Labour’s newfound Euroscepticism?

6th December, 2011 7:25 pm

A few weeks ago, in response to an apparent change of tone in Labour’s approach to Europe, I argued that Labour had never been that fussed with Europe:

“The pro-European clothes never quite fitted snugly. There was always a bit of chafing here and there – the result perhaps of being a party that craved popularity in a somewhat Eurosceptic country.”

“Crucially though, Labour always realised that Europe didn’t really matter electorally, unlike the Tories for whom it was – and is – an obsession. Want to run an election based largely around “saving the pound”? Knock yourselves out. Not because the British people love sterling (although a sizeable proportion do), but because the notion that Labour would switch currencies was always laughable”

Today Ed Balls stood up in the house and said:

“there’s no possibility anytime in my lifetime of a British government joining the euro”

Eurosceptic? Euro-realist? Either way, few in the party have batted an eyelid. And that says all you need to know about the current Labour Party’s attitude to Europe…


  • Ian

    good to hear, I am not a euro sceptic, I would vote to stay in but joining the Euro will never happen, so why worry about ?

    If it upsets Blair and his dwindling band of followers, then tough

  • jaime taurosangastre candelas

    This doesn’t seem very democratic:

    In fact, it seems fairly dictatorial, and is drafted and circulated by an entirely unelected figure.  I would hope that every party in Britain would unanimously vote in Parliament against any such measure.  No need for a referendum, just a simple message to Brussels that 649 of Britain’s elected representatives (Speaker abstaining) say “No”.

    If the price of democracy is a return to 27 national currencies, which didn’t seem to work too badly* for the last hundred years, then so be it.

    * ie no one nation brought an entire continent to the knees.  Nations had calamities due to stupid policies, but the effects were not systemic across a continent.  Example:  Switzerland’s GDP grew during the Weimar years by an annualised 5.2% (mostly in railroads and goods warehousing / distribution, although of course many Germanic businessmen switched production to Switzerland as well).  By contrast, most countries in South America had the currencies pegged to the US dollar during the 1930s, and despite good trade and not being affected by the Wall Street crisis, they were dragged in by the dollar peg and defaulted.  From memory, only Uruguay did not have a dollar peg, and did not default.

  • Mike Homfray

    A single currency needs fiscal unity – and I don’t see many of the current members hurrying to leave!

    • jaime taurosangastre candelas

      Simple.  Get rid of the single currency.  Its’ benefits have always been massively over-stated.  Then no need for fiscal unity, and thankfully political unity is far more difficult to achieve for those eurocrats who continue to believe that there is an appetite for such an outcome.

      Let’s go back to being a trading block, with currencies floating against each other.

      • Mike Homfray

        But isn’t that up to the members of the single currency and their governments? 

        It doesn’t appear that they want to ‘get rid’ of it, and Europe will need to be a protectionist bloc in the future – trade and the so-called free market won’t work with countries with huge populations wishing to be consumers not producers. Much more localised production which will be much easier with a single currency

        • Hugh

          ” But isn’t that up to the members of the single currency and their governments? ”

          Yes, but the members and their governments aren’t always the same thing.

          “Europe will need to be a protectionist bloc in the future”

          Why? Did China cause the Euro crisis?

          “Much more localised production which will be much easier with a single currency.”

          How so?

    • Anonymous

      Fiscal and political unity is what the eurorealists / sceptics were saying years ago and have continued to say. But they were shouted down, called xenophobic little englanders and derided.

      Now we see that they were right all along and the EU is using the economic crisis as its own Enabling Act to bring in fiscal and polical centralisation and control without any of that pesky democracy that the plebs moan about.

      Current memebrs don’t want to leave because then they would lose out on the German economic and financial backing (and cash) and would lose access to EU funds.  It would be worse to leave but being essentially forced to stay in is not a real choice either.

      ‘Stay in and be told what to do by the Franco-German alliance or leave and be torn to pieces by the Franco-German alliance and others’.

  • Tugsandtost

    I don’t get it.  What does it say about current Labour Party’s attitude to Europe?

  • Anonymous

    I am a Tory Troll. Therefore everything I say is RUBBISH, Comrades.

    Still there?


    83 MPs are determined (I guess) to revolt when the referendum is finally canned and when Mr Cameron is outwitted into coming back from Europe at the end of the week waving a scrap of paper like his (Tory) predecessor.

    So why don’t you lot vote against the government? You could so easily bring it down and then face an election. With the Conservative-Liberal-Eurosceptic vote split three ways, you would walk it.

    Remember Mr Wilson and Heath…….

  • Anonymous

    That the party doesn’t really care…

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