Naked Politics Blogger
During a broadcast of BBC Radio 4’s Today programme, ex Labour Prime Minister Tony Blair claimed live on the air that EU leaders were willing to concede on free movement so that the UK could stay inside a ‘reformed’ European Union. Blair argued that this is possible as the EU is already currently looking at a reform programme. This EU reform programme is mainly occurring because of the result of the election in France, where Emmanuel Macron was elected President and promised drastic EU integration and reform – which he is now carrying through with. In addition to this, Mr Blair also said that “majorities” support changes around migrant benefits and with regards to those immigrants who migrate to Europe without a job, which indicates that EU nationals want reform too. These two factors coupled together leads Mr Blair to believe that the reforms would make it “more comfortable” for the UK to stay inside the EU as he claims that EU leaders would give concessions on immigration to the UK – all while we play a smaller role in an EU ‘outer circle’.
Unsurprisingly to anyone, Mr Blair offered no real evidence for his assertion. When journalists pressed Mr Blair for his sources on which EU leaders he had talked to, he merely refused to answer. Mr Blair has presented just anecdotal evidence, making his claim neither reliable or even remotely believable. And we all know the consequences of believing Tony Blair’s anecdotal evidence don’t we?
I don’t believe Mr Blair’s assertions at all, but this does raise an interesting question – if we assume that Mr Blair is telling the truth for once in his life. The question is: Why didn’t the EU offer these reforms to the UK during David Cameron’s renegotiation talks last year? The EU leaders offered Cameron next to nothing. They allowed him some meaningless concessions on EU migrant benefits and ‘reassurances’ on Britain not joining the Euro; but that’s pretty much it. If they wanted us to stay so badly, why didn’t they give Cameron an opt out on freedom of movement? Why didn’t they give him what he wanted and what they knew would win the referendum for the Remain side? The EU has no real intention of giving us the reform we want, primarily because the specific reform the UK wants directly undermines the EU Project of an ‘ever closer union’. The United States of Europe.
The reform which the UK has advocated for, namely more powers over: our laws, our money and our borders, is not the reform that the EU leaders want. The reform the EU leaders talk about includes such grandiose ideas as: an EU Army, a Fiscal Union and, most importantly, that ‘ever closer union’ which would inevitably lead to the creation of the United States of Europe. The EU wants reform, that is true. But the reform is purely centred around European integration. More power for the EU and less power for the nation states it has under its grasp.
And who is pushing these ideas forward? Notable people include: Angela Merkel, Emmanuel Macron, Jean-Claude Juncker, Martin Schulz, Jose Manuel Barroso and my personal favourite – Guy Verhofstadt; who literally wrote the book on EU Federalism and has advocated the idea of a United Europe for years. The European Project is an ideological project and not a pragmatic one. The project is beloved by all those who want it and Tony Blair is one of these people. Hence why he has been fighting hard against the result of the referendum and why he is saying desperate things on live radio to try and convince the UK to still remain in the EU – despite the UK being on course for leaving the dying EU behind.
And that’s the key point in all this. The European Project is dying; and the Euro-Federalist ideologues know it. The Eurozone had been a catastrophe for Southern Europe, the EU’s dealing of the migrant crisis has enabled untold numbers of people from Middle Eastern and African countries to come into Europe which is making the process of integration even harder and more complex . But fundamentally, it is falling apart because Eurosceptic movements are springing up all over Europe and gaining traction – which scares people like Blair to death. So, what’s Euro-Federalist solution to these problems? Well it’s similar to how Communist politicians in the USSR thought the problems of the Soviet Union could be solved – more Communism. But in the EU’s case, it’s more EU and its more EU as fast as possible, no matter the consequences.
Blair, Juncker, Merkel and all others are like the EU; irreformable. They are irreformable ideologues who don’t give a damn about what the EU has done to consolidate its power or what it would have done to countries like ours if we had remained – as the UK would have had to adopt the Euro eventually despite our ‘reassurances’.
These irreformable ideologues will do anything to see the European Project realised and will not give in until it is finished. Even if their dream is crumbling down around them as they attempt to finish it.