Riding Two Horses traces the eventful life and career of Glyn Ford, Member of the European Parliament for 25 years and erstwhile leader of its European Parliamentary Labour Party. Ford’s leadership coincided with a period when the Left was in the ascendancy across much of the globe. The influence of Europe’s Left during this era is examined by an active participant with a unique standpoint: a frequent visitor to East Asia; frontrunner in pushing for anti-racist legislation in the European Union; practitioner of ‘soft’ power and balanced relationships with Asia and the USA; advocate of progressive science and technology policy; political representative and activist in pursuit of an accountable and democratic European Union.
Here we see the first steps in Europe’s long march from market to Union, from bureaucracy to democracy. Glyn Ford’s twin track promoted Europe’s ideas and values on the world stage, from Manchester to Brussels, from Tokyo via Jakarta to Pyongyang, while driving European social democracy deep into the Union’s foundations. Ford took up the challenge posed by Jimmy Maxton, the Independent Labour Party’s beguiling leader: ‘if you can’t ride two horses, you shouldn’t be in the bloody circus!’
Looking ahead, Glyn Ford makes the case that any prospect of rejoining the European Union will be neither easy nor early. Re-entry will be impossible without addressing the UK’s democratic deficit, and will more likely follow the break-up of Britain than forestall it. Yet the UK as a medium-sized nation state is largely impotent without constructive engagement with Europe.