What a bind David Cameron finds himself caught in. Trapped between his fat-cat friends who love the EU business-friendly policies and attacks on workers, and his party’s racist right who hate the EU out of blind nationalism.
No wonder he’s reduced to wriggling and squirming and dodging the issue with a promise of a referendum in five years time.
It’s a promise he has no intention of fulfilling – but almost certainly won’t have to with the Tories well on course for election defeat in 2015.
Divisions over the EU paralysed John Major’s government in the ’90s. It would be great news if Cameron and George Osborne’s war on working people were similarly hamstrung by infighting.
But over on the opposition benches there’s not much to look forward to from a Labour government.
Ed Miliband’s statement that “we don’t want an in-out referendum” confirmed that despite his occasional left-wing posturing his vision for Labour has at its heart the same discredited neoliberalism touted by predecessors Gordon Brown and Tony Blair.
British people cannot hope for a Miliband government which stands up to the European Union. Not on EU-enforced austerity. Not on EU-enforced privatisation. Not on EU-enforced attacks on workers’ rights. Not on the EU transformation into a Nato-style military force.
And certainly not on the EU democratic deficit. The bloc has steadily tightened the noose on governments’ power to conduct their own affairs. It has grabbed more and more power for its own unelected officials to dictate national policy.
Its war on democracy has gone as far as imposing unelected “technocratic” leaders on Italy and Greece with orders to enforce austerity by any means necessary.
And neither the Tories nor Labour nor the hapless Lib Dems are willing to give us a chance right now to say what we think about British membership of this warmongering, undemocratic big-business superstate.
EU membership is too important to abandon to Ukip and the Tory right, who are on the right side of the debate for all the wrong reasons.
Socialists and trade unionists should plan now for a better world, not a retreat into Little England fantasy.
If Miliband’s Labour won’t offer that vision then it’s up to us to apply the pressure from below. The People’s Pledge campaign has already registered a series of overwhelming votes in favour of a referendum and momentum will only grow throughout 2013.
A referendum on EU membership is fundamentally a referendum on what kind of Britain British people want and who should run it.
The three main parties want a capitalist Britain to be run by the global elite. The Tory right and Ukip want a capitalist Britain to be run by the British elite.
British people want Britain to be run by the British people. British people want a socialist Britain – and British people can’t have that until they escape from the grasp of the Brussels bankers.