web analytics

A GOOD QUESTION

By Pete Moore On January 12th, 2019

When did left wingery become associated with being pro-EU? It’s a good question.

It might just be in the UK that being pro-EU is associated with being Left Wing. What is seen as left or right often flips when we cross the Channel, but it’s definitely the case here that being pro-EU has become more associated with leftism. Labour MP Chuka Umunna said exactly that this week, but he doesn’t know his history. As well as Foot, Benn and Castle, post-war Labour giants such as Hugh Gaitskell and Clement Attlee were firmly opposed to any UK involvement with European integration. Labour contested the 1983 General Election on a promise to take us out of the then EEC.

For some leftists it’s simply favouring what people you dislike happen to dislike. They associate being anti-EU with being white and patriotic, therefore they support the EU. It was during the 1980s that anti-patriotism began to take root across the left. But this still doesn’t explain it all. I’ve always thought that being anti-EU is naturally left wing. Criticisms laid out by Brendan O’Neill sit at the heart of the leftist tradition, but such arguments seem to be ignored.

Anyone?

47 Responses to “A GOOD QUESTION”

  1. “What is seen as left or right often flips when we cross the Channel”

    I would disagree. Most of the same arguments are present in most countries on the continent. And generally there is a eurosceptic far-left on the continent, and a eurosceptic far-right on the continent. Most other political parties are generally pro-EU. So what changes when you cross the Channel is the prescence of centre-right euroscepticism, which is largely out of place in most European countries. Go to all most all countries in the EU and the centre-right (the CDU in Germany, the Gaullists in France, the PP in Spain, the DC in and most of the various Berlusconi parties in Italy etc…) are all pro-EU. You rarely have a prominent centre-right party in the EU who is eurosceptic to some degree (the Tories being the main one, PiS in Poland, a few smaller parties like ODS in the Czech Republic, and to a lesser degree, in terms of euroscepticism, the likes of Fidesz in Hungary).

    So the prescence of a centre-right euroscepticism is where things are very different in terms of the EU.

    ” They associate being anti-EU with being white and patriotic”

    Probably not as most left wingers are both white and patriotic.

    “As well as Foot, Benn and Castle, post-war Labour giants such as Hugh Gaitskell and Clement Attlee were firmly opposed to any UK involvement with European integration.”

    And can the argument not be shifted the other way. For the most part the driest of the dries supported the EU. Thatcher, Keith Joseph, Norman Tebbit, Geoffrey Howe, John Nott, Cecil Parkinson etc… many of who later went on to oppose the EU in later careers. All supported the UK joining the EEC.

  2. //When did left wingery become associated with being pro-EU? It’s a good question.//

    What? Don’t tell us you were only joking all along with all that “Commie EU” stuff etc.

  3. It’s a loaded proposition as Pete’s definition of ‘left’ is somewhat fluid to say the least.

  4. The Left has always been about grabbing power from ordinary people, centralizing it and then using it to control the ordinary people.

    That’s what the Left does.

    Of course, the EU is a Left-wing thing.

  5. Patty, after the ridiculous embarrassment you recently made of yourself regarding your lack of knowledge on the workings of the EU I’m surprised you ventured onto this.

    However, regarding grabbing power isn’t that what you’re dreamboat is supposedly attempting by by passing Congress with his ‘national emergency’ to fund his flagship project?

  6. Jacques Delors gave a speech at the 1989 TUC Conference. I do not recollect what was said but it went down rather well with the TUC and Labour. After that, they were best of buddies and, it set Mrs.T on the path to Euroscepticism and her famous Brugge Speech in which she said;

    We have not turned back the frontiers of the State only to have them imposed on a European level

    Many EU Commissioners and senior bods are either Left of Centre, Left, Far-Left, Marxist, Maoist or Communists.

    This from 2016 about Communist, Mr.Spinelli :

    https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2016/08/27/the-secret-history-of-the-eu-written-on-an-italian-prison-island/

  7. Sensible moderate individuals on the left and right are pro EU. The Ignorant and the extremists are anti-EU.

  8. The present Labour leadership is both left wing and pro-Leave. Corbyn and McDonnell have been anti-EU all their political lives and no-one doubts that they both voted Leave in 2016. The day after the referendum Corbyn called on Cameron to activate Article 50 immediately. Their problem is that 80% of Labour members oppose them along with over 90% of Labour MPs.

    I think the pro-EU stance of most of the left is a reaction to the fact that the Leave campaign was dominated by right wing nationalists like Farage and Rees-Mogg. The fact remains that there was and is a perfectly respectable left wing case for Leave, and there was and is a Labour Leave organisation:

    https://www.labourleave.org.uk/manifesto

  9. I can’t speak to leftism in Britain, but in the States, the left is full of what Ambassador Jeanne Kirkpatrick once labeled the “hate America first” crowd. Perhaps the left in the U.K. hates all things British, and looks to the E.U. for “salvation.”

    Politics makes strange bedfellows.

  10. Perhaps the left in the U.K. hates all things British, and looks to the E.U. for “salvation.”

    Corbyn and McDonnell have been anti-EU all their political lives and no-one doubts that they both voted Leave in 2016

    Where does that leave ‘Commies’ like Corbyn, McDonnell and even George Galloway who are allegedly pro Brexit Charles?

    Nuance my dear boy, nuance.

  11. “Many EU Commissioners and senior bods are either Left of Centre, Left, Far-Left, Marxist, Maoist or Communists.”

    Firstly EU Commissioners are appointed by the individual members states. The UK appoints a commissioner. The EU, or other member states, doesn’t get to decide who that is. It is only the sovereign government of the member states.

    And generally the governments appoint one of their own. So generally the political beliefs of the commissioner match the government.

    As such the current commission actually has a centre-right majority. There are 8 social democrats, 8 conservatives, 7 christian democrats and 5 liberals. So 15 centre-right, 8 centre-left and 5 centre.

  12. “I can’t speak to leftism in Britain, but in the States, the left is full of what Ambassador Jeanne Kirkpatrick once labeled the “hate America first” crowd.”

    I would disagree. Overwhelmingly politicians of all hues loves their country. They just disagree with the best manner of which to advance their country.

    American conservatives don’t love America more than American liberals do.

  13. Charles –

    Likewise, there’s a distinct whiff of “hate Britain first” about the British progressive left (as opposed to the patriotic Old Left). The same crowd is keen on mass immigration and internationalism.

    They’re not new. Orwell famously had their card marked:

    “In intention, at any rate, the English intelligentsia are Europeanized. 
They take their cookery from Paris and their opinions from Moscow. In the 
general patriotism of the country they form a sort of island of dissident 
thought. England is perhaps the only great country whose intellectuals 
are ashamed of their own nationality. In left-wing circles it is always 
felt that there is something slightly disgraceful in being an Englishman 
and that it is a duty to snigger at every English institution, from horse 
racing to suet puddings. It is a strange fact, but it is unquestionably 
true that almost any English intellectual would feel more ashamed of 
standing to attention during ‘God save the King’ than of stealing from a 
poor box. All through the critical years many left-wingers were chipping 
away at English morale, trying to spread an outlook that was sometimes 
squashily pacifist, sometimes violently pro-Russian, but always 
anti-British.”

  14. 
They take their cookery from Paris and their opinions from Moscow.

    How times change. Now it’s the Rightworlders who look to Moscow for guidance.

  15. How times change. Now it’s the Rightworlders who look to Moscow for guidance.

    Times have changed. Nationalists are back, in Moscow and elsewhere.

  16. Pete scores yet another cracking OG:

    When did left wingery become associated with being pro-EU? It’s a good question […]

    I’ve always thought that being anti-EU is naturally left wing

    If you’ve always thought this why did you cite an Orwell essay which absolutely demolishes that notion?

  17. Nationalists are back, in Moscow and elsewhere.

    The nationalists in charge in Moscow are murderous corruptocrat gangsters, no?

  18. Paul –

    I don’t think England Your England says what you think it says.

  19. I’m pretty sure this does though:

    In left-wing circles it is always 
felt that there is something slightly disgraceful in being an Englishman 
and that it is a duty to snigger at every English institution, from horse 
racing to suet puddings. It is a strange fact, but it is unquestionably 
true that almost any English intellectual would feel more ashamed of 
standing to attention during ‘God save the King’ than of stealing from a 
poor box. All through the critical years many left-wingers were chipping 
away at English morale, trying to spread an outlook that was sometimes 
squashily pacifist, sometimes violently pro-Russian, but always 
anti-British

    Now, I don’t agree with that but you do, and it completely decimates your premise in the opening comments quoted above

  20. Paul –

    Orwell was describing “the English intelligentsia”. They were progressive leftists, not horny handed sons of toil.

    I’ve made the distinction between progressives (Marxist, internationalist, today pro-EU) and the Old Left (socialist patriots). They are both of the left but distinct from each other.

  21. No Pete, what you’ve done is ask and forward an opinion about ‘the left’ and then invent a sub division which you previously didn’t refer to when it was pointed out to you that your references are contradictory, trying to suggest that Orwel was referring to the ‘Marxist, internationalist, today pro-EU’ in 1941 when in fact he was referring to ‘the left’

    You really are a slippery one.

  22. Paul –

    I’ve always drawn a distinction between progressives and the Old Left. The Old Left is dead. It died with Tony Benn. That socialist, patriotic tradition is now irrelevant.

    Not only have the progressives won on the left, progressivism (what is called PC) is soaked into to the wider culture.

    So when I speak of the left now, it’s progressive leftism. It’s what is widely accepted as leftism today, because the Old Left has gone.

    I’ve always made that distinction, so any confusion is on your part.

  23. Yet the left as described by George Orwell is of the “old left.

  24. Orwell wrote England Your England in 1941 Pete, when ‘the left’ sub division that you invented didn’t exist. Seamus above is correct.

    No wriggle room here.

  25. Orwell was of course prescient!

  26. I’ve always drawn a distinction between progressives and the Old Left. The Old Left is dead. It died with Tony Benn.

    No Pete

    Both Corbyn and McDonnell are Bennites. Peter Mandelson has said that neither of them have changed their views for 40 years, and for once he is right.

  27. No Peter –

    Tony Benn was an Old Left socialist. Pretty far left, but an old fashioned, Old Left, democratic socialist.

    Corbyn and McDonnell are authoritarian Marxists. John McDonnell paraded today with the Hammer & Sickle in London. What’s democratic about that? Nothing of course, but that’s him and Corbyn.

    They’ve both been happy to let the erroneous link with Benn persist, because Benn was anti-EU and a democrat, but Corbyn and McDonnell are not democrats and they oppose the EU for very different reasons than Benn opposed it.

  28. Seamus, Paul McMahon –

    You know little of left wing history. The socialist Old Left has little in common with progressivism (PC/Marxism).

    It’s best that you stay off the subject.

  29. No Pete

    Corbyn and McDonnell were always Bennites, always anti-EU and still anti-EU for the same reasons that Benn was anti-EU. Because the EU is a neo-liberal experiment in abolishing democracy at a national level and replacing it with a borderless (at least internally) technocracy, hostile to the very idea of nationality and certainly hostile to anything which opposes the globalist agenda of Wall Street and the City of London.

  30. Pete

    Terrible result for Arsenal today. I was at the Bridge last Saturday and we are nailed on for fourth.

  31. The socialist Old Left has little in common with progressivism (PC/Marxism).

    Jesus Christ man don’t be so obdurate, it’s there in front of you. That ‘PC Marxism’ that you’re barking on about didn’t exist in 1941 when Orwell wrote the piece you cite. Unless Orwell had a time machine you’re talking spheres.

    But Corbyn and McDonnell are not democrats

    Unlike yourself?

    Honestly, the bollocks you tie yourself up in with your chicanery becomes more surreal every day.

  32. That ‘PC Marxism’ that you’re barking on about didn’t exist in 1941

    Marxism didn’t exist in 1941? Cultural Marxism didn’t exist in 1941? Frankfurt School Marxism didn’t exist in 1941? Gramsci’s words didn’t exist – in 1941?

    Paul, you know bugger all about the leftist tradition. Absolutely nothing.

  33. Pete

    Can you get back to me on my 11.27?

    Or not, whatever.

  34. Pete, stop trying to split hairs. That ‘progressivism (PC/Marxism)’ rubbish that you’re referring to didn’t exist in 1941 and to suggest that the Frankfurt school or Antonio Gramsci were widely known in Britain let alone had a following is ridiculous.

    Seamus is correct above, Orwell is referring to the ‘old left’ that you’re banging on about.

    You’ve invented a sub division for your claims when it was pointed out that your original claims were contradictory, which is par for the course really.

  35. Peter –

    I’m so smart that I got back to your 11.27pm at 11.20pm.

    Corbyn and McDonnell are not democrats. They do not oppose the EU because it is anti-democratic (which it is). Their opposition is to the EU’s pan-European corporatism. If the EU were another Soviet block they would fully support it.

    Tony Benn opposed it on democratic grounds.

  36. Paul –

    Seamus is correct above, Orwell is referring to the ‘old left’ that you’re banging on about.

    Seamus is as ignorant as you on this. Stick to music.

    Strewth, Orwell even states in that passage that he’s referring to the intelligentsia and to intellectuals. If you can’t even see spot that clue, or you think that the coal mines and ship yards were populated by the same, you can’t be helped.

  37. Pete, stick to your Lyndon LaRouche contrivances. You’re tenacity in sophistry is to be admired though.

  38. I don’t see the point of the left-right framework any more given that all of them support the same destruction of nation states with distinct peoples: far better is nationalists vs globalists.

    Anyway, those of the left-leg of the establishment beast are even further ahead of the traitors of the ‘right’……

    https://dailystormer.name/leftists-want-snitches-to-inform-police-about-bias-of-fellow-students/

    Whatever happens in the universities today will happen in the coastal cities tomorrow.

    This is known.

    So, logically, if you want to predict the shenanigans of Antifa and the talking points of the next election cycle’s crop of Dems – just take a peek at what the kids are up to in college.

    In a word: snitching.

    https://www.washingtonexaminer.com/red-alert-politics/campus-police-want-students-to-report-acts-of-bias

    Social media posts from the University of Illinois campus police are encouraging students to report “acts of intolerance” to the school’s Bias Assessment and Response Team.

    At least one officer for the University of Illinois is a member of the school’s bias response team. This certainly conflates physical safety with being uncomfortable around non-politically correct individuals.

    A ‘Bias Response Team’ – to close down bias i.e. unacceptable opinion.

    I read elsewhere that Dr James Watson has had his honours revoked because he had told a magazine in 2007 he was “inherently gloomy about the prospect of Africa” as “all our social policies are based on the fact that their intelligence is the same as ours – where all the testing says not really” and made clear that there was nothing to change his opinion

    https://news.sky.com/story/dna-pioneer-james-watson-stripped-of-honours-after-reckless-race-remarks-11606108

    Nowadays, he would not have got into University

  39. Peter –

    I’d be surprised if Chelsea don’t finish 4th. Wenger lumbered us with the worst set of defenders I’ve ever seen at the Arsenal.

  40. Left wing or right wing, anti-EU or Pro-EU.

    Hang onto your hats, it going to get very messy..

    No wonder German shares have been plummeting faster than the speed of light?

    Following Guido’s article about fears of a German economic recession last week, Bank of America Merrill Lynch is now “tracking a recession” in Germany. Recognising the gravity of the situation, they explicitly say: “Are we overreacting? We don’t think so.”

    Their German GDP tracker has deteriorated to -0.1% quarter-on-quarter, mean that Germany is heading towards the two consecutive quarters of negative growth defined as a technical recession. BAML point to extremely weak factory orders as well as the gilet jaunes disruptions in France for the continued downturn. Britain on the other hand is the fastest growing European country in the G7…

    https://order-order.com

  41. Harri

    You sound as if you are delighted at Germany going into recession.

  42. Colm.

    Avatar
    EppingBlogger Hugh Janus
    25 minutes ago
    It really is not a surprise to many Brexiteers that it should be the Remainers (who claim virtue in salivating at anything European and even more if French or German) while accusing us of having no empathy with Europe.

    In fact the evidence is the other way.

    Remainers seem to just want to be told what to do.

    Brexiteers genuinely want Europe to prosper and to cooperate. the activities of Remainers and of the EU have tested our patience so it is not surprising we sometimes take satisfaction when the miracle of EU economies is shown to be, err – crap

  43. https://goo.gl/images/xoqMm2

  44. Colm

    There is no recession, or austerity here…

    https://m.facebook.com/story.php?story_fbid=332612604007389&id=100017759560087

  45. Jesus H Christ..

    A company is selling a ‘Brexit Box’ survival kit to gullible Remainers, presumably fearful that after Brexit the country will revert to a medieval subsistence state without the means to access heating, food, or clean water. Sounds like the Green Party’s ideal future…

    The box contains “60 servings of main meals + 48 portions of meats + water filter + firestarter” for a Recommended Retail Price of £384.61.

    Guido has gone to the trouble of calculating the cost of what goes in to the box, buying regular individual tins and packeted food from high street supermarkets. Even with generously high assumptions, Guido makes the total cost of this Brexit Box’s food, filtered water bottle, and fire lighter to be £91.55.

    Presumably the makers of the box assume the self defined intellectually superior Remainer class will be suckers enough to spend an £293.06 more than if they had just popped down to the local shop. The box makers appear to be right, hundreds have been bought by ultra-Remain suckers…

    https://order-order.com

  46. Colm

    Have you ordered your box yet?

    😏

  47. Germany…

    Avatar
    stormy
    3 hours ago

    If they get stuck they can always invade Poland.

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.