UNISONActive is an unofficial blog produced by UNISON activists for UNISON activists. Bringing news, briefings and events from a progressive left perspective.

Friday, 9 December 2011

Tory posturing on EU Treaty is to shift attention from economic failure

The bespectacled BBC political editor Nick Robinson (nicknamed ‘blue robbo’, reflecting his stint as chairman of the young conservatives) could barely contain his excitement as he gushed that the consequences of Cameron standing up to Europe "could scarcely be greater for Europe and for Britain's relationship with Europe".

Of course it serves the interests of the rightwing to over-egg the pudding on Cameron’s role in Europe; portraying this as a ‘British Bulldog’ prime minister standing up for Britain’s interests in Europe. But you only need to scratch a millimetre below the surface to show that this latest grandstanding by Cameron is about his own and his cronies interests - and nothing to do with the interests of Britain.

Firstly there are 27 members of the EU but only 17 of the ‘eurozone’ countries. Aside from Britain there is Hungary that has also said no to the Treaty and the Czech Republic and Sweden need to consult, as do the French themselves. There is no guarantee that the Treaty will be accepted by member governments. So what we really have is the spectacle of Cameron throwing his dummy out of the pram, not in Britain’s interest, but for his own party politicking.

The real sticking point is not sovereignty issues, since it is clearly in Britain’s interest to stabilise the euro zone countries, but to reject the financial transactions tax, because that doesn’t suit the interest of the Tory party donors in the City. It is simply unacceptable for Cameron to reject this form of regulation because it was the lack of sufficient regulation that has caused the problems in the first place.

The idea that Britain will somehow be able to remain a player outside of the tent on this issue is fanciful. London institutions will be subject to the new financial transaction tax, regardless of its supposed position, because of the sheer volume of transactions with the rest of Europe.

This is all about playing to the rightwing gallery to save his own blue-blooded arse and that of Osborne. Displacement activity to deflect from the double dip recession that their incompetence has created. No amount of anti-European rhetoric can hide the stench of economic failure.

Anna Rose