Friday, September 10, 2004

A fight with the whole of Europe

Poor old Gordon Brown. First he sees a bunch of his ministerial allies disappear back to the backbenches, then he sees the return of Alan Milburn to the Cabinet in an apparent challenge to Brown’s control over Labour’s election strategy, now he’s gone and started a fight with the whole of Europe.

This is all kicking off because of Britain’s infamous rebate, thanks to which we get given back a sizable chunk of the money we pay to the EU, and which threatens to bugger up a number of the new member states as we are getting money back which should, by EU standards, be redirected to them. Strangely, the rebate is never mentioned when the eurosceptic press rants about how much money we’re paying (and as I mentioned yesterday, we’re not paying nearly as much per head as certain countries), it only ever gets mentioned when it looks like we might have to renegotiate it… I wonder why that is?

I also have to wonder why Gordy is starting to slag off Europe the day after the government has kicked off its campaign to promote the benefits of the European constitution (download the White Paper (pdf) here).

A piece of good news amongst all this confusion is that, as I suggested should be the case ages ago, it looks like Blair might keep away from any pro-Europe campaign thanks to his current low personal popularity ratings.

One thing that is for sure, despite the lack of any kind of serious opposition party, Labour needs to stay united if the party is to have any hope of achieving anything between now and the General Election, and especially if they are going to win the EU Referendum vote Blair foolishly (and undemocratically) promised.

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