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18.11.14

The EU can be a winning card for Labour – but is not without its risks

I had this on Labour Uncut last week.

EU debate is going to get hotter, I warned on Labour Uncut three years ago. And so it has. George Osborne spent the weekend defending the UK’s EU financing. Ed Miliband successfully led at PMQs on the paucity of David Cameron’s progress in renegotiating the UK’s EU membership. He is also expected to major on the issue in a speech to the CBI today.

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27.09.14

In a dangerous world, the UK prospers together or declines apart

I had this on Labour Uncut during the Scottish referendum.

The British have been protected by NATO and grown richer through the EU throughout my life. Soon the breakup of the UK may drain Britain of meaning and Russian troops could be threatening a NATO member, while Martin Wolf of the FTthinks it likely that the Eurozone will remain in a  “bad marriage “, too costly to breakup but so unhappy that its members would not have chosen it knowing what they now do.

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09.06.14

Progress Annual Conference 2014: Labour slowly faces up to reality

I had this on Labour Uncut after the Progress Annual Conference.

The Progress annual conference 2014 was a conversation in slow motion. The political context means there is little point in discussing much besides three questions: Is Labour on track to win next year? If not, why not? Given this, what strategy should Labour adopt?

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15.03.14

The UK is staying together. But on what terms?

I had this on Labour Uncut a few weeks ago.

David Bowie has supposedly waded into Scottish politics. How very dare he. He’d only been awarded a Brit. The ensuing furore may have missed this obvious point of context. Bowie may want the UK to stay together, at least in part, so that his award maintains a meaningful title.

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29.09.12

Labour needs to be clear and confident on the case for EU membership

I had this in the European earlier this year.

“This is about democracy. This is about respecting the people. Successive generations have not had a say on the European debate. All parties have promised a referendum over the last couple of years. And all three are now against one. That is not right and undermines trust in the political process. This will fester until a proper open discussion is allowed. If we do not have a real referendum then anger and resentment will grow. We have to be bold and let the people into this conversation.”

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29.09.12

Without the EU, we’re just Little England to Beijing and Delhi

I had this on Comment is Free earlier this year.

Brussels cannot be bypassed via Beijing, contrary to the bullish claims of the Daily Express today. Instead, the quickest route to Beijing continues to run through Brussels. While the Express is right to celebrate trade figures that show increasing UK trade with non-EU states, it is wrong to infer from this that the EU is irrelevant to the UK’s future prosperity.

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09.02.10

The consequences of the EU’s “enlargement fatigue”

Philip Stephens has previously written in the FT that “Turkey has turned east as Europe clings to the past“. Today Gideon Rachman writes in the FT:

“It was Ukraine’s misfortune that the Orange Revolution took place just as the European Union was succumbing to “enlargement fatigue” – following the shock of moving from 12 members in 1995 to 27 members today. As a result, the EU has given Ukraine an almost criminal lack of encouragement, as the country attempts to secure simultaneously its independence, its democracy and its prosperity. Everybody knows that actually joining the Union is a long and arduous process – since it involves transforming the laws and economies of the applicant countries. But it would have cost the EU very little to give Ukraine the encouragement of holding out the prospect of eventual membership.”

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09.02.10

The consequences of the EU's "enlargement fatigue"

Philip Stephens has previously written in the FT that “Turkey has turned east as Europe clings to the past“. Today Gideon Rachman writes in the FT:

“It was Ukraine’s misfortune that the Orange Revolution took place just as the European Union was succumbing to “enlargement fatigue” – following the shock of moving from 12 members in 1995 to 27 members today. As a result, the EU has given Ukraine an almost criminal lack of encouragement, as the country attempts to secure simultaneously its independence, its democracy and its prosperity. Everybody knows that actually joining the Union is a long and arduous process – since it involves transforming the laws and economies of the applicant countries. But it would have cost the EU very little to give Ukraine the encouragement of holding out the prospect of eventual membership.”

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