Interesting that despite this story being the most viewed, The Telegraph chose to drop it from their major featured stories within a few hours.
Pretty significant headline. About time, one would have thought and yet we should be cautious, even within sight of victory. At my place, I posted today on “simultaneously holding opposed views” and the general thrust was that we tend to hold the views of our group and our own area of politics but should we examine those from time to time? Do circumstances change?
As a member of The Albion Alliance, [in whose current form it still gets much traffic, being the primary source for all matters EU], we were pretty vehement about getting a referendum on EU withdrawal and we fronted PPCs directly, asking for commitment on it. In our pow-wows, I maintained we were being too aggressive, which is good coming from me.
As Norman Tebbit said, we had “no traction” and in many ways, yes that was so but I’d contend we did in others – we created a certain antagonism which at least had people looking at the issue. One of the largest obstacles was that this anti-EU cause was not helped by key bloggers – and everyone knows DK was one – who refused to accept or push for a referendum on the question. Though Toque personally signed for it, the Witanagemot, CEP etc. did not and many libertarians, strangely, did not seem to want out out of the EU, when it was clearly anti-personal-freedom, as is now apparent.
The argument against was that any question put to the electorate at that stage would be rigged [Brown was in charge and Cameron seemingly on the way into power]. That was very true but if no question was put at all, it would be a dead issue and meanwhile – the thing the anti-referendum crowd did not see – was that the EU was going hell for leather gathering powers at a rate of knots and every delay in getting out was causing us to lose more and more. Lisbon was re-ratified and altered again, Ireland lost its way and so on.
People, we were going down. Sue was screaming about it and many were of a similar mind. The anti-referendum crowd were stating that it was better to put it in five years, when people were hurting and might vote Out but I’d say this about that view:
1. The question was still going to be rigged, whether earlier or later and the only way to stop that was for whoever the government were, e.g. the Tories – for their Eurosceptics to refuse to ratify the question if it would produce a bad result.
2. The assumption that the people would be hurting and that they’d blame the EU was never one I accepted because the blame has been projected onto everything but the EU and people go along with what they’re told. In other words, the time would never come when the people would turn, en masse, against the EU. In fact, they’ve turned, en masse, against Cameron.
Now the question of whether Cameron is being altruistic for his country and playing the EUphile, to be eventually beaten down, a la Agatha Christie’s Witness for the Prosecution, is one only he would know [and Sam Cam]. It might be a way to get the result, achieving for himself statesman status and protecting him from Them in the fallout, the real power of whom he seems quite frightened and should.
The AA were never quite sure about Hannan and Carswell but there were others – Bill Cash etc. and it did look like the Tory backbenchers might raise hell. For a while it looked that way.
My first suspicion that it was otherwise was listening to Roger Helmer at the Tory conference and to Jesse Norman. It was pretty clear that despite all the noises, these guys were supporting repatriating powers only, a mindless position, given how we’ve demonstrated over and over, in detail, how the EU has NEVER had powers repatriated away from it – Roger Helmer actually stated that. In fact, it was the UK which basically allowed the EU to be set up in its current form. The enemy was clearly within Westminster, just as much as it was in Brussels.
Roger Helmer should oppose new ‘Eurosceptic movement’ or resign from The Freedom Assocation. You don’t have to take my word for it, why not take the word of Anthony Browne, who attended the meeting in the Thatcher Room in Portcullis House and wrote about it on ConservativeHome – content partner of The Guardian:
Under the chairmanship of George Eustice, there was a calm determination to take advantage of what everyone agreed was a “golden opportunity” presented by the euro crisis to renegotiate the UK’s relationship with the EU – with the aim of repatriating some powers. Contrary to media reports, the aim of the meeting was not to pressure the government into holding a referendum on pulling out of the EU – indeed, that was explicitly and repeatedly ruled out as a purpose of the new group. The government has very good reasons not to want to hold such a referendum – it would pull the coalition apart, it would stop the government doing any other policies, and the outcome would be very unpredictable.
That needs to be looked at carefully. There is every chance that, even though some Tories are undoubtedly Eurosceptic in the sense of in/out, we only had one Tory sign the Albion Alliance pledge, under secrecy although we knew of a few others who would have, from conversations. There was clear pressure from above, on pain of preselection troubles, to drop the whole matter.
I don’t trust what the Tory Eurosceptics are going to be willing to settle for – it’s as simple as that. I don’t mean that they don’t feel it inside their hearts – some of them do – but they simply can’t buck the system and Westminster is now a tool of the EU – has been for a long time but they were more subtle earlier.