The UK’s Toxic Discourse; Miliband and Euro-Defence

Richard Corbett MEP points to a bizarre feature of British debate on Europe; there is absolutely no certainty as to how anything will be reported or received. David Miliband recently gave a speech at the College of Europe in Bruges in which he stated that it was undesirable that the EU states’ deployable armed forces amounted to less than 100,000 men out of something like two million under arms in total.

(It’s a pity he still won’t answer the damn questions about Iraqi employees.)

The Daily Express, reliably insane under the ownership of porn king Richard Desmond, claimed he had a “project for the Islamification of Europe”. This is because he thinks the single market should eventually include North Africa; apparently the Express has forgotten that it demanded the UK should impose restrictions on the movement of labour, like France and Germany did, when Poland joined the EU.

The Daily Mail thought he was planning a “new EU empire”. The Independent and sometimes the Guardian thought he was diminishing the EU; the Guardian also separately praised the speech, thus scooping the pot for consistency.

What is this accusation of “diminishing” the EU (which Nosemonkey also bought into) based on? Well, it’s not the EU’s defence policy he was criticising, more the fact there isn’t more of one. And the most quoted sentence was that “Europe will be less important in 2050 than it was in 1950” – everyone seems to have read this as Euro-bashing.

However, how could it possibly not be true, given that by then India, China, and probably Brazil will be major world powers? Unless you’re expecting the United States to collapse, the EU will be one among many powers; rather than one of the three world industrial bases Harry Truman spoke of in the 1940s.

Meanwhile, there is real progress being made; when HMS Illustrious does the Royal Navy’s next eastern deployment she may have Italian or Spanish Harrier AV8B aircraft aboard. Granted this tells us more about the ragged state of the British armed forces, but it’s a start; although what the Spanish government will make of the following proposal is anyone’s guess:

The Royal Navy continues to study the idea of making Gibraltar the home of one of the new aircraft carriers.

Plans for a carrier base have been in development for several years. The idea would make Gibraltar home to one of Britain’s two new aircraft carriers along with the support fleet that accompanies it.

3 thoughts on “The UK’s Toxic Discourse; Miliband and Euro-Defence

  1. I readlize this is a sign of personal weakness, but I love, love, love UK debates on the EU. On the other hand, that’s probably because I see them as generally consequence-free and such fine examples of eccentricity and visitations to cloud-cuckoo land.

  2. Doug is right, debates on the EU in the UK seems to be undertaken in a reality free-zone. No one is even able to look even 5 minutes into the future of a rapidly changing world.

    Debates in the UK are stuck at primary school level compared to other European and even non-European nations. Very sad, very mypoic and very damaging to British intrests.

  3. I wouldn’t say I buy into the “diminishing EU” interpretation – in fact I’m still rather hopeful of Miliband’s attitude towards Brussels, as I rather like the rhetoric of further expansion through affiliate membership.

    What I am worried about, though, is the way that even an almost entirely pro-EU Foreign Secretary (Miliband being the closest we’ve had to a Europhile in the job pretty much ever) seems to have to dose his speeches up with vaguely anti-EU-sounding rhetoric in an effort to keep the press onside, and appears to have had all his radical new approaches vetoed lest they annoy Murdoch and the Mail. And the press then all come up with entirely contradictory interpretations of what he’s said based on prior prejudices anyway…

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