The Communist’s Guide to Euroscepticism

Invective-laden commentator and British Lenin-enthusiast Richard Seymour has a little history of the Tories’ love(ish)-hate relationship with “Europe”. He goes through the Conservative Party’s shifting positions on the subject – they were once Europeanist while the Labour was Eurosceptic – due partly to the clash between the politics of “the nation” one the one hand and the enthusiasm of Big Business for Europe’s vast, delicious Common Market on the other.

He is especially good on developments since the 1980s. There is the triumph of Thatcherism and, with it, the view (shared by American “vulgar libertarians”) that the Soviet Union, European Union and “Washington” are not fundamentally different phenomena. Rather they are different incarnations of the same “liberticidal-bureaucratic-totalitarian” monstrosity. In the 1990s, a pre-EU and pro-American consensus by all parties in government – under both John Major and Tony Blair – led to participation in radical new treaties (Maastricht above all) as well as in American wars.

Seymour is rather pessimistic on the future of the ConDem coalition. The Liberal Democrats are traditionally open Europhiles but their enthusiasm has been tempered by the euro’s overpricing and the crisis in Greece. The EU’s prestige is at an all-time low. Still, with a Europhile party core with the Liberals and an obnoxiously Europhobic wing in the Conservatives, he predicts that “it wouldn’t take a great deal, I suspect, to get this light bound coalition tearing itself to ribbons over the issue.”

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2 Responses to The Communist’s Guide to Euroscepticism

  1. marknesop says:

    Gosh – show of hands; who saw this coming, amid the euphoria of coalition-building? Quite a few skeptics of the notion that so many superiority-complex-infused and self-interested nationlets could ever form a cohesive entity, I’d venture (speaking of the overall drop in the EU’s prestige, rather than the more localised political tempest in a teapot).

    However, if a reader relies on American-dominated media for the formation of a worldview, the perception of the EU’s unpopularity is exaggerated. It is fashionable just now to bash Europe as the font of fussy and inbred ideas, whereas a closet envy of all things European is more typical, much as an English accent is thought to advertise comprehensive education and international smarts. Sometimes that’s accurate.

  2. I agree. Most people do not feel very strongly either way. It is that 20 years ago there was a genuine “europhoria” due to the international situation. Now even the talk of Iceland joining has fizzled completely and the Greek fiasco has made the whole thing look rickety.

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