Saturday, 22 October 2011

'The Debate' and other related matters

As I am presently experiencing difficulty in linking to the Telegraph website (all I continually receive is notices that their website is not responding) links to articles in that newspaper cannot be provided. However.....

The op-ed page in today's edition of the Daily Telegraph is taken over by two articles, one by Charles Moore and a smaller one underneath by William Hague. Moore writes about the need for a referendum on our membership of the EU, headlining his piece "The voters have been cheated for too long. Let them decide." One section stands out:
"Most people reading this column, I suspect, do not believe in government by referendum. We elect politicians to make laws on our behalf, not to keep scurrying back to ask us which laws to make. But the idea of consent is crucial to trust in the political process. For more than 20 years now, in European matters, that consent has been lacking. It has been in the interest of all political parties to make decisions which have changed our lives without offering us any electoral choice in the matter. Therefore our future consent cannot be assumed. It must be sought in writing."
That which seems to have escaped such luminaries as Charles Moore is that for decades the consent of the people to some of the laws that have been imposed on them has been lacking - and not just in the area of our membership of the EU. That political parties present manifestos, come election time, is neither here nor there as measures in those manifestos have not been implemented as promised, but have been amended thereby imposing laws for which the people were never given the opportunity of voting. Likewise there are some laws implemented by events, measures that were not in any party's manifesto, on which again the people were never given the opportunity to vote. Moore is contradicting himself when he complains that politicians have changed our lives without our consent, but then appears to be against referendums per se. In the same piece Moore writes that we should treat William Hague with a degree of tolerance because it is difficult being a minister, especially in a coalition; and that 'Europe' is a particularly painful subject for the Conservative Party. Stating that we should not insist Cameron and Hague vote for the motion under debate out of respect for the aforementioned 'difficulties' just illustrates that Charles Moore is part of the problem - he is a member of the Westminster Bubble!

Turning to William Hague's piece, he continues his stupid and illogical mantra of being in Europe but not being governed by it. He writes that as a Conservative (really?) he wishes to repatriate powers, as mentioned in his party's general election manifesto. William Hague is presented to us as a 'wise politician', one who 'knows' all that needs to be known.; one who can be trusted to make the right decisions. If Hague is 'so clever' just what is it the man does not understand about the process of acquis communitaire, something embedded in the treaties? Does he not understand that once the European Union assumes competence over any area of government it cannot be returned to member states. As I have written previously, repatriation of even one power will never be achieved as once the UK succeeded, then just about every other member state would be jumping on the bandwagon, the result being disintegration of the European Union - and that the EU elite just ain't going to allow. In any even, if Hague is so adamant about the supposed benefits of our membership of the EU, why not publish a cost/benefit analysis? The response to that question by our political elite is that the benefits are obvious - well if they are so 'obvious', prove it chaps.

Hague also writes about the need to ensure eurozone integration does not allow countries in the single currency to impose decisions on countries outside it. Just why does he not understand that the figure of 17 comprises a majority in a total figure of 27 - or is simple maths not one of his strong points? That financial control of all member states is the reported aim of Jose Manuel Barosso is touched upon in John Redwood's latest post. Once again, just what is it about a "single coherent framework for the better economic governance based on the community method" that Hague does not understand and as such continues to maintain that we are not governed by the EU? Reverting to the benefits of our country's membership of the EU, Hague writes:
"The ability to lead European countries to a united position, as with sanctions on Iran and Syria, strengthens Britain's power in the world. Even obscure directives can have benefits: directive 2009/147/EC prevents the slaughter of our garden birds as they migrate over the Mediterranean."
And the prevention of the slaughter of our garden birds flying over the Mediterranean is reason enough for our being a chattel of the European Union? Sheesh, Hague is more of an idiot than I first thought.

On the subject of the forthcoming debate on Monday next, Autonomous Mind posts on this subject, mentioning the Eustice amendment. As I posted a day or two ago, this motion is a Backbench Business Committee motion and as such needs to be debated as written - yet few have 'picked up' on this point. Speaker Bercow proclaims himself a champion of the backbenches and it is unlikely he would allow any amendment or alternative motion. To do so would mean him subjecting himself to accusations of hypocrisy, let alone any accusation of being a 'government tool' and that of ignoring the will of MPs and their own committee. Turning to another aspect of AM's post, I refer to the letter sent to Eustice by Bernard Jenkin in which the latter advises he is against an In/Out referendum. That statement immediately, in my book, transfers Jenkin from the 'eurosceptic' camp into the 'europlastic' camp. Just who the hell is Bernard Jenkin to allow his personal view to interfere in how and where he casts his vote? But then Jenkin is but doing what all MPs do - namely having achieved the position of MP promptly then deciding that only they know best and to hell with the views of the people they are meant to represent.

Another interesting aspect of this forthcoming debate and the questions on the motion proposed by the Backbench Business Committee comes with the publication of a poll by YouGov, one referred to by James Forsyth in this post from the Coffee House:
"The poll results also demonstrate that only a small percentage of the public would vote for the country’s current set-up with the European Union if they had the chance. Only 15 per cent would vote to stay in, compared to 28 per cent who would vote to leave, while 47 per cent would plump for renegotiation. If forced to chose between In or Out, the public splits 31 to 52."
Notice how 'renegotiation' has achieved a substantial following and one has to wonder just how many of that following actually understand that the option they most favour just ain't available, or why? Yet again we see how political spin and the failure to be honest with the electorate achieves just exactly what the politicians want, namely the pursuance of an unachievable policy but one that effectively closes further debate on the subject. On this subject of 'renegotiation', it is worth reading this, which Richard North wrote way back in 2008 and which reaffirms my previous comment about why renegotiation is not an option.

As an aside, Ian Parker-Joseph has announced the birth of his fifth grandson and remarks, in a reply in his comment section, that he fights for his country, a fight previously carried out by his father and grandfather. He ends by saying that he will never give up that fight and would wish to seem them all hang first. In offering my congratulations I suggested that as part of the celebrations perhaps we should being the hanging now.


The Boiling Frog said...

"Even obscure directives can have benefits: directive 2009/147/EC prevents teh slaughter of our garden birds as they migrate over the Mediterranean."

Is there an EU clutching at straws Directive?

WitteringsfromWitney said...

TBF: Probably, and something else that has been hidden. Oh and thanks for inadvertently reminding me that I forgot the spell check - which I have now done!

Manu said...

Awesome post.

Just out of interest: where did that 'Option 3 - renegotiation' piece in Monday's motion come from? Do we know which of our esteemed MPs came up with this 'option'?

WitteringsfromWitney said...

Manu: Thank you.

No idea, but I suspect I detect the hand of a 'phile in trying to make it more acceptable to his/her political master, namely Cameron/MiliE/Clegg.

This motion is, in my opinion, designed to cause division in any referendum put to the public vote as option (c) is 'open-ended' in that it can be taken to mean almost anything. In any event were a referendum held with these questions and option (b) gained the majority of votes then surely option (c) would have to follow if we wished to continue trading with the EU - which begs the question why it appears in the first place.

I can but repeat, renegotiation or repatriation of powers just ain't going to happen!

PeterCharles said...

Getting het up over the pointless flatulent rumblings of the likes of Moore and Hague is a waste of time, it's just noise to make them seem 'in touch'.

It is clear the referendum as suggested is intended to keep the status quo whatever way the vote goes. Moore, Hague, the Backbench Business Committee and everyone else fully realises there is no possibility of meaningful renegotiation, even John Redwood, whatever mendacious spin they try to paint it with. Unless there was a greater than 50% vote for out there would be no change say as the majority vote would be stay in. It is almost certain there would be sufficient 'renegotiate' votes to swamp the out vote which is the whole idea. A straight in - out given current public sentiment would be far too risky to chance.

There are a couple of bright lights in this however. There is the potential for substantial defiance of the three line whip in both Labour and Tory camps and if that defiance comes out both Cameron and Millpeed might well be severely damaged as a result.

Of course, if there was a referendum and the UK opted for out that might well kill the EU once and for all given the current situation. I rather think Germany would not like to return to the role of only contributor which would happen if the UK took its donation away.

Anyway, I suspect all this is quite irrelevant anyway, I do not think the people of Europe will put up with the coming economic crash which will be blamed on the EU, unfairly so admittedly, but then life isn't fair, is it?

blingmun said...

Option C is a sop. A shameless dissembling tactic. If they think this is enough to make us all shut up and let them get on with abolishing our democratic rights they take us for fools.

Don't know about anyone else but I'm losing patience with the existing political process.

Anonymous said...


A referendum on EFTA or EU is both a good option and winnable one ?.

It clearly identifies what is being dumoed – the political union of EU membership and what the alternative being moved to is – a legal framework for trade with Europe. EFTA v EU also enables campaigners to point out living examples of how it works – Switzerland and Norway

An EFTA or EU referendum also has more or less the same effect as in / out, but without looking too worrying for the waverers or the neutrals.

PeterCharles said...

I know you directed your query at WfW but I would point out the flaw in your argument. Switzerland and Norway negotiated their arrangements from a position outside of the EU. We would have to renegotiate agreements that our traitorous politicians have already made. To me the clear EU position would be a straight "no, you can't change anything we have already agreed", an essential position because every other EU member would then come up with areas they feel should be returned to them. The rider would be that further exemptions could be made in regard to future initiatives, maybe. If that didn't work I could see them offering a few face-saving minor concessions, probably in exchange for accepting more EU controls like acquiescing in Financial reform, that our traitors could call a success while not offering any rope to the other EU states and committing us to ever greater union. If that failed I think they would shrug and say "go then" and be particularly nasty about it.

There is another flaw I don't think you have realised, nor have any true believers that renegotiation is possible. The foundation of the EU is not in any related to trade. It is all about political union, always has been, always is and always will be. I do not know how people cannot see that. As I have said before, look at the background and the history, look at future proposals, speak to non-UK Europeans, especially any French, Dutch or German friends.

Once you are in, you are in a political union not a trading agreement. They don't care about trade, although like any country they will be happy to enter trade agreements with those outside. But the important words there are 'those outside'.

The only viable option is to leave. Once we are outside we can negotiate trading agreements from a position of strength.

Dave H said...

The only safe way to 'renegotiate' our position in Europe is to formally quit the EU and negotiate new treaties on trade, cooperation and immigration. After all, there are plenty of good reasons on both sides to want the trade to continue, and it is in the EU's interest to keep it going. Then there's the question of the status of all the Brits in other EU countries, and all the EU nationals in the UK, where it would be unreasonable to boot them all out overnight, especially if they've been resident for many years.

If we merely stay in Europe and negotiate our way towards the exit we'll be trapped in red tape and never get anywhere near the door.

WitteringsfromWitney said...

PC: Do you mind? It is my blog and if I wish to get 'het up'...... :)

Otherwise agree!

b: Agreed!

Anon: What PC said....... (Thanks PC!)