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Posts Tagged ‘Nick Clegg’

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A French Official today said this:

The UK is like a man who shows up at a wife swapping party without his own wife.

These were the famous words used by Lady Thatcher during her statement to the House of Commons on the 30th November. They also happen to be the words that could best come from anybody who is even moderately in favor of the European Union upon hearing of David Cameron’s European adventures.

It goes without saying that he has made a mistake. The short-term politics of it are for him good. Not only have Tory Backbench Eurosceptic come out to pile praise on their Dear Leader for saving them from the EU(SSR?), but Labour are now in a difficult position.

The Labour Party had been enjoying having Cameron between a rock and a hard place, unable to move and being slowly squeezed to death by the European project and various individuals who could charitably described as mad.

It is obvious that there needs to be reform of the EU, and of the Euro. Neither will be destroyed by Britain’s rather farcical attempt at preserving our national sovereignty.  A new European wide treaty was (and is still) needed. The proposed treaty would have bought the EU closer in terms of financial integrity, ensuring that current and future financial crises can be robustly dealt with.

The proposed treaty, it is said, included provision for a Financial Transaction, or ‘Tobin’ Tax. I am glad that we did not sign up to such a proposal, which would disproportionately affect the United Kingdom and the City of London. It is important that this is not imposed on the United Kingdom. Luke Bozier points out here that the City is responsible for more than one million jobs in the United Kingdom and creates tax revenue which is equivalent to the size of the budget of the National Health Service. We clearly cannot afford to lose those jobs or that income, and I applaud David Cameron for not signing up to that.

The really tragic part of the story is this. Cameron had to give some meat to the Tory Sharks. It was either concessions from France and Germany, or it would be small chunks of his political career. The 1922 Committee was said earlier in this week to be preparing letters to the effect of proposing a leadership election. We are once again being governed by a Party that is obsessed with an issue that the Public really don’t care about, much to our national detriment.

Cameron needed something that he could wave, to show that Britain wasn’t becoming an offshoot of France and Germany. He returned in triumph by openly admitting that he has wrecked proposals for an EU wide treaty. Britain is thus to be left behind as European Governments sign multilateral agreements to the effect of a treaty.

We will be the only nation not to sign up to this agreement. Our nation is slowly becoming more isolated under the Conservative Government.

And yes, I do call it a Conservative Government. We have once again seen that the Lib Dems in Government (“on your side”) are nowhere to be seen. It has been reported today that Nick Clegg was only told of the deal at 6am this morning, just before David Cameron held his press conference to announce his foolish mistake.

Be under no illusion, the Lib Dems are having no influence on the decisions that matter.

On the NHS, the £3.5bn reorganization is still going ahead. Tuition fees have been increased by 300% to £9,000, and applications to University are down by an average of 15%. The AV vote was lost. And now, to cap it all, the most pro-EU Party has supervised our withdrawal from Europe’s top table.

I am unsure as to whether Labour would have acted differently were we in this position. I do not know what Ed Miliband would have done if he were Prime Minister. I suspect that he would have been more generous to the EU, but that is only speculation, and I know that others in the Labour Party think that we would have acted differently.

The Party should remember this fact. We are now contributing £4bn a year to the EU in order to sit back and watch other Countries take decisions over our future. To coin a phrase, rather than sitting at the top table of Europe we in the kitchen, hunting for leftovers.

Cameron may be the Neville Chamberlain of the 21st Century. We may struggle to politically attack him over Europe.

But –

We can damn well try.

 

Update: Further detail on the treaty has been published by the BBC:-

 

  • a commitment to “balanced budgets” for eurozone countries – defined as a structural deficit no greater than 0.5% of gross domestic product – to be written into national constitutions
  • automatic sanctions for any eurozone country whose deficit exceeds 3% of GDP
  • a requirement to submit their national budgets to the European Commission, which will have the power to request that they be revised
  • eurozone and other EU countries to consider, within the next 10 days, providing up to 200bn euros to the International Monetary Fund to help debt-stricken eurozone members

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So here we have it; I have finally started a blog (well, actually writing it)! Writing a blog has been something that I have always wanted to do, as I feel that by writing about your political views you think about them in a much more meaningful way, and they mature and become more considered.

For my first blogpost, I want to start with some broad thoughts. For me, being active in politics is about making a difference in the world, now matter how big, or indeed small that difference may be. You should not be judged on where you come from, what background you came from, or the school that you attended. You should be judged on where you are going, and what you are going to do with your life

Indeed the change that you want to see in the world may be something that lots of people agree with; many, or even most people may disagree with you. But it is still your view, and it is precious for it. The Labour Party, both as an institution and as a set of values is something that is very important to me. The Labour Party, as a set of values grew out of the idea that by acting together we can be stronger than if we simply act alone, purely out of self interest. The “founding fathers” of our party were men like Keir Hardie and Ramsay McDonald. These were men who were guided by their principles. These are the principles that should guide us today. The Labour Party membership card has a passage from the Parties constitution. It states that :

“By the strength of our common endeavor we achieve more than we achieve alone”.

This has been a continuing theme throughout the history of the Labour Party, both in Government and in Opposition as we no find ourselves. From Party members all the way to the Shadow Cabinet and Ed Miliband it is these values which drive us. Our Party has had some of the greatest political figures in the World. Names such as Attlee, Bevan, Wilson, Gaitskill, Foot, Blair and Brown. These are all me who changed the face of Britain. Many disagree with some, or all of what they did, but they all created real change. From the National Health Service to the National Minimum Wage they started a revolution in Britain. If we did not have the NHS, we would probably have system similar to that found in America, where Healthcare is a reward, not a right. If we did not have the minimum wage people would still be earning 50p an hour.

During the 2010 election, the Conservative Party claimed to be the “Party of change”. We are the real Party of change. But we must not forget those people who entrust us with the near unlimited power that our Constitution gives to the Government. To make “change” we have to be in Government, we have to be in tune with the electorate. In 2010, we were not, as we had lost our radical edge that had swept us to power in 1997 to the strains of “Things Can Only Get Better”. After nearly two decades of Conservative Power, Britain was a country which had a shattered morale. Tony Blair and Gordon Brown, between them, bought Britain back from the brink of becoming a two tiered nation. During the “Thatcher Years” people did become more wealthy. But it also divided the country, as people were seen less as Human Beings, and more as marketable assets. The Post-War Consensus – that the state should intervene in the economy, was torn up overnight as unbridled free-market control took over. This was even to the extent that some of the Tory Right wanted people to be able to sell their organs. This was clearly extreme. The market is now in control. But restrictions can be placed on it, to ensure that people are not exploited and are fairly rewarded for their labour. The lasting product of Thatcherism was that class has essentially been destroyed in this country.

A final thought – We now live in a country where it is possible for people to improve themselves. It is possible, but it is not easy. We should make it easy.

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