The UK has always had an uneasy relationship with its neighbors across the English Channel, and this very much includes the European Union, which has aroused skepticism in London from the beginning. But some have been more skeptical than others. In general, Labour has been a relatively enthusiastic EU party, while the Tories are more euroskeptic.But now there are signs that euroskepticism is creeping across the aisle to Labour. Last week, Labour called for major cuts to the EU budget, a reversal from previous spending increases supported by previous Labour governments. Party leader David Miliband told the BBC that Labour “is repositioning itself over Europe.” BBC News has more:
“The world has changed since 2005, we have had a global financial crisis. We need to cut our deficit at home and we also need to make sure we cut spending in Europe as well.He added: “I think there has been a real problem for pro-Europeans like me. We have seemed like we always wanted more spending, we seemed like we were soft-headed about more spending.“What you have got is a repositioning in the Labour Party – not to go from being pro-Europe to anti-Europe but to take on this idea that to be pro-European you are always for more spending.“We are not always for more spending. We are for a more effective European Union.”
Although Miliband was careful not to describe this as a strike against the EU, it’s clear that that is exactly what it is. Labour has seen the writing on the wall and has realized that europhilia is a political loser. Popular opinion in the UK is turning sour on the EU even more so than before, and opinion in the EU is turning against the British as well.It’s not hard to see where this is headed.