Our policy on Europe is simply all over the show in this party; we make popularist anti-EU noises while trying to maintain a pro-European stance. Nick Clegg’s performance on BBC Radio 4’s ‘You and Yours’ phone-in is a blatant example of the confusion that regins at the heart of party policy. As reported on Politics Home he restated his views on the Lisbon Treaty and called for a referendum which I do not intend to revisit here however it is an example of a much wider problem.
Clegg added the following to his remarks;
“I don’t think the euro is for now, I think the euro is wholly inappropriate”.
There may well be a point to that when the Pound is skyrocketing against the Euro but that fails to address wider arguments; especially of those doomsayers who said the Euro would never last and it not only has but established itself as a viable currency. No economic argument is advanced by Clegg to justify his statement (ie, the relative strength at this moment of the pound v the euro) instead, you are left with the impression he is appealing to some vainglorious national sovereignty argument. I get the distinct feeling our policy and attitude towards Europe is acquiring a mildly Eurosceptic tinge especially when you hear Clegg continue;
“There are some things that I want the EU to do more about – we can’t deal with climate change on our own, we can’t deal with organised crime with the help of others. There are others where it should do less”.
Not a word about reforming and democratising the EU which is where the real battle is at (and is the issue that would suffer in an ‘in/out’ referendum. Merely, it is a matter of the EU doing ‘less’ in some areas; no vision for Europe’s futureor what, as it’s foremost partisans, it should look like. Yes, people feel alienated and disenfranchised by the EU but what we should be doing is pushing at every opportunity is pushing measures to address that; to democratise the EU and make it the property of it’s citizens; not making sceptical noises about the EU ‘doing less’.
All of the above is in marked contrast to the “vigorous support for further economic reform and for the completion of the Single Market” promised on the Liberal Democrat website. Surely a single currency is entirely ‘appropiate’ in the context of the above statement? A policy debate needs to be had in this area because as things stand it appears the leadership is making up it’s own mind and determining our policy of it’s own accord.