Speech by LME Chair David Schoibl at the LME fringe event “Beyond Austerity. Where Next for Social Europe?” at Labour Party Conference on Sunday September 25, 2011

This world is becoming more global. Big changes in communications and media make individuals feel less important, less empowered by the sheer size of the world they see around them.

We have been there before.

Global economic and financial transactions rapidly increase in number and speed. Capital chooses to accumulate by playing the roulette tables on the global markets rather than investing in the real economy.

We have been there before.

Markets crashing, global recession, governments reaction with fiscal contraction, competitive devaluations – making the crisis worse.

We have been there before.

Citizens & Workers feeling the pressure, looking for scapegoats, blaming ‘the others’, turning to nationalism.

We have been there before.

Back in the 30ies the consequence of all this was the rise of fascism across Europe and war. European Integration was built on the very idea of not allowing this to ever happen again.

So now we are here. And we recognize some of these scenarios. I am not saying that we are on the brink of another war. Thankfully 60 years of European integration have created much better understanding and co-operation between countries.

After the crisis and the war in the 40ies it was a confident Labour Movement which fought for solidarity and welfare for all.

This supported economic growth which let us create better educated, less unequal and therefore better off, healthier and happier societies in Europe. This was built on a strong European Social Model, which is different from the American cut throat, dog eat dog, social darwinist model.

We are in a good position despite the situation we see around us to achieve a similar positive outcome suitable for today.

In the last 20 years, since the so called ‘end of history’ we have seen turbo consumerism, personal greed and excessive reckless behaviour on the global markets and particular financial markets.

All societies in Europe are confronted with the same challenges:

  • finding a path back to growth
  • whilst protecting the environment
  • and re-regulating markets, so that markets serve society and not the other way around

 

Societies are not under threat from EU bureaucracy. They are under threat from global market forces.

 

The most ridiculous thing I have heard said about this crisis was when Nigel Farage was debating Poul Nyrop Rassmussen on the BBC’s ‘Record Europe’ in 2009. Nigel Farage said in a nutshell ‘EU over regulation is responsible for the credit crunch’

Ridiculous – Ridiculous

The second most ridiculous thing is David Cameron having stood on the sidelines of this debate in Europe for far too long, now feeling the need ahead of his party conference to posture. In essence , he has been blaming the Euro-zone for the woes of the world economy.

If that’s not putting cart before horse, confusing cause and effect?

Ridiculous – Ridiculous

But we should not be surprised. In a world, in which Republican politicians competing for their party’s nomination to run for president are discussing Galileo. Are discussing whether the world is flat and whether the earth revolves around the sun or the sun revolves around the earth.

David Cameron seems to believe the world revolves around him.

Ridiculous – Ridiculous

 

Instead of blaming the EU for all we don’t like, co-operation in the EU is our most powerful option to join forces across countries to fight for what we believe in.

Our great chance is to work with others, to work together.

For the Labour Movement for Europe, the LME, this has meant building strong ties with the Party of European Socialists the P E S, with UK branches of PES sister parties (like the German Social Democrats SPD in London and Oxford and the French Socialists PS in London and up an down the country, to name but a few) and with Labour Friends of groups ( like Labour Friends of Italy, Germany, Turkey, Portugal, Poland, etc.)

We work as collaboratively as possible, share information, look at the big European picture to advance and protect and develop the core Labour values which we believe in further. We are also looking to strengthening our vital links with the Labour Party by formally affiliating as socialist society. For this we need your help. Sign up to the mailing list, join the LME as a member and affiliate your CLP to the LME.

The future of Labour now as in the past lies in global and European co-operation. We need to do everything to avoid slipping back into nationalism as this will not allow us to build the alliances we need to safeguard strong, resilient and sustainable European Social Models.

Now more than ever is a good time to join the LME to support our work.