European elections: Clegg urges Lib Dems to combat 'EU myth-makers'

 

Lib Dem leader Nick Clegg: Leaving EU would be "economic vandalism"

Nick Clegg has pitted his party's "optimism and openness" against the "fears and falsehoods" of isolationists at the launch of the Liberal Democrat campaign for the European elections.

His said the UK Independence Party's plan to leave the EU was a "dangerous fantasy" which would cost British jobs.

But he also criticised Labour and the Conservatives for going "missing in action" instead of challenging UKIP.

Only Lib Dems would fight for the "best of British values", the deputy PM said.

The European elections take place on 22 May, with the Lib Dems widely predicted to give a worse showing at the ballot box than in 2009.

Mr Clegg, whose party is recognised as the most pro-European of the largest three at Westminster, recently took part in two televised debates on the issue with UKIP leader Nigel Farage.

'Scaremongers'

Mr Clegg, who served as a member of the European Parliament from 1999 to 2004, launched his party's campaign in Colchester, Essex, where he was introduced by the local Lib Dem MP Sir Bob Russell.

Start Quote

There is a choice to make. You have to pick sides”

End Quote Nick Clegg

The Lib Dem leader said: "For far, far too long, the isolationists have got away with peddling their myths, their fears, their falsehoods, without any challenge whatsoever, pretending that every problem in the world would somehow disappear, like the morning mist, if only we were to pull ourselves out of the EU.

"It is a dangerous fantasy, because as night follows day, I can tell you without any fear of contradiction that if we were to pull ourselves out of the EU, there would be more people out of work."

He compared leaving the EU to an "act of monumental economic vandalism".

"That is why we should now draw a line in the sand as the leading party of in in British politics, and say to the isolationists, to the myth-makers, to the scaremongers: 'Enough!'

"David Cameron and Ed Miliband are missing in action, sitting on their hands, scared of their shadows, frightened of their own internal party divisions, unwilling to make the case for an open, outward-facing, engaged Britain in the modern world.

"So we have to do it, and we will do it, as the leading 'party of in' in these European elections."

'Battle joined'

The EU was not "perfect", he continued, and needed reform, just as Westminster and Whitehall need reform.

But Mr Clegg argued that remaining in the EU would safeguard millions of British jobs, help the police fight cross-border crime, and make it easier to "confront the biggest challenge of our era: that of global climate change".

"Being in means acting in accordance with the best of British values: open-hearted, generous, engaged," he said.

Mr Clegg concluded by telling party activists: "Battle has been joined. There is a choice to make. You have to pick sides.

"So I say to you: go out and campaign with all the gusto and determination that you can muster, go out to campaign against the politics of fear, falsehoods and pessimism of the other side, and instead go out and campaign for the politics we believe in, of optimism, of openness, and of jobs."

UKIP says leaving the EU will improve prosperity by cutting bureaucracy and that it will allow the UK to regain control of immigration.

The Conservatives are promising an "in-out" referendum on EU membership by the end of 2017 if they win the 2015 general election. But Labour has said such an event is "unlikely" if it is in government.

 

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  • Comment number 1048.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 1047.

    Advertising for pro-EU trolls to be paid to troll the internet for anti-EU sentiment, unbelievable..

    http://www.eldis.org/go/jobs&jobID=61186&pageNo=1#.U1mW-VdjOSr

  • rate this
    +2

    Comment number 1046.

    @1001.This is a colleague announcement
    996.David Horton
    "We've never been asked"
    -
    As we were not about..going to war under Thatcher etc
    =
    to be fair re: Thatcher & Falklands - what alternative was there to get the (odious murdering military junta) Argentina regime to pull out after their illegal invasion?

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 1045.

    @986.Five Stars
    Haven't the Swiss just had a referendum where they voted to withdraw from the freedom of movement agreement with the EU

    its not clear yet what the consequences will be, so far the EU has suspended talks on research & student exchanges which the Swiss reckoned to make a few billion Euros on

  • rate this
    +2

    Comment number 1044.

    1042.ToryBoy
    Some people believe that there is a EU 'government'

    ++++

    In all but name there already is, pedantic ToyBoy.

    There is a European Parliament, a European Commission, a European Council and a great big fat bureaucratic European civil service.

    And our UK national government bows down before this monstrosity

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 1043.

    @967.MiloMinderbinder
    UKIP..If you really do want to live in the 1950s, you can move to the Isle of Wight and not try to force the rest of us to live in a non-existent fantasy world.
    =
    What's wrong or backward with the Isle of Wight?

  • rate this
    -1

    Comment number 1042.

    No1034 Juvenile,

    Some people believe that there is a EU 'government'

    Do you think such political dummies are fit to vote in a referendum on such a major issue?

    Is it time for the right to vote to be denied to the dummies?

  • rate this
    +2

    Comment number 1041.

    @1039. michellegrand
    Mr Dyson moved his vacuum production to Vietnam, i think. Not because he couldn't make them in this country at a profit - he could - but because he could make more profit abroad. Business looks for cheap labour, improved profits, bigger bonus for the directors. Is this the fault of the EU
    --
    It was Malaysia. Why blame the EU? Blame Capitalism if you have to blame something.

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 1040.

    @013.mrwobbles
    Can I just ask anyone supporting an exit from the EU what their plan is? The most common one I hear is to leave the EU and retain the EFTA/EEA

    its certainly true that any of the main parties or Farage would turn round the day after the UK left the EU following an OUT vote & join the EEA without having a referendum on joining

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 1039.

    955 modharry
    Cheap labour undercutting ordinary people.
    Mr Dyson moved his vacuum production to Vietnam, i think. Not because he couldn't make them in this country at a profit - he could - but because he could make more profit abroad. Business looks for cheap labour, improved profits, bigger bonus for the directors. Is this the fault of the EU

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 1038.

    @ Fishermans_Enemy thank you.

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 1037.

    @920.JameDaly
    903.timetoponder,911.Rundle
    But only if they were Christian.Sounds pretty racist to me..
    =
    More (sensibly) sectarian/tribal,rather than racist,seeing as Christian refugees wldn't include *some* elements who espouse jihadi/Caliphate etc views
    Also,old chestnut but- what race r Sunni rebels?
    Different race to Christians &Alawites?
    Different race to neighbouring Turks,Kurds,Iraqis etc?

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 1036.

    " as night follows day, I can tell you without any fear of contradiction that if we were to pull ourselves out of the EU, there would be more people out of work."

    +++

    That's Nick alright. No fear of contradiction. That's why he keeps spouting myths.

    In a spirit of contradiction I would like to say, Nick, if you losing your job is what it costs then man up and make the sacrifice.

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 1035.

    Many people who contribute to our world, some of the pioneers of invention couldn't read or write. I struggle at the best of times and consider my primary language a life long learning curve. Many people who suffer from language difficulties excel in other subjects.

    I find those who exploit the weakness of another's educational ability to be as small minded as those who vote BNP.

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 1034.

    1032.
    ToryBoy
    Move to Europe then

    Bye!

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 1033.

    1028. I’ve stated I’m in favour of a referendum.

    Unfortunately you and I don’t make the major decisions.

    I’m as cynical as everyone about how remote decision making is (if not a member of a Parish Council it seems equally remote) and how politicians sell everyone out.

    I don’t mind having a referendum on staying in the EU.

    I have reservations about the EU, but not enough to leave it.

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 1032.

    No1029 Juvenile,

    There is no European 'government'

    All the major decisions are made by The Council of Ministers, made up by the leaders of the governments that are members of the EU.

    Do you never get sick of regurgitating tabloid trash?

  • Comment number 1031.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 1030.

    @1024. stewing
    1016 Chubby1. Shouldn't 'Europhiles' have a capital 'E'?

    ---

    That's a good point Stewing, I think it should. UKIP supporters should be proud of our language rather than trying to destroy it.

  • rate this
    +5

    Comment number 1029.

    We joined the Common Market not this Rubbish. We can not afford two Governments.

 

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