This is a good piece on the staggeringly idiotic ‘debate’ that has surrounded Cameron’s ‘veto’ in the recent EU summit. The substance of what was discussed and, most importantly, what was agreed has been largely ignored. Instead we’ve seen a trite retrenchment of political caricatures, with the response of much of the left being on the level of ‘Cameron bad, EU good’ and vice versa for that fabled tribe, the ‘Eurosceptics’.
As this piece notes, the left has a long tradition of ‘scepticism’ regarding the EU arising from concerns over issues such as national sovereignty, the entrenchment of neoliberalism and ‘flexible’ labour markets. Tony Benn has long been an outspoken critic, labelling it the “most bureaucratic, terrifying system in the world.” This currently prevailing idea that if you express serious doubts about the EU (which people seem to forget is different from ‘Europe’) you are a raving, bigoted lunatic is completely absurd.
Whatever the merits or otherwise of Cameron’s diplomacy, the real story is surely that, following on from the affronts to democracy in Greece and Italy, the EU wants to further cement the interests of financial capital (and the ‘austerity agenda’) in the Eurozone and, in doing so, further erode any meaningful democratic control that can be exercised by ordinary voters. The divide we should be focusing on isn’t the overblown and hopelessly exaggerated one between Cameron and the rest of the EU. Instead, it is the widening gap which exists between the working class across the EU and an elite which can almost no longer muster the energy to mask its contempt.