Marc Glendening: Denis MacShane outs the anti-EU xenophobes in the closet
Marc Glendening, campaign director of the Democracy Movement, accuses former Europe minister Denis MacShane of engaging in 'neo-McCarthyite' smear tactics against those critical of the EU.
The former Europe minister and arch New Labourite buffoon Denis MacShane has been up to his old 'EU-McCarthyite' tricks again. In a Guardian On-Line article this week, he attempted to obscure the key issue underlying the strike at the Lindsey oil refinery plant with a typical New Labour smokescreen. Instead of tackling the key democratic question of who ultimately should determine employment policy in Britain, and on what terms foreign nationals should be allowed to work here, the MP for Rotherham hurled abuse at anybody who has had the audacity to take a position contrary to his own.
Instead of there being 'reds under the bed' he wants the British people to start out with the assumption that all EU-sceptics - whether they support the international free movement of labour or not - are really 'xenophobes in the closet' (or wherever he thinks we like to conceal ourselves). So, William Hague has, according to MacShane, engaged in 'vulgar anti-European xenohobia'. No evidence is given of the usually mild-mannered shadow foreign secretary having done so. In fact, on the specific question of whether IREM should be allowed to bring in Italian posted workers, Hague holds exactly the same view as MacShane.
Labour MPs who supported the strikers and/or questioned the EU Posted Workers Directive were said to have engaged in 'nationalist-protectionist rhetoric'. Again, and in a rather cowardly fashion, MacShane did not name names. Was he possibly thinking of Jon Cruddas who has made, in highly temperate terms, criticisms of the way the Single Market is working regarding his party's traditional support base? If not him, who exactly, Mr MacShane?
Then the author, of course, had to have a go at the Daily Mail. I have debated MacShane and he never fails to spend at least a third of any speech ranting about the supposed evils of this paper. It's not my favourite reading matter of a morning either, but his obsession with it is rather bewildering. According to him on this occasion, the paper has run a campaign of 'hate against non-Brits' (my emphasis). A very serious allegation. But again, not backed-up with any examples. It would be interesting to see what would happen if he does get unexpectedly brave and specify a journalist he believes has engaged in 'hate speech'.
I have written to him asking him to produce concrete examples to support these claims. I am not expecting a response. My real motivation in doing so is to help draw attention to the the pathological and poisonous campaign that many pro-EU advocates - particularly those in New Labour - have been running for several years now. Expect it to intensify the closer we get to the European elections. I want this type of dirty politics to itself become an issue.
MacShane has form here. Back in August 2004, when Europe minister, he claimed in an interview with the Telegraph that EU-sceptics were 'motivated by a [yes, you guessed it] xenophobic hatred against the Germans or the French'. I'm half-French, so does this mean, according to his logic, that I must detest, or possibly fear, at least 50% of myself as a necessary corollary of being opposed to the single currency and the CAP? Did MacShane have in mind those notorious Germano/Francophobes Frank Field and Michael Portillo when he said what he did?
More serious characters than MacShane have also recently been joining in the act: cue Peter Mandelson and Keith Vaz. Just as Senator McCarthy's campaign smeared a whole host of people who were mildly (and democratically) left-wing so as to prevent them being listened to by putting them beyond the pail of 1950s American polite society, so the EU-McCarthyites want all centre ground voters and mainstream media people to dismiss serious arguments put forward by those dare to question the post-democratic system of government emerging in Brussels. The new post-modern left, unlike its rationalist, socialist predecessors, uses culture war to intimidate opponents from advancing inconvenient positions and to prevent a proper debate based upon empirical reality from taking place.
It is an indication of the sinister intolerance with which many in New Labour and within the pro-EU Movement now treat any manifestation of serious opposition. Centralising ever more power in Brussels is one issue, like immigration, where the masses are simply not entitled to oppose the New Political Class and its base of power. That's why the MacShanes were so adamant that nobody should be allowed to have a vote on the EU Constitution/Lisbon treaty. When the French had the temerity to say 'no' they were castigated by the likes of Neil Kinnock who, without apparent irony, called the result 'a triumph of ignorance'. The fragrant Chris Bryant said it was OK for people to vote for The X Factor, but not about serious constitutional issues. Have you heard a single member of the New Political Class criticise the decision to disregard the result of the Irish referendum and re-run the contest because the result was not to the liking of the EU and Dublin establishments?
An indication of the distrust with which the new left now views the traditional supporters of the Labour party, and the British people in general, was indicated by Denis MacShane in the Telegraph interview referred to above, when he was Europe minister. In it he said that the British 'have got a dark streak of xenophobia and racism in our [he, of course, meant their] mentality'. It would have been interesting to see the reaction in the Guardian had he attributed a mass state of mind and similar negative characteristics to another national or ethnic population group.
This extraordinary quote demonstrates why the bourgeois new left, like some nineteenth century Tories before them, fundamentally now fear the concept of democracy and will do everything to try to limit its exercise without having the honesty to openly admit this. Castigating as 'xenophobes' EU-sceptics who are exposing to the British people the parallel system of government we now live under and its implications for their lives is one of the ways the EU-McCarthyists do this.