Blog

  • Photo by Joi Ito via Flickr

    Voting on Palestine

    Parliaments across Europe, including the House of Commons, have been debating whether to recognise Palestine officially as a state. The European Parliament had a similar debate last month, led by my Labour colleague Richard Howitt, and this week will take a final vote on the matter. A message from Parliament in support of recognising Palestinian […]

  • Photo by Chris LL via geograph.org.uk

    Scrapping good proposals for bad reasons

    There are reports today that some proposed environmental measures put forward by the last Commission might be dropped — particularly those intended to combat air pollution and waste. At this stage, we should take these reports with a pinch of salt. This is an unofficial leak regarding an official announcement which isn’t due till next […]

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    How to complain

    Paola Buonadonna at British Influence has posted a useful guide on how to challenge bias on BBC, ITV and Sky News. The point of complaining is not to gripe or let off steam. Complaints by people interested in a fair and accurate representation of European issues can affect the tone of the broadcast debate. The […]

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    Idealism or pragmatism?

    I wrote my first article for the UK European Movement since becoming Vice Chair, on the subject of balancing pragmatism and idealism about the European Union. The EU today might appear to be less about inspirational idealism, and more about nitty-gritty pragmatism. And pragmatism is important. But when we focus exclusively on self-interested arguments, we […]

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    Joining the fish fight

    It’s been four years since Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall kicked off his now famous ‘Fish Fight‘ campaign against the wasteful practice of discarding fish at sea. With the backing of nearly a million Brits and thanks to a firm position of Labour’s MEPs in the European Parliament, the reformed Common Fisheries Policy was finalised last year, hailed […]

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    Cameron tries to skew the migration debate

    The most striking feature of Cameron’s much-vaunted speech today is his almost obsessive focus on EU migration. He knows full well that the majority of immigrants arriving in the UK are from outside the EU. And, importantly, we set the rules for non-EU migration at a national level — no need to bring the EU […]

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    Pope speaks of grace, UK media misses the point

    The trajectory of eurosceptic commentary during and after yesterday’s address to Parliament by Pope Francis was truly a wonder to behold. Flicking through UKIP MEPs’ Twitter feeds from yesterday is illuminating in itself. When the Pope arrived at Parliament, he was introduced to the leaders of all the political groups. Cue lots of excitable tweets […]

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    Vice-Chair of European Movement

    I was honoured to be elected Vice Chair of the UK section of the European Movement this weekend. The European Movement is the most venerable pro-European organisation. It was founded at the 1948 Hague Congress presided over by Winston Churchill, bringing together representatives from across the political spectrum, including Konrad Adenauer, Harold Macmillan, Bertrand Russell, […]

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    Spinelli: who was he?

    Few of the younger MEPs or staff in the European Parliament seem aware of the person after whom the main parliamentary building is named: Altiero Spinelli. I was privileged to attend as a special guest last Monday, the premiere of a film on the life of Spinelli — not a documentary but a historical drama […]

  • Photo courtesy of the Labour party

    An outward-looking Britain

    Ed Miliband made an important speech today focusing on how Britain needs to change. The dividing lines between Labour’s values and the priorities of the Tories/UKIP have never been clearer. Throughout his speech, and even more in the extended question-and-answer session afterwards, Ed showed that Labour is not afraid to stand up for truth and […]

  • Photo by Alan Fryer via Wikimedia Commons

    Out of excuses

    Cameron is running out of excuses on migration. Last week, we were told again what we already knew: that EU migrants are a multi-billion-pound benefit to the UK, as well as being less likely to claim benefits, less likely to be out of work, and more highly educated than domestic workers. This week we’ve seen […]