LibLink: Ming Campbell – Europe offers the best deal for Britain

Menzies CampbellFormer Lib Dem leader Ming Campbell has called on David Cameron to put the national interest ahead of his party’s interest as he prepares for his major speech on Europe:

Those who argue for disengagement in whole or even part have a duty to tell us what the consequences would be. So far they have failed to do so. We need to be rational, not emotional. The issue must be about the essential nature of the relationship, not about squashing the ambitions of Ukip. The EU offers the best deal for Britain.The days of unlimited European patience to accommodate the UK have gone. If it were to be finally exhausted, Britain would either have to climb down or leave – the first being disastrous for the PM and the second for the country.

Ming pauses to sympathise with Mr Cameron having to balance the demands of his Europhobic backbenchers against the need to build alliances with neighbours such as Angela Merkel — but his warning is unmistakable:

The middle ground will not satisfy either of them and will alienate both of them. What is the alternative? It is to show commitment, to demonstrate leadership and to take our opportunity. Britain is a top-table member of Nato, the UN, the EU, the Commonwealth and the G8, and the present government has rightly gone out of its way to establish better relations in South America. We stand therefore in a unique global diplomatic position. Detachment from Europe in whole or in part will be seen as opting out of a golden opportunity denied to others. Forced to choose between Bone and Merkel, Cameron should choose the interest of country over party.

You can read Ming Campbell’s article in full at the Guardian here.

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8 Comments

  • Re the European Debate in or out:

    I like most of the British people are sick of the ruling class’s saying what is good for us without making the case for such. As to Referendum now even Michael Heseltine has jumped into the fray to say it would be bad for British Business to have a referendum. Bad or Not it is for us the people to make the choice IN or OUT and it is not for you to deny us the chance to make that choice. If you think Good for us to be In make the case for it if you think bad for us and better Out make the case then we the people can make a choice.
    The peoples Choice

  • Ming talks about interest of country with out spelling these interests out, I can spell out the negatives i.e. the net cost to us 53millions a day we send to Europe in cash, flood of the poor EU members into our country taking Our Jobs Tied even in a tighter grip of no democratic political administrative class in EU and Dancing the tune of others Does not seem a positive to be in.

  • I’ve read Ming’s article in the Guardian. It is a strikingly strong defence of Britain’s membership of the EU – as it existed five years ago.

    But the Europe of today and the Europe of the future are very different creatures. The central, key defining message coming from politicians across most of Europe is that “more Europe” is the answer to the problems it faces as a result of the creation of the Eurozone. We should be honest with the UK electorate and admit this is the case. Pretending that political union is not the end goal of the exercise would be fraudulent in the extreme, yet many in the leadership of this party are very close to adopting this approach.

    I do feel that Cameron is utterly wrong in the tactics he is adopting. He is doing so for purely party political reasons as a means of trying to claw back lost voters from UKIP. However, the reason why I feel he is wrong is the nature of these tactics, not their end goal. If unemployment carries on rising in Spain, Greece, Italy and other southern European countries as a result of current economic and monetary policies, the EU will face a massive existential crisis within a very short space of time. Monetary union is not sustainable without fiscal union to transfer massive amounts of funding from rich to poor countries, fiscal union cannot exist without political union, and political union is simply not a possibility and would have no democratic basis.

    It is because of this impossibility at the heart of the current European project, we should be waiting, not rocking the boat any more than necessary and building alliances for the eventual major restructuring that will inevitably result. Then will be the time to ask for a change of direction, but certainly not before.

  • Helen Dudden 12th Jan '13 - 10:05pm

    I think we should stay in the EU, it was brought into being to keep peace and the instability at present, with stikes and protests is so sad to see. I was in an EU very recently, the suffering is something else.

    We could try for other ideas, to transform what we have into something slightly different, but still working together on trade. I feel that there are many people, who, are finding their lives so difficult, this will of course make things unstable.

  • This caps a disastrous week for the tory-led no campaign in Scotland. With both Labour and Tory parties taking an increasingly isolationist stance on europe and the threat of a UK referendum to leave the EU looming, it is clearer than ever before that the real threat to Scotland’s continued membership of the EU comes from being tied to Westminster. Unionists would hand the decision about Scotland’s future in europe over to English isolationists.

    Only a yes vote in 2014 and independence will put the decision to be part of the EU in Scotland’s hands.

  • Leekliberal 13th Jan '13 - 9:54am

    Al McIntosh says ‘ it is clearer than ever before that the real threat to Scotland’s continued membership of the EU comes from being tied to Westminster.’ With concern in EU countries such as Spain about secessionist movements such as the Catalans etc the chances of of an independent Scotland being allowed to retain it’s membership of the EU are NIL. Dream on Al!

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