Cameron’s Fantasy Land must be countered

24th January, 2013 10:32 am

At long last the Great Speech, the speech to end all speeches, has been delivered. In it the Prime Minister has bought hook, line and sinker into the belief – peddled by his own eurosceptics – that putting Europe centre stage at the next General Election will deliver his party the outright victory that has eluded them for the past four General Elections. It is a testament to his ability to fly headlong into the face of reality and betrays a disturbing faith in his own abilities that very few people actually share.

It is a Fantasy Land in which Cameron is in total control of his party, where he has the unwavering backing of a grateful British public and where other world leaders gaze in awe at his ability to capture the zeitgeist so uncannily. In Fantasy Land there is no need for proper ideas or specific reforms; the evils of the EU that must be slain are clear: it is too slow, too focused on the welfare of its citizens and needs to be stripped right back in order to fulfil its purpose of a trading bloc where countries compete with emerging economies on the basis of low-cost, unproductive and unprotected labour.

In Fantasy Land opinion poll after opinion poll has respondents screaming their frustrations at being a member of the European Union before adding, as a footnote when pressed, their concerns about jobs, the NHS and the cost of living. Fantasy Land is inhabited by gleeful Tories who have somehow, despite leaving the mainstream European People’s Party to join the hostile fringe, finally persuaded the centre-right in Europe to realise the folly of their ways, do an about turn and accept the worldview of Liam Fox.

The danger of Fantasy Land is that proponents soon start to ignore any semblance of reality around them and press on regardless. In so doing the facts become lost in dogma. And those of us grounded in reality can become complacent about the need to inject some common sense in the mistaken belief that reality and fantasy never cross over. Now that the entire fate of the country has seemingly been hinged on the Tories’ chief neurosis, as Labour activists we must make our position clear. We should use this moment as an opportunity to put an alternative view of what Europe should be to the British people, referendum or no.

Our record is a good one. As constructive members of a coalition of sister parties Labour has successfully secured protection for workers in the form of anti-discrimination and paid leave rights as well as initiatives such as the European Youth Guarantee, which give young people a real and achievable pathway into work. Our countryside, cities and beaches are cleaner now than ever before. The days of criminals and fugitives escaping justice by fleeing to other European countries are over. We compete with emerging economic superpowers not in a race to the bottom but as members of the largest single economic bloc in the world where the freedom and protection of an employment market of 500 million citizens is assured. All of this achieved through constructive engagement, and none of it by accident.

Now it’s up to us to start our own reality-driven discussion on reform. We cannot afford to ignore Cameron’s Fantasy Land, hoping it will fizzle away. Without developing and making the case for our alternative, Fantasy Land is all the British public will hear or know about Europe. Once we have begun that discussion here is my prediction for how reality will play out: when the real choice on offer is made clear at the next General Election it will be obvious which party is on the side of the British people.

To report anything from the comment section, please e-mail [email protected]
  • Jeremy_Preece

    Sebastian I welcome this post and agree with most of it.
    One key point though is the role of media. Much of the media is also committed to the same la-la land view as Cameron. Sadly after Levsison nothing is actually going to happen to clip the wongs of the media barrons, and Murdoch et al really are abouve hte law after all.
    Labour has backed Levison and so is going to get a drumming from the media who are in many cases so anti-Europe that some seem to be frothing at the mouth when the write their editorials (which are now mergred into their front page headlines).
    My point is that Labour needs to get a real debate and real facts into the public arena as you say, but will have an uphill battle against many media bosses. The same is also true about the government’s economic performance too.

  • Pingback: Cameron’s plans in Europe | Seb Dance()

Latest

  • Featured News Corbyn condemns abuse as 40 female MPs demand action over “disgusting” incidents

    Corbyn condemns abuse as 40 female MPs demand action over “disgusting” incidents

    Jeremy Corbyn will today confront claims of abuse in the Labour Party as he uses a series of events around Britain to appeal to left-wing voters to help him retain the leadership and deliver a “social movement”. Corbyn, who has faced claims that he has done too little to tackle personal abuse in the party, will repeat his condemnation of harassment and threats after more than 40 female Labour MPs wrote to him demanding he take action to tackle an “extremely worrying […]

    Read more →
  • Comment Europe The EU referendum showed that UKIP is now the biggest threat to Labour

    The EU referendum showed that UKIP is now the biggest threat to Labour

    For a long time now commentators and Labour figures have regularly remarked on the growing cultural and political distance between the Labour Party and the core Labour vote, particularly outside London. This fact was clearly demonstrated in the EU referendum, where Labour heartlands overwhelmingly rejected Labour’s stance on EU membership and all things associated with it.  This should serve as an immediate and urgent wake up call to the Labour Party. During the referendum campaign I served as General Secretary of […]

    Read more →
  • Featured News Owen Smith: Half of the great offices of state must be filled by women

    Owen Smith: Half of the great offices of state must be filled by women

    Owen Smith will today pledge to hand two of the top four jobs in shadow Cabinet and then Government to women as he launches a campaign to tackle gender inequality. The leadership candidate says half of the so-called great offices of state – leader/prime minister, foreign secretary, chancellor and home secretary – will be filled by women as he aims to tap into Labour’s history of fighting sexual discrimination. Smith’s speech comes two days after Jeremy Corbyn used the formal launch […]

    Read more →
  • News Senior Labour figures air fresh concerns over abuse in the party

    Senior Labour figures air fresh concerns over abuse in the party

    A fresh row has broken out over the scale of abuse and intimidation in the Labour Party, as Owen Smith claimed Jeremy Corbyn must “take more responsibility” for the concerns that have led to the suspension of most constituency Labour Party (CLP) meetings across the country. Leadership challenger Smith has claimed that the level of “abuse, misogyny and anti-Semitism” in the party has risen since Corbyn’s victory last September. His intervention comes after Angela Eagle suspended surgeries in her constituency […]

    Read more →
  • Comment Featured If homophobia is allowed back into politics then it takes society back to the dark ages

    If homophobia is allowed back into politics then it takes society back to the dark ages

    This article has been written by 14 Labour Party members: Honor Cohen, Ilford North; Emma O’Dwyer, Hackney North; Carli Harper, Greenwich and Woolwich; Katie Curtis, Hornsey and Wood Green; Estelle Hart, Gower; Melantha Chittenden, Ashford; Vic Langer, Hornsey and Wood Green; Chantel Le Carpentier, Eastleigh; Katrina Gilman, Telford; Ruth Meadows, Telford; Natacha Kennedy, Eltham; Deirdre Costigan, Ealing North; Amy Lame, Holborn and St Pancras; Katie Hanson, Hackney South and Shoreditch. The Labour Party is the party of equality. It was past Labour governments that decriminalised homosexuality and introduced comprehensive legislative change on LGBT rights. […]

    Read more →
x

LabourList Daily Email

Everything Labour. Every weekday morning

Share with your friends










Submit