Monday, May 09, 2005
Eurosceptic Left

It is easy to forget that Old Labour was hostile to Europe in the early 1980s, viewing the nascent single market in similar fashion to the French obloquy for Anglo-Saxon liberalism (whatever that is!). Ian Davidson, MP for Glasgow Pollock, has emerged as one of the most vocal rebels on the backbenches, calling for Blair to resign.

Ian Davidson, Glasgow Pollock MP, said that plans for an "unremittingly New Labour" agenda were "a car crash waiting to happen". "We should start succession planning now and recognise that effectively Tony Blair is a lame duck prime minister from day one."

Blair has been attacked by the rebels of Old Labour and has been defended by his cabinet stalwarts. Even better for the Eurosceptic cause is that Ian Davidson has also called upon the government to show fairness in the referendum for the Constitution. The Labour Eurosceptic movement has demanded that Labour party funds are provided for both the 'Yes' and 'No' campaigns. They wish to harness the protest vote against Blair to give the 'progressive third way' another kick in the ballots (tip of the hat to the Daily Mail). Ian Davidson, their most prominent spokesman, wishes to harness the Labour movement's disillusionment with Blair, to swing the Left behind the anti-Constitution campaign. In order to achieve this, he is calling for the referendum to be held as early as possible.

Ian Davidson, leader of the embryonic Labour 'no' grouping, called for the vote to be held as soon as possible and warned that protest voting during the general election showed how hard it would be to win. 'A lot of this is going to be tied round about the question of Blair's future: a lot of people would recognise that this is an opportunity to poke Blair in the eye,' he told The Observer. 'Even though we are not quite ready to have a referendum on day two after the election, the general principle of having one sooner rather than later is one I believe in. If it's good enough for France to have a referendum now why can't we?'

As a consequence, we see the resurgence of a Eurosceptic grouping on the Left that may galvanise Labour voters to reject the European Constitution. Whilst the right is backbiting, ineffectual andweakening the power of the Tory Eurorealists, the Left may play a bigger role in this campaign than has yet been realised. At this point in time, such efforts are to be welcomed, whether collectivist or libertarian.

The Labour 'no' grouping is expected to make common cause with Liberal Democrats, Greens and trade unionists opposed to the constitution - although it is not prepared to work with groups such as Ukip or Veritas.


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