I had the (mis)fortune the other day to see a party political broadcast from the Socialist Labour Party, the splinter group from the New Labour Party headed by Arthur Scargill. After I had stopped shouting at the television, I noticed that while most of what they are saying is wrongheaded (they are in favour in re-nationalising everything, even things that have nver been state-owned) the bulk of their ire is pointed -quite correctly- at the EU.
The Socialist Labour Party is totally committed to complete withdrawal from the European Union, or Common Market as it was originally called. That is the only way Britain can begin to regain control of its economy, sovereignty and its political powers.
While their problems with the EU are coming from a completely different direction from those I would consider sane and workable, it led me to wonder about other minority parties positions on the EU.
The British National Party’s position on Europe is pretty clear. They are for withdrawal from the EU although they are not against free trade with it, and they are for rebuilding our ties with the rest of the Anglosphere. On the face of it, not a bad policy. Their other policies? Well, those have been well discussed elsewhere. The UK Independence Party’s policy on Europe is self evident. (There are many smaller parties still, with varying probabilities of political success and varying policies on the EU, such as the National Liberal Party who only advocate complete withdrawal in “extreme circumstances,” and the English Democratic Party who want not only to withdraw from the EU and join the EFTA instead, but also want to leave the UK.) It seems that all of the largest minority parties are in favour of leaving the EU while the Labour/Con/Lib Westminster Consensus parties are all in favour of remaining in. The Conservatives make noises about the Euro (we’d be lucky to get in now!) and they pledge to amend to 1973 European Communities Act and hold a referendum on the EU Constitution/Lisbon Treaty (if Labour don’t force it on us before an election) but the word ‘withdraw’ does not feature anywhere. The other two’s policies don’t even come as policies on Europe, they are so invested in the project that it seeps through every other policy.
So it seems our choice is clear, in the coming European Elections as a precursor, and the General Election. If we want freedom from foreign bureaucracy and true democracy at home, we can’t vote for any of the current incumbents. We knew that. But the question of who we could vote for is no clearer than ever, although a Parliament composed of many smaller parties with no overall majority (but with one common policy on the EU) could be a very healthy thing indeed.