Blog

  • Image copyright European Union

    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 […]

  • European Arrest Warrant

    Why did we opt-out in the first place? Tail wagging dog!

    The government’s handling of the vote on opting back in to various EU police and justice cooperation measures was shambolic — and caused entirely by the Conservative party’s civil war on Europe, with the government afraid of its own backbenchers. But at the end of the day, there was an overwhelming majority of 464 to 38 in favour of […]

  • Courtesy of Wikimedia

    Osborne’s smoke and mirrors

    The line coming from Tory party headquarters this afternoon is that Osborne has emerged from a finance ministers’ meeting with a great victory for Britain. The UK’s additional contribution to the EU budget has, he says, been not only delayed but also halved. Well, time to set a few things straight: The supposed ‘reduction’ that […]

  • From Wikimedia Commons

    New study tells us nothing we didn’t know

    Yet more evidence was released this morning about the impact of migration between the UK and other EU countries, this time from a detailed study conducted by University College London: European immigrants who arrived in the UK since 2000 have contributed more than £20bn to UK public finances between 2001 and 2011. […] Over the […]

  • Photo from Nick Clegg's office via Wikimedia

    The welcome demise of the referendum bill

    Coalition squabbles seem to have led to the demise of the bill that curiously sought to bind the next government (but not this one) to hold an in-out referendum on EU membership, even if it is elected on a pledge to focus on other priorities. This failure is to be welcomed for at least four […]

  • Photo courtesy of World Economic Forum

    Merkel, impossibilism and the Trotskyists of the right

    According to the news this morning, Cameron has been rebuffed in his attempt to abandon the principle of EU free movement by Angela Merkel. This can hardly be a surprise. In summary, what’s happening is this. The eurosceptic right within the Conservative party is trying to bounce Cameron into making pledges for EU reform that […]

  • Speaking at EU reform meeting

    EU reform

    I was asked to speak at a fringe meeting of the Labour party conference this year on the subject of what EU reforms we should be fighting for. You can also read a transcript of my speech.

  • Photo from Wikimedia by Luctor

    Load of tosh over Calais migrants

    Media coverage of the Mayor of Calais’s comments about migrants trying to get into the UK is, quite frankly, a load of tosh. First, the illegal migrants trying to enter Britain from Calais are nothing to do with the EU’s freedom of movement. Illegal migrants are by definition from outside the EU. After all, if they were from another EU […]

  • image from Wikipedia, creative commons licence

    EU budget row: why the delayed reaction?

    The more you dig into the EU budget surcharge question, the more the conduct of the British government and David Cameron becomes questionable — as it becomes clear that they actually knew about it months ago. Remember the song and dance when the government announced to great fanfare that the UK economy was bigger than […]