Gordon Brown: "We want to be proud of our country and we will be proud of our country if we are leading in Europe, not isolated"
Gordon Brown on the Today Programme:
Norway, Switzerland outside Europe, they call it a ‘fax democracy’: they receive the decisions from Europe and they have to implement them. You have to be at the table, you have to be a negotiator – I know from my own experience that that is absolutely essential.
“I think the British people’s patriotism is this: we want to be proud of our country and we will be proud of our country if we are leading in Europe, not isolated, not on the sidelines, not sending flotillas up the Thames as a demonstration of strength, as we’re going to see on Wednesday, but actually engaging in the world, out there leading with proposals, showing that we can actually change the world for the better. And the Labour voters that I talk to, they don’t like the status quo, they don’t like where we are at the moment, they want to see things change, they want to know that they’re going to be better off.”
“Look at the sweep of history: Britain led Europe against fascism, Britain created the European Convention on Human Rights, Britain was the leader in persuading Eastern Europe to come into the European Union; Britain has always led the way when things are difficult in Europe and I think it’s time we were a leader again.
“And I talk to European leaders all the time, they want Britain to be a leader in Europe and so the agenda that we’re putting forward today – one that I think Conservatives could accept, but it’s a Labour agenda that’s being put forward. Let us lead in the UK presidency in the battle for jobs, I think we could create 500,000 jobs by reform of the single market, jobs for Britain; let us lead on energy coordination which could, again, use wind and wave power so we can get energy bills down; let’s lead on tackling tax havens – only Europe can actually do that; let’s lead also when it comes to coordinated action against terrorism because, again, Britain has got the intelligence services that are the best in Europe and we should be working with our European partners. We’re dealing with cross-border terrorism, we need cross-border cooperation. Again, Europe can be led by a British Government that’s determined to play its full part.”