The Tories: Triple Lock? Or Triple Failure?


In what has been hailed as the first salvo of the 2015 General Election campaign, Prime Minister David Cameron has pledged to maintain the “Triple Lock” state pension guarantee. This could be regarded as a smart political move — after all, proportionately more pensioners vote than any other group.  Moreover by getting his announcement in first, he leaves Labour and Lib-Dems playing catch-up.

On the other hand, how surprised are we?  Did anyone really expect that the Tories would go into the 2015 election without such a pledge?  Or that Labour would either? Cameron is merely confirming expectations, rather than offering a new proposition.  And he notably failed to confirm retention of other elderly benefits like the fuel allowance, bus passes or TV licences.

I suspect that he is setting rather more store by another issue: his attempted resolution of the EU question, which has caused the party so much angst over the years — and which is driving many former Tory supporters (and others) to UKIP.  He’s promised a Referendum, after his proposed renegotiation, and he’s sought to enshrine this in law with his Referendum Bill.  But here, it’s all falling apart.  Never mind a Triple Lock.  This looks more like a Triple Failure.

First, his Lib-Dem coalition partners wanted none of it (despite themselves having previously demanded, and promised, an In/Out Referendum).  So Cameron couldn’t have a government bill.  Instead, he’s had to make do with James Wharton’s Private Member’s Bill — much more difficult to pass into law.

Now we hear that the Bill is unlikely to get through the Lords in time to make it onto the Statute Book. There is a very good chance that Cameron will have to come back and say “I’m sorry.  I promised you a Referendum Bill, but I’ve been unable to deliver it” — though I doubt he’ll use those exact words.

The next glaring hole in his plan is that even if he were to get his Referendum Bill, it would only take a two-line Bill in 2015/16 to repeal it, and one could imagine in 2015 a Lib-Lab coalition where repeal of the referendum bill was a Lib-Dem pre-condition.

Finally, of course, the Brusselsapparatchiks including José Manuel Barroso have rubbished the whole idea of renegotiation, and for once I think they’re right.  They can’t possibly allow major concessions to one member state without opening a Pandora’s box.  And as Ernest Bevin charmingly put it, “If you open that Pandora’s box, you never know what Trojan horses will jump out”.  Other countries will demand concessions, and the whole 50-year structure will disintegrate.  You and I might applaud that idea, but clearly the EU institutions can’t countenance it.

Some Tories pin their faith on comments by Angela Merkel suggesting that she might support the British attempt.  But there’s little chance of that.  She might want to soft-pedal some of the more detailed and intrusive EU legislation, but in terms of fiscal integration and central control of national budgets, she wants more Europe, not less.

(I guess that’s a quadruple failure, not a triple one.  Sorry about that!)

Where does that leave Tory activists who (as I once did) supported the party not least because it seemed to offer the best hope of getting Britain out of the EU?  If, as looks increasingly likely, UKIP wins the May 22nd €uro-elections, those activists may conclude that the only party serious about solving the European question is UKIP.  And they’d be right.  I suspect that between May 2014 and June 2015, a great number of those activists, and indeed eurosceptics from other parties, who may have been waiting to be convinced about UKIP’s prospects, will decide that the time has come to make their move.




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22 Responses to The Tories: Triple Lock? Or Triple Failure?

  1. Anyoldiron says:

    There is only one (almost) sure way of getting out of the European Union and I doubt it will be through a TRUE AND FAIR REFERENDUM ON THIS PARTICULAR SUBJECT, AND IT SADDENS ME TO WRITE THAT. (perhaps more than any of you realise) The only way we may get out of the EU is by using the General Election in 2015 as the REFERENDUM on an “in” or “out” of the EU we have been denied.

    Some, perhaps many people are aware NOW THAT ALL THREE MAJOR POLITICAL PARTIES WANT TO REMAIN IN THE EU-FOREVER. I am sure you know already Roger what is in place from the EU-after 2015? Even if this Government “opts out” of Justice and Home Affairs and Policing in 2014 which is at the very heart of our Constitution if one of those three Political Parties get into power again the can and probably will OPT IN to all AFTER the election. If I am aware of some of what the EU has in store for 2020, 2030, and 2050 I am sure you do too. How about this one? The European Commission has announced a new proposal which could see petrol and diesel cars banned in dense city areas in the EU by 2050. The plan hopes to cut …

    For those that think Mr Cameron REALLY wants to come out of the EU? Why is he putting through this below and looking at 2030? Policy: EU states fail to back British goal to halve emissions by 2030 03 Sep 2013 17:31 Last updated: 03 Sep 2013 17:33 LONDON, Sep 3 (Reuters Point Carbon) – Britain’s call for the EU to halve its greenhouse gas output by 2030 appears to have little support among other member states, EU documents showed Tuesday, casting doubt on the likelihood that the bloc will agree such a deep medium-term goal to tackle climate change.

  2. Graham says:

    I do hope you are right, Roger… about the party activists seeing the light, I mean. However, what is crucial to the very survival of this country in a form we might recognise, in my opinion, is that Labour do not get the opportunity to finish the job of finishing the country. The tribal Labour vote, “always have, always will” beggars belief and one has to ask, what planet are these people on? I suspect a large part is hatred of the Tories, not so much love of a failed ideology and incompetent administration. Therefore, to attract those voters there has to be a feasible alternative that is NOT seen as Tory (and not, of course Lib-Dem). Which makes it important that UKIP is not seen as aligned with Conservatism but a separate identity with its own agenda. Talk of electoral pacts with the Conservatives will perhaps convince many that UKIP is simply Tory Light.

    • You have an important point, Graham. I suspect that a lot of the “electoral pact” talk coming from the Tories is simply intended to damage UKIP with many of its natural supporters.

    • Me_Again says:

      Graham, spot on. I for one would be out of the party faster than a greased weasel shit off a shiny shovel…..
      I am not a Tory, nor a reformed Tory or a rejected Tory. I and many others come from the large block of voters who have/had given up on voting as simply encouraging the spineless gimps to think we wanted them.
      So pacts are off my agenda permanently. At our branch it was mentioned and again it got a 100% ‘get stuffed.’
      This may have had something to do with not living in the south east.

  3. cosmic says:

    Reforming the EU into something it was never designed to be and breaking the Acquis Communautiare isn’t on the cards. It’s a kite which the Conservatives have flown for years to avoid saying whether their position is being in, or getting out. There can be little doubt that their position is in and the reform talk is a smokescreen. Without a doubt the Tories have always had the most dishonest position on the European Project.

    I doubt they would be making such strong noises about EU reform if they thought there was the slightest prospect of winning the next GE so they would have to do any of this.

    If you listen to some of the stuff Cameron trots out about ‘Europe’, clamping down on the free movement of people and stopping child benefit being exported, it’s clear he doesn’t have any idea how the EU works. It’s just hot air.

  4. maureen gannon says:

    Roger it may interest you to know a poll in the Huffington Post yesterday for EU elections put UKIP 40% Cons 23% liebors 22% libs 2% lets hope they are right

  5. George Morley says:

    On a personal note, I hope that the figures you have there Maureen are like that or better come the election. As for Cameron and the ‘triple lock’ state pension, when asked about the clause 20 (which freezes some pensions) he said to leave things as they are which means that he condones that discriminative policy that has been a thorn in the side for the pensioners concerned as well as the DWP staff. I’m sure that you are aware that this freezing (not paying the indexed pension) affects pensioners who live in the Commonwealth countries in the main and overall means that every 25th pensioner gets frozen or just 4% are affected at this time. Having been carried on over many years some pensioners receive less than 10 pounds a week..
    This is what Cameron ignores when he frequently has said that he wants fairness for all pensioners.

  6. Me_Again says:

    Historically we do well in the Europeans but trip up for Westminster. Whether we do or not doesn’t really matter. Having a small number of Westminster MPs isn’t going to do us much good short term -ask Caroline Lucas. What will happen up until the GE though is that we will be setting the agenda for the others. Afterwards they’ll go ‘phew’ and go back to ignoring us. so I suppose we need to be really busy in the next 17 months then getting as much in legislation as possible.

  7. Graham says:

    In my opinion, only a complete whitewash in the EU election this May will be enough. We need to show UKIP is a force that will seriously drain support from the LibLabCon in the GE. It will come at a cost, though, because while the other three parties are used to tearing lumps out of each other they save a special sort of dirty fighting against UKIP. That’s because UKIP is a real and present danger to all three of them.

    • catalanbrian says:

      Yes, UKIP is a real and present danger to us all with its backward looking and nationalist policies that pretend that the UK can sit in splendid isolation in the world. Yes this was possible in the days of Empire, but not today where we have to live and work with other nations. UKIP’s policies will ensure that the UK economy continues to languish behind other more outward looking economies. If that’s what we want then so be it, but I am not that sure that the majority of the UK population quite understands the downside of UKIP’s agenda.

      • Me_Again says:

        Your twisted logic is part of the reason we’re stuck here Brian. You simply do not understand or choose not to more likely. UKIP doesn’t have ANY isolationist policies whatsoever.
        Is Tunisia Isolationist?
        Is Mexico Isolationist?
        Is South Korea Isolationist?
        Is Singapore Isolationist? These and many others are free countries having trade agreements with the EU. What about Iceland? Or the other 160+ countries that are NOT in the European Union they are all free countries which trade with the EU but are not part of it or need to abide by its stifling rules. Britain on exit would simply become part of the majority rather than the minority.
        You say it would adversely affect our economy. Britain’s economy is hardly languishing behind our European partners Brian, don’t you read the papers?
        Outward looking economies like Australia and Canada are surging ahead and the main reason for this is that they are not tied to the corpse of an ideal which died shortly after its birth. Britain can do the same if the bankers and manipulators don’t screw us over again.

      • Graham says:

        Splendid isolation?! Do you think there is any sense being tied to a economically sinking behemoth that is also ideologically undemocratic (erm, how many referenda did Ireland have to hold before it got the ‘right’ answer?). Another te years would see us without ANY determination of our selves, everything being dictated, yes, literally, by Brussels. I am certainly not isolationist in my outlook or a little Briton. I want us to be able to trade with, communicate with and mutually support countries around the world that are in our interests. I like Europe as a continent and the variety of cultures, foods and geography. I just don’t want the UK to be ruled in an undemocratic, damaging way which is changing our country to something I hardly recognise. For example, if we had CHOSEN through our parliament to have mass immigration, that’s one thing. For it to be IMPOSED by an unelected EU Commission is something entirely different. I’m for getting out and forging ahead with the rest of the world and Europe in a way WE determine.

  8. Infantilism is what all three political parties are up to. They seem to despise us, assuming that most voters just want as big a share of the tax take as possible to be handed out to them now and not taken away. In return they assume that voters are determined to pay as little as they have to into the central kitty. It is all take and no give.
    Somewhere out there is the gilded lump of “rich” who must pay more and more.
    We are meant to behave like infants at the breast – sucking, pooping and being cleaned up.

    Well I am not like that. I really burn to see fracking, carbon progress, IT production and our magnificent people freed up to be what we are: the inventors and workers of the world, deserving our income and out of debt: free, decently governed and with a system of law that depends on our magnificent and noble history.

    In return I am getting gay marriage and the break up of the United Kingdom.

    • nivek says:

      What’s carbon progress? If you mean the repeal of the climate change act, and the cancelling of all eco-taxes, then I’m with you.

      • Thomas Fox says:

        A good start has been made Roger ! By sawing down that silly Conservative green tree will it be for the log burner to save on expensive renewable energy bills ?

  9. Graham says:

    Mike Stallard, you forgot something… Benefits Street. While they exist, something has to be done. Some really are infantile (and malevolently so) and need to be treated as such. I agree with all you say but don’t forget we are not all patriotic, hard-working nation builders.

    • Me_Again says:

      Yes benefits street. Somehow we need to remove the benefits of people who just came here to sponge and stir things up using our ridiculous human rights legislation to champion the rights of one over the will of the majority. Clear the asylum backlog by interviews without lawyers. Then we can offer a free ticket home, never to return to those who don’t qualify. Once rid of the external spongers we can start on the home grown spongers.
      To qualify for jobseekers, the applicant must give return of community service. These services can be litter picking, drain cleaning and any other task which we normally haven’t got the human resource for. A calculated number of hours based on the jobseekers amount divided by the minimum wage will give the number of hours they need to work. The remainder of a 37.5 hour normal working week can be spent in the Job centre looking for work, tidying up CVs looking for training course to enhance their employability.
      This would mean that there would be NO benefits spongers. Of course such a system would need careful supervision, ‘mystery jobseeker applicants’ type folks to check there’s no fiddles going on and the other checks and balances.
      Nothing wrong with community service. As an unpaid councillor I’m doing community service.

  10. DougS says:

    Personally, I’m pig sick of hearing the main political parties droning on about reforming the EU or various parts of it. It’s been going on for decades and the only result is that it’s worse than ever.

    And pathetic talk of staying to influence events is as far removed from the truth as it’s possible to get. We have next to zero influence and the position declines every month.

    CallMeDave will campaign to remain in the EU in the unlikely event that a referendum is held, and that will be the case even if he gets a few crumbs from the EU – or none!

    UKIP is the only force that drives the referendum debate, the stronger we are the greater the chance of escaping the anti-democratic troughers of the EU.

  11. Chris says:

    Removal of EU laws and regulations for the UK (renegotiation) was always a fairy tale. To believe that 27 EU countries would agree to the UK’s demands was pure fantasy. Does anybody think that pro-EU countries such as Belgium and Luxembourg would do this? Francois Hollands has already stated that the EU is not a buffet where you can pick and choose.

    By May, the UK people should have an estimate of the number of new arrivals from Romania and Bulgaria, with the expected begging and sleeping rough of Roma gypsies in London.

    As the election date gets closer, I expect to see lots of anti-UKIP articles in the papers along with the htachet jobs from the BBC and Channel 4.

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