To the anti-EU idiot-left: is this REALLY what you want?

January 16, 2013 at 7:20 pm (Conseravative Party, David Cameron, Europe, Jim D, reblogged, Tory scum)

From Conservative Home
The Fresh Start Group calls for four “significant” EU treaty revisions. Will Cameron back them on Friday?

By Paul Goodman
The Editors of this site wrote yesterday about David Cameron’s coming EU speech on Friday and what he should say about a referendum.

No less important is what he should say about the repatriation of powers, given that party opinion is coalescing around the option of “Common Market or Out”.

The Daily Telegraph this morning previews today’s launch of the Fresh Start’s “Manifesto for Change. The paper reports that it contains four proposed “significant revisions” of EU treaties:

• The repatriation of all social and employment law, such as the Working Time Directive;

• An opt-out from all existing policing and criminal justice measures;

• An “emergency brake” on any new legislation that affects financial services;

• An end to the European Parliament’s costly monthly move from Brussels to Strasbourg.

The Fresh Start document also calls for agriculture, fishing policy and regional policy to be repatriated and makes proposals to limit the free movement of people across the EU.

It’s not “Common Market or out” (Douglas Carswell reminded readers of the Financial Times yesterday of the difference between a common market and the Single Market).

None the less, the proposals are wide-ranging and raise the question of how they would be achieved, given occupied field and the role of the Court. We will find out more later.

William Hague writes a foreword to the document. The Foreign Office’s door is open to Fresh Start – the Foreign Secretary has been hugging the group close – but his words are cautious:

“Many of the proposals are already government policy, some could well become future government or Conservative Party policy and some may require further thought.”

Which raises another question – namely, which idea falls into which category as far as the Governent is concerned. We may discover more on Friday.

George Eustice is quoted as saying that although it’s too early for the Prime Minister to set out proposals for negotiation, the group’s ideas are intended to stimulate debate.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013 in Europe | Permalink


  1. ACA The Underground said,

    Did I miss something? How does the title of the article relate to the article?

    Anyway… I often feel like one of the only people on the left that supports the EU, I mean a piece of land with no borders, sounds left to me!

    • Jimmy Glesga said,

      What the EU wants is people passing through until they get shipped to Britain. Strange how the Poles did not go to Germany. Traditionally the Germans do not like Poles especially Poles that work in the building trade etc.

  2. Mike Killingworth said,

    And the defence of the monthly move of the Euro-Parliament is what, exactly?

    • Mick Woods said,

      travel broadens the mind?

  3. Pinkie said,

    “To the anti-EU idiot-left: is this REALLY what you want?”

    What sort of fucking stupid question is that?

  4. Jim Denham said,

    The significance of the title of the post is (I thought) self evident: in reality, getting rid of things like the Working Time Directive and other progressive employment protection and social measures is what the main anti-EU forces want and what any successful ani-EU campiagn will inevitably result in. Does the anti-EU “left” (Morning Star/CP, No2EU/SP, etc) now understand this? The Tories are making this so obvios that even the idiot-left must now surely geddit?

    Quite obviously, Mike, the monthy move of the Euro Parliament is not one of my concerns, but it’s in there along with the stuff that *is* of concern.

  5. modernity's ghost said,

    I wouldn’t normally comment here, but even I am surprised at the source of this paltry post.

    Its a poor state of affairs when Trots are so bereft of ideas that they have to scour Tory political sites for inspiration.

    But let me make clear I am a pluralist, I think that ideas and debating is a good thing, however, there is a line to be drawn and that’s taking material and inspiration from Tories, even those less xenophobic than the average Tory.

    Perhaps it might have been better to preempt any negative discussion by clearly outlining (with the use of critical sources) the positive aspects of EU membership and why backward thinking Tories (and some on the Left) wish Britain to leave it.

    Instead it seems to the average viewer that the AWL is republishing Tory material, for the want of a few decent ideas and maybe that isn’t the case, but that is what is conveyed.

    Eye of the beholder stuff eh?

  6. Roger McCarthy (@RF_McCarthy) said,

    Well obviously not.

    An anti-EU leftist is generally anti-EU because he imagines that should the UK somehow magically acquire a Socialist government it will be unable to implement socialist policies due to our EU membership (which I am old enough to remember was the actual position of pretty much everyone to the left of Harold Wilson back in 1975).

    This position is clearly deluded but no more so than that of a ‘pro-EU’ socialist who imagines that somehow the whole European working class will turn socialist at the same time and the EU become a glorious United States of Socialist Europe.

    Both positions are a form of magical thinking as the working class is broken and divided beyond repair and will not rise again in our lifetimes.

    • Mike Killingworth said,

      Spot on. The only thing I’d add is that there are such obnoxious people on either side of the question that the only way to avoid bad company is to emulate that Irish MP and “abstain in person”…

    • lorne said,

      Very true…and from my bunker as an unemployed male single parent,open borders for migrant workers from the east as turned out to be capitalist orgasmic utopia and fooked folk like moi

  7. Jim Denham said,

    Mod (comment 5, above): I think you have entirely and fundamentally misunderstood the point of this post.

    The clue is in the heading.

  8. modernity's ghost said,


    I have obviously misunderstood the point of your post, but that’s because it’s not very clear, very well argued or terribly subtle.

    It is begging the question, which is a lazy form of argumentation.

    Equally, I don’t expect you’ll understand my point or even want to entertain it, but that your loss not mine.

    I’ll leave you to the company of sectarians, Trots and the likes of David Ellis, I’m sure you’ll establish a better rapport with them!

  9. Idiotspeak said,

    You post extremely long comments all the time, but you don’t even read the titles of the articles you comment on?

    I’m sure you’ll be surely missed. I hereby declare the letters page of the Weekly Worker open to you.

  10. modernity's ghost said,

    It’s marvellous when socialists can have such a comradely discussion.

    However, should the working classes look in they’ll find posts which link the Tories (for the want of own arguments), and argumentative trots can’t acknowledge the bloody obvious.

    And you wonder why socialist views gain so little currency in the world?

    Perhaps if you were to try to connect with your readers, which out to them, not talk down to them, from on high you might be more politically successful? Then again, both are unlikely 🙂

    • Idiotspeak said,

      I thought you were gone. I knew you were addicted.

  11. Roger McCarthy (@RF_McCarthy) said,

    To be fair Jim’s is one of the best left blogs around.

    The problem is that all of us are far more happy when engaged in squabbling amongst ourselves over who is the better socialist than in actually arguing against capitalism and for socialism with real people who do not read and comment on blogs.

    Selling a paper outside a factory or leafleting a dole queue may have seemed a thankless task for those of us old enough to remember doing it – but it was a thousand times more productive than the truly pathetic substitution for political activism we are engaging in down here.

  12. modernity's ghost said,

    Indeed, but the characteristic bickering which is a feature of so many Leninist/Trot blog (or Exs) is unnecessary.

    If socialists cannot disagree in a comradely manner then socialist views will never gain any traction.

    The question for posters here is, do they wish socialism to be tarred with their poor behaviour?

    I suppose that years of being around small Leninist/Trot grouplet produces individuals who are smart, but maladjusted, incapable of civil discourse, etc

    Which is a noticeable feature of British Trotskyism.

    All these are deficits when you’re trying to run a blog, communicate your ideas and, more importantly, win people over.

    • Roger McCarthy (@RF_McCarthy) said,

      This is actually a McLuhanesque medium/message thing.

      If you want ‘socialist views to gain traction’ writing a blog has to be one of the most inefficient methods imaginable.

      Political blogging is not about educating, agitating and organising – it’s whistling in the dark.

      And given what is actually out there in the dark waiting to devour us, whistling to keep our spirits up or to use another tortuous analogy tapping out little messages through the virtual cell walls that have been erected around us is not an entirely unreasonable way to spend whatever hours, days and left that we may have left.

  13. modernity's ghost said,

    Thank you Roger, we can always rely on you for a piece of enlightenment.

    However, one of the supposed purposes of this blog is to articulate socialist politics, and bring the AWL’s ideas to a wider audience.

    And therefore we are compelled to analyse it, not on our own criteria (as you do), but on the role it sets itself.

    In doing so see what contradictions are produced.

    That was my point, but I do appreciate that constant past failure is no guarantee that people will change their methods, improve on their failures and try to do things better.

    That is one of the side-effects of 20th C Leninist/Trot political culture a certain type of, almost congenital, conservatism.

    Evidence for this can be found in attitudes towards technology and its uses, past organising methods, etc, etc or in this case how arguments might be put over (in the hectoring style of the middle-class political activist or as it should be: trying to connect to people’s existences and less condescension)

    Roger, sadly your argument is one of despair, but socialists cannot afford that luxury, or not learning from their past mistakes!

  14. Jim Denham said,

    Mod: you are incorrect when you state that “one of the purposes of this blog is to … bring the AWL’s ideas to a wider audience.” I am the main contributor and make no secret of my membership of the AWL. I suppose you could fairly say that one of *my* purposes is to bring AWL politics to a wider audience, but that is not the purpose of Shiraz Socialist itself. None of the other contributors (past or present) are or were in the AWL, we regularly re-blog non-AWL material and non-AWL guest posters are always welcome, provided they’re capable of good and interesting writing, and that their politics is not completely beyond the pale – an admittedly rather arbitrary criterion at present determined by Yours Truly…

  15. modernity's ghost said,


    “you are incorrect”

    I supposed as much when I wrote it. I knew that you would argue the contrary, as a literalist, rather that get my general point.

    Had it been written in black-and-white in an About page, I suspect you would argue the contrary, but it was an overall sentiment I feel?

    More broadly, I am assuming that you want socialist politics to advance?

    Therefore, what I’m saying is bickering doesn’t help?

    Is that *really, really a contentious point?

    You will, no doubt, remember one of the worst habits of Last Century’s Left was, to miss the major points and quibble around the edges?

    • Jim Denham said,

      You’ve lost me entirely, I’m afraid, Mod. And I mean that: I’m honestly mystified as to what point you’re trying to make.

  16. modernity's ghost said,

    I assume so, Jim.

    That’s the problem when you (non-Trots) are having a discussion with Trots (or ex-Trots), they invariably believes that their points are self-evident and are perplexed why you can’t see the obvious, yet if you bring up something simple:

    1. That socialists should discuss issues in a comradely fashion, and not bicker, squabble and nitpicking like last century’s Left.

    2. That immature or petty bourgeois behaviour (so characteristic of last century’s Left) put people off of socialist ideas.

    3. That if you wish socialist ideas to succeed, then you would avoid that poor behaviour and learn from past mistakes.

    They don’t understand it. A bit bleeding obvious when you think about it.

    • Jim Denham said,

      So bleeding obvious as to be practically meaningless. Like voting for Good against Evil.

    • Mike Killingworth said,

      Perhaps there could be a post giving examples of “petty bourgeois behaviour” or perhaps that would be bickering and nitpicking?

  17. modernity's ghost said,


    It wouldn’t be much use trying to explain petty bourgeois behaviour to Trots (or ex-Trots), why it is wrong and counterproductive, a bit like trying to explain tax dodging to Tories and why that’s wrong too, it would simply whoosh over their heads and they wouldn’t get the point.

    But I am sure you know that.

  18. Jim Denham said,

  19. modernity's ghost said,


    You continually misrepresent my views.

    You pretend you can’t understand them and when I explain them simply, the socialists should act in a comradely fashion even when discussing things, you as much sneer.

    I appreciate you are a prisoner of your political tradition, sectarian Trotskyism, but it does get a bit boring when I have to explain the self-evident to you.

    I always hope that you will improve and put away the bad habits of a lifetime, but you never do.

    You are a very poor advert for the AWL, or maybe a good one?

  20. Jim Denham said,

    Mod; I want you to know, I couldn’t be fonder of you if you were my own son:

    I never sneer (but I do laugh openly).

    Is that comradely enough?

    P.S: ask Steve Godward about being treated “nicely” (he describes it as being “love-bombed”) by some people on the left (well, the SWP actually), and how much it’s worth.

    P.P.S: the AWL never tried to hire me as a poster-boy and in the unlikely event that they ever did, I’d refuse the gig.

  21. modernity's ghost said,


    I am older than you and patronising doesn’t really work.

    I suppose what I’m saying (and I doubt you’ll grasp it), is that you are very much the public face of the AWL (whether you like it or not) and being obtuse, sectarian and cynical doesn’t put your group over in the best light.

    Now that may not be important to you, but I suspect that you would want everyone to have a high opinion of the AWL?

    Therefore, your conduct and how you are perceived (irrespective of how you see it) do matter in some small way.

    I have always been rather ambivalent towards to AWL, never really run across them in the real world (although I do remember reading Socialist Organiser decades ago and thinking it wasn’t too bad) and I had thought your group always got a bad press.

    Now I am less sure.

    I think that people tend to act to their character, your sectarian Trotskyism can be varnished with an air of pluralism, but it doesn’t cut it.

    I remember Tami commenting on how you manage to alienate people, make unnecessary enemies and at the time I didn’t give it much credence, but now I think of it she was probably right.

    Shorter version, many times you are your own (and the AWL’s) worst enemy.

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