The EU partners are pressing on rapidly with full union. The logic of the Euro requires ever more control to be taken to the centre over economic, fiscal and banking policy. The logic of ever closer union and the wish to harmonise their countries leads to outbreaks of integrationist policy. The EU view of mutual solidarity and support leads ineluctably to more sharing and pooling of power.
This process has been going on for more than a decade since the Euro was established. Under Labour it was disguised. The then government usually signed up to it all, avoiding rows which would have highlighted its import. When challenged, as they regularly were by the Conservative opposition, they played down the importance. They always said they had established red lines which meant we controlled our own tax, benefit and borders policy, though it turns out we do not.
The Lib Dems like to behave similarly, or sometimes wish to be more honest and to welcome ever closer union and more power for the EU. Mr Cameron does not, and seeks to use the Conservative position in the coalition to limit the damage to the UK constitution. In recent days he has sought to keep the UK out of the impact of the banking union. He has argued against a defence union. He has sought to gain greater control over our benefit system. When will the other main parties in the UK wake up to the need to define a new relationship with the EU as the Euro area rushes on to full political union?
The UK debate on the EU has been made more difficult by the unwillingness of Labour to debate it openly and honestly. When the main opposition party is in denial about how much power they transferred, and how much power the EU would like to add to that transfer today, the public debate is enfeebled. Today when the EU’s big role in benefits, borders and energy is at the centre of the UK political debate, we do not know what if anything Labour would want to do about all the power the EU wields over these crucial matters.
UKIP supporters will continue to protest that all can be solved by their party, by simple withdrawal. However, the polls continue to point to most people voting in General Elections for parties that welcome further EU integration, or for the Conservatives, the only Eurosceptic party with MPs capable of doing anything to resist the tide of EU power. We need to force the federalist parties to explain how much power they have given away, and to come clean about how little scope there now is for an elected UK government to alter great swathes of policy.