As the General Election campaign hots up and UKIP maintain their strong showing in the polls, former MEP Gary Titley says that pro-Europeans need to snatch back control of the debate, in a battle for Britain’s future.
The time has come to make a stand on Europe. For far too long the anti-Europeans have had too much freedom to manipulate the debate over Britain’s future. They have led us down a path which could lead to the exit door and condemn the UK to second class status in the world. That is why pro-Europeans are gathering their strength. The European Movement has been revitalised and is speaking with an ever stronger voice about Britain’s future in the EU. Recently we set up a branch in Greater Manchester and would welcome all who share our concerns for the future.
It is important to realise however that for the the right wing of the Tory party and their fellow travellers in UKIP, the debate is not really about Europe at all. The EU is proxy for the real battle for the soul of Britain. The anti-europeans are not just against EU regulations, they are against all regulations that they believe interfere with a completely free market. Listening to the antis you discover a determination to dismantle the laws and structures which have been created to protect the individual and to build a fairer society. They would like to make a bonfire of laws to protect workers and in particular women. Next on their hit list is environmental legislation and then measures to protect consumers.
You can tell that the antis are against all forms of regulation when they attack EU laws. They conveniently ignore the fact that if the UK were to withdraw from the EU, we would still need to have pretty much the same laws to do the same sort of things as now. In fact, being part of the EU reduces regulations because having one set of laws for the EU means businesses do not have to follow 28 different sets of laws when doing business in the EU. Clearly they think withdrawal will give them a chance to deregulate the UK.
The anti-Europeans want to leave the EU because they believe that they can then create their vision of a free market heaven with minimal restraints where exploitation and pollution are the norm. That is why I believe this is a battle for Britain’s future, not simply an argument about Europe.
The antis are so ideologically driven that they are actually prepared to undermine Britain’s security. For example, they have campaigned hard for Britain to withdraw from the European Arrest Warrant, despite the police insistence that it is important to their work. In fact the antis would like to end all police and judicial cooperation with other EU states despite the fact that the criminals, drug runners and people traffickers are all organised internationally and only by working together will we curtail their activities.
Another example of them weakening Britain is that outside the EU, British businesses would still have to follow EU rules when doing business there. Yet, we would have had no say in those laws which therefore need not be drafted to take us into account and which could be positively disadvantageous .
There is no doubt in my mind that Britain will be weaker outside the EU. That is why we must make a stand now. All are welcome to join the battle for Britain’s future.