Left-wing eurosceptics are letting right-wing politicians off the hook. Rather than lazily blaming "the EU" for right-wing decisions, we should direct our criticism at the politicians responsible and focus on electing left-wing ones in their place
First published here on Labourlist.
Left-wing eurosceptics blame "the EU" for things that right-wing politicians - like this one - have done at EU level
“Osborne to cut paid holidays to boost growth.”
It’s not too difficult to imagine that headline, given the current Government. They have already proposed to help employers to sack workers, made it harder to take employers to tribunal and threatened maternity leave. So what’s stopping them going further?
The answer, of course, is an EU law. Though many workers are still unaware of it, many of our rights at work, including our right to paid holiday, are guaranteed by laws at EU level. So it’s not really very surprising that Cameron has targeted this area for a “repatriation of powers,” as he puts it. The rhetoric is all about national sovereignty; the intentions are all economic.
► Continue reading The Left needs more focus on the EU
The European Union is a political system. Like any political system, it can do left-wing or right-wing things, depending on who’s running it. But some of the major problems we face will not be solved by nation-states alone. The left’s response should be to organise itself in the EU, not to abolish it
It’s a funny thing, the European Union.
It’s an evil machine imposing low spending, liberalisation and all manner of other right-wing economic policies. Yet it’s also an evil machine imposing high spending, red tape and all manner of other left-wing economic policies. Both at the same time – no mean feat. That’s, like, quantum.
Of course, in reality it’s neither of those things. Calling the European Union “right-wing” is like calling the British political system “right-wing” (or “left-wing” for that matter). It doesn’t really make sense. The people currently running it can be one or the other, but the system is just the system. Within it, right-wing and left-wing governments come and go.
► Continue reading Why the Left should love Europe