Posts Tagged ‘Europe referendum’

Oh dear Ed, this Europe policy is a disaster

12/03/2014, 11:53:18 AM

by Anthony Bonneville

Today, Ed Miliband blew it.

Contrary to some of the warm words from the likes of Martin Sorrell and Peter Mandelson, effectively ruling out a referendum has sabotaged Labour’s last chance to win over a strong coalition of business backers, not to mention irrevocably divide the Tories.

Labour is largely united on the benefits of staying in Europe. Trade, growth, jobs and the environment are all policy areas wholly dependent on our positive relations with the continent.

It’s a strong case but one that our frontbenchers seem reluctant to make.

The media is largely hostile and in the hurly burly of daily political debate, it’s understandable that Labour politicians prioritise issues more immediately relevant to voters.

Yes, today Ed Miliband gave a speech on Europe, but how many more times will he mention the subject in the next year?

It’s clear that today’s speech was an exercise in box ticking, in doing the bare minimum before abandoning the European battlefield.

If we, as pro-Europeans, want to play a positive role in Europe, we can’t do so without the engagement of the British public. There is a debate that is being conducted and right now Labour isn’t even in the chamber.


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A renegotiation and referendum for what – a “line to take?”

23/01/2013, 01:29:10 PM

by Kevin Meagher

So was it really worth the wait? There’s been less speculation about the second coming than there has about David Cameron’s Europe speech over the last month.

To be fair it was carefully crafted and fluently delivered. And half of it could have been said by any mainstream Labour or Lib Dem politician. Yes, the EU needs reform and must focus on competitiveness and address the democratic deficit. Amen to that. shadow foreign secretary Douglas Alexander was quick to point out as much on his tour around the broadcast studios this morning, calling, specifically for reform of the common agricultural policy and EU budget.

And three quarters of Cameron’s speech could have been delivered by Iain Duncan-Smith, Michael Howard or William Hague. There was not much new, with heavy emphasis on John Major’s call, two decades ago, for “variable geometry” in reshaping the EU.  So a trip down memory lane and a restatement of that peculiarly Toryish view of Europe with the promise of a renegotiation and referendum bolted on?


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