Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Where Would You Rather Live – Great Britain or Little England?

THE GUARDIAN: If you agree that Britain is better off in the EU, make yourself heard now. The Lib Dems can't win this argument alone

This Easter we find ourselves in the middle of a European election campaign in which the question at the heart of the European debate is finally being addressed: should Britain remain a member of the EU, or is it time to leave?

The isolationists have been allowed to peddle their myths unchallenged for decades. Of all Nigel Farage's far-fetched claims – and there are many – the most outlandish is the idea that Ukip's call for an exit is the insurgents' battle cry. European withdrawal is presented as a great revolutionary promise, held in stark contrast to the status quo upheld by a homogeneous political elite.

What poppycock. For a start, Farage is every bit the professional politician he enthusiastically reviles. He and I were elected to the European parliament on the same day in 1999. I left after five years. The Ukip leader is still there. More important, there is nothing remotely new about his party's ambitions. Ukip is simply the fresh face of a long-standing Eurosceptic establishment, supported by many in the Tory party and significant parts of the press.

The sceptics' free run over this debate must now be challenged. On 22 May every gain they make will propel Britain closer to the door. We risk finding ourselves drifting further and further away from our biggest export market, jeopardising our still fragile economic recovery and threatening millions of jobs. At a time when the world's economic powerhouses are reaching beyond their own borders and working more closely with their neighbours, we will be turning away from ours.

If we end up stumbling out of the EU our police will be denied the cross-border co-operation they enjoy at present – in effect asking them to keep us safe with one hand tied behind their back. At every international summit and on each of the great dilemmas thrown up by globalisation, climate change, trade, global finance, terrorism and organised crime, Britain will be increasingly isolated, its influence diminished in the world. » | Nick Clegg | Monday, April 21, 2014

THE GUARDIAN – EDITORIAL: European elections: some things are bigger than Ukip: Europe is not going away so our European election campaigns should contain a debate about policy » | Monday, April 21, 2014