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Ignoring the wife

"I'll marry you and you can have my babies," he said. "But don't expect me to be nice to you or to talk about how good you are to my friends. I'll ignore you at best, beat you occasionally. Others may speak of you nastily - I won't complain." Here describes Labour's relationship with the European Union - fully aware of the benefits yet too fearful to show any affection.

Since the party won office in 1997 it has allowed the Tories to seize the agenda and hid from tabloid adversity depicting the EU as an Orwellian nightmare. As a former press officer for the European Commission, it was DDD's job to counter this inaccurate vision. The Sun even once claimed that barmaids were to be barred from wearing low cut tops because of EU laws on suncream. As the Commission's Press Watch explains, this is utter poppycock.

"You ought to be proud of your wife," a friend suggested, "whatever her faults". Yet still he remained silent.

Cleaner beaches, cheaper mobile roaming charges, every member country a democracy despite the autocratic past of the likes of Spain, Italy and Germany, a free market in goods and services, rights for part time workers (if only the UK government agreed), food safety laws that have rid Britain of Mad Cows Disease, regeneration schemes that have helped cities such as Liverpool and Birmingham shed their industrial decline, schemes that if implemented by governments properly would guard against the destruction of wildlife... the list goes on. As The Observer suggested last weekend, failure to promote all this is nothing less than cowardly.

The friend looked at him with a degree of puzzlement. Here was this lucky man, utterly afraid. He'll lose her if he isn't careful, the friend thought.

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