Those Who Want To Destroy Britain’s Influence In Europe Got Away With Murder

Peter MandelsonI do not regard today’s event as firing the starting pistol for a referendum campaign because there is a lot of water to flow under the bridge – including the holding of a general election – before any point of decision is reached on that. But the point is, for far too long, those who want to destroy Britain’s interests and influence in Europe have been allowed to get away with murder with the lies and false propaganda they have poured out about the European Union and what it represents for our country. This cannot go unchallenged anymore. The pro Europeans have bided their time. Now we must unbide our time.

There is too much at stake. Britain has to make its living and succeed in the world and the EU gives us a critical platform in doing that. By becoming big in Europe’s vast single market, our businesses are helped to become big in the world. By the EU opening up markets in fast-growing economies elsewhere, British trade is lifted. By forging agreements to help protect our investment, our intellectual property and to enforce international rules and standards, our businesses and therefore jobs back home are helped in ways that Britain is just not big or powerful enough to do alone.

Of course, nobody likes domestic regulation and laws where these can be avoided. But the rules of Europe’s single market are about removing 28 different sets of national laws that impede trade and investment. The EU’s critics often say ‘why don’t we just have the single market and leave it at that’. But this market, which is Britain’s home market, doesn’t just create itself. Its openness has to be enforced; national barriers need to be challenged. That is the job of the European Commission and the European Court of Justice. Britain needs the single market in services to be advanced. We won’t achieve that by giving up, not bothering and retreating from our influence and standing in the Commission and the European Parliament.

And where there are free markets, there needs to be appropriate social and labour protection. This expresses our common values of solidarity and equality. The details we will argue about, as the Labour government did successfully in protecting individual choice over working time hours, but I think it a plus that as a result of having a European law citizens in the UK have for the first time a legal entitlement to paid holidays.

In the coming years, Europe is going to become a hotter topic in British politics. I welcome this. There is much to be debated, much to build alliances around and much to put right. But let’s not fool ourselves. Britain’s interests lie in Europe, whether in the EU or not we will not cease to be European as well as British. The rest of the world will continue to see us as a British European nation, joined in their eyes with the European continent. So we need to make the most of this reality and the best of our advantages in the EU. Our political leaders, all of them, regardless of party, have a duty to lead on this issue.

Of course, we can and should shape Europe and its institutions in ways that address our needs and priorities. Everyone else does that. My complaint is that, often in Britain, we do not stand up for ourselves in Europe nearly as vigorously and effectively as we should. Instead of heading up a cul de sac of mindless, inward looking, soul searching and navel gazing, we should be going out and spreading our influence and fighting for the agenda we think is good for Britain and for Europe as a whole.

That is the point of the Centre for British Influence in Europe and the Future of Europe Forum we are launching today. It is for people of all political parties and none who share our aims. It will transcend party politics and provide a platform to champion Britain’s true interests in Europe. The fight back starts here.

Of course, the Eurozone crisis and its aftermath is being seized on by the EU’s critics. For them, ‘don’t waste a good crisis’ is the motto. There is no reason for us to be put on the back foot by this. Clearly, the euro, when launched, was an incompleted project and some of us should perhaps have been more hard-headed in recognizing this. Equally, we should understand the implications for Britain and the financial hub we provide to Europe and the world of being permanently detached from a revamped and completed economic and monetary union in Europe. The City cannot thrive if it is separated from Europe’s single market in financial and professional business services. This is a crucial area where we have to safeguard Britain’s interests. In other areas, we should and must lead. In defence and security matters, for example.

Pollution is no respecter of national boundaries and Europe provides the means for collective action to tackle it. On climate change, one of the great existential challenges of our times, the sum impact of collective European efforts reaches far beyond what a single nation state can achieve. Just because Britain doesn’t participate or lead in everything, doesn’t mean we have nowhere to lead at all.

The government is throwing itself into promoting the EU-US free trade agreement. Quite right too! Ken is Britain’s secret weapon. Of course, he would be the first to acknowledge that the Trade Commissioner will be doing the actual negotiation. We would not want to be stepping on the Commissioner’s toes. But here is the point: Germany, France, Italy and others will all be busy advancing their national agendas in these talks, so that their interests are amongst the negotiating priorities. That’s exactly what we have to do, in this and every other aspect of the EU’s activities.

I cannot think of a better illustration of why Britain has to take the EU seriously, why we must be there at the forefront, leading not lurking, unable to make up our minds whether we are in, out or just hanging about.  That’s the recipe for decline that we can and must reject.”

This is the transcript of a speech held by Peter Mandelson at the launch of the Centre for British Influence through Europe on 30th January 2013.


  1. James Murray says

    “Those Who Want To Destroy Britain’s Influence In Europe Got Away With Murder”

    Nobody wants to destroy Britain’s influence in Europe. No-one. Except maybe our dodgier acquaintances. So chill-out and smell the gravy. This is a historic opportunity for us to re-define our role in the jaded old EU. And it’s an opportunity for you to wine and dine with your Euro buddies in Brussels to your heart’s content.

    And don’t be so negative. It’s not our future to “reject the recipe for decline” that you advance. No, we will storm to the lead in Europe and all become global citizens of a strong UK and a strong voluntary EU. Rich, well rounded and at ease with ourselves. Enough with the angst, and on with the program.

  2. Global City says

    Should that not be ‘those who wish to play no part in your ‘post democratic’ new Europe’? It is nothing more than weasel words to talk of national interest within an increasingly integrating EU. The problem for the old arguments, some of which Mendelson regurgitates in the article is that the people have cottoned on to the deceit.

  3. Peter W Watson says

    More lies and pathetic apologies from one of the foremost internal enemies of England. His apologia for the EU are risible. Yes, let’s have a debate in public as most EUphiles have thus far refused to. Better still, let us have a cost benefit analysis of Britain’s membership of this utterly anti democratic cancer, Mr Mandelson, as so far all parties have refused to. If this is the best a heavy hitting Globalist can come up with, we have won the argument.

    I have fought the lies of the EU since 1992 – Hague refused to debate with me and the lot of you are a bunch of cowards because you will not debate in public. The EU has infected almost every aspect of British life and the argument that we need be in the EU in order to trrade with it is simply a lie and as an exporter of manufactured goods I hate to tell you but the EU was never a good market, it is the BRICS and the Middle East where the money is being spent as the EU dies on the vine.

    Your position is old and tired and has been proven as stale and vacuous as your pretension that climate change is relevant to the destruction of our country. It’s simple. if you can not remove from office by plebescite those in power over you who raise and spend taxes, then the only possible solution is civil disobedience followed by civil war if need be. I am surprised you do not repeat the lies of “3 million jobs depend on our membership of the EU” (true figure 52,000 and falling) or “the EU has kept the peace in Europe since 1945” despite the relative late arrival of the EU and the presence of the USAF, BAOR and NATO troops in Europe.

  4. Peter W Watson says

    Of course, the Eurozone crisis and its aftermath is being seized on by the EU’s critics. For them, ‘don’t waste a good crisis’ is the motto.

    Actually it was said by Mayor of Chicago Rahm Emanuel after the Sandy Hook massacre to lobby for yet more gun control. And Rahm is one of yours Mr Manndelson.

  5. Global city says

    Don’t waste a good crisis is the mantra of the Commission.

    By ceding power to the centre the UK loses all power. It retains as much power on the international stage as California of Nebraska do, when the EU attends international meetings ‘on our behalf’, where as Norway has all the power in the world, as they are at all those top tables themselves. Can this be disputed?

    What do the Germans, french, Italians, Poles, Spanish…etc, think about your plan to have the UK leading from the front? Of course, you know this is a lie. The EU is not about the national interest, and to use that stance is to expose your mendacity.

    Also, pollution, in what ever form, does not respect the EU’s borders either, so why limit our co-operation to that level, when they are global?

    What transcends the national is only able to be tackled at international level. The whole notion of the EU is obsolete. Why pay due to a middle man when you can get things dome yourself or with international partners?

    Anyway, these points are sidlening everyone from the real issue, as the Europhiles know. The central issue is political integration. The likes of Mandelson promote the ideal because they think they will be sitting at the top of the pile. They won’t be. Why would a future USE have has beens holding the levers of power?

    until you can persuade the population of the worth of complete political integration, from an honest angle, you will not get a hearing. All of the stale arguments and dishonest statements have been found out and exposed. Commentators on the continent must understand this. Mandelson and his ilk have always lied about the EU, hence the resentment and rejection. If you want to win them over then this barrier must be punctured. 40 years of lies… a hell of a barrier. Next time you interview the man ask him why the UK elite have messed things up so comprehensively by obsessively lying about the state of afairs. report his answers.

    • Peter W Watson says

      I live in the US (I got out I couldn’t take it any longer) and I would respectfully point out that the individual States have far more legislative autonomy with regard to the Federal Government (eg local Sheriffs can and will override Federal gun control legislation) than the member countries of the EU have from the Federal EU government. The laws in Pennsylvania and Illinois are different, different tax rates apply and are changeable (sales tax in PA is 65 in Delaware it is 0%) and by and large the US legislative flexibility means America is now very different from the EU.

      • Global City says

        yes, you are right, and it is another fundamental that the Europhiles have to answer. The project is not a federal one at all, it is a supranational one, and Mandelson et, al skirt over this. I would go further and say that the vast majority of people in the UK could not tell you the difference between these two forms of political organisation, never mind associate it with the EU debate on the issue of ever closer union… and yet they have the nerve to say that all theese issues have been fully aired, understood and eagerly accepted by the people of the UK.

        I wonder if the pro-EU readers of this site could comment on that fact. Your country has less influence inside the EU than individual US states do in their federal construct. are you all stupid? Because it is your own democratic rights that you are applauding being weakend to the point of irrelevance.

        On the main point of comparison that I made however. I was not really describing how the constituent states (countries) relate within the supranational structure, within the decision making process, I was making the comparison externally focused power, for the individual state, when it has ceded the place at the top table at international institutional organisations.

        The internal structures are bad enough, but at the global level, if your country is negotiating from within the EU then there is no power, no influence, no determination.

        When the likes of Clegg, Mandleson, Jonathan Powell and Blair, Clarke etc, talk of ‘national interest’ they know it is a deception, because they are part of that deception.

      • Peter W Watson says

        The likes of those you mention are doing everything they can to destroy the nation state as it interferes with their design for global control. Arnold Toynbee made the same prescription regarding “wresting power from the nation state”

        “We are at present working discreetly with all our might to wrest this mysterious force called sovereignty out of the clutches of the local nation states of the world.

        Professor Arnold Toynbee, in a June l931 speech before the Institute for the Study of International Affairs in Copenhagen.

        I don’t mind the globalists having a different vision to mine / ours, but I detest the lot of them for lying through their teeth to deny they have such a vision.