If you are pro-EU, what other choice is there, really?
Opinion piece by Jon Danzig
Today, Britain votes on its next government in the most tightly-contested election in living memory.
Tomorrow, all citizens from the rest of Europe now living in the UK, and all citizens from Britain now living in the rest of Europe, can only hope for one outcome if they want to continue enjoying where they currently reside.
Why? Because unless Ed Miliband, leader of the Labour Party, is handed the keys to number 10 Downing Street, the traditional home of all UK Prime Ministers, the future of Britain in Europe; of Britons in Europe, and of Europeans in Britain, will be in doubt for at least a year or two, and maybe forever.
Only the Labour Party has promised no referendum in the next five years (unless there are plans for a transfer of more powers to the EU – which is extremely unlikely in the course of the next Parliament).
Rightly in my opinion, Labour’s policy is that Britain should now be concentrating on re-building our economy, reducing our deficit, and strengthening our ties with Europe and our European allies.
A referendum on whether the UK should stay in the EU will be an unnecessary distraction at a time when the country needs to keep its eyes on a more important prize: the well-being of ordinary, every-day citizens living in the UK.
The Conservative Party has promised an in-out EU referendum within the next two years if the party is elected to be the next government. Although the party’s leader, David Cameron, says he wants the UK to stay a member, some Eurosceptics in the party state that most Conservative prospective MPs want the UK to leave the EU. Furthermore, David Cameron’s proposals for EU reform would entail an EU treaty change requiring the agreement of all 28 EU members. That would likely be impossible to achieve within two years, even if all the other 27 EU members agreed with Mr Cameron’s reform proposals (which they don’t).
If UKIP do well in the General Election and agree an alliance or coalition with the Conservatives to form a government, they have said they will demand as the price of co-operation a referendum before Christmas. Such a hasty and premature referendum date would plunge the country and its economic progress into turmoil.
The Lib-Dems, who like UKIP don’t have a chance to become the next government, swing both ways. The party has said they are staunchly pro-EU, and they’d be happy to form a coalition with Labour (with a few red-lined caveats) and would willingly accept Labour’s stance of no referendum. But the Lib-Dems are also happy to go to bed with the Tories – and although they’ve lipped their opposition to an EU referendum by 2017, this isn’t one of their red-lined pre-nuptial clauses. As The Guardian commented yesterday, the Lib-Dem leader, Nick Clegg, may see an EU referendum “as the price he must pay to form a government.”
The SNP are also staunchly pro-Union – European, that is, rather than the Union of the United Kingdom. Wanting to retain one union but undo another is not in the best interests of the UK or Europe. Labour has ruled out a coalition or deal with the SNP, meaning that the more seats SNP gains, the less chance Labour has of forming a majority government and thereby preventing a possible fast-track exit from the EU. In addition, the more seats won by the SNP, the more chance that the Eurosceptic Conservative party will win power. The SNP cannot form a government for the entire UK. The Labour party is the only pro-EU party that could form a government for all of Great Britain.
Only Labour offers Britain the chance to retain our membership of the European Union for the duration of the next Parliament, with a mission to concentrate our earnest efforts on building our economy as a member of the world’s biggest, richest economy (the EU), rather than throwing the country into two years of confusion and bickering on whether we should leave it, and with the greatest risk that we actually will.
Furthermore, only Labour is likely to win concessions and reforms across the EU by working together with our EU allies, rather than threatening to turn our backs on them.
- If you are pro-EU and traditionally vote Labour, then your only choice is to vote Labour again.
- If you are pro-EU and traditionally a Conservative, then please, grit your teeth, vote Labour this time, in the interests of the country and our membership of the EU.
- If you are pro-EU and a Lib-Dem, unfortunately, your party hasn’t red-lined its opposition to an EU referendum; only a vote for Labour will ensure a safe distance from an EU exit.
- If you are pro-EU and an SNP supporter, please vote this time for a horizon wider than the highlands or lowlands: vote Labour to ensure our continued place in Europe.
— Jon Danzig (@Jon_Danzig) May 7, 2015
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