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T_i_B

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Member since: 2001
Number of posts: 14,431

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The left must call the right's bluff and challenge the EU

http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2011/dec/13/left-right-challenge-eu

All the criticisms have focused on Cameron abandoning Britain's place at the negotiating table. Those on the left should have no truck with Cameron's position. It was about defending the pre-eminent power of the City, whose firms provide more than half the Conservatives' funding. Despite empty government rhetoric about Britain going back to "making things", the City still calls the shots.

But that does not mean the left should be applauding the EU treaty. It could hardly be more disastrous for the European left. At a stroke, it effectively abolishes social democratic governments in the eurozone. As Paul Mason put it, "by enshrining in national and international law the need for balanced budgets and near-zero structural deficits, the eurozone has outlawed expansionary fiscal policy". Furthermore, all eurozone budgets must be submitted to the unelected European Commission for approval.

There will be those who believe that a fiscal stimulus in the current economic climate would be disastrous, and they are entitled to that view. But it is up to the people of Europe to decide at the ballot box. As Economist columnist Bagehot points out, it would become "pointless" to vote for a party that advocates "Keynesian stimulus policies or tax cuts". It's difficult to disagree with his understated conclusion: "That feels politically very dodgy to me."

But more broadly, now is an opportunity for the left to stop abandoning the EU debate to UKIP and Tory rightwingers like the NHS-hating Daniel Hannan. It is a travesty that highlighting the EU's palpable lack of democracy has become a rightwing issue. Why should European commissioners nobody elected issue diktats? Here the left can call the right's bluff. Why not call for the abolition of the commission in favour of an administration made up of elected members of the European parliament, for example?

Britain stays out of EU financial crisis deal

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-16104275

Mr Cameron said it was not in Britain's interest "so I didn't sign up to it".

But France's President Sarkozy said his "unacceptable" demands for exemptions over financial services blocked the chance of a full treaty. A full accord of "wasn't possible, given the position of our British friends," President Sarkozy said.

Of the 27 EU members Britain and Hungary look set to stay outside the accord, with Sweden and the Czech Republic having to consult on it.

Mr Cameron told a press conference: "We want the Eurozone countries to come together and solve their problems. But we should only allow that to happen within the EU treaties if there are proper protections for the single market, for other key British interests. Without those safeguards it is better not to have a treaty within a treaty, but have those countries make their arrangements separately. It was a tough decision but the right one."



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