The pathetic self-delusion of the anti-EU “left”

May 13, 2013 at 2:06 pm (David Cameron, Europe, Jim D, Racism, stalinism, Tory scum, UKIP, unions)

As the ultra-right within the Tory Party increase their campaign to get Britain out of the EU, it should by now be obvious to everyone that the anti-EU cause is by its very nature, the preserve of the racist, anti-working class and thoroughly reactionary forces within British society. However you dress it up in “anti-capitalist” rhetoric, this is a right-wing cause and those deluded souls on the anti-EU idiot-left, need to wake up and smell the latte.

martin rowson cartoon 11 may 2013

Above: Martin Rowson’s cartoon in the Graun
I have been attempting to make this point to the Morning Star (which seems to be home to the last desperate remnants of the anti-EU “left“); here’s my latest effort to wake these people up to the realities of the present debate on EU membership:
Dear Comrades,
Richard Maunders (M Star 09 May) disinterring the anti-Common Market stance of John Gollan from 1969 reminds me of those old generals forever fighting the war before last.
Even accepting that Gollan and the Communist Party had a coherent socialist case against the Common Market during the cold war (which I wouldn’t, but that’s by the by), such a case is now long gone.
The anti-EU cause is now quite clearly an ultra-right Tory/Ukip preserve, based upon xenophobia, hostility to workers’ rights and human rights legislation, and a thinly disguised nostalgia for the days of Empire.
Socialists who delude themselves that there is now anything remotely progressive about the anti-EU cause need to wake up and smell the coffee so helpfully provided by Mr Farage and his shower of all-purpose reactionaries.
Jim Denham
Meanwhile I see that the preposterous Bob Crow has once more blundered into this debate with a characteristically moronic and ignorant press statement:
TRANSPORT UNION RMT today called for British withdrawal from the EU and attacked the media for only using right-wing voices from the anti-EU side of the debate when in fact it is the working class that are suffering most across Europe as a result of the bankers and business-led austerity measures.
RMT General Secretary Bob Crow said:
“RMT’s position is clear, not only should there be an early in/out referendum but also we are calling unequivocally for British withdrawal.
“Across Europe, and specifically in Spain and Greece which are at the eye of the storm, it is the working class who are suffering the most as democracy is ripped apart and the EU and the central bank demand cuts to jobs, wages and pensions and wholesale privatisation of public assets.
“RMT will not sit back and allow this debate to be dominated by UKIP and the right wing of the Tory Party. Ministers like Michael Gove are now only raising the issue of withdrawal out of pure political opportunism. He could not care less about the rates of youth unemployment across Europe, the only concern of these Tory “Johnny Come Lately’s” is saving their own political skins.
“RMT will continue to set out the left wing, pro-worker case for British withdrawal from the EU that puts jobs, standards of living, democracy and public services centre stage. The truth is that you cannot be pro-EU and anti-austerity when the whole structure of the European project is dominated by the interests of bankers and big business, the driving forces behind the imposition of austerity measures across the Continent.”
Union calls for withdrawal from EU
Finally (for now), I must commend Yasmin Alibhai-Brown (not someone I have always agreed with) for her brilliant cut-the-crap demolition of Ukip and their anti-EU friends, on BBC Radio 4’s Any Questions and, again in today’s Independent:
“The ugly truth is that Farage and his gang are encouraging the hatred of the outsider, blaming them for all ills, just as the BNP and NF did in their time. Poor Nick Griffin must be bursting with envy and wrath to see the upstarts winning hearts and minds which recoil from good, honest Fascism. Immigrants and the EU did not create the economic crash and crisis and did not impose painful cuts to benefits; migrants use our services and also work hard to provide those services in the public and private sectors; most pay taxes and are happy that some of the money goes to indigenous Britons who can’t or won’t work. It may be cunning and clever of Ukip to use these recessionary times to whip up animosity against “alien” interlopers. But it is morally repugnant and makes us all unsafe. Think of how people were incited to turn against those unlike themselves in Bosnia before the war, or Germany in the 1930s. Think and be afraid, very afraid.”
Well said, Yasmin! And what a pity that the likes of the Morning Star and Bob Crow continue with their pathetic self-delusion about an impossible “left wing” anti-EU stance.


  1. Mike Killingworth said,

    Yes, folks, there’s a wonderful choice. Either we get into bed with Farage’s Powellite gang (at least some of whom are fascists) or we worship at the temple of the higher capitalism. You see: intellectual bankruptcy has consequences, and the Left in western Europe has been intellectually bankrupt (even if, in some manifestations, quite cuddly) for 40 years to my personal knowledge.

    And so the politics of identity (race, religion, culture) replace that of “objective interests”. What a life…

  2. Andrew Coates said,

    The RMT’s views are going unchallenged on the left.

    They are held by many others, notably in TUSC.

    Maybe there will be a “son of No2EU/yes2 Democracy” (greeted with groans whenever you mention it).

    At the Chartist AGM last Saturday this issue was raised.

    What are these anti-EU types going to replace it with?

    A British-led trade bloc with the Commonwealth and the 1970s anti-Common market ‘left’ used to call for?

    Finance capital even more tightly in charge with US help?

    It’s time that those of us for stand for a Social Europe stand up and challenge these backward-looking opinions.

  3. Simon Burton said,

    I would defend your right to support Britain’s continued membership of the EU without having your integrity insulted by being told that your views were ‘by their very nature’ racist, anti-working class and thoroughly reactionary. Perhaps you would extend the same courtesy to those who do not share your enthusiasm for the Euro-capitalist club?

    The fact that some of us might have reached the same conclusion as UKIP, for entirely different reasons does not make us racist, anti-working class idiots. We may be deluded, but we have a right to argue our case. It seems to me that throwing insults at your opponents instead of arguing your case rationally is the sign of a bankrupt argument.

    I value diversity as a healthy and natural state of affairs. I extend this beyond the makeup of societies to the society of nations. Isn’t it more healthy for countries to be free to express their own national identities, without becoming victims to the same Euro-blandness which plagues the high streets, where only big brands can thrive?

    The EU is at its heart about removing national sovereignty to enable the free-flow of capital and labour required for multinationals to achieve their maximum capacity to exploit the international working class. The removal of controls on the flow of labour across borders has not been for any idealistic reasons it has been to drive down rates of pay to the lowest European common-denominator. I find it naive to believe otherwise.

    The whole in-out EU debate is in any event entirely spurious, because the capitalist Barons will never, ever allow the working class to express their democratic right to leave the EU, so you can rest assured that we will all be forced to continue being members of the EU bosses club, like it or not.

  4. Jimmy Glesga said,

    Simon you are probably happy to be in the bosses club! Be honest.

    • Simon Burton said,

      Being honest. No. I don’t understand the point you are making. Do you have anything to contribute to the debate?

      • Jimmy Glesga said,

        The point was in my comment and you answered.

  5. Roger McCarthy (@RF_McCarthy) said,

    As I’ve said before down here there is very little in this ‘debate’ that can’t be found in Tom Nairn’s polemic The Left Against Europe which came out 40 years ago and was the first serious political book I ever read.

    The tragic difference being that in the early seventies there was a Left that mattered, a trade union movement that could make or break governments and a Labour Party that did respond to the will of its members so that debate actually meant something.

    The factional positions that the shattered remnants of that Left take now are all equally irrelevant as we no longer have any significant power or influence whatsoever over whether Britain remains in or leaves the EU.

    So why let it divide us at all?

    On this as on Israel, Iraq etc we can register our disagreement but we have no voters, no MPs, no money (even Bob Crowe hasn’t got much largesse left to distribute to campaigns like this), next to no activists – no means of influencing the general public at all – much less the ruling class who will actually make the decision based on their needs and not ours.

    So why waste even a fraction of the tiny intellectual and material resources left to us arguing about this?

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