The UK and EU - Taking A View From Stockholm

Loz Kaye's picture

Sometimes it's good to take a step to see things more clearly. I started writing this in Stockholm after being invited to the official election campaign launch for Sweden's Pirate Party. It was their success in '09 that kickstarted so much interest in the Pirate Party movement.

So it was good to take a moment to remember that.

But also it was worth taking a step away from the already poisonous atmosphere in the run up to the European elections in Britain. Other British party leaders chose to kick their campaigns off bickering with their enemies. We chose to kick it off talking with our friends out in Europe about what we have achieved.

And the Pirate Party has delivered way more for the British people than UKIP has for instance. And that's even without any British MEPs. Think what we could achieve with a candidate like Maria Aretoulaki in Brussels.

We have defeated ACTA, we've stood up to back room deals, we've protected access to the Internet, we've got the Commission to take the issue of broadband speeds seriously, we've set the agenda on all our core issues.

Also, it's good to get the outside perspective on Britain's relation to the EU. Many people I talked to talked about “Britain's referendum on EU membership in 2017”. It seems that people throughout Europe are more clear that this is going to happen than a lot of UK politicians. I did explain that a referendum is not a done deal yet. But far from being concerned our Swedish colleagues are looking forward to a positive opportunity for reform.

As Christian Engstrom MEP pointed out the EU structures are like an old car in constant need of patching up, but in the end you can't keep patching up what has rusted away. So much of the good work that has been achieved in the Parliament can easily be swept away by unelected forces.

But what is needed is not arguing about a ragbag of individual (or an “exception for the British sausage” as Christian put it), it is working to a more open, democratic and transparent Europe that will benefit us all.

Until we face this head on the uncertainty will continue, real dissatisfaction and alienation will grow. The path of Labour and the LibDems could well be just as damaging for our future in the EU as UKIP's .


Photo: Stefan Roudén/SRPhoto