Cameron’s choice of ally in Europe makes it harder to achieve reform

Serious reform can only be delivered by building alliances with mainstream leaders in Europe.

Serious reform can only be delivered by building alliances with mainstream leaders in Europe

This week we have once again seen the unacceptable face of the Tory Party with the news (£) of new alliances with far-right parties in the European Parliament.

As Left Foot Forward reported yesterday, David Cameron’s link up with the True Finns and the Danish People’s Party means they will now be in a Group with politicians such Jussi Halla-aho, who was found guilty of inciting racial hatred for his blog posts on Islam, and the DPP’s Morten Messerschmidt, who received a 14-day suspended sentence in 2002 for racist conduct.

A Finns Party parliamentary aide has suggested that members of minority groups be obliged to wear Nazi-style identification armbands; their manifesto is equal parts homophobia, racism and xenophobia; DPP founder Pia Kjærsgaard says immigration is “not natural or welcome” and “it is essential Islam does not spread” in Denmark.

You get the picture.

And it isn’t just a Tory problem, for David Cameron’s decision to join forces with extremists makes it harder for him to achieve real reform to the EU, and risks rendering him an impotent bystander in the negotiations over the direction Europe takes following last month’s elections.

Serious reform can only be delivered by building alliances with mainstream leaders in Europe. Instead, Cameron’s Conservatives can only be found on the fringes alongside parties that in the last parliament were allies of UKIP. This is embarrassing for Cameron, but worse still, it is bad for Britain.

Just as with his original fateful decision to leave the centre-right European People’s Party grouping, to which Angela Merkel’s CDU belongs, he has isolated himself from allies in the European Union, his MEPs, now almost entirely hardline Eurosceptics, withdrawing ever further from the mainstream.

The reforms we need to European institutions to make them more effective and responsive to meet the needs of Member States, to make the EU more accountable to its citizens, cannot be achieved without major allies from other countries. Britain’s interests and influence in Europe will suffer as a result of Cameron’s decision.

Glenis Willmott MEP Labour’s leader in Europe

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9 Responses to “Cameron’s choice of ally in Europe makes it harder to achieve reform”

  1. Olli Väisälä

    Just for information: I am a Finn, and can say that at least those parts of this text that concern Finnish MPs and their party are grossly misleading. For example, the text that supposedly “suggested Nazi-style armbands” for minorities actually “suggested”, e.g., pictures of hamburgers for identifying Americans. Hence, a satire, obviously. Perhaps not a very funny satire, but referring to its “suggestions” as if they were seriously done is simply misinformation.

  2. Leon Wolfeson

    If you read the article, the chair of the party does not agree it was humour.

    Some old American senators make off-colour (literally) “jokes” as’s not humour or funny there either.

  3. Olli Väisälä

    Well, at least this demonstrates how difficult it is to assess people and events in foreign countries if you do not know the language and therefore do not have access to the original sources. We may agree that the author of the sleevebadge text (not armband, to be precise) showed bad judgment, but this does not alter the fact that reports stating that she “suggested” Nazi-style armbands are patently misleading and do not show good journalist ethics.

  4. Leon Wolfeson

    Keep the apologia rolling. The chair of the party, once more, does not agree with you, and I don’t believe you’re a journalist in the first place.

  5. Olli Väisälä

    No, I am not a journalist, and I cannot see how this pertains to the issue. I mentioned the hamburger part of the original text so as to give an idea of its obvious tongue-in-cheek nature, but if you refuse to take my points into consideration because I am not a journalist, there is no use to pursue this futile discussion. Goodbye!

  6. Leon Wolfeson

    Yes, it’s futile for you to disagree with the Chairperson of the party, who does not agree with your stance, as far as I’m concerned.

    My thanks for identifying yourself as an activist trying to whitewash this, though.

  7. Leon Wolfeson

    It may well lead to the UKIP ending up as NI’s in the EU Parliament, though, as the National Front is seemingly winning the battle of the minds for the remaining right wing parties.

    Ahh, all that EU cash they’d lose. lol.

  8. Sparky

    You used to post on here as Newsbot, didn’t you? I recognise the same phraseology and slightly unhinged state of mind.

  9. Leon Wolfeson

    Ah, the “there can only be one left winger” school of thought.

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