Sunday, 4 May 2014

Why Eurosceptics should vote Liberal Democrat

The misappropriation of the English language for propaganda purposes has a long and vigorous history.  To describe either UKIP or the Tories as Eurosceptic is a trope that fails to address their vile nationalism, xenophobia bounding on racism or indeed to question what the term really implies.  The sceptic should be the feted philosopher, always probing, never prepared to admit that the status quo itself is either desirable or defensible.

Cameron is now clearly spooked by UKIP.  Farage's dangerous demagoguery and the failure of the British political system - undemocratic, unaccountable and unrepresentative - is causing the Tories to revert to a crass populism.  He appears to believe that the only way to achieve change in Europe is through a megaphone, unilateral demands considered to be the leverage over other nations that will unlock some kind of balmy future where the UK enjoys all of the benefits of European participation while welshing on its obligations and forgetting that with benefits comes at least some element of compromise.

In the forthcoming elections, therefore, there are two isolationist parties differentiated only by the camouflage of their repulsiveness.  Mr Miliband has decided, probably wisely from the perspective of next year's General Election, to maintain a low profile on Europe and to leave the field clear for the idiots of the right.  This leaves the Liberal Democrats and Greens as UK-wide political parties who are at least engaging with Europe - the policy prescriptions for each party are widely divergent, but at least there is some attempt to engage at a continental, and by extension, global level.

Being enthusiastic about Europe implies being sceptical at the same time.  Democratic accountability is central, as is subsidiarity - an abused term that requires decision-making to be taken at the lowest level possible.  The EU is bureaucratic, and at times remote - motivations of politicians and officials may be lofty but their implementation in practical terms often seems to be pushing things too far.  The debate needs to be framed in terms of whether the EU has the right powers and obligations, in many cases this may mean member states reclaiming power, and in others, such as foreign policy and defence, as well as corporate taxation, this may result in impetus towards a central European position.

Farage and his bunch of sociopathic soap-box lunatics peddle the myth that there would be a simple exit strategy that would keep all the good things that the EU has delivered.  This is the kind of delusional propaganda music to the ears of the right, but so far removed from reality as to border on criminal lunacy.  The arguments being deployed against Scottish independence on the basis of complexity can be strengthened thousandfold in this argument.  Instead of negotiating and building pressure for change - which is also being pushed by Germany and many of the accession states - this is a one-way process where remaining EU members would not scruple to not merely extract their obligations but to disadvantage the UK materially.

Staying in and engaging positively is the only genuinely patriotic policy - and also served by self-interest.  Therefore voting for an equivocally pro-EU position is logical, but I am not anticipating many others will adopt this.  Neither Farage nor his frightened cohort Cameron will defend the interests of citizens, and by extension the state.  This is the first election for some time where the electoral choice is clear, and may well be the last.

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