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.

  • 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 “Harry was a proud socialist” – Labour MP Harry Harpham dies, aged 61

    “Harry was a proud socialist” – Labour MP Harry Harpham dies, aged 61

    Tributes are flooding in for Harry Harpham, the Labour MP for Sheffield Brightside and Hillsborough, after passing away from cancer at age 61. Harpham was elected for the first time last year, having worked as a miner – and being a stalwart of the miners’ strike in the 1980s – and later became deputy leader of Sheffield City Council. He made his final contribution in Parliament at PMQs just a fortnight ago, blasting the Government for only offering “warm words, hand-wringing and […]

    Read more →
  • Comment Featured Trade Union Action Week Unions The Tory Trade Union Bill is an unnecessary, undemocratic and unfair attack on working people

    The Tory Trade Union Bill is an unnecessary, undemocratic and unfair attack on working people

    Starting on Monday 8th, the TUC will be running #HeartUnions week; seven days of action to celebrate the vital work done by unions, their reps, and members in workplaces and in society. It comes at an important time for the movement, threatened as it is by the Trade Union Bill, the greatest attack on workers’ rights in a generation. The Trade Union Bill is unnecessary. The UK does not have a problem with industrial strife and we already have some […]

    Read more →
  • Comment Featured Labour was the party of the union. Now Corbyn needs to admit Labour’s future is federal

    Labour was the party of the union. Now Corbyn needs to admit Labour’s future is federal

    The history of the Labour Party is the history of the union. It was created in its current form when the Scottish Workers Parliamentary Committee merged with what had been the Labour Representation Committee in 1909. In Glasgow, Labour’s unionism was its principle means of warding off sectarian strife. The party became near hegemonic. Over the last decades Labour’s role as the Scottish establishment cemented Edinburgh to London at an elite level. But the growing estrangement of Labour from the British […]

    Read more →
  • News McDonnell: Growth forecast cuts show Osborne’s austerity is driven by ideology

    McDonnell: Growth forecast cuts show Osborne’s austerity is driven by ideology

    The latest economic growth forecast cuts from the Bank of England and the European Commission go to show that George Osborne’s austerity agenda is not working, John McDonnell said today. The latest Inflation Report from the Bank of England cut the GDP growth expectation today, in a move the Shadow Chancellor has described as “unwelcome”. McDonnell slammed Osborne failure to realise sooner the growing financial insecurity internationally. “It’s unwelcome that both the EU Commission and the Bank of England have cut […]

    Read more →
  • Featured News Labour launch major review to combat home ownership free fall

    Labour launch major review to combat home ownership free fall

    Labour has today launched a major review into the sharp decline in home ownership. The Redfern Review was commissioned by the Shadow Housing minister John Healey shortly after Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership victory in September, but will be run independently of the party. The review is headed by Pete Redfern, Chief Executive of residential development company Taylor Wimpey, and will report its findings to Labour in late summer. Redfern today set out five major themes that his review will study: the constraints […]

    Read more →
Share with your friends










Submit