Speak softly and carry a big stick – that was the advice of US President Theodore Roosevelt. When it comes to the European Union, our politicians prefer the opposite. They shout loudly, but do nothing.
So in February Theresa May belaboured the judiciary for letting foreign criminals stay in Britain after their sentences, on the grounds that they have a right to a family life. The judiciary points out it is only implementing the laws that this and previous governments have so shoddily drafted.
If governments really wanted to stand up for Britain, they would do it. The political parties mouth about immigration, but the only thing they put in writing is their signatures on EU treaties designed to prise open borders so that wage rates can be lowered across the continent. They will throw open Britain’s doors to Romania and Bulgaria next year, if we let them.
Even so, they know that the next general election – fixed for May 2015 – will be unlike any recent one: at last, Britain’s place in the EU will be one of the main issues.
The manoeuvrings to position the parliamentary parties have started. Cameron’s apparent bravado over the European Union, his promise of an “in/out” referendum, which only guarantees further delay and in fact further integration, are an attempt to deflect and confuse the ever-growing hostility and opposition within Britain to the EU. Clegg as a fanatical europhile is hostile to the “in/out” proposal. Miliband remains silent.
Cameron trumpeted his revision of the EU budget. A cut, he said. But Britain will pay more. Clegg, hostile to cutting any EU expenditure, claims the deal is his idea. Miliband remains silent.
Cameron has started campaigning against mass immigration, or rather he talks about it, conveniently ignoring that Polish is now Britain’s second language. Clegg welcomes mass immigration. Coming as he does from the party that was the architect of mass EU immigration from Eastern Europe, Miliband remains silent.
What we need, what we must bend all our energy towards, is a declaration from our trade unions that they will wage war against the EU and everything it stands for.
We are at present some way from that clarity. With the exception of a few unions, the EU is still seen in the offices of most – and particularly so in the TUC – as some kind of saviour.
That weakness is a crucial support for the EU and for the multinational companies that stand behind it. They share a vision of one landmass devoid of nation states and national interests, with no controls on how they operate, and trade unions rendered powerless to control the price of labour by mass migration.
Miliband’s “One Nation Party” is launched and at least on health says the right thing – repeal the Health and Social Care 2012 Act – but not much else. So all around us we see stunts, photo-opportunities, trailed stories in the media, soundbites and parliamentary drivel.
It is important that this government goes, and goes as soon as possible. But let’s not run away with the idea that salvation lies in general elections. We need a referendum now. ■