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By playing the culture card. By selling Europe at the popular level.

Even just by taking an interest, which is something that doesn't seem to have happened in any obvious way.

This shouldn't be hard to understand. If you have a well-funded and established anti-culture, it shouldn't surprise anyone that if you don't put up some kind of opposition, you're going to get your arse kicked.

'We don't do that' stops being an excuse when it's almost guaranteed to end in a debilitating political crisis.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Mon Jun 8th, 2009 at 06:15:57 AM EST
[ Parent ]
ThatBritGuy:
By playing the culture card. By selling Europe at the popular level.
Back in 2007 the LibDem MEPs (all 10 of them) were well aware of the need to do that and also to fight the distortions of the mainstream press.

But they don't have the manpower and (shockingly) the media access (or they have the access but not the savvy).

If 10 British MEPs cannot reach the British public, how can the EU Commission?

The brainless should not be in banking. — Willem Buitler

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Jun 8th, 2009 at 06:27:30 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The EU Commission should be slightly better funded than 10 MEPs. I'd guess media access shouldn't be a problem either.

Savvy, of course, seems to be a different issue.

And it's not just the UK. After the Lisbon fiasco, after Poland, and after these elections here, there's still no realisation that there might, perhaps, be a problem with the EU's communication strategy.

The UKIP came second. How much more of a hint is needed?

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Mon Jun 8th, 2009 at 07:13:30 AM EST
[ Parent ]
How much of the problem could be due to xenophobia?  Is Britain unique in there being high levels of xenophobia and racism or is this something we see a lot elsewhere in Europe too?
by In Wales (inwales aaat eurotrib.com) on Mon Jun 8th, 2009 at 07:27:17 AM EST
[ Parent ]
No, you just have to look at which countries contribute MEPs to the IND/DEM parliamentary group.

The brainless should not be in banking. — Willem Buitler
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Jun 8th, 2009 at 07:45:20 AM EST
[ Parent ]
ThatBritGuy:
The UKIP came second. How much more of a hint is needed?
A hint of what? That the British public wants out of the EU?

Notice that, despite the quip that the UKIP is just the BNP with 12 years of 'public school', there was a campaign to vote against the BNP but not against the UKIP.

Because the UKIP is exclusively and anti-EU protest vote unlike the BNP whose vote is consistent across elections.

So maybe the EU has ignored the rise of British Euroscepticism for too long but, on the other hand, if Britons don't want to be in the EU, who's the EU to force them to stay?

The brainless should not be in banking. — Willem Buitler

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Jun 8th, 2009 at 08:47:35 AM EST
[ Parent ]
There hasn't been any decent pro EU campaign or  easily available literature in the UK. Can we really say that your average citizen in the UK is adequately informed of what the EU does and what the benefits are?  

Especially in light of a fairly contast no to EU presence.

by In Wales (inwales aaat eurotrib.com) on Mon Jun 8th, 2009 at 09:18:19 AM EST
[ Parent ]
In Wales:
There hasn't been any decent pro EU campaign or  easily available literature in the UK.
No political party in the UK runs a decent pro-EU campaign for the Euro elections and we're supposed to conclude it's Brussels' fault the British public is Eurosceptic?

The brainless should not be in banking. — Willem Buitler
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Jun 8th, 2009 at 09:23:57 AM EST
[ Parent ]
If this was about this particular campaign, you'd have a point.

It wasn't, and isn't.

That's why it's a 36 year failure, and not a 36 day one.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Mon Jun 8th, 2009 at 09:38:16 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Over 36 years it's the British government's euroscepticism that is at fault, then.

Because if they had any interest in pushing a positive message about the EU, they would have. Instead you get things like

Blair sets out red lines on EU constitution | World news | guardian.co.uk

Tony Blair has set out Britain's red lines for accepting or rejecting a new EU constitution, as the UK looked more likely to be isolated at this week's crunch Brussels summit.

Last night the French and Spanish government appeared to be in agreement that they would press for a new charter of fundamental rights and more majority voting - both of which the UK opposes.

Today Mr Blair set out four no-go zones for negotiations on which he insisted he would not compromise.



The brainless should not be in banking. — Willem Buitler
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Jun 8th, 2009 at 09:42:26 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Here's some passive-agressive eurosceptic crap from the UK government:

Gordon Brown 'ashamed' to sign Lisbon Treaty, say Tories - Times Online

Gordon Brown will travel to Portugal to sign the reworked European Union constitutional treaty, but he will not attend the actual signing ceremony for the document, it was confirmed today in a decision that the former Tory leader William Hague called a "ridiculous fudge".

The Prime Minister's attendance at the signing of the controversial EU Reform Treaty in Lisbon on Thursday had been in doubt for several weeks because of a clash in his schedule.

Mr Brown was due to make his first appearance before the Commons Liaison Committee, a heavyweight group of senior backbench MPs, at exactly the same time as the Treaty of Lisbon is being signed by the other 26 EU leaders. "The Liaison Committee must come first," an aide said.

Mr Brown would have faced little criticism at home if he did miss the signing of the Treaty, which replaced the failed EU constitution dumped after its rejection by French and Dutch voters in referendums in 2005.



The brainless should not be in banking. — Willem Buitler
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Jun 8th, 2009 at 09:50:11 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Yes, and? The Treaty was still signed. There was some grand-standing and point-making, but the UK is still a signatory.

How hard would it have been for a vehemently sceptical and hostile UK government to organise a referendum in the UK? What do you think the result would have been?

New Labour, like Thatcher's Tories, has always taken an aggressive and not very helpful negotiating position. But that's very different to planning full secession - and there has never been any interest in that.

In fact the resistance has always been against left-leaning legislation, not against the EU as a whole. The business benefits of the EU are obvious, and I'm not convinced that the Tories are going to go against that, even if voters want them to.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Mon Jun 8th, 2009 at 10:02:31 AM EST
[ Parent ]
ThatBritGuy:
New Labour, like Thatcher's Tories, has always taken an aggressive and not very helpful negotiating position. But that's very different to planning full secession - and there has never been any interest in that.
But they also have done nothing to check eurosceptic sentiment, and they have a much easier time at it than "Brussels". It is their failure - especially Labour's - if the UKIP has come 2nd this time.

The brainless should not be in banking. — Willem Buitler
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Jun 8th, 2009 at 10:07:22 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Cameron says he will scrap Lisbon Treaty if he is elected - The Irish Times - Wed, Jan 14, 2009
THE BRITISH Conservative Party leader David Cameron has threatened, should Gordon Brown call an early general election, that if he wins he would scrap the Lisbon Treaty

...

In an interview with the Financial Times yesterday Mr Cameron said there was now a 50/50 chance of an early election. If the Conservatives won an election, Mr Cameron said the party "could have a referendum [on Lisbon] in October" and lead the campaign for a no vote.

...

Most political analysts predict a No campaign led by the Conservatives in a referendum on Lisbon would doom the treaty to defeat and prompt a major crisis within the Union.

And if this is not hostile action from the Tories, I don't know what is.

And, note, UKIP voters (17%!) are those who think the Tories are not Eurosceptic enough.

The brainless should not be in banking. — Willem Buitler

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Jun 8th, 2009 at 10:12:03 AM EST
[ Parent ]
No, because Europe has always been peripheral to Labour. But Europe has never been peripheral to Europe, obviously.

So if there's an enlargement strategy, and a consolidation strategy - both of which exist - it makes no sense to leave enlargement and consolidation entirely to national governments without making any democratic effort at all to persuade national populations.

You don't even do this in business. You don't throw random people together, tell them they're a team now - yay - and then act surprised when fights break out and some people wander off and find something else to do.

You're effectively arguing for a completely hands-off disinterested Europe. And that can't possibly work - for common sense reasons, never mind strategic ones.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Mon Jun 8th, 2009 at 11:11:02 AM EST
[ Parent ]
ThatBritGuy:
You don't throw random people together, tell them they're a team now - yay - and then act surprised when fights break out and some people wander off and find something else to do.
People weren't randomly thrown together. The UK applied for EU membership, held a hotly contested referendum (which fractured the Labour Party - what was that thing about UK opposition being to left-wing legislation, again?) for membership.

The UK wanted in, they got in. Now they want out. They should get out. The UKIP election result is actually more meaningful than the Irisn no referendum in respect to EU membership.

The brainless should not be in banking. — Willem Buitler

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Jun 8th, 2009 at 11:21:06 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The UKIP election result is actually more meaningful than the Irisn no referendum in respect to EU membership.

Why do you say that?  UKIP took a large share of the vote, but we're still talking about less than 17% in an election with very low turnout.

Be nice to America. Or we'll bring democracy to your country.

by Drew J Jones (pedobear@pennstatefootball.com) on Mon Jun 8th, 2009 at 06:44:49 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Because referenda on the Lisbon Treaty are not referenda on EU membership despite everyone and their mother wanting to interpret them that way, whereas the 25% combined vote total by the UKIP and BNP is an explicit vote against EU membership since that's what those parties campaigned on. And the other 25% of Tory vote is also against the EU though as TBG reminds us, if push came to shove the Tory party probably wouldn't advocate withdrawal outright.

Granted, turnout was low, but so it was in every other EU member state. And when people tout the 70% majority for Lisbon in the Spanish referendum, they forget to mention only 40-45% voted, too...

The brainless should not be in banking. — Willem Buiter

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Jun 9th, 2009 at 03:55:58 AM EST
[ Parent ]

Cameron sleepwalks towards Europe's exit

The timing of the government's demise could mark the difference between a serious argument about Britain's relationship with Brussels and a rupture that would set in train its eventual departure.

It is clear to all that Mr Cameron wants to derail the process of European integration. His decision to withdraw from the European People's party, the European parliament's mainstream centre-right group, is a step in that direction. By aligning with a hotchpotch of small far-right parties, Mr Cameron has downgraded his party's relationship with its French and German cousins.

To move Britain to the sidelines of influence is one thing. To threaten to blow up the Lisbon accord is another. This is what Mr Cameron proposes by pledging to campaign for its rejection in a British referendum. And this is where the timing of the general election really matters.

(...)

the consequences would be monumental. Mr Cameron might argue that earlier versions of the treaty were rejected in referendums in France, the Netherlands and Ireland. But these were not conscious acts of government.

Withdrawal from the EPP is a Tory shot across the bows of European integrationists. Wrecking the Lisbon treaty would be a declaration of war. Such would be the crisis in Britain's relationship with its partners that it would precipitate compelling calls for a re-evaluation of its membership of the EU. Many Conservatives, one suspects, would cheer.

The Serious People are not Amused.


In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes

by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Tue Jun 9th, 2009 at 11:35:19 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The national governments are the EU. That's who's running the place, despite what they'd like you to believe: that's where all the power is in the end. They appoint the Commission. They approve and negotiate all the rules.
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Mon Jun 8th, 2009 at 11:23:28 AM EST
[ Parent ]
ThatBritGuy:
You're effectively arguing for a completely hands-off disinterested Europe. And that can't possibly work - for common sense reasons, never mind strategic ones.
But a meddlesome EU would quickly alienate the Eurosceptic states. The backlash in the UK would eject it from the EU quicker than you can say "European superstate".

The brainless should not be in banking. — Willem Buiter
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Jun 9th, 2009 at 04:10:37 AM EST
[ Parent ]
If the Eurosceptic states are alienated and trying to leave anyway and/or sabotage what's already there, what difference would it make?

But it depends on what 'meddlesome' means in practice.

Media and cultural positivity is not the same as political pressure. This isn't about speechifying and posterating, it's about creating a positive image of the EU which voters can personally identify with.

That process shouldn't mention politics at all. If it's cultural and apolitical it's not meddling. (Well, it is, but it doesn't look like it which makes it much harder to challenge.)

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Tue Jun 9th, 2009 at 04:34:27 AM EST
[ Parent ]
ThatBritGuy:
But it depends on what 'meddlesome' means in practice.
Oh, nothing dramatic. But we're talking media narratives, right?
If the Eurosceptic states are alienated and trying to leave anyway and/or sabotage what's already there, what difference would it make?
Not a whole lot, except whether the narrative is that the Eurosceptic states left on their own or were pushed out.

I think they'll leave eventually.

The brainless should not be in banking. — Willem Buiter

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Jun 9th, 2009 at 04:44:09 AM EST
[ Parent ]
We're talking media, certainly.

One of the most depressing things in the UK is the way in which culture has been completely colonised by the US. It's so pervasive it's part of the background noise, and no one notices.

A trivial example - at a local open microphone night, with exactly one exception, all of the singers sang with a fake US accent.

One even sang a song he'd written about Vietnam, even though I'm pretty sure the closest he'd ever been to Vietnam was his DVD copy of Apocalypse Now.

30-40 years a folk night would have British folk songs - some of which are aggressively socialist and populist - and people would have dared to sing them with a British accent.

Now we have an endless wave of poor Bob Dylan clones.

That's what I mean by meddling. Of course, there's no Central Secratariat of Cultural Propaganda in the US which has made this happen. (Or maybe there is - I don't know.)

But if it's subtle enough, it happens by osmosis. And it has a huge effect on what people who absorb culture and media are able to imagine about the world.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Tue Jun 9th, 2009 at 08:38:53 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I was actually responding to your last point;
if Britons don't want to be in the EU, who's the EU to force them to stay?

How do you interpret that as me concluding that it is all Brussel's fault? If Britons have only been informed by the no 2 EU campaign then how is that balanced?  And how can we address the need to get better information about the benefits of the EU down to your average citizen?  Current MEPs and Governments should play their part but why not Brussels also?  

Why can't Brussels produce good literature or good campaigns that MEPs can adapt and use for their constituencies?

But elsewhere it has been noted that the left leaning legislation is not especially liked by UK for example - the age regulations are a good example of that. We wouldn't have brought in rights at work on the grounds of age were it not for a European Directive and we are still fighting against getting rid of the mandatory retirement age which actually legitimises age discrimination.  

Many employment rights that people have are a result of EU directives, and are now taken for granted.  Yet people are hostile about the EU because this message isn't being given to them, they only hear the anti-EU stuff.

That's the point I was making.

by In Wales (inwales aaat eurotrib.com) on Mon Jun 8th, 2009 at 10:51:06 AM EST
[ Parent ]
In Wales:
Many employment rights that people have are a result of EU directives, and are now taken for granted.  Yet people are hostile about the EU because this message isn't being given to them, they only hear the anti-EU stuff.
Because nohardly any UK politician is telling them on the doorstep. As far as I can tell, Lib Dem MEP candidates actually do it. I have talked to a fair number of their MEPs and MEP candidates. One in particular (who didn't get elected as he wasn't top of his region's list) was commenting the other day on how he had been to some event where he could talk to other farmers (he's one, too) and had been trying to convince them that being in the EU actually helps them. I don't know how the Labour Party has framed their campaign. You have been involved in Wales. Was the party literature any good on the EU? Did the party train volunteers on it? Were the MEP candidates explicitly pro-EU?

I can answer these questions mostly in the affirmative for the LibDems. How about the Greens, or Labour?

Why can't Brussels produce good literature or good campaigns that MEPs can adapt and use for their constituencies?
It's really not the Commission't job to produce materials for use in election campaigns - that would be political interference. Where are the MEPs and MEP candidates? Do they actually have a clue?

The brainless should not be in banking. — Willem Buitler
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Jun 8th, 2009 at 11:12:19 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I'm not talking about election campaigns, I am talking about general awareness campaigns, general communication from the EU on an ongoing basis - even if it is a straightforward web presence that can be used at national/regional level by MEPs or Parties themselves.  

My Labour candidates were explicitly pro-EU, yes.  They talked about their manifesto commitments in terms of what they wanted to achieve for Wales by being an active part of the EU.

My MEPs have sent out newsletters a few times a year to members about their work, unfortunately not more widely though.

by In Wales (inwales aaat eurotrib.com) on Mon Jun 8th, 2009 at 11:26:32 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Migeru:
Where are the MEPs and MEP candidates? Do they actually have a clue?

no, not much. the EU is something offshore to the brits, and the links to the continent are not obvious to the low-info voter. the good ones in Wales mentioned are under-reported, meanwhile the media are only too brisk in trying to flog anti EU sentiment, as they know they get controversy points for that.

i think history plays a significant part in this, too.

the brits remember the war dead, and so it's easy to kindle sentiment against 'the continent', source of mayhem and fascism, it doesn't have to be overt, dog-whistle stuff is all that's necessary.

it's not even that fleet st. is really against the EU, they're just sluts for sales, and tickling the old stereotypes and prejudices pays off.

the problem with not joining the 'continent' community is that you're left out there alone with wet depends, when you could use a little help.

but after looking down your nose at europe (wogs begin at calais), it becomes an irrational attachment to some dwindling embers of uber-nationalism to suffer rather than be seen to be taking charity, or accepting legislative common sense from abroad.

it's ridiculously self-destructive, but there you go. old habits die hard, and the best the UK can come up with is endless dithering, and/or an aggressive, manipulative sense of entitlement which are seen from the rest of europe as antithetical to the spirit of the aquis.

of course every country stands up for its own interests, and brits are far from being the only monkey-wrenchers, the poles really take it to new levels, but i suspect there is some-behind-the scenes gameplaying going on (Libertarse) that is trying to undermine the EU, a pincer movement, with the UK and ireland on one side and poland on the other.

the EU made some silly mistakes way back with excessive regulation over cucumber straightness and similar folderol, and the gutter press really don't have to work too hard to get the old xenophobe gears grinding.

what's missing, as others have pointed out, is a feeling of community between the brits and the great land mass they once were physically part of, and (sigh) was lobbing v2's at them 70 years ago.

better education about european history, with special emphasis on the brilliant contributions to everyday life by science and culture from 'continentals' would help, but even if that were to happen today, we'd still be a generation away from being on the same page, methinks...

it's sad but true, and so unnecessary, but it'll take a lot more good faith before it's possible.

(oh for a million ET's!)

iow, 'perfidious albion'.

meanwhile, as chris points out, a lot can happen in 12 months. cameron is a younger man and thus possibly more flexible, notwithstanding his class loyalties. if his feet are held to the fire, especially about regulation of the City and the environment, it's possible we may see more progress than under brown, who should be put out to pasture where he can waffle out some memoirs.

the problem with that is his time in power has been so inglorious, i think he fears fading from politics with such failure attached to his memory.

which is why we're lucky he's fundamentally a decent, if deluded man, and not as insane as blair, bush or sarko (or berlu, for that matter). i don't think he will do anything major stupid to compensate, just fade slowly to black, remembered more for what he wasn't than what he was, an inneffectual, power-lusting, footdragging politician without a clue as to how to manage a failing economy (his supposed strong point!) let alone govern an ex-empire, crustily long past its due date.

'The history of public debt is full of irony. It rarely follows our ideas of order and justice.' Thomas Piketty

by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Tue Jun 9th, 2009 at 12:34:09 AM EST
[ Parent ]
In Wales:
Many employment rights that people have are a result of EU directives, and are now taken for granted.  Yet people are hostile about the EU because this message isn't being given to them, they only hear the anti-EU stuff.
Remember the Human Rights Act? That is not EU but Council of Europe. In any case, Blair and New Labour Generally have spent their second term in Office threatening to take it down without opposing the tabloid narrative that it's somehow a bad thing.

This is your party's leadership (including a large fraction of the front and back bench) we're talking about. When you fix that you can come back and blame Brussels.

The brainless should not be in banking. — Willem Buitler

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Jun 8th, 2009 at 11:17:03 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Oh right. So here it is.

I personally accept full responsibility for all the shit that MY party has landed on the UK since it came to power in 1997.

I'll go off and fix that now shall I?

by In Wales (inwales aaat eurotrib.com) on Mon Jun 8th, 2009 at 11:31:18 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I think he may have using a plural you there.

Mind you, if you could personally  fix that stuff it'd be great too.

by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Mon Jun 8th, 2009 at 11:37:48 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I'd love to fix it.
by In Wales (inwales aaat eurotrib.com) on Mon Jun 8th, 2009 at 11:39:46 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Why can't Brussels produce good literature or good campaigns that MEPs can adapt and use for their constituencies?

Why doesn't Whitehall produce good literature or good campaigns that MPs can adapt and use in elections?

by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Mon Jun 8th, 2009 at 11:25:01 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Yes, fine - but I haven't said Whitehall shouldn't.  I'm saying that as well as National Governments perhaps Brussels does have role.
by In Wales (inwales aaat eurotrib.com) on Mon Jun 8th, 2009 at 11:28:18 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Civil servants producing election material?
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Mon Jun 8th, 2009 at 11:30:22 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I am not talking about election material.  I am talking about informing the general public of what the EU does and how it has benefited them.
by In Wales (inwales aaat eurotrib.com) on Mon Jun 8th, 2009 at 11:32:39 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Perhaps because it isn't trying to unify the UK, or trying to organise the signing of a treaty which would unify the UK.

You want an organisation with a stated interest in promoting closer links by democratic means, including but not limited to parliamentary democracy and referenda, to ignore those same democratic means because - er - why, exactly?

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Mon Jun 8th, 2009 at 11:37:25 AM EST
[ Parent ]
by marco on Mon Jun 8th, 2009 at 12:12:55 PM EST
[ Parent ]
In Wales:
And how can we address the need to get better information about the benefits of the EU down to your average citizen?
Well, there's this:

BBC NEWS | UK | Education | Schools 'must teach Britishness' (25 January 2007)

New topics for citizenship
  • Immigration
  • Devolution
  • Slavery
  • British Empire's legacy
  • The European Union
  • Rule of law
  • Democracy
  • Equality
Do you remember the reaction in the popular press to this report? Loud condemnation of Euro-brainwashing of British children.

Did the recommendations of this report actually make it to the classrooms? I doubt it, it is most likely that Alan Johnson simply shelved it. I'd love to be wrong. But if they didn't shelve it, you can be sure the next Tory government will.

The brainless should not be in banking. — Willem Buitler

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Jun 8th, 2009 at 11:56:32 AM EST
[ Parent ]
How can the Commission effectively run a campaign in Britain against the British government?
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Mon Jun 8th, 2009 at 09:23:22 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Where has the British government said that it's formally against the EU?
by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Mon Jun 8th, 2009 at 09:36:59 AM EST
[ Parent ]
By their actions you will know them.

The brainless should not be in banking. — Willem Buitler
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Jun 8th, 2009 at 09:42:20 AM EST
[ Parent ]
One minute you're talking about narratives, the next you want formal opposition?
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Mon Jun 8th, 2009 at 10:09:06 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Yes - that's exactly what I want you to provide evidence of.
by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Mon Jun 8th, 2009 at 10:59:37 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I've provided evidence of actions by political leaders which buttress the narrative that the UK government is either against the EU, or defending Britain from EU encroachment, or embarrassed to be pro-Europe or too cowardly to follow its conscience about it.

The brainless should not be in banking. — Willem Buitler
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Jun 8th, 2009 at 11:13:57 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Well - I make that three entirely different narratives. Which one do you prefer?

Also, you've ignored my point about left-leaning legislation and not pushing the referendum issue.

Which would - in fact - have been a vote winner for Labour, if they'd wanted to go down that route and sacrifice Euro membership over political expediency.

So - no.

The reality is that there hasn't been any consistent diplomatic position from Labour at all. There's a patchwork of different preferences which seem to depend on who's talking at the time.

Perhaps that's because there are not a few people of quality and influence who stand to lose significant cash in CAP handouts if the UK leaves.

So they're happy to agitate loudly as a negotiating position, and to herd the proles along, but perhaps not as dedicated to the nuclear option as they might seem to be.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Mon Jun 8th, 2009 at 11:27:53 AM EST
[ Parent ]
And all this is Brussels' fault rather than Britain's, exactly how?

The brainless should not be in banking. — Willem Buitler
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Jun 8th, 2009 at 11:39:46 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Obviously a democratic organisation trying to use democratic means to create a larger and more coherent democratic organisation should never dream of trying to use democratic methods to influence voters who live within its borders, in any way whatsoever.

The suggestion that it might want to makes absolutely no sense of any kind.

It can't be done, it shouldn't be attempted, no one wants it, it's probably illegal, immoral, and fattening, and the sky will explode if anyone in Brussels so much as considers the possibility.

Congratulations. You and Colman have made my point for me with rare perfection.

Well played.

Now that that's settled - perhaps we can have a diary about how both of you think the pocket nationalists and the sceptics should be handled?

Or is it only a UK problem and not an issue in Spain, Ireland, and elsewhere in the EU?

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Mon Jun 8th, 2009 at 12:17:07 PM EST
[ Parent ]
ThatBritGuy:
perhaps we can have a diary about how both of you think the pocket nationalists and the sceptics should be handled?
By the domestic Europhiles and internationalists?

I thought that's what I have been saying all along.

Or is it only a UK problem and not an issue in Spain
I don't know about "only in the UK" but definitely "not in Spain".

The brainless should not be in banking. — Willem Buitler
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Jun 8th, 2009 at 12:23:39 PM EST
[ Parent ]
H'mmmmm.

If the "few people of quality and influence" don't realize they can't have CAP and a nationalistic message then they are stupider than I thought.  

But, then, the "few people of quality and influence," at least as I can tell from afar, have been operating under a strategy that attempts to skim the economic benefits of EU membership - for them - while fighting, and with all the Opt-Outs granted by the EU: winning, to limit the economic benefits for the British public as well as the social/political benefits.  I suspect the nationalistic message is intended to achieve the latter.

Long Term this strategy is meta-stable as it is inherently self-contradictory.  I be a' thinking your Ruling Class is either going to have to give-up CAP (economic benefits of EU membership) or the British Exceptionalism message.


She believed in nothing; only her skepticism kept her from being an atheist. -- Jean-Paul Sartre

by ATinNM on Mon Jun 8th, 2009 at 11:53:49 AM EST
[ Parent ]
ATinNM:
But, then, the "few people of quality and influence," at least as I can tell from afar, have been operating under a strategy that attempts to skim the economic benefits of EU membership - for them - while fighting, and with all the Opt-Outs granted by the EU: winning, to limit the economic benefits for the British public as well as the social/political benefits.  I suspect the nationalistic message is intended to achieve the latter.

In a word - yes. That's why it's such a farce.

Chris Cook keeps saying that turkeys don't vote for Christmas. In the UK and elsewhere - they very much do.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Mon Jun 8th, 2009 at 12:19:39 PM EST
[ Parent ]
It's not just the communication strategy I'm afraid. Sometimes it seems to me as Britons quite like playing the odd one out (and enjoy the right to a critical look on the others) as well as the feeling of safety for not being dissolved in the half-billion voice cacophony.
Continental Europe must understand this.
France's 'exception' is another name for the same, in a way.

Take for instance the issue of the sterling. The french franc wasn't wept for too much, nor was the deutsche mark, while the sterling is a mark of britishness even more than London's bobbies, big ben or doubledeckers.

Free at last! Free at last! Thank God Almighty, we are free at last! (Martin Luther King)

by ValentinD (walentijn arobase free spot franša) on Mon Jun 8th, 2009 at 09:25:46 AM EST
[ Parent ]
ThatBritGuy:
And it's not just the UK. After the Lisbon fiasco, after Poland, and after these elections here, there's still no realisation that there might, perhaps, be a problem with the EU's communication strategy.
You forgot Vaclav Klaus' one-man stand against the Lisbon Treaty.

FT.com | Brussels Blog | Brits, not Irish, loom as threat to the EU's Lisbon treaty

According to a RTE/Sunday Independent opinion poll in Ireland, supporters of the European Union's Lisbon treaty will defeat opponents by a margin of 54 per cent to 28 per cent (with 18 per cent undecided) when the treaty is submitted to a second referendum, probably in October.  Such a thumping victory would not only reverse but for all practical purposes bury the memory of Irish voters' rejection of the treaty in June 2008.

...

Prime Minister Gordon Brown's government ratified the treaty last year.  But the opposition Conservatives have steadfastly opposed it and warned that, should they win power in the UK's next election, due within a year, they will not meekly let things stand as they are.  Recently, this position has threatened to harden into a determination to hold a referendum even if all 27 EU member-states have approved the treaty by the time the Tories enter government.

This may strike other EU governments as a wholly unreasonable and even legally dubious stance.  But consider the following possibility.  In the Czech Republic, parliament has passed Lisbon after a long political struggle but President Vaclav Klaus, who intensely dislikes the treaty, has refused to add his signature, as Czech law requires.  So, too has President Lech Kaczynski of Poland.  As long as they hold out, Lisbon cannot come into force.

Other things being equal, both men would probably find it impossible to resist the pressure to sign Lisbon, if Irish voters were to say Yes to the treaty in October.  But other things are not equal.  Klaus and Kaczynski are looking at events in London and asking themselves how long it will be before Brown's government is out of office and replaced by a Conservative government that sees eye to eye with them on Lisbon.



The brainless should not be in banking. — Willem Buitler
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Jun 8th, 2009 at 09:56:42 AM EST
[ Parent ]

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