Andrew Ducker (andrewducker) wrote,
Andrew Ducker
andrewducker

Reaping what you sow, EU edition

There's a thing that political theorists refer to as "The Overton Window" - the range of acceptable opinions in the whole set of possible opinions. Politicians mostly propose opinions within that window, because they want to be re-elected, but by talking ideas further towards their side of it they can either widen the window or shift it in their direction.

And this is a problem that's happened to the left all over the place - they've allowed the window to be dragged in a rightwards direction through being afraid of a media that's largely owned by right-wing billionaires. It's taken things like the Occupy movement to get people talking about more left-wing ideas, and move that window a few millimetres leftwards.

And in a similar vein I blame Labour for the current situation where vetoing our way towards the exit door of Europe has actually improved the popularity of the Conservatives. Because when one side makes it a popular selling point that "Europe is bad for Britain, with their silly regulations and impositions." you have two choices - you can either come out and say that Europe is actively good for us (and then sell that with positive stories), or you can say "Yes, we agree that Europe has all sorts of negatives, but we're fighting to make it suck a little less." - and by going with the latter they yielded control of the conversation to the Conservatives. You're saying that basically they're right, but you aren't willing to do what's necessary to stick up for yourselves.*

Part of the problem being that it's been very handy for the UK to sign up for things and then blame the EU for forcing us to do the very things we agreed to. It allows politicians to do the right, but unpopular, thing while avoiding responsibility for it in the eyes of the public. But there's only so long you can play that game before you alienate everyone, which is the situation we're now finding ourselves in.

What I'd like to see is a cogent case put forward _for_ our membership of the EU. The kind of thing which a referendum would force people into. but I doubt I'm going to get that.


*It's been a pattern for New Labour - to avoid fighting the tabloid newpapers by standing up for things that they believe in (like, for instance the welfare system, where they joined in the bashing of "the workshy", while effectively doing covert good work on the side).
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