Monday, 4 May 2009

We must be Europe's strongest champions....

. Interesting remarks by Chris Davies MEP reported on Politics Home;

"I don't underestimate UKIP. The European elections are just made for them. I want to put some pro-European arguments, i'm happy to take on UKIP anytime."

He also, rightly in my eyes, called the Conservative position on Europe 'hopelessly confused'. In reality the Conservatives want to 'democratise Europe' by destroying it; reducing it back to it's component parts. Davies is right that we need to be the most passionate Europeans out there and we need to clearly fight Euro-scepticism even in the full knowledge that this is against the public grain.

In electoral politics it is tempting to go with the grain; to find the winning formula and stick with that no matter what no matter what we believe. There is nothing wrong with 'democratising Europe' as a call in and of itself but the Conservative stance is pure demagoguery. Gordon Brown isn't inherently wrong about the global nature of the economic crisis (though there are, of course, local causation factors too) and this should tell us something about the necessity and pioneering nature of the European Union in the role of establishing the principle of transnational governance as being a good and indeed necessary thing.

The over-bureaucratised and unresponsive nature of the European Union should never blind us to the virtues of the principles that underlie it nor the powerful almost totemic significance of a continent which was once riven by petty national hatreds coming together. UKIP and the Conservatives essentially articulate a version of democracy that looks backwards; not forward to the possibilities of the Union. Democracy means nothing as an individual act; democracy only means something when people come together in it's formation; and in a collective expression of will and desire to shape society. Our democracy is impoverished when people become apathetic and withdraw (and consequentially anti-democratic forces like the BNP rise in popularity) from participation in what is a collective act and a collective living and breathing expression of will.

We should not be afraid of taking the argument to UKIP, the BNP and the Conservatives and challenging their hostility to Europe. It might not be the most popular move at first but in this case that really isn't the point.

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