Their decision to give up a chunk of the rebate has cost us £10.4 billion – and counting.
They got nothing in return for giving up that money, beyond a vague commitment for a review of EU spending years down the line. Brussels duly reviewed its spending and decided it liked it, thank you very much.
At every opportunity they gave away powers. The rebate negotiations weren’t a one-off botch, they were part of an overall trend – it seems that they simply didn’t mind our money and sovereignty flowing to Brussels. Labour were enthusiastic participants in the Nice and Lisbon Treaties (and denied the people a say on both).
This is the party that supported Britain joining the Euro. All the old Blairites who seem to be emerging to explain to us how essential the EU is – including, now, Blair himself – made exactly the same claims about membership of the Euro. If we didn’t join the single currency we would be isolated, impoverished and exposed to an uncertain world. As it was, keeping the pound protected us from the disaster of the Eurozone, helped us avoid Greek bailouts and allowed us to continue to control our own economic policy. Troublingly, Labour don’t seem to have learned the lesson – last December their front bench EU spokesman in the House of Lords said it would be “ludicrous” to rule out joining the Euro.
They still don’t think the British people deserve a say on our membership of the EU. As Blair argued yesterday (apparently having chosen the topic as the only issue on which he agrees with Miliband), Labour thinks a) that democracy causes too much “uncertainty” (thank goodness no-one ever asked him if he thought elections were too disruptive), b) that the EU, which now makes a majority of our laws and controls vastly important issues like trade and migration, simply isn’t a very important issue and c) that the British people are too ignorant and too easily led to decide on the matter. Anti-democratic, patronising and wrong on every count it may be, but this is Labour’s official position. If they don’t trust us with our future, why should we trust them with it?