Libertas and the European Elections

I’ve had an enquiry on my blog: “For those of us who want to copy Norway and Switzerland and be associate members of the EU, please could you write something on Libertas?  While I hugely admire the work that Conservative MEPs are doing, I still suspect that Libertas is more my thing. Can you help here?”.
Let me say first of all that no one admires more than I do the work that Declan Ganley and Libertas did on the Lisbon Treaty referendum in Ireland.  It was a great effort, and it had my full support.  It threw a huge spanner into the process of Lisbon ratification, and opened the possibility that the Treaty may not be fully ratified by the time we have a Conservative government, which will then have a UK referendum.
But Ganley’s plans for the European elections are much more suspect.  First of all, he doesn’t pretend to be a Eurosceptic.  He certainly doesn’t favour the Norway/Switzerland model.  He’s in favour of the EU, and wants Ireland to stay in.  Sceptics often criticise the Conservative Party for being insufficiently sceptic, but Ganley is certainly less sceptic than the Conservative Party.  Remember his very clever billboards for his Irish NO Campaign: “Europe has been good for Ireland.  Let’s keep it that way”.
Indeed it’s not at all clear to me what he’s on about at all (except perhaps a giant ego trip).  He certainly won’t appeal to sceptics if they read his views on the EU, nor will he appeal to europhiles who want “ever closer union”.
If his politics are obscure, his electoral tactics are even more so.  He says he wants to run Libertas candidates in all 27 EU member-states, and to turn the whole euro-election into the Lisbon referendum that most of us have been denied.  If he wanted to do that in member-states where there is really no euro-realist party at all (like Germany), I could see the sense of it.  He would attract the votes of many who have reservations about the EU project.  But it is absurd to bring Libertas to the UK, where we already have a choice of sceptic parties — The Conservative Party, UKIP, some of the Greens, the English Democrats (we don’t mention the BNP, so I won’t).
Absurd, because first of all it will muddy the water and split the sceptic vote.  Second, because who will actually vote for a sceptic party that isn’t really sceptic, that is identified as an Irish party, and that has only just been heard of?  I make a confident prediction: in any UK region where Libertas runs a list, it will lose its deposit.  It will gain less than 2.5% of the vote.  Any votes it does receive will be wasted votes.  Libertas will enjoy similar success to Veritas, the Robert Kilroy-Silk Party.  Remember that?
In fact Ganley will be doing Brussels a huge favour.  When they see Libertas crash and burn, the Eurocrats will say “Sceptics wanted a referendum on the Lisbon Treaty.  Ganley and Libertas offered them one, and the voters rejected it with contempt”.  They will spin the Libertas failure as a democratic endorsement of the Lisbon Treaty.  Ganley will have handed a triumph to the integrationists.

This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

10 Responses to Libertas and the European Elections

  1. bill westall says:

    Declan Ganley is not a sceptic on the E.U, far from it, he dseperatley wants the E.U. to be a success, but not in its present format of unelected officials making policy decisions behind closed doors.Libertas wants to see reform, with commissioners being elected, rather than being appointed cronies of the national government.Having read your article I would suggest you views are nearer Libertas than you think.A vote for Libertas certainly will not be a wasted vote.

  2. Roger Helmer says:

    Sorry, Bill, but No. I don’t want to see an EU with an enhanced pretence of democracy. I want an association of free, independent, democratic states. And a Libertas vote WILL be a wasted vote, because no Libertas MEP will be returned, but you may just let in a Lib-Dem or a Labour member by default.

  3. Thank you for an excellent rebuttal of Libertas.
    What a shame that all the Eurosceptic parties cannot come together and vote for us to get out of the present muddle.
    Could you fix it?
    I think, myself, that with well over 4 out of every 5 parliamentary laws coming straight from the unelected commission and parliament sitting for a lot less time than I spent in the classroom (counting teachers’ holidays), that it is high time for a change.

  4. Andy says:

    I too would not bother voting for Libertas. I would also not bother voting for UKIP who are essentially dying or the BNP who tarnish the image of Euro Realists.

  5. James Daniels says:

    It seems to me that Libertas has spotted a gap in the market. Currently, the pro-EU parties are content with the way the way the EU is organized, and the anti-EU parties want to pull stumps and leave. Libertas has produced a party which is pro-EU but is not content with the way in which it is organized.

  6. Stan Mason says:

    I’m a big fan of yours. You’d make a great PM. But surely you should be aligned with the BNP. I’ll be voting BNP – 20% of the vote and rising.

    The push has to be for PR for Westminster. First Past the Post is the reason people are not interested in politics – if you’re a Tory voter in a Labour stronghold you’re effectively disenfranchised etc etc.

  7. Roger Helmer says:

    James: Successive British governments have tried to reform the EU for the last thirty-five years, but it just keeps on going its own corrupt way to ever-closer union. It is beyond reform and deserves to be put out of its misery. Libertas has not spotted any gap in the market. It has simply recycled a threadbare promise to do what experience shows cannot be done.

  8. Andrew says:

    “we already have a choice of sceptic parties — The Conservative Party, UKIP, some of the Greens”

    The greens? huh??

  9. Tory says:

    Declan Ganely supports the EU having a fully developed defense policy. He also supports a European Constitution, which although much shorter, would still contain the building blocks of a federal Europe.

    Although he is a fine character, who achieved great things in Ireland during Lisbon I, it is difficult to fathom voting for him if you are a committed Euro-skeptic.

    UKIP offered an alternative to the Tories at the last European elections and have not delivered on British interests in the past 5 years.

    The Conservatives, as a mainstream political force, have the possibility of effecting great change in the EU. They are not perfect, and many candidates don’t come close to honoring the credentials they offer during selection (not Roger Helmer however who does exactly what he said he would do during selection!)

    The Conservatives are the best option for the genuine EU-skeptic at these elections.

  10. Ken Worthy says:

    I agree that Libertas is unlikely to make any impact here, essentially because they are spreading their net too widely, and their message is not strong enough. The EU has proved over the years that it is incapable of reform.
    It is a great shame Libertas have chosen this route, because success in the Euro-elections would have given them a boost for their campaign on the Irish referendum. Let’s hope they do well in Ireland, at least.
    The Irish campaign is the most important of all, because if Libertas win it, David Cameron will have no alternative but to hold a referendum here. That would really stir things up.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s