The Prime Minister just doesn’t get the point of Europe

 

Share

Even the EU’s warmest supporters concede its flaws, and the prime minister, speaking on the BBC yesterday, made sensible points about entitlements to benefits, for example. But on the wider principles of free movement of peoples Mr Cameron is wrong, and very unlikely to carry Europe with him as he attempts to “renegotiate” Britain’s relationship with the rest of the EU.

The prime minister just doesn’t get the point of Europe. He wants to restrict the benefits of EU membership to countries that least need it – those with high per capita incomes. This is not what the EU has ever been about. From southern Italy in the 1960s to Ireland, Greece, Spain and Portugal in the 1980s, to eastern Europe now, the EU has had free movement of peoples to raise living standards across the continent. It means job opportunities via migration to richer lands, and allowing capital to move into low labour cost economies, raising wages there. The EU can’t just be a club for for rich countries.

The traditional party of free-market economics seems unwilling to recognise these simple economic truths and political realities. Fortunately, Labour and Liberal Democrats do, and Mr Cameron’s unwise threat not to serve as PM unless he can have his highly risky in-out referendum makes it more likely to push the centre-left back together in a broadly pro-European cause after the election. Yesterday, in a vain (in all senses) attempt to outflank Ukip David Cameron wrote an early resignation letter. He will have made Nigel Farage very happy indeed.

React Now

Latest stories from i100
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Administrator

£14500 - £16000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...

Recruitment Genius: Administrator

£14500 - £16000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...

Recruitment Genius: Infrastructure / Development Support

£20000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Fantastic opportunity to join a...

Recruitment Genius: Partnership Relationship Manager

£35000 - £45000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Partnership Relationship Mana...

Day In a Page

Read Next
Kurds celebrate as they drive along a street in Diyarbakir, southeastern Turkey, on January 26, 2015  

Isis has finally been defeated in Kobani — but what happens next?

Ranj Alaaldin
 

If I were Prime Minister: No child would be caged in a failing prison

Frances Crook
Greece elections: In times like these, the EU has far more dangerous adversaries than Syriza

Greece elections

In times like these, the EU has far more dangerous adversaries than Syriza, says Patrick Cockburn
Holocaust Memorial Day: Nazi victims remembered as spectre of prejudice reappears

Holocaust Memorial Day

Nazi victims remembered as spectre of prejudice reappears over Europe
Fortitude and the Arctic attraction: Our fascination with the last great wilderness

Magnetic north

The Arctic has always exerted a pull, from Greek myth to new thriller Fortitude. Gerard Gilbert considers what's behind our fascination with the last great wilderness
Homeless Veterans appeal: Homeless in Wales can find inspiration from Daniel’s story

Homeless Veterans appeal

Homeless in Wales can find inspiration from Daniel’s story
Front National family feud? Marine Le Pen and her relatives clash over French far-right party's response to Paris terror attacks

Front National family feud?

Marine Le Pen and her relatives clash over French far-right party's response to Paris terror attacks
Pot of gold: tasting the world’s most expensive tea

Pot of gold

Tasting the world’s most expensive tea
10 best wildlife-watching experiences: From hen harriers to porpoises

From hen harriers to porpoises: 10 best wildlife-watching experiences

While many of Britain's birds have flown south for the winter, it's still a great time to get outside for a spot of twitching
Nick Easter: 'I don’t want just to hold tackle bags, I want to be out there'

'I don’t want just to hold tackle bags, I want to be out there'

Nick Easter targeting World Cup place after England recall
DSK, Dodo the Pimp, and the Carlton Hotel

The inside track on France's trial of the year

Dominique Strauss-Kahn, Dodo the Pimp, and the Carlton Hotel:
As provocative now as they ever were

Sarah Kane season

Why her plays are as provocative now as when they were written
Murder of Japanese hostage has grim echoes of a killing in Iraq 11 years ago

Murder of Japanese hostage has grim echoes of another killing

Japanese mood was against what was seen as irresponsible trips to a vicious war zone
Syria crisis: Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more refugees as one young mother tells of torture by Assad regime

Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more Syrian refugees

One young mother tells of torture by Assad regime
The enemy within: People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back – with promising results

The enemy within

People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back
'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

Survivors of the Nazi concentration camp remember its horror, 70 years on
Autumn/winter menswear 2015: The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore

Autumn/winter menswear 2015

The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore