Pity the Poor Prime Minister

…the EU debate just won’t go away!


The Tory Party has been bedevilled for years by Europe.  Yet its leaders have only themselves to blame.  If only they’d listened to their members, and to the British people, we might have been free and clear by now.  But no.  Again and again, successive Tory leaders thought they knew better than the voters, and they’ve tied themselves in all kinds of knots.

Cameron thought he’d solved the problem by offering a Renegotiation followed by a Referendum in 2017.  This seemed at least to buy some time, and back-bench agitation quietened down a little.  But today (I write on Sunday 12th), it’s back.  Ninety-five Tory MPs have signed a letter drafted by the redoubtable Bernard Jenkin, calling not only for a Westminster right of veto over new EU rules, but a retrospective right of repeal as well.  It’s reported that over 100 MPs, including some Cabinet members, support the letter, but some can’t sign because of the offices they hold.

This all seems like a wonderful idea.  But in fact if you boil it down, it’s a rejection (or potential rejection) of the whole acquis communautaire.  It’s not easy to see how the right to reject any and all EU legislation on a pick’n’mix basis can mean anything other than leaving the EU entirely (I’ll vote for that!).  So the ninety-five have burnished their eurosceptic credentials (and will no doubt mention it in their election addresses).  But there’s little chance of Cameron adopting it.

One of the key issues that has heightened concern about EU rules is, of course, the immigration debate.  I am tired of hearing EU big-wigs like Laszlo Andor and Viviane Reding telling us that “EU immigrants are net contributors”.  I’m not at all sure that they’re right in their own terms.  But of course in the short-to-medium term, every EU immigrant who gets a job in the UK has arguably displaced a British worker, who will then draw unemployment and other welfare benefits.  Add in that cost, and there’s no way immigration can be positive for the economy.  And for low-wage, low-skill Britons, the queue of immigrant job-seekers lowers wages and makes finding a job tougher.

It was this same Viviane Reding who has just suggested that the best way to enthuse voters for the up-coming €uro elections is to announce that our objective is a United States of Europe. One wonders just how out-of-touch these people are.  Asked if she thought that this objective would be well received in the UK, an unnamed apparatchik replied “We’re expecting the UK to leave the EU, so we’re really not at all concerned about UK sensibilities”.  Indeed.

Of course there’s a chance that Ms. Reding may be right, although not in quite the way she hopes.  In the UK, the “United States of Europe” idea may well motivate sensible voters to turn out in even greater numbers to vote for UKIP.  And across Europe, we’re expecting a surge in support for €uro-realist parties.

Writing in the Sunday Telegraph, Bernard Jenkin (described as a “Tory Grandee” — he’s a good guy but I didn’t know he was that posh!) warns that “50 Tory MPs may lose their seats” to UKIP. But he may be missing a key point: it’s true that many UKIP votes come from former Tory supporters,  But many come from former Labour or Lib-Dem supporters — or from people who haven’t voted for years, but suddenly realise that UKIP offers a rational, common-sense alternative to the clones of the old parties.  Yes, some Tory MPs will lose their seats, but so will rather a lot of Labour MPs.

It will come home to them with a vengeance after the May €uro-election.  Those eurosceptic MPs in the old parties (and there are some of them) may wish to consider whether they should have the courage of their convictions and join UKIP.  It may be their best chance of holding on to their seats

It’s reported that George Osborne will say this week that Britain would be better off staying within a reformed EU. George: repeat after me: “The EU is beyond reform, and deserves to be put out of its misery”.  It’s the triumph of hope over experience.  We’ve been talking about reforming the EU for forty years, and it just keeps getting worse.  It’s like planning to drain the swamp while you’re up to your neck in alligators.  There is only one reform that would be acceptable, and that is to convert the EU into a simple Free Trade Area.  I’d vote for that.  But so far as Brussels is concerned, that’s equivalent to winding it up and closing it down.  They’re right.  And as a solution, it’s all the better for that.


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19 Responses to Pity the Poor Prime Minister

  1. David says:

    Hi Roger,
    Your assessment will do for me.
    Yes a free trade area is OK, but this bunch in Brussels will not go for it, Power, power, more power, that.s their aim.

    I keep meeting total strangers who purely by chance in our conversations suddenly say they are voting UKIP at their next opportunity, and its totally unprompted by me.

  2. Mike Spilligan says:

    Yes, forty years has flashed by – and nothing, but nothing to show for it.

  3. Me_Again says:

    Nice to hear an MEP saying what I’ve been touting for 4 years, but more so in the last year.

    “But he may be missing a key point: it’s true that many UKIP votes come from former Tory supporters, But many come from former Labour or Lib-Dem supporters — or from people who haven’t voted for years, but suddenly realise that UKIP offers a rational, common-sense alternative to the clones of the old parties.”

    Precisely Roger, if we can appeal to those who gave up voting/decided not to encourage the beast, we have the game won.

  4. DICK R says:

    Pity is not the right word for this despicable traitor contempt yes , pity no!

  5. Barry Harding says:

    Self interest will keep those on the EU gravy train on board. And those unaudited funds and secret EU bank accounts will be used ruthlessly – with our money – to buy more traitors. Not only in politics either.

  6. cosmic says:

    The Conservative Party have been keeping up a dishonest balancing act for years, the ruling core being in favour of integration, but perhaps the majority of the party being hostile.

    They preferred not to talk about it at all. If they had to, they came out with this dream of reform and repatriation of powers, without explaining what they were going to repatriate, what happened when the others said no, and so on.

    If they spelled out their position honestly, which is that they are totally in favour of staying in the EU, they’d break up the party.

    However, as the EU can’t be kept out of the news, partly because of the Euro and partly through the rise of UKIP, they’ve had to pep up the eurosceptic cant. But it’s all wearing thin. I’ve always seen Leadsom’s lot as stage managed token euroscepticism, for the benefit of anyone silly enough to take it seriously. When it started, there were persistent rumours it did nothing without the approval of the Whips’ office.

    There are only two coherent positions on the EU, IN and OUT, and all this talk of reforming it into something it was never designed to be and having an a la carte arrangement, is both ridiculous and very dishonest.

    • Me_Again says:

      Re- repatriation of powers. I believe it constitutes a ‘third’ question on the referendum voting paper. As no doubt you are aware such a third question which tends towards ‘no change’ and ‘compromise’ is likely to grab most votes. In context of the conservatives having a re-negotiation, it would again serve the purpose of dividing opinion. The fact that such a re-negotiation is not possible is disingenuous at the least and downright dishonest at worst.
      But what did we expect from a group of people who benefit financially from our continued membership?

      • cosmic says:

        The referendum question was talked about a few months back and the suspicion was aired that it would be IN/in or in/REFORM (stay in)/out question.

        The Electoral Reform Society came up with a clear and fair question which was straightforward in/out, and as far as I know Cameron nodded agreement.

        However, I wouldn’t take Cameron’s word on anything, not even if he signed in blood, much less a nodded agreement. More importantly, there’s much too much interest in what Cameron might or might not renegotiate and whether he can renegotiate anything at all, and the referendum he’s promised, because there’s a very good chance he’s not going to be in office to do any of it.

        Were it to come about that we were offered a referendum in 2017 as he’s suggested, there can be no question that there’d be a tidal wave of propaganda to keep us in, and divert attention from the political nature of the EU.

  7. I am confused, if as you maintain akip Oops meant ukip are anti eu then why did you guys vote to increase the eu budgets ? Equally what exactly have your meps being doing for the last decade ? Apart from those that fell out with Nige and were expelled or sent down for fiddling expenses, seriously British ukip are a wasted vote and really dont get why you bang on about them the way you do, start a real policy like banning sharia law or guaranteeing an end to mass uncontrolled immigration and english jobs for english workers or ending tuition fees for english kids or prescription charges for english sick instead of your continual ramblings in energy as truthfully roger no one is interested other than your researcher start talking about the real things that effect ordinary people on a daily basis instead of drivel about which meeting or town you visited.

    • Me_Again says:

      You need to get your priorities lined up. Out of EU first then sort the English parliament out, can’t do them in the other order. Ask Robin T about it, he and I have batted the question numerous times.
      You are of course perfectly within your rights to choose another route but don’t knock us for doing things our way. It takes time to build a momentum and UKIP are building theirs now, you are about ten years behind and I for one will be very happy when the Lothian question is answered fairly for England. We are not your opponents so quit with the propaganda eh?

  8. Right wingery says:

    For Roger ‘Turncoat’ Helmer to be bleating about the years of Tory bedevilment is quite extraordinary. More so given that he was IN the Tory Party for that long!

    • Me_Again says:

      The scales were cast from his eyes, and lo, there was the Tory party exposed!
      All that remained was a shallow and empty shell of a once proud and relevant organisation, now brought low by the machinations, greed and thievery of a few dedicated to the enslavement of the British people.

      When you realise you party no longer reflects your aims and ideas you have two choices, a. try to fix from within or b. leave and join a party which more closely reflects your ideas and aims. Churchill famously crossed the floor for those reasons.

      I see no wrong or harm in someone waking up to the reality that their country is running in the wrong direction. It takes guts to make that determination and then even more to act on it.

      Stupidity is where you keep head butting the same spot on the wall in the hope that the wall will give before your head.

      Ps I’d put a ‘H’ in your online name Right wHingery, whinger suits you better I think.

  9. Right wingery says:

    Roger, please, punctuate my quotes before you attempt the humour.

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