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Friday, May 16, 2014

Labour finally wake up to the fact there is a European election next week

Do Ed Balls and Ed Miliband see eye-to-eye on the EU?
Anyone following Labour's election campaign up until now would be forgiven for thinking the party was fighting a general election as opposed to a European one - any references to Europe were hard to come by. However, Shadow Chancellor Ed Balls has emerged with a hard-hitting piece in yesterday's Evening Standard in which he argues that:
"Europe needs to work better to respond to public concerns, deliver better value for money for taxpayers and secure rising prosperity."
"First, we need the EU to be better focused on creating jobs and growth. An EU Commissioner focused on growth, and an independent audit of the impact of any new piece of EU legislation on growth, would be key to helping re-focusing the Union on this key task. And we need to drive forward the completion of the single market in digital, energy and services."
"Second, our reforms will help ensure that EU citizens seeking work here contribute to our economy and society. So we will extend the period of time that people from new member states have to wait before being able to come to the UK to look for work. We will work to stop the payment of benefits to those not resident in this country, consult on changing the rules on deporting someone who receives a custodial sentence shortly after arriving in the UK, and have called on the government to double the time that an EU migrant has to wait before being able to claim the basic Job Seekers Allowance."
 "And third, any agenda for change in Europe must also address people's concerns about how power is exercised at a European level. So we have called for national parliaments to have a greater role in EU decision making by being able to 'red-card' any new EU legislation before it comes into force; for serious reform of the EU Commission."
This commitment to reform is very welcome, even if this is merely a re-statement of existing Labour EU policy. It's worth noting that these reforms are not a million miles away from David Cameron's own priorities for EU reform - especially the further restrictions on EU migrants' access to benefits and the red card for national parliaments. Yet more evidence - as we've pointed out before - that tone and rhetoric aside, there is a surprising degree of consensus among the main parties when it comes to the substance of EU reform. 

As the New Statesman's George Eaton pointed out recently, there is a lot of frustration within Labour over how to deal with the EU question:
"Other shadow cabinet members complain of the party's failure to promote its commitment to reform the EU, which they regarded as a quid pro quo for Miliband's refusal to guarantee an in/out referendum under a Labour government."
It appears that Ed Balls is among the Labour heavy hitters keen to address this disparity.

9 comments:

Denis Cooper said...

"there is a surprising degree of consensus among the main parties when it comes to the substance of EU reform."

And what may be that "substance" upon which the cartel of pro-EU parties are agreed?

Nothing substantial, just like the improved membership terms achieved by Wilson after his long hard negotiations in 1975.

Average Englishman said...

Wow. This is statesmanship of a high order. Why don't the two Eds get off to Moscow and have a chat with Mr. Putin and solve the Ukraine crisis whilst they are at it.

I have more confidence in Father Christmas delivering some meaningful change from the EU than these two. It would be funny if it weren't so tragic.

Idris Francis said...

Seconded - it's pathetic and it's nonsense. Still, I suppose OE has to pretend to take it seriously.

Rik said...

"there is a surprising degree of consensus among the main parties when it comes to the substance of EU reform."

There is a lot of difference imho.
The quotes here sound simply like standard election rhetoric. The stuff that is usuallly forgotten after the election. Hard to see it here being different.
Very sililar with the LibDems. This could have been FDP or CDU in Germany or CDA or VVD in Holland.
All talk the talk, but very few buy still that they will walk the walk as well. Walk the walk is the problem they have with their voterbase not talk the talk.

Cameron has however made concrete promises. Hard to see how he can back down on them.
A lot of people clearly believe Cameron is not only election rhetoric but action as well. Just see your article on the IP/EU Paradox.
However it is also clear that Cameron still has a credebility issue with a lot of people.
Communication looks to have substantially approved however. One of the few that doesnot come with the standard EP election drivel (just look at nearly all the traditional parties in Europe, basically all campaigns based on a concept from which the voter has moved a few years ago).
Goes direct to reform. Explains a complicated scheme plus Cameron=EU reform. And alot more real than the standard pretty abstract Labour rhetoric.

IP (nowadays also a normal, albeit racist of course, party. Probably want to bring back slavery as well).
People buy that he will act when given the power to do so.
Problem not realistic that he will actually get direct power. With as consequence that people will take other parties that are closer to the centre of power).

Therefor there is a huge difference between IP and Conservatives on one hand and Labout and the Cleggies at the other.
And especially if the democracy card is played as well it might come back to bite the latter 2.
One of the reasons there is a credibility crisis is that people are fed up of hearing these kind of things and after the electiondate nothing happens (until the next election).
Parties like Labour might be forced to show that they walk the walk. If it becomes an EU related campaign (which is well possible) they have a huge negative there.
And as Cameron example shows now after more than a year, it takes a long time before the damage is restored. You donot do that in 3 months before an election.
That is why I still find it beyond moronic that Labour is taken the chance and not more or less copied Cameron promise. At the time of the election everybody would already have forgotten that they copied Cameron when they had done it right away. Now they will have at best a lot of explaining to do.

Anonymous said...

Politicians have time and again proven themselves as generally incapable and harmful to the economy.
We are supposed to believe that by employing the same clowns on the EU level things will work differently.
After 22 years of failure it's time to call it quits.

Rik said...

As said before now looks the time for IP to attack Labour.

The better Cameron explains (and he starts to do that properly now) his case the less likely it will be that new voters can be won there.
Unless there is another major mistake like Mr Hague getting involved in another 3rd world war. Not himself of course (although Rollo would likely applaud the idea) but in the media circus around it.

From a European perspective Labour is even half so bad. There are really parties that go still full scale USEU and nothing is wrong all is perfect (with a similar public opinion as in the UK).
Labour at least starts with reform is necessary.

However it bumps into 3 major problems.
It is relative to other parties. The Conservatives and especially IP are ways ahead and way more credible.
Labour referendum stance is simply not coherently logical. People might not get the finger behind it but that doesnot mean they donot feel something is not really in order. Which is Mr Ed simply isnot taking the most logical way. If you want to stay in you like reform iso exit. It simply gives the impression that he doesnot trust his voters on top of that (while himself freequently moving all over the place).
Labour because not really yet under populist attack still has found no solution to link again with the social conservative side of their voterbase (the Duffies they are called if I am not mistaken). Cameron because of the rise of IP is much further in that process and anyway the Conservatives look to be a lot more pragmatic. With Labour you very likely will get good old fashioned tribal fights.
Europe shows that they are ready to move to othe parties when things get bad in the Socialist party or alternatives arrive.

Some people have the idea that EU is not top of the voter agenda. It is not itself, but all top issues are simply heavily EU linked. So yes, reform itself is low on the agenda, however in reality first when:
-immigration can be stopped and open borders can be closed;
-the EZ doesnot work as a drag on the UK economy;
-bearded terrorists can be kicked out of the country.
All EU issues in fact and the link is easily made.
Simply another set of rubbish questions made by a simpleton.

Denis Cooper said...

The Observer article:

http://www.theguardian.com/politics/2014/may/17/david-cameron-ukip-germans

must be worthy of an article here.

Suggested headline:

"German politicians knock Cameron's EU renegotiation plan on the head before he even gets a chance to try it".

Oh, and Fallon has now been slapped down over his comments mooting that if the new deal wasn't good enough then Cameron would campaign to leave.

As if that could ever happen!

Rik said...

@Denis
Your Dave should probably tell Merky: 'to shut the f up'. This is the internet age with Google translate and that kind of stuff. That woman makes the last couple of months one blunder after another. Just makes it more likely that your Dave will have to go in with 1 or 2 stretched legs.

Germans donot like it that is completely clear. So do a lot of others.
However it will be very simple for your Dave. Put them for the choice:
-UK leaves via referendum;
-Give your Dave his reforms.
Simple human behavior. Nobody like bima (big manure).
However when put before the choice bima or gima (gigantic manure) everybody still takes the former.

Unlikely your Dave will come out of this with only friends in Europe. But who cares, at the end of the day he needs first of all happy, smiling slightly racist British fruitcakes and not a bunch of new metrosexual friends in Poland or Rumenia.

Rik said...

1. Apparently your Mr Ed is under major restructuring at the moment.
Speaks eg a bit slower. Seems like a good idea btw. He always looks a bit nervous/under stress even close to neurotic tbo.

However main thing is he simply still looks a) incompetent as a PM and b) disconnected with his voters.
Those will be very difficult things to set right. Hard to see him doing that in the first place.
And it all has to set in as well. People should really start to feel connected with the bloke.
Just look at all these guys they look like coming from a wealthy very protective family and just out of university directly into politics. And your Mr Ed has that even considerably more than most others (nerdy/academic/urban). And how many have been able to change that image: very few and no one in one year the time your Ed has for it.
Not going to work and definitely not in one year.

2. Cameron wasnot great in it but has really stepped up on that.
Looks considerably more PMish as well.
Plus has policies that look attractive (except for most people that comment on this blog). Not too difficult by the way when the competition in the form of Mr Ed has every week new ones (so people donot have a clue where he is standing).

3. Anyway Labour will most likely be attacked by IP now. Labour simply looks to be by far the most attractive market for new votes.
Their electorate is split basically in 3 parts:
-Middleclass non-profit sector;
-Entitlement brigade;
-traditional workers (often semi middleclassed and socially/culturally vey conservative)).
The latter looks like a group that will be often closer to IP than to Labour. And is totally disconnected with the party and its leadership which is basically complete from the first category.
You see al over Europe that this is a group that massively moves to so called extreme rights/racists/fruitcakes even when also more populist alternatives on the left are available. Just look at France and Holland. Both had left alternatives still many moved to LaPen and Wilders. And the UK has no real left alternatives.

4. On the Farage racist issue. This is the first larger mistake he makes in this campaign imho.
He should bear in mind that probably 80% of the population thinks like he does. And probably at least half of those have the balls to admit it. And the first mentioned percentage probably in the 90s when Romanians would be replaced by Roma.
And IP's market is nearly complete there.

What is more important is that he looks now from attacking the self proclaimed elite to being in the defence himself. A response
more in the above line would probably therefor have been a lot more effective. Combined with higher figures re crime. There are enough studies that support that all over Europe.
There will be always people that find it racist anyway, but they are the ones that are often seen as utterly irritating anyway by the IPs voterbase and a lot of others on top of that.