Eurosceptic is unfortunately a horribly negative appellation; it is much more difficult to get people behind a negative concept than a positive idea. Most movements and pressure groups know this and choose positive names for their organisations or movement. Thus anti-abortionists call themselves pro-lifers, even anti-tobacco don’t call themselves by a negative label, they are Action on Smoking and Health, doing something positive about health sounds so much nicer and cuddlier than anti-tobacco doesn’t it, no matter what lies beneath the name? The American Taxed Enough Already movement don’t call themselves tax (or big government) sceptics, they gave themselves a nice cuddly acronym. Who can object to a harmless hot beverage indulging get together, with the added tang of a reminding nod towards a key defining point in American independence.
But for us it’s too late now, we are stuck with being called Eurosceptic, and in any case I can’t suggest what else could be used as most alternatives have negative connotations of separatists or little Englanders. We have sadly allowed ourselves to be stuck with this negative label, more redolent of an elderly relative who gazes at the modern world with a faintly disapproving whine of “It’ll never catch on you know”, than a rallying call against a political disaster and the indulgent and self serving anti democratic bureaucracy who sustain it.
Eurosceptic is also grossly misleading as a label. I’m not sceptical about Europe. It’s a great big lump of the world with billions of people that fills the space between Asia and the Atlantic and geographically includes us. We can’t pretend it doesn’t exist, or that it will magically evaporate into space at our request, or that a force field should be erected between our bit and the rest. Yet the name gives that impression. Just as climate change sceptics are side-tracked into constantly explaining that “yes, we understand climate does change, it’s the man induced bit we disbelieve” us eurosceptics are open to similar simplistic accusation that we believe that we can get along by erecting a wall around the UK and refusing to be part of the real world. Of course we can’t ignore the countries next door, whatever political system they choose to adopt. It’s the EU politicians, their self aggrandisement, their self serving and profligate schemes and their assumed micro-control of our lives to their own ends that are the problem. They are a dangerous, expensive and completely unwanted layer of political parasites feeding on the European people’s desires to be friendly and co-operative. Nor I would venture are most of the ordinary people on the continent any sort of problem to us, many of them feel just as we do about this huge unwanted European political class trying to control us all and engorge themselves at our expense, they should be our natural allies against the EU structure, we should not dismiss the people of Europe in our desire to rid ourselves of the parasites.
This situation is all made much more of a PR home goal because not just the name is negative, so is the message. Of course we want out of this appalling undemocratic political construct, but we say precious little about what we actually do want. Sovereignty is the oft used concept, but we want anti monarchists in the cause too and it's a very wooly idea anyhow. I have been following Richard North’s ideas onReferism, and Wittering from Witney’s ideas on local democracy, both of which I like the sound of. We desperately need democracy back in the UK, and a return to that is a vital factor towards rebuilding our heritage and forcing our extrication from the EU political nightmare, but these do not directly address our longer term future as a country or our relationship with the rest of the world. They contain no direct rallying points for a strong independent country in the international sense.
Another problem is that personally I see quite a few objections to the EU that are potentially misdirected. This makes them easy for Europhiles to refute. The CO2 climate nonsense bandwagon for example did not originate with the EU. We have the UN to thank for this economically cancerous movement which is equally infecting countries like the USA and Australia. The EU elite, in wholly predictable manner, simply jumped onto and helped to drive the bandwagon. It allows a pan-European tax, based on a wholly new base concept of energy usage, rather than expenditure or income or wealth as per traditional taxes. A tax that can be levied by stealth using little understood banking mechanisms and bureaucratic permits on every European citizen, then used to directly fill the coffers of their central EU machine, it’s all their wet dreams rolled into one! Carbon taxes have a similar attraction to our UK political elite. It doesn’t require a conspiracy theory, or the assumption that our politicians are EU poodles (although they are that as well), to understand the attraction of carbon taxes to our own out of touch elitist and self-serving government. The fact that the pseudo-scientific dam has burst and carbon dioxide driven AGW is now a busted flush is irrelevant, the mechanism for carbon taxation by stealth has been put in place, Osbourne did it in his first budget. Gillard in Australia is demonstrating how desperate politicians are for this new all encompassing stealth tax stream, even to the point of her committing personal political suicide to force it through before reality imposes even further on her lies and pseudo-green misdirection.
Similarly we should not blame the EU for our benefits system that pays illegal immigrants more in benefits than UK taxpayers can expect, and which therefore makes us a target for immigration. That’s down to our government and our dreadful (non) justice system combined with our pay everyone for idleness benefits system and asylum rules. Even if the European Court stirs the pot by insisting we apply human rights laws the French and Germans don’t have the same level of human rights problem and benefit distortions. Again the problem is exacerbated by the EU but the essential underlying blame lies with our government for our laws and their gold plating of EU ones.
So what is the answer? I’m not sure. But I do feel we need to clearly identify what problems are caused by the EU and which are down to our own domestic self obsessed and self serving political elite following the euro gravy train with such slobbering abandon. We then need to identify what sort of relationship we do want with Europe and the rest of the world and turn as many issues as possible into positive aspirations and rallying cries rather than adopting a negative sniping attitude which is easier for the opposition to dismiss. I don’t want that to sound like the ‘europlastic’ agenda, it’s no such thing, I want out, completely, but to get more support we need clear positive ideas of where we want to be. A plan to attract people rather than euro alarmism.
Personally I would suggest free trade is important, freedom to travel, whether on holiday or for work, or to live is good, mutual respect and friendship, exchange emergency health cover. These are things I want, not just in Europe but across the world. The EU has severely damaged our ability to trade and travel outside the EU. Especially for us given that we had a huge commonwealth and significant US links before we mixed in with the EU. In fact I see plenty of benefits from remaining good friends with our European neighbours to help one another out and enjoy one another’s company, but I don’t want to be part of the neighbour’s household, share their grocery budget or have them arrange my furniture and domestic arrangements. How to put that independence in a positive light is the problem.