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“Are you in, or are you out?” says Liberal Democrat leader Nick Clegg, failing to break out into a direct-to-video Disney song. Mr Clegg continues that leaving the European Union will “wreak the recovery and destroy jobs”. Tieless in a café, the Liberal Democrat leader opines that Labour doesn’t have “the courage of their convictions”, and the Conservatives “are openly flirting with exit”.
The music swells, and then Mr Clegg delivers a flurry of startling claims:
‘Out’ means fewer jobs. ‘Out’ makes it harder to catch criminals across our borders. ‘Out’ means we can’t work with our neighbours to tackle climate change. ‘Out’ means we pull up a drawbridge and turn our backs on the world.
The social policy think-tank Civitas concluded that membership of the European Union has not provided any “insider advantages” to Britain. Hence, jobs are only dependent on trade with the EU, rather than membership. Whilst leaving the EU would mean rescinding Britain’s part of the European Arrest Warrant, that warrant is in need of desperate reform. The EAW’s flaw is that all EU members do not have judicial and prison systems of similar standards. During one debate with Nigel Farage, Mr Clegg sneered that the case of Andrew Symeou was a “complete fantasy”: it was not. Ameliorating climate change is necessarily an international effort, bolstered by international treaties such as the Kyoto Protocol. This would not change – whether Britain was a member of the EU or not. Finally, leaving the EU does not inexorably imply the nation pulls “up a drawbridge” nor turning “our backs on the world”. An EU exit could yield a greater international – rather than simply European – focus, and European governments outside of the EU can pursue liberal immigration policies.
After a student and a businessman say why they wish to be in the EU, Nick Clegg proudly states:
If you’re for ‘In’, make yourself heard. Don’t wait for a General Election; don’t wait for a referendum. Don’t let anyone put jobs at risk. Don’t let anyone throw our recovery away.
In a nation that is traditionally considered to be sceptical, if not hostile, to the EU, becoming “the Party of In” is a bold move from the Liberal Democrats.
A morose narrator speaks over piano music, reading that “millions of families are waking up to a Britain which they find it harder to get on”. The most surprising fact about Labour’s European election broadcast is that, despite lasting for nearly three minutes, neither Europe nor the EU are mentioned once. Instead, the film lingers upon several domestic concerns, such as energy prices and university tuition fees, as well as some product placement by Ariel and Bold. The Conservatives and Prime Minister David Cameron are mentioned nine times, whereas Nick Clegg and the Liberal Democrats are endowed with three mentions. Even the narrator says ‘Labour’ once. Seemingly, there was no space to mention the parliament – or its policies or activities – to which Labour were attempting to persuade you to elect them into. This is not an election broadcast – it is a political whine.
The narrator makes vague statements about David Cameron “standing up for the privileged few”, and claiming that “the Tories are planning another tax cut giveaway for the top 1% of earners”. There is no on-screen citation for this assertion. It may have been fallaciously derived from the Prime Minister failing to rule out such a tax cut. A concluding four-point manifesto is read out:
Labour could have used this broadcast to highlight the work of their MEPs, on issues of importance in the European Parliament elections. For example, EU policies can affect energy prices, but that influence is not mentioned in this broadcast, only the “rip-off energy companies” and the supposedly lackadaisical coalition government are. Instead, this is a test run for the General Election, wholly consumed by matters that only a national government enact.