Oct 24 2011
Strasbourg bound while European storm brews in UK
I am getting ready to take the second half of the marathon journey to the Strasbourg Parliament whilst the London Parliament prepares to hold a debate on an irrelevant European Union (EU) Referendum on Britain’s relationship with the biggest trading area in the world – i.e. the EU which we are already members of.
While the country faces major economic challenges, and the Euro zone attempts to deal with the sovereign debt crisis, some members of the Conservative Party would rather pick a fight that Britain doesn’t need and cannot win.
Parliamentary time in the UK should be spent on debating the measures needed to secure jobs and growth in this tough economic climate. Instead valuable time is being miss-used so old scores can be settled and new wounds can be opened in the UK Tory Party. Although this will benefit the opposition it is not what the country needs.
David Cameron’s party is split and infighting, exposing their deep internal divisions, but he will not show leadership. Cameron is torn between the promises he made to the Eurosceptic Right MPs of his party, to get elected; and gaining a shred of respectability in Europe.
We already knew which way the wind was blowing. David Cameron took his handpicked European MEPs out of the mainstream right of centre group in the European Parliament and formed the European Conservatives and Reformists Group which puts him in bed with some very dubious far right and homophobic characters.
What we need is a strong Britain in a strong Europe so that we can take the lead on global issues. Any attempt to renegotiate aspects of the European Union that the Conservative Party does not like would fail and would lead inevitably to calls for Britain to leave the European Union, leaving Britain bereft of influence and condemned to the margins. The Tories European divisions cast serious doubt over their claims to have changed as a Party.
Renegotiating elements of the Lisbon Treaty requires the unanimous agreement of all 27 EU governments. To gain any opt-outs, what would a Cameron government give up? Cameron would be spending vast amounts of political capital to perpetuate the naval gazing that the whole of Europe wants to leave behind.
It is reported that Cameron will pledge to bring the UK out of the Social Chapter. The Social Chapter guarantees paid holiday leave for all working people, equality laws for the disabled, elderly, victimised etc, and maternity leave for all British workers. Does David Cameron really want to repeal such rights so badly that he will risk Britain’s membership of the EU?