Britain heading to national schism on exit from EU

Discussion between David Cameron, British Prime Minister, on the left, and José Manuel Barroso, President of the EC. (EU Audiovisual Services). Cameron pointing a finger to Barroso but the EC President obviously laughs with what he hears.

Discussion between David Cameron, British Prime Minister, on the left, and José Manuel Barroso, President of the EC. (EC Audiovisual Services). Cameron pointing a finger to Barroso but the EC President obviously laughs with what he hears.

Either the British conservatives have lost any sense of reality or they think that reality has to accommodate their problems. This time it was George Osborn, the Chancellor of the Exchequer who said that the European Union has to change or Britain will leave the club. For one thing being a British he knows very well that self-respecting clubs proudly keep their rules unchanged all along their existence that is for decades or even centuries.

Yet Osborn, speaking in an interview to the German newspaper Die Welt yesterday, said plainly that the EU must change if the UK is to stay in it in the future. And the man was not ill or something. Obviously this is not any more a matter of British arrogance but rather a psychic phenomenon.

Unfortunately Osborn is not the only person suffering from this political illness in his party. A number of Eurosceptic Tory deputies and other party militants have being very actively working for the exit of Britain from the EU for quite some time. And this despite the fact that the Country’s business community as expressed by the Confederation of British Industry is totally opposing an exit of their country from the European club. To be noted that CBI represents the Britain of the real economy, the people who sweat doing their job and not the financiers of the London City.

Businessmen want the EU

It was very characteristic how the CBI responded to PM David Cameron’s statement in the House of Commons on the outcome of the EU Summit, where he had vetoed the fiscal union of the EU.

According to a CBI press release, John Cridland, its Director-General, commented as follows:
“British business acknowledges the pressure that the Prime Minister was under at the EU Summit…
But businesses want the recriminations to stop while the UK moves swiftly to secure our influence in the single market. Forty per cent of UK trade is with the Eurozone economies and thousands of jobs depend on it.
The Coalition Government must re-double its efforts to ensure that the UK is not put at an economic disadvantage”.

Obviously the British people, who make a living in the real economy and not by spinning around other people’s money, do not want to be put at an economic disadvantage away from the EU.

The Tory Eurosceptics

Then why the Tories want Britain out of the European Union? The Sting has published the answer some time ago. It goes like that: “Unfortunately it seems that the London aristocracy, the back bone of the Tory Eurosceptic faction, will do whatever it takes to protect the financial industry of the City, even if this will cost dearly to the country as a whole. Why? Because the financiers of the City have made this square mile of the English soil worth its weight in gold. And guess what! This land belongs to the London aristocracy. Their children can also find lucrative jobs, actually doing nothing, in the City’s financial monsters”.

At this point it must be stressed that the Eurosceptic faction of the Conservative Party is promoting with all their powers a referendum for UK to depart from the EU. They insist that the Tories must appear in the next legislative election making this issue their party’s banner and press David Cameron very hard on that. The truth is however that not all the Tory deputies share this opinion.

The Labour Party

On the other side of the fence the Labour Party has quite the opposite political line favouring very strongly UK’s position firmly within the European Union. The party’s leader, Ed Miliband, speaking at the annual conference of CBI towards the end of 2012 definitively clarified the party’s policy on this crucial subject. Until then the Labour Party was a bit frozen vis-à-vis the issue of holding a referendum on Britain’s position in the EU.

However Miliband was adamant on this, speaking to his audience of British industrialists as follows: “Supporters of the UK’s membership of the European Union must make the case for its economic, political and strategic benefits to prevent Britain from “sleepwalking” to the exit door”.

The leader of the opposition also said he wanted to state the case for Europe “loudly”, warning that Britain would lose its influence outside the EU where it would find itself “voiceless and powerless”. He said after three decades of political consensus there was a growing concern across the rest of Europe that the UK was “heading for the departure lounge”.

Then he concluded: “For those like me who care passionately about our place in the European Union, we cannot remain silent. I will not let Britain “sleepwalk” towards an exit of the European Union because it would be bad for prosperity and it will be a betrayal of our national interests.”

Deep schism

There is no doubt that Britain appears now deeply divided on this issue. The closer the next  election the more acute will the confrontation between the two sides be. And this is the unfortunate outcome of the unfounded fears of the Tory Eurosceptic faction over the future of the London City, being allegedly threatened by the EU. An argument, which is obviously and completely groundless and out-of-place.

 

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