Europe, politics and all that!

Reading @helengt76‘s new blog (which I thoroughly recommend) served to remind me that I haven’t posted anything on a political theme for a while. I’ve posted about my teaching, research and occasionally on beer (for light relief), but not on politics,

Being a Labour party member in a time of opposition, especially when I don’t have much confidence in our current leader, can easily lead to a permanent feeling of despair in matters political. The coalition never misses the chance to blame the last Labour government for the financial problems the country faces, which is totally unjustified as well as unfair (would they have handled the banking crisis any differently?), while they  limp along dispensing a curious mix of right wing conservative policies, occasionally slightly softened by the influence of their pathetic coalition partners.

The latest example of this was the Europe referendum debate in the last week. David Cameron possibly found out that his anti-Europe stance while in opposition wasn’t the wisest position to take. It stirred up the anti-European backbenchers in his party (and sadly a few others, including some nutters in my party) to vote in favour of holding a  referendum on our membership of the EU. Fortunately they were decisively beaten, but it is worrying that such a significant number of (particularly) conservative MPs have such views. Think about what might happen if there was ever a majority conservative government!

The thought of the UK leaving the EU is ludicrous, but we have to ask why anyone thinks for even a femtosecond that we should! As Helen puts it in her blog post on Europe, ‘we are chronically under-informed when it comes to the EU and issues involving our membership’. Our media is generally notoriously anti, and all that our senior politicians can say is that ‘now is not the time to think about leaving’. There are too many advantages of membership to list here, but surely the ‘person in the street’ should at least appreciate the financial and economic ones! In many cases it seems that they don’t, and what we seriously need is an information campaign which will spell out clearly the advantages of membership, and the very serious consequences that would ensue if we did leave. Instead, the only views that seem to be aired are from those who would like us to leave now, leading to the unbalanced debate that is currently going on.

What will happen next is anyone’s guess. The Eurozone problems are being used as ammunition by the anti-EU campaigners, but we’re not in the Euro, so that argument is tenuous to say the least! The Euro, and our (non)-membership will be the subject of another post, time permitting.

In the meantime, I’m doing some of my most difficult teaching of the year at present, so that at least distracts me from politics, and stops me getting too depressed about it!

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