Common Weal have launched a new poll on whether the UK should be part of the EU on the Scottish social media site Kiltr
THE UK Government’s defeat over the purdah period in the third reading of the EU Referendum Bill is not likely to be the last time Tory rebels embarrass David Cameron before referendum day. But the EU Referendum is not only going to be divisive for the Tories – the debate over whether the UK should be part of the European Union is likely to divide the whole country, and not on classical left v right dividing lines either.
While the ‘out’ campaign is led by the reprehensible Nigel Farage and his followers who have a nostalgia for a by-gone age of UK ‘splendid isolation’ that never was, some of a progressive ilk have also questioned publicly whether the EU as a political institution is not hopelessly undemocratic.
The treatment of Greece by the Eurogroup – where the country’s election of an anti-austerity government and subsequent rejection in a national referendum of bailout terms based on austerity where ignored and sidelined – have led many to question whether a different Europe within the EU really is possible. Other issues – from the negotiation of the TTIP trade deal with the United States to the spectre of EU procurement law to justify why west coast Ferries (currently in public hands) have to be put out for competitive tender – have further embedded ill-feeling among many in Scotland towards the 28 member state union.
On the other side, the Prime Minister heads up the ‘in’ campaign with a mandate to negotiate re-entry on the basis of trying to take welfare benefits away from immigrants and, if he can, limit the free movement of people across the EU. He also seeks to cut ‘red tape’ – code for finding ways to strip back basic standards on things like health and safety and workers rights.
However, progressives say that this is not in any way representative of why they want to stay in the EU. They argue that cutting the UK off from Europe would be a step back into a reactionary UKIP-laden British nationalism, and argue that the EU has brought people and states closer together. They argue for combining with progressives across Europe who want to reform the institution and make it more democratic and rebuild the European social model.
Common Weal wants to know what you think. Yesterday we launched a poll on the Scottish social media site Kiltr to garner progressive opinion on whether the UK should stay in the UK: Yes, No or maybe. We’ll take a maybe as a sign that your looking for some hope for progressive reform but aren’t yet convinced it will come.
Picture courtesy of Common Weal