Jonathan Fryer

Writer, Lecturer, Broadcaster and Liberal Democrat Politician

Vince Cable Faces up to Europe

Posted by jonathanfryer on Friday, 24th January, 2014

Vince Cable 1The Long Room at the Oval in London may normally be the scene for the relating of cricketing yarns, but last night it hosted a fundraising dinner for the London Liberal Democrats’ European elections campaign, at which Vince Cable was the keynote speaker. For a long time Vince was known as one of the least Euro-enthusiastic of LibDem MPs, but since being in Coalition government with a Conservative Party that seems ever more in danger of leading Britain to the exit door from the EU he has been one of the strongest champions of British membership. As Business Secretary that is hardly surprising. On a daily basis he has to deal with foreign companies and politicians, many of whom are getting increasingly alarmed by the possibility of a “Brexit”. As he said last night, this is seriously undermining investor confidence, and with the Tories failing to show proper leadership on the matter it is up to the Liberal Democrats to be unequivocally the party of “IN”. Of course, the Party recognises the need for certain reforms, but such reforms will only happen if we are fully engaged with our EU partners. Vince has been widely quoted as saying that there is a five per cent chance that the UK will pull out, but last night he acknowledged that the possibility was probably higher than that. UKIP is of course doing well in the European election opinion polls, and Vince acknowledged the conviviality of its leader, Nigel Farage. But he said we should be blinded to the fact that the “Faragists” appeal to some very unpleasant instincts, xenophobic and at time outright racist.



3 Responses to “Vince Cable Faces up to Europe”

  1. S said

    Of course, the Party recognises the need for certain reforms, but such reforms will only happen if we are fully engaged with our EU partners

    But what incentive do the ‘partners’ have to reform if the UK will stay in regardless of whether they reform or not?

    This is like an employee telling their employer that their working conditions must improve, while at the same time reassuring the employer that they will never leave the company. What motive does the employer have to change if the employee will stay regardless?

  2. jonathanfryer said

    You make some very valid points, S. The motivation would be a commitment from Britain to truly engage, rather than doing the hokey-cokey with the EU that David Cameron and some other Tory Ministers are engaged in now. So a real challenge for the LibDems in government is to persuade their Coalition partners of that. A good vote for the LibDems in the Euro-elections would strengthen their hand in this.

    • S said

      a commitment from Britain to truly engage

      What does ‘truly engage’ mean? Join the Euro? Join a fiscal transfer union? Neither of those will ever happen due to UK domestic politics.

      What concrete extra (not just a vague ‘truly engage’) does Britain have to offer over and above the status quo that will make it worth their while for the partners to agree to reform?

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