Richard North, 02/11/2012  

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A report from Auntie Beeb is telling us that Labour is "repositioning itself" on "Europe" (it means the EU, of course, except it can't cope with long words like "European").

This is based on the BBC's political programme, "Question Time" - which only hardened masochists now watch – having had David Miliband break off from his wealth-creation activities to answer a few questions about the Party line.

"What you have got", says our David, "is a repositioning in the Labour Party - not to go from being pro-Europe to anti-Europe but to take on this idea that to be pro-European you are always for more spending". He then adds: "We are not always for more spending. We are for a more effective European Union".

Thus you can see that the two sides, Tory and Labour are lining up to give voters a real choice. Mr Cameron's Party wants spending restraint in the EU, and Mr Miliband's Party wants a "more effective European Union".

But there is a more subtle issue issue here – one which the BBC could hardly have picked up, as an organisation which struggles to tell the difference between "Europe" and the "European Union".

In fact, what we are seeing is the classic convergence of the political classes, where there is nothing between them on the substantive issues, reinforcing my contention that we no longer have left-right politics but above the line and below. The split is no longer vertical but horizontal.

This is certainly the case with Miliband, a Labour politician who "earned" £416,000 last year from his outside interests, on top of his £66,000 salary as an MP, turning in a lamentable performance in Parliament, all on top of the £170,000 expenses, the second-highest claim for MPs in the North East and Cumbria.

The convergence on "Europe", however, serves a fundamental need for the Westminster parties. None of them want to fight a battle over the European Union, which might have the public better understanding the issues. Thus, as the Conservatives move very slightly on the issue, the Labour Party has to realign its own policies, to stay in step.

This is exactly what is going to happen over the referendum. At some time prior to the general election, Mr Cameron is going to make a promise of sorts, and this is going to be matched shortly thereafter by Labour, as the Party keeps in step - so avoiding any possibility of debate over the issue.

Thus, at a political level in Westminster, there is only one real policy – to stay in the EU. Outside Westminster and the politico-media bubble, the below-the-line policy is withdrawal. And that is why the BBC will never notice. Its people are so far out of touch with the reality that they are incapable of understanding what is going on.


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