Where Miliband is short on Europe

David Miliband, in an article to complement a debate he has taken part in tonight with the Fabian Society, has taken on the Tories and David Cameron over Europe.

The article does present well due finger pointing at Cameron’s decision to engage with, among many others, Latvia’s Fatherland and Freedom Party.

On other issues, Miliband assaults Cameron on “support[ing] overseas development – but denounc[ing] the Lisbon treaty’s shift to majority voting that will make it faster and more efficient.”

He buries his knife by saying what Labour will deliver, where the Tories will dwindle: “The EU needs support and reform through engagement.”

Myself, I agree with the latter – that we need to engage with the EU and introduce our take on it, but the former point made me confused. I’m certainly not coming from Cameron’s camp, but its not denouncing the Lisbon treaty’s shift that gets me, but rather the inkling that Lisbon treaty will not be doing anything to curb the anti-union, pro-social dumping ideology that surrounds it.

Obviously, the engagement element of Miliband’s sentiment seems to work well, to use our MEP’s to send a message of worker’s rights to Europe, but not only do I see no chance of this judging by European election polls, also blindly buying into any “shift” the Lisbon treaty forges is just as boneheaded.

Appearing in tomorrow’s Guardian, along with Miliband’s article, will be a one time Miliband supporter (who did her bit to ruin his chances of becoming Prime Minister by shouting, and might just join another emerging trend for the LibDems at Miliband’s, and Labour’s, expense) Polly Toynbee spelling out her reasons why we shouldn’t listen to David Miliband anymore, and vote for the Liberal Democrats in Europe (although this is not full scale support, as some seem to be confused about).

She suggests that a vote for Lib Dems on issues regarding Europe is a vote for consistency, but is no one on the left worried about a consistent dismissal of those things once the territory of the Labour Party; unions, national industry, free elections and the representation of foreign workers.


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