives keep their sad self-inflicted wound gangrenous?
Today, powered by its readers and contributors, from its cyber eyries in Ireland and the centres of the Irish Diaspora The Eagle casts its Cold Eye on Life and Death and much in between.