Wednesday, 23 January 2013

Wither Europe?

The Conservative's position on Europe does appear a little screwy. A 'commitment' to reform an over-reaching, bloated bureacracy backed by a phoney 'threat' to leave - the sop to backbenchers that Britons might just decide on a return to economic uncertainty in five years time.

But we've already seen from reports that this plays quite well with the Germans and Swedes. They, and no doubt others, badly need an excuse to talk about European reform without sounding Eurosceptic. The whole experiment is going badly wrong, and something must be done. The British position provides a catalyst as well as someone to blame if it all goes Bristols-up.

This appears to leave Labour in an impossible position. Their options are to oppose a referendum, thereby threatening to deprive other EU members with an excuse to talk about reform, or to outdo the Tories with proposals for EU efficiency. Naturally, their instinct has been to oppose a referendum. After all, they spent 13 years carefully constructing a bloated British public sector and allowing Brussels to bloom. Old habits die hard. And they must be hoping there are enough Europhiles with their snouts in the trough to keep gobbling up our taxes regardless. 

I guess it's a fair bet. But that future looks bleak...

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