Welcome to European Tribune. It's gone a bit quiet around here these days, but it's still going.
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
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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
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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
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