Anti-EU campaigners warned Labour leader Ed Miliband today that his starry-eyed scheme to reform the Brussels bureaucracy risked handing the political initiative to the far right.
Mr Miliband promoted his theory that the crisis-ridden EU can be reformed to "work for Britain" in a speech to bosses' organisation the CBI.
"I will not allow our country to sleepwalk toward exit, because it would be a betrayal of our national interest," he told the assembled business chiefs.
No2EU convener Brian Denny commented scathingly: "Ed Miliband is sleepwalking us into an endless neoliberal nightmare.
"Most voters want to leave the EU and even more want a referendum."
Mr Denny accused Mr Miliband and "the political classes" of being so far removed from reality that "the vacuum will be filled by the far right."
In his CBI speech, the Labour leader admitted that there were "problems and failures" in the EU, including 25 million unemployed people and the crisis of the euro.
But he suggested that "pro-Europeans" needed to argue the case for the EU "in a new way."
He urged changes in EU rules on state aid "so we can pursue a proper industrial policy without hindrance."
Communist Party of Britain general secretary Rob Griffiths scolded Mr Miliband for "peddling myths about the anti-democratic, pro-big business EU reforming itself."
Mr Griffiths said the Labour leadership ought to be arguing instead for progressive taxation and public ownership of banking, public transport and the utilities in order to invest in jobs, housing and productive industry.
Leading Tory Eurosceptic MP David Davis stepped up his campaign today, demanding repatriation of a range of powers from the EU, including justice, immigration and employment legislation.
The aim should be to get back as close as possible to the original Common Market trading alliance, he argued.
Prime Minister David Cameron is cynically pledging to achieve the "best deal for the British taxpayer" when he attends a Brussels meeting on the EU's ballooning budget this Thursday and Friday.