15 May 2005


Robin Butley writes:

The sacked Europe minister, Denis MacShane, has a knockabout piece in the Observer here. I was particularly intrigued by his remarks on Labour's shameful history of anti-Europeanism:
Sadly, it was the Conservatives who were the European party between 1945 and 1990. Labour affected a patriotic British disdain for Europe: remember those speeches by Peter Shore, Michael Foot, Barbara Castle and their little helpers and researchers who kept Labour out of power for decades? Only in middle age did they come round to understanding that anti-Europeanism gets cheers and headlines from the Rothermere and Murdoch press but is not supported by the voters at the ballot box.
Now, who precisely were the "little helpers" to whom he refers? Could they include his former boss at the Foreign Office, Jack Straw, whose record as a Europhobe loon working for Barbara Castle and Peter Shore in the 1970s and early 1980s was remarkable?

MacShane, incidentally, is an old mate of Observer editor Roger Alton. He can't have been hired as a permanent replacement for David Aaronovitch, can he?

Paul Anderson adds: There's a good pre-election piece by MacShane on the European constitution on the Chartist website here. And remind yourselves of the list of current Labour Europhobes here.

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