Blog posts

  • Steel Rally

    Save our steel

    I started the week by joining GMB and Unite — and steel workers from across Europe — in a rally outside the emergency meeting of national governments (at which the UK’s Business Secretary Sajid Javid was present), called to discuss Europe’s steel industry crisis. Five CEOs of steel companies were invited to an informal dinner with […]

  • courtesy Gareth Milner via Flickr

    Deconstructing Cameron (again)

    Last year, I annotated one of Cameron’s speeches in an admittedly mischievous attempt to bring out the hidden truths behind some of his rhetoric. Since Cameron made another major speech about Europe this morning, intended to give a high profile to his recent letter to European Council president Donald Tusk, I thought the letter might benefit from the […]

  • courtesy Garry Knight via Flickr

    CETA: some advantages, some concerns

    I’ve received some 500 messages in recent weeks about the proposed free trade agreement between the EU and Canada, known as the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA). Negotiations between the EU and Canada were launched in 2009, and a provisional agreement was reached in 2014. The text is now undergoing ‘legal scrubbing’, a technical […]

  • Stronger In

    Britain stronger IN Europe

    The Out Campaign have been preparing for the EU referendum for many years. They have UKIP donors funding them and are using that money to get their message out far and wide. Unlike them, the Stronger IN campaign is starting from scratch. It needs as many supporters as possible. To support the Stronger IN campaign […]

  • courtesy Gordon Hatton via

    EU legislation making a splash

    I met recently with the public affairs manager at Yorkshire Water, who wanted to talk to me about the impact of European legislation on the water industry. His account was entirely positive. According to Yorkshire Water, Europe-wide agreements on environmental standards for rivers, drinking water and bathing water all continue to steer investment for the […]

  • Texas longhorn cattle bull

    Fighting bullfighting

    A parliamentary vote on the EU 2015 budget contained an amendment which proposed to exclude activities related to breeding bulls for bullfighting from the direct payments alloted by the Common Agricultural Policy. Labour Members of the European Parliament voted in favour of this amendment both in the committees on agriculture, environment and budgets respectively and […]

  • Mixed flags

    Rigging the referendum?

    Britain needs independent voices from business, politics and civil society to speak out about the benefits of being part of the European Union. But a worrying trend has emerged. Instead of engaging with these arguments, eurosceptics are ruthlessly focused on trying to close down debate. They do this either by claiming that nobody except them […]

  • Super Trawler

    Ending overfishing: a welcome call from British businesses

    During the much needed recent reform of the EU’s Common Fisheries Policy (reform which even Greenpeace hailed as a great success), several British businesses made the case that more sustainable fishing practices ensure the viability of their industries. Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall’s now-famous ‘Fish Fight‘ campaign against the wasteful practice of discarding fish at sea was a […]

  • David Cameron

    What’s Cameron’s real agenda?

    David Cameron told Andrew Marr on Sunday [pdf] that he “cannot rule out campaigning to leave if he cannot secure his goals”. Up to now, most pundits would have considered that to be rhetoric, assuming that he will come back from a meeting on Brussels proclaiming that his goals have been secured and duly campaign […]

  • Nigel Lawson

    Squabbling sceptics

    The venom with which various ‘Out’ campaigners (Nigel Farage, Nigel Lawson, Arron Banks) have attacked each other over the last few days tells you a lot about what sort of politicians they are — more interested in how the referendum campaign can enhance (or shore up) their profiles than anything else. But there is an […]

  • Britain & Europe

    There’s nothing left-wing about being anti-EU

    This article was originally published on Labour List. Like Britain, the EU isn’t perfect. Political battles need to be fought at European level, just as at national level, to change things. But our economic and environmental interdependence with our neighbouring countries makes such battles at European level vital – and the idea of opting out […]

  • courtesy David Holt via Wikimedia Commons

    Jeremy Corbyn on the EU

    Following Jeremy Corbyn’s comprehensive victory in the Labour leadership election, speculation is rife about his views on the European Union. I, for one, am optimistic that he will make good on the pledge he made during his election campaign: Labour should set out its own clear position to influence negotiations, working with our European allies […]