An ‘In/Out’ EU referendum is an exercise in cynical opportunism…

It seems, in the quest for something meaningful to actually say, we are in the process of considering some rather fanciful ideas. The latest in a growing procession is the idea of offering an ‘In or Out’ Referendum on EU membership. You have to wonder how detached some among our ranks actually are from reality when you hear statements like this:

some Labour figures believed a referendum would “lance the boil” of Euroscepticism.

Its my firm belief that were such a ballot to be held the No camp would triumph and in a decisive fashion. Personally,  I would be in the Yes camp on this one. This is not because I believe in the European Union as a paragon  of virtue but I do believe what it does, even in its cack-handed, anti-democratic and very capitalistic fashion, is more progressive than a cynical retreat behind national borders. In breaking down outmoded nation state it is paving the way for a future form of government which spans literally the entire globe and, correct if me I am wrong, but isn’t that what socialists of all shades profess to want?

I am aware that this is not a majority position on the left which seems wedded to achieving socialism through the empowerment of the nation state. I know what these comrades would say. The EU is ‘neo-liberal’; it’s brutally capitalistic, etc, etc. Totally correct. However, are these comrades then telling us an independent, capitalist Britain would be a socialist nirvana? That is the logical conclusion of their arguments as is an abandonment of the principle of internationalism.

This rather takes me to the central point of why this referendum is wrong in its conception.  It’s not offering a fair choice because ‘in or out’ does not offer us the third option; which is to remain in but take aim at the anti-democratic aspects of the EU and fight for change. A sense of democratic grievance is what lies behind strong anti-EU feeling  in the majority of cases but while this is in many ways legitimate, a retreat into nationalism is the wrong way to vent this frustration.

The likes of UKIP pray on this sense of grievance and demand the impossible; to turn back the hands of time and unmake things that cannot be unmade. Britain would not prosper outside Europe but would wither on the vine and the reaction to this would be a descent further into the pit of sour and embittered nationalism, not a clarion call for socialism as the more deluded left imagines. Even by capitalist standards, Britain is very far from being a ‘great power’ and is only this way in the minds of those entranced by flights of nationalist fancy.

The ‘In/Out’ Referendum is a exercise in cynical popularist opportunism (which is probably one reason it may appeal to the leadership), not a legitimate democratic demand. It diverts energies away from the struggle for a democratic Europe and a brighter future in which national antagonisms have been buried by a tidal wave of internationalist solidarity.

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About darrellgoodliffe

n.a

10 responses to “An ‘In/Out’ EU referendum is an exercise in cynical opportunism…”

  1. Gillig says :

    An ‘In/Out’ EU referendum is an exercise in cynical opportunism…
    If the majority of the Labour party wants a referendum on anything, it should be in their manifesto, and in future manifesto promises should be binding, not “cast Iron”.
    I quote your opinion on EU referendum from an earlier post;
    “This is one of those issues where you may very well be right about the majority view but it’s also one of those issues where the majority is behaving inflicting a tyranny[sic]. Democracy is not about the absolute and unchallenged excision of the majority will in every case. “
    Quoting from this post;
    In breaking down outmoded nation state it is paving the way for a future form of government which spans literally the entire globe and, correct if me I am wrong, but isn’t that what socialists of all shades profess to want?

    You are wrong.

    I suggest starting your own party.
    The Anti Democratic World Domination Party.

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  2. John Reid says :

    I think your right, but wouldn’t it be great if a few Labour m.p.s who aren’t on the left of the party like Kate hoey, Frank field said leave the EU.

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  3. Gillig says :

    They can’t;”Political Correctness is a doctrine fostered by a delusional, illogical, liberal minority, and rabidly promoted by an unscrupulous mainstream media, which holds forth the proposition that it is entirely possible to pick up a turd by the clean end.”

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  4. darrellgoodliffe says :

    @Gillig,

    Why am I wrong? If a majority enjoys unchallenged power and rights surely that is a tyranny is it not? Proper democracy enshrines certain protections for minorities and has the facility actually for minorities to become majorities.

    Why am I wrong again? Capitalism itself is slowly breaking down the nation state in favour of transnational markets and crucially, in formations like the EU, transnational governance. This is progressive and a good thing. I don’t know about you but I want for humanity as a species to be able to reap the unquestionable benefit of a world without petty national divides….people like you want to turn back the hands of time and take us back to a nationalist dark age with this globe scarred by war and scarcity.

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  5. Gillig says :

    Wrong
    Democracy means majority rule and majority decide what to vote on.
    Tyranny means the rulers have seized power against the will of the majority.

    Wrong again.
    All socialists do not advocate breaking down our nation state in favour of transitional government like The European Union.

    For you to say “people like you want to turn back the hands of time and take us back to a nationalist dark age with this globe scarred by war and scarcity.”Is (try and spot the pattern) wrong.
    You are wrong, you will have to work out why for yourself.

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  6. darrellgoodliffe says :

    @Gillig,

    Tyranny is also the unchecked and unlimited power of any force including the rule of the majority which can become tyrannical if it does not have its hands tied in some ways.

    No they dont I agree but those who think socialism will come through the nation state are deeply wrong and deeply deluded in my eyes.

    I’m wrong because I wont swallow your reactionary, barbaric, nationalist bile? If that is the case I am very pleased I am ‘wrong’ in your eyes 🙂

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  7. Gillig says :

    To disagree over the meaning of a word once it is taken out of context is pointless. To be fair, the original context of your remark is ambiguous, it could refer to votes for prisoners or the right of the people to have the EU referendum Liblabcon have lied about. Neither the word tyranny nor your derivative tyrannical occur in this “An ‘In/Out’ EU referendum is an exercise in cynical opportunism “post. Let’s leave this in the litter tray.

    Your opinion that some members of your party are; “deeply wrong and deeply deluded.” Does not explain why an ‘In/Out’ EU referendum is an exercise in cynical opportunism.

    Deluded looks like this “people like you want to turn back the hands of time and take us back to a nationalist dark age with this globe scarred by war and scarcity. I won’t swallow your reactionary, barbaric, nationalist bile? In my eyes.

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  8. darrellgoodliffe says :

    @Gillig,

    Ok, am happy to let that one lie for the moment.

    I think they are deluded to think it would be an easy win for Yes; in fact, I think the opposite would be true.

    Well you carry on believing that if it helps you sleep at night :). Who am I to rudely push reality into your nationalist la-la land where Britain will be as self-sufficient economically as it was when it controlled 3/4 of the globe and capitalism was considerably less globalised than it is now.

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  9. Gillig says :

    To; Darrellgoodliffe
    “ An ‘In/Out’ EU referendum is an exercise in cynical opportunism…”
    You say;
    You would vote yes, but labour should not debate “offering the country a referendum,” because the result would be no.
    So people who want to be ruled by Europe vote yes. People who want a British government vote yes. Who votes no?
    You say Labour party members who want to leave the EU are deluded. You say that Britain will not survive economically outside the EU. Do you have any opinions that can be proved?
    Your unfounded assumption that I wish for the days of The British Empire is evidence to the lack of substance in your political philosophy. I am amused by your choice of a metaphor. Had you been alive at this time you would have supported the closest thing we have had to global governance, just as you support the corrupt totalitarian dictatorship of the EU.

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