Chicken-hearted Cameron knew his goose was cooked on renegotiation with Brussels six years ago. He misled his Party, you and me.
Six years ago – when I had rather more Westminster moles than today – I wrote the piece that follows. Tory Leavers forced Cameron into a referendum he never wanted….and a negotiation of “fundamental reform” that turned into infantile farce. Dodgey Dave massively overestimated how many Tory Leavers he could purge: that more than anything pushed him into the risible pretence of the last fifteen months. Late in 2014, Osborne tried his hand at floating EU reform during the Paris Summit: he was not so much rebuffed as ignored…and sent away with a flea in his ear. But as I wrote on September 22nd 2010, ‘We need a new kind of movement that isn’t anti EU, but rather secessionist. And is secessionist for positive socio-economic and libertarian reasons’. At last, we have it – hopefully, not too late.
Tories will sell out to EU
The Slog has learned from a number of senior and reliable sources over the last week that the Coalition Government – and the Conservative leadership even without the LibDems to consider – has dropped any and all pretence of fighting Brussels on sovereignty issues: and certainly considers secession from the Union to be completely off the agenda.
From earlier Slog posts, it will have been clear to regular readers that I was beginning to have doubts about the vision of senior Tories on the EU issue pretty much from the day the present Government took power. The first piece referred to Hague ‘flying West when he should be flying East’ on taking office. The second was our exclusive revelation of May’s acquiescence in the Euro-arrest law – despite her telling the House she hadn’t agreed to it. And the third was the pathetic performance by Osborne at the EU Council Meeting on Budget approval the week before last.
But it’s also worth considering just how much other EU nonsense has drifted through the ‘blockade’ without a single cannon firing during just four months of a Cameron-led Government. The new regulatory powers to contain the City of London, for instance, have been imposed without so much as a whimper from the Treasury. The European External Action Service is law – completing the ridiculous ‘divide and rule’ structure of EU foreign relations has happened without a peep from Hague. And a bigger budget (albeit restrained) for the EU wasters has also been approved.
Senior backbench Tories three weeks ago were giving me the “Well, it’s the Libdems you see” line, but this is clearly not the case. So The Slog is left wondering where all these brave chaps shouting “Aux barricades!” three months ago have gone – into junior government slots, perhaps? – and what happened to the George Osborne who was busy abolishing EU-friendly departments within the Treasury during early June.
A senior Whitehall official communicated to The Slog last Monday as follows:
‘This isn’t a case of William Hague going native. In private, he sees the EU as a historical fact. It’s clear he has done for some years. The idea that he’s anti-Europe stems from his utterances of years ago. He does not see the fight as worth it, and to be honest he doesn’t give off the air of a man passionate about reforming it either”.
Last week a Treasury renegade told us, “I don’t know all of it for certain, but I think there was a Party line during the election, and I’m pretty sure it was to spoil things for UKIP. There’s certainly been some talk of reining in Europe here, but it’s largely inconsequential. The [City] regulatory stuff and the Budget monitoring has gone through without a murmur”.
And this morning an advisor active in LibDem Coalition policy alleged to The Slog, “We thought that we’d have to go to the wire with the Tories about some of the EU harmonisation, but to be honest it’s been very calm. David Cameron sees it as a sideshow….he also has fewer eurosceptic backbenchers since the Election. He’s not going to rock the boat in Brussels”.
Pressed further, the source added, “One gets the impression Cameron and Hague have an agenda involving Germany. Certainly, Cameron got on very well with Merkel. There’s been gossip and theory, but not a lot else. What there certainly has never been is any thought of secession. They regard that as mad Brigadier territory”.
So then: 49% of the electorate written off as ‘mad Brigadier territory’. Just as, I’d imagine, the immigration issue was written off as ‘BNP racist territory’ until two years ago. The senior ‘open-minded’ Tory source told us:
“David [Cameron] has always believed that Europe is the only issue that can ever really split the Party. But he has no interest in sacrificing the European ideal for the Conservative Party. His strategy has always been to effect a quiet revolution in the Conservative Party.”
I think it may be time things got a little noisier for Dave.
The Slog’s view on the need for radical reform stretches way beyond the EU. As well as a new export and general trading strategy, we need to downsize government; give power back to communities, families and individuals; restore ethics and service to business; change the culture in banking, policing, education, and medicine; and dismantle the controlling, camera-riddled surveillance State.
My considered opinion as of today – and I’ve been putting this piece together for nearly three weeks now – is that (as most Sloggers have always suspected) no Establishment Party is ever going to do a fraction of any of this: and they are certainly not going to listen to the British majority when it comes to the EU. But as I have written many times, I cannot find it within myself to move to UKIP in its current form and with the existing leadership. The brand is, for me, irreversibly sullied by its narrow outlook and yobbish leader. UKIP is and will always be a motley crew of eccentrics, bucolic diehards and Little Englanders as far as the majority of the UK electorate is concerned.
I still think it very possible that the European Union will anyway – in at least its current form – collapse under the unbearable strain of debt, worker expectations, fiscal anarchy, banking dysfunction, and a bloated, corrupt bureaucracy. But the ramifications of that are so dire, we must be adult about it and accept that the lies, hidden taxes and crooked deals will continue until these people feel safe again.
From Britain’s perspective (or to be more precise, what our perspective should be) the ramifications need only be dire if we’re still in there. As the owner of a ready-made reserve currency, they could be very fortuitous for us.
This sort of consideration is what we need to get across more. We need a new kind of movement that isn’t anti EU, but rather secessionist. And it is secessionist for positive socio-economic and libertarian reasons. We need heavyweight research studies conducted professionally and presented dispassionately by sound people whose credibility isn’t in doubt. And we need to be very clearly focused and positioned on a post-globalist future….not some kind of tin-pot Arthurian past.
The Tea Party is doing it in the States; but it is essentially a conservative, fringe movement attractive to disgruntled eccentrics. I don’t care what Nile Gardiner thinks, it isn’t really what the US needs – and it would be a flop over here.
Creative and accountable leadership should be the goal. If UKIP can take that on board, fine. If it can’t, we’ll have to start from scratch.