Europe in Crisis: Hear the Silence
Mark Seddon is the former United Nations Correspondent and New York Bureau Chief for Al-Jazeera English TV. He reported from eighteen countries during that time, including North Korea, China, Haiti, Syria, Libya, Yemen, Ethiopia and the Democratic Republic of Congo. He has interviewed, amongst others, Ban Ki-Moon, Lech Walesa, Tony Blair, Hans Blix, Michael Foot, Mia Farrow, and George Clooney. In a journalistic career spanning over twenty years, he has been Editor of Tribune and an elected member of the UK Labour Party's National Executive Committee. He has written for most British newspapers and many magazines, including The Guardian, The Independent, The Daily Mail, The Times, The Spectator, New Statesman, Private Eye, British Journalism Review and Country Life Magazine. For a number of years he was a Diarist at the London Evening Standard, and has also reported for, amongst others, the BBC and Sky TV. He lives in Buckingham, England.
A former British Prime Minister, James Callaghan will forever be remembered for the words ‘Crisis? What crisis?’ eventhough he never actually said them. Callaghan had the misfortune of having his ever so slightly complacent remarks on his country’s dire economic situation turned into tabloid-ese in the late 1970s. He never really recovered politically. It didn’t help that he had just flown back from sun soaked Guadeloupe, where he had been attending an IMF Summit. To damp, foggy and economically depressed Britain.
Fast forward three decades, and the whole British political class is at it. ‘Crisis? What crisis?’ they all seem to be saying as the World teeters on the edge of a second seismic economic downturn. And what of the Euro-zone, the source for much of our contemporary woe? And what of Greece, the country at the epi centre of the great Euro-zone melt down? Strangely enough we hear virtually nothing from the politicians. What of the attempts to shore up the Euro zone, to save Greece from itself and to tackle the giant Euro deficit which lies at the heart of those current crisis? Again from British politicians, barely a peep. And what of the logic being heard from German politicians and the Bundesbank, that the only way to save the core Euro zone is to apply the rules it was supposed to abide by when it was formed? Again, there is nothing from British politicians, because none dare face the truth behind the relentless logic that will drive Europe together fiscal ly and politically in full, integrated union. That means giving the European Commission and Central Bank extraordinary new powers.
These are all hugely important issues. Doubtless there will have to be another referendum across the European Union to allow this next step of integration or centralisation to take place. The Germans are talking about this, as are the French and East Europeans. In fact everywhere in Europe they are talking about it, except in Britain.
Last week The People’s Pledge, www.peoplespledge.org, which is dedicated to achieving a full referendum on whether Britain should remain a member of the planed new European state, commissioned a YouGov poll. As the Labour Party meets in Liverpool and the party’s leader prepares to give his keynote address, will Ed Miliband speak about any of this great issues?
He should, since the YouGov poll makes it absolutely clear that Labour voters – and many of the five million lost working class Labour voters are absolutely clear; that before anything else is allowed to happen, Britain should have a referendum on the EU.
Some 53% of Labour voters support a referendum, while 33% are against, with 13% undecided.
The democratic logic is remorseless, as is the electoral logic. If Labour really wants to win the next General Election it needs to allow the British people to make their own minds up in a referendum about the country’s future relationship with the European Union.
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