Racism and you: Cameron’s easy EU scapegoat

By Patrick Lee

There’s a book by Andrew Gamble called The Conservative Nation. Gamble suggests that despite all attempts to modernise, the Tory party will never be able to reconcile its nationalistic ideology. Glory to England. God Save The Queen. No surrender. That type of thing. Cameron won leadership of the Tory party by promising its hardcore Eurosceptic members, the nationalists, that he would provide a referendum on EU membership. He will now have to hold this referendum in his second term, if he wins the election outright, which he didn’t manage last time.

In making a pledge to hold this referendum Cameron has put all potential investors into Great Britain in a state of gross uncertainty. 57% of our trade is with Europe, where there are no cost trade restrictions and free goods flow. Isolationist policies have not worked, anywhere, (for the most obvious example, read up on N Korea’s latest famine). Austerity, also, has not worked in clawing any country out of the recession anywhere, and yet we continue to pursue austerity measures. Spending in the EU did not get us into this position. Nor, for that matter, did spending on welfare. What got us into this position was unregulated banking investments and out of control corporate tax laws. Cameron will look to blame the EU to fit his own political ambitions.

It is widely believed Cameron has accepted a deal with UKIP and Nigel Farage, the terms of which are basically that a referendum will be held on EU membership in return for UKIP not standing against Tory candidates in key seats.

Ignoring how strikingly evil and murky this deal is, let’s just focus on its consequences: prepare to hear, especially in the build up to the next election, arguments about immigration. We will be told that The European Union, and the amount of money we put into it, and the weaker state of other economies dragging us down, and the movement between Europe and the huge increase in workers in the UK this has brought, is fundamentally damaging to the UK. This is designed to distract from the real story: the woeful state of our economy and our lost generation of workers. If there is any doubt as to the significance of the EU, read this footnote from The Guardian[1].

Jack Buckby is a perfect example of how our conceptions of race, immigration and equality will be challenged in the up-coming election. He has aimed to change the language used when framing anti-immigration policy, rather than adding anything new to the debate. He has put a new mask on the same face. The point is that immigration is not to blame for the fact that this government is the first ever to preside over a triple dip recession, or the widening gap between rich and poor. The EU is not to blame for the continued failure of austerity measures in every country that tries them. All Cameron is doing by making this deal with UKIP and offering a referendum on Europe is to inappropriately introduce the topic of race back into the debate. Don’t be fooled.


[1] What did the EEC/EU ever do for us? Not much, apart from: providing 57% of our trade; structural funding to areas hit by industrial decline; clean beaches and rivers; cleaner air; lead free petrol; restrictions on landfill dumping; a recycling culture; cheaper mobile charges; cheaper air travel; improved consumer protection and food labelling; a ban on growth hormones and other harmful food additives; better product safety; single market competition bringing quality improvements and better industrial performance; break up of monopolies; Europe-wide patent and copyright protection; no paperwork or customs for exports throughout the single market; price transparency and removal of commission on currency exchanges across the eurozone; freedom to travel, live and work across Europe; funded opportunities for young people to undertake study or work placements abroad; access to European health services; labour protection and enhanced social welfare; smoke-free workplaces; equal pay legislation; holiday entitlement; the right not to work more than a 48-hour week without overtime; strongest wildlife protection in the world;

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