By Marc Glendening
Sometimes there is a time for cutting through the mushy
triangulated BS of modern mainstream politics.
Europe is the question
that now brooks no unambiguous answer.
Yet the political elite,
supported by the many fellow travellers who follow in its slipstream,
want, for their different reasons, to keep a dense fog hanging over this
I don't think Malcolm X was specifically speaking about the EU when he
said, "there will be no controlled show... no flim-flam... if you're
afraid to tell the truth you don't deserve freedom," as captured in No
Sell Out, Keith Leblanc’s 1983 hip hop tribute.
However, those of us who want a real debate about the EU, regardless of
our different preferred outcomes, should now seek to apply Mr X's
commendable clarity of approach to this issue.
This is why my
organisation, the all-party Democracy Movement, is launching a new campaign,
Fast Forward: beyond the outdated EU. We want to take head-on the
commission/big business, financed pro-EU lobby and force them into an
honest war of ideas on what exactly would be the implications of Britain
leaving and staying in.
We know that the in-out referendum David Cameron has apparently
promised us will truly be a no flim-flam moment. There will be no
post-modern, third way option on the ballot paper. Political
rationality, courtesy of the European enlightenment, will reassert
itself. To quote Malcolm X again: "You're either this or that."
The current debate within the political mainstream is horribly bogus.
The Tory eurosceptics, with a few honourable exceptions, are playing
along with the fantasy the prime minister has been trying to sell to us.
Namely, that should the Conservatives win in 2015, it will be possible
to negotiate a new treaty with Brussels and that within two years this
will result in a torrent of powers being returned to Westminster.
The grandees of the pro-EU elite, as exemplified by Peter Mandelson,
Ken Clarke and that other great political Malcolm - I speak, of course, of
Rifkind - are selling us another fairy story. This is that there will
be no fundamental further implications for Britain if we remain inside
the EU. This is the soft line the Centre for British Influence in Europe
Compare and contrast the degree of political clarity expressed by the
two Malcolms: The benighted Scottish version declared his admiration
for Cameron's Europe speech not only because he committed himself to
continued EU membership, but also because the PM did "not reveal any
significant details as to how radical, or otherwise, his negotiating
objectives will be", according to Rifkind's January piece.
Presumably Malcolm R doesn't want us to even know before we vote in
2015, what exactly the Tories will be trying to get back from Brussels
should they win? And people wonder why there is a political disconnect
between the elite and the people.
Reality of 'in'
The stark reality is that if we vote in the referendum to stay in, we
will be signifying our acceptance of EU rule once and for all. Brussels
already makes approximately half our laws, according to research paper 10/62 (pdf) from October 2010 published by the House of Commons Library.
Next year negotiations will commence on a new treaty designed to save
the euro by transferring a raft of new economic powers to the centre.
The eurozone members will then vote as a single, majority bloc within
the council of ministers, a body in which Britain has only 8.4%
of the votes.
The idea that this will have no repercussions for the non-euro
countries is bizarre, as John Stevens, the principled pro-EU campaigner
and chair of the new UK European People's party, has argued.
How long will Brussels, Stevens asked at a recent People's Pledge
debate, allow us to competitively devalue against the eurozone
At some point, if we are to remain inside, Britain will be made to put
up or shut up about joining the euro. The euro, not the single market,
will become the defining feature of the new EU, stated Stevens, and this
is what all members will be required to join.
The Democracy Movement in its new campaign will seek to challenge the
British people to confront not only the political reality of remaining
within the EU, but to project ahead and contemplate what being shackled
to Brussels will mean for us economically.
Our assertion is that there is a decisive, unstoppable shift in power
taking place away from Europe to the Commonwealth and other fast-growing parts of the world.
Britain because of its language, history and
geographical position, together with the communications revolution,
needs to look forward to a post-EU future.
The single market is of declining significance to us, accounting for
only 9% of our GDP, a figure that will fall as we export a
growing percentage of goods and services to the non-EU world.
message is we must stop being little Europeans, as much as we should
avoid being little Englanders.
It is said that education minister Michael Gove has a poster of Malcolm
X in his office bearing the legend: "By any means necessary." This
should not come as any surprise to us. Here is the one government
minister to have said that, in a future referendum, he would vote to leave
He understands that the time for euro flim-flam is well and
truly over. Let the real debate begin.
written by Marc Glendening - Campaign director, Democracy Movement
This article was first published on Politics.co.uk. For the latest campaign news and EU developments, follow us on Twitter: @DemocracyMovemt