“Mistaken or otherwise, alienation and
resentment has been part of our national
character for a long time, as we have failed to
find answers to the most serious social and
economic problems; poverty, industrial failure,
budget deficit and debt”
“a derogation of our historic
democratic right to select and remove
our governments" (Tony Benn;
Parliament, People and Power 1982).
People on the left who think of
themselves as opponents of the banks and
big business should be thinking about
their forthcoming chance in the
referendum to oppose them.
In 1975 the Labour Party conference voted 2-1
in favour of leaving the Common Market, the
capitalist free trade organisation that now calls
itself the European Union.
Now Labour is a very different party, it has
determinedly severed its links with the unions it
was formed to represent, and made its bed with
big business and their advocates. It doesn't
represent the low paid and it was a long time
since you could expect the Labour Party to offer
any resistance to the status quo in capitalism, and
it makes no moves to radically alter the current
share-out of wealth.
It is that Labour Party, and its middle
class supporters who are now giving their
wholehearted support to the European
Union, an organisation dedicated to the
smooth functioning of the economy along
the lines already determined by the owners
of capital and to upholding the current
apportioning of wealth. Its means are a
downward pressure on wages, and hostility
to trades unions throughout Europe, and
the usurpation of the legislative rights of
It has at its core the intention to exploit the poor
of Europe and create a pool of cheap, non-union,
migrant labour on an unprecedented scale, not
seen since 1930s America.
Most frightening of all, it is an organisation that
has successfully replaced democracy with the
unelected power of the elite administrative class
of Europe. Jose Barossa the twice appointed EU
Commissioner called the EU “An antidote to
Why is it that the left offers no resistance to
what amounts to a coup d'etat against
democracy, and therefore of the hopes of the
worse off around Europe and in Britain, to get a
better deal? It is one of the great propaganda
victories of history that the EU has managed to
make itself appear so benign to those who ought
to be its opponents.
While Tony Benn and the hard left rump
increased and maintained their opposition to the
growing beast of the EU, as it gobbled up political
and administrative power, the Labour Party
itself, in government and out of it, gave its
support. The unions too eventually fell in line
with the project, despite the European Union's
obvious anti-union, anti democratic nature.
One notorious EU laws The EU Posted
Workers' Directive (the one used against workers
at the Lindsay Oil refinery) ensures that low paid
migrant workers can be denied local union rates;
workers can be moved into a country by a
company which only has to pay the wages they
might have received in their country of origin as
long as it is the same as the minimum local
wage). Not what the unions were expecting
when Jacques Delors made a speech to the TUC
in 1988 that perhaps turned left wing opinion in
favour of the EU.
Facing a TUC that had been badly bloodied by
the Thatcher government, and a left that had just
lost its third general election in a row, EU
Commissioner Jacques Delors (the unelected
head of the unelected EU government) offered
them the prospect of achieving some of the kinds
of measures they wanted, without the need to win
a mandate for them at the ballot box; These were
social democratic measures, mainly in the realm
of employment regulation, measures that
ameliorate the conditions of the poor without
altering their cause, low pay.
In other words Delors offered them Social
Democracy by the back door, Capitalism by
the front. And there can and could be no
mistake about the capitalist nature of the
European Union and its forebear; These are
its four “freedoms” upon which it declares itself
to be built; the free movement of capital; the free
movement of goods; the free movement of
services; the free movement of labour; all the
conditions necessary to ensure maximum profits
for big business and the banks.
The nearest analogy is how the cartel of private
banks in America formed up together and called
themselves the Federal Reserve, giving an
impression which lasts to this day, of being an
arm of the state, whereas they are in fact a
private organisation. But the EU has gone way
The result is that now we have an organisation
devoted solely to free market principles and no
other, which has replaced with its largely
undemocratic processes, the several democracies
of Europe. With their eclipse goes the chance of
the peoples of Europe to have a voice, any
chance to oppose or even mitigate the direction of
economic and social life decreed by capitalism.
That is the price the left had to pay in their deal
with the devil. The day the left sold its soul
for a scattering of employment regulations.
The chief impression the average left wing middle
class voter has of the European Union is that
created by precisely this deal; a vague notion of
progressive measures in areas of welfare in work,
such as maternity leave, and health and safety.
This impression isn't regulated by any very
precise comparison with what was already
available in our domestic laws, and any
evaluation of how much these peripheral benefits
if such they be, are worth.
People don't ask if these paltry measures
are worth exchanging democracy for
because they don't know that is what they
are being asked to do; they don't know
because they are unaware of this one simple
fact; the European elections do not decide
the government of the EU. That is an
appointed body; there are no MEPS in that
government and never have been.
When we vote for the MEPS, we are voting for,
at best, a rubber stamp with a right of scrutiny;
The EU government is appointed. But its laws
take precedence over our own.
Ignorance about how the European Union
actually works accounts for a large percentage of
our acquiescence to its demands upon us.
|Why Isn't The
Left Against The
| Thanks to the EU, Corporate Capitalism was
now enthroned, not just as our economic system,
but now as our political one too; as the free trade
club in a spectacular and ingenious move, went
beyond its natural realm of economics and
sought to place itself in the political sphere, like a
giant cuckoo, to replace its potential rivals to its
power, by making itself the government. Not
even the giant corporations have gone so far in
their audacity as to replace democracy rather
than simply try to undermine it.
| Ignorance about how the European Union
actually works accounts for a large percentage
of our acquiescence to its demands upon us.
And it is the middle classes who are ignorant
|Historically the left were instrumental in
gaining democratic rights for the people. Now
it seems their inheritors are on the verge of
giving it away on little more than a whim, or
from being ill-informed. We should beware of
giving away what we cannot take back.