Plan D Campaign

It makes me most concerned to have to write something positive about eurosceptics here, but give credit where it’s due: the Independence-Democracy group in the European Parliament, containing luminaries [sic] such as Jens Peter Bonde and Nigel Farage are sending a bus around the EU to talk about EU democracy. The well designed website for the campaign can be found here. Why can’t the EU itself do something like this? And – more importantly – why are pro-Europeans not being more creative and doing something similar?

11 Comments

  1. Pro-EU and Anti-EU might make more sense than pro- and anti-European.

    Moreover, many so-called “eurosceptics” are not against the EU as a concept, they simply do not want more integration since what we have is already an achievment (and I’m refering here to the four freedoms of movement).

    There are a number of alternatives which are not being recognised… (even variations of more cooperation without a central authority). Today’s EU is something new to the older world order – it is a loose confederation of nations with a single market. But it has already centralised much power. And what the Constitution creates is the old unitary State with a pseudo-federalist structure with only one direction: centralisation and further centralisation; which is dangerous!

    There could be a time when the EU unelected centre becomes democratically uncontrollable (some say it already is).

    So there – we are not, as good old Richard Corbett recently said, “nationalists hiding behind democracy” but democrats relying on nations to sustain their peoples’ democracies within the EU (or outside if irrevokably jeopardised).

    There are, of course, various shades of “euroscepticism” – many may be described as eurodemocrats.

  2. I must take issue with the way that Robert’s comments about Eurosecpetic parties being bankrolled by rich right-wingers, as it seems to imply that the financial odds are stacked up in their favour. Eurosceptics and Euro-realists have to rely on donations, great and small because we don’t have access to any European funds to put our case. The Committee of the Regions have allocated a budget of €1.7 million for their “Plan D” campaign in the UK alone – a sum that makes the costs of the I&D Bus tour pale into insignificance. The fact is that in the UK, the pro-EU argument has already been lost. If Europhiles disagree, let’s have an open and honest debate followed by a referendum on whether we should remain part of this beastly institution or not. I for one can’t wait to see our country liberated from the shackles of this dreadful organisation which not only drains billions of pounds out of the UK economy, but has actually through its overbearing legislation cost us many jobs. If the Europhiles don’t think we as a nation are capable of standing on our own two feet, look at Switzerland, Norway or Iceland – much smaller nations, and who enjoy a higher standard of living than almost all the countries of the EU.

  3. Astonishing really, considering that the pro EU campaign is supported by at least four big political parties and bankrolls its propaganda – such as peace and prosperity in Europe for the last 60 years thanks to the EU – with public money!

  4. Some replies…

    First, I’m not quite sure why there has been a sudden burst of comments on this post. Anyway, thanks for reading at least!

    Second, I am not even going to try to take on John’s comments about the EU overall. I’ve spent years and years in the Young European Federalists, European Movement etc. arguing the case for the existence of the European Union and don’t want this blog to be completely infested with that debate. If you want those arguments, please conduct them at Margot Wallstrom’s blog or EU Referendum.

    Third, as to the terms pro-European (in reply to Sharon), eurosceptic, anti-European etc. – make of these what you will. For me the issue is clear, and it goes thus. Pro-Europeans are – in my mind – people who defend that the European Union in its present form, while not perfect, is better than nothing. Anti-Europeans tend to take the opposite point of view – that we would be better off without it. Now, both sides might then come to the same conclusions about what the shape of Europe should be in the future, and may want a Union of some sort, but the ways and means they choose and the vocabulary that is to be used can be very different. If you have a better system of terminology, please post it here – I would be interested to read it.

  5. All previous messages posted the phrase “…pro Europeans…” why do they presume that those who are not in favour of the current EU development are Anti Europeans?

    Anti-Europeans are those who turn a blind eye to the serious erosion of Democracy that is benefiting only a central EU Authority with its own future.

    We are pro Europe! We believe in a Europe of democracies; a transparent and flexible EU which suits European citizens and not unelected Eurocrats!

    A Europe for the people led by the people!

    Let the people decide their future!

  6. Robert

    I suppose I could have added one other gripe, which is that pro-europeans need to be much more pro-active. Mostly you only hear from them when responding to eurosceptic lies – otherwise they’re mostly silent.

  7. Alison

    Are you crazy? Are you actually asking why the pro-Europeans don’t organise more bus tours? I think I’m glad Philipp does not read this blog 🙂

    But Rob has a point – where are the wealthy pro-Europeans willing to bankroll giant billboards or leaflets or public meetings or media work, etc.? Admittedly, in the UK, the European Movement managed to screw up its relations with its rich donor…

  8. (1) We (the pro-Europeans) have only organised 1 bus tour in recent times
    (2) That wasn’t even a bus – it was more of a car

    I would be happy if we did plenty more bus tours. I could even be OK with it, even if Philipp was the organiser!

  9. I think it’s rather easy actually. Most of the pro-Europeans are quite badly staffed and lack the necessary push to carry visible and self-explanatory campaigns. Plus, most of those that are pro-European are so European that they lose the national element out of their sight. And it makes a difference if you speak to someone or blow in the wind (send PRs to journalists, instead of talking to people on the streets).

    Rob, why do you think that the counter-arguments don’t work? Only because of the media or because of the way they’re served? I’ve been listening to only few really good pro-Europeans with sharp arguments. It can be done.

    Spending 2 years on-board of JEF with Jon also tells you that much can be done. With or without money.

  10. Erm, I’m not sure if that’s all of it. A large part is that most of those on the pro-European side are really limited and slow with their ideas. I speak from considerable experience, having been President of JEF-Europe for 2 years. If you have the ideas, have the plans you can make these sorts of things happen – it’s a matter of desire and drive I think.

    Maybe after my self-imposed 2 year exile from the pro-European organisations I might try to do something fun… 🙂

  11. Robert

    “why are pro-Europeans not being more creative and doing something similar?”

    … because eurosceptic parties are bankrolled by rich right-wingers?

    It could also be that (a) arguing the facts is more complex than usual anti-EU rhetoric which just uses the same glib soundbites over and over again “The Commission dictates laws to us”, etc. (b) pro-Europeans have been trying to get their point across for ages but may have given up as the media just isn’t interested – take the nearest the BBC has come to improving its EU coverage, Mark Mardell’s blog on the BBC News website. Hardly covers serious or positive issues.

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