Wrong call, Alan


I have a story about the Rt. Hon. Alan Johnson MP.  But first, for context, a bit of background on our Prime Minister’s EU renegotiation attempts.

Cameron was exceedingly coy about his renegotiation demands – and (one might say) he had good reasons to be coy because when these demands were finally revealed, they proved to be nugatory.  In fact, downright embarrassing in terms of their lack of ambition.  He set the bar low perhaps with some premonition of the problems he might face.

I have remarked elsewhere that if he had wanted to get his back-benchers and party membership on-side, he should have been looking at the very least for reinstatement of John Major’s Maastricht opt-outs, especially on the “social chapter”.  He should have been demanding that we have an absolute right to control our borders (think what happens when the Germans, in desperation, give EU passports to their million “refugees”).  He should have insisted on the sovereign right of the Westminster parliament to reject new EU laws (and perhaps to repeal old ones).  And he might also have asked for control of fisheries and agriculture, energy and environment.  These measures would not have satisfied UKIP, but might have sufficed for a majority Tories.

Instead, he asked merely for a couple of cosmetic items (a right to stay out of the €uro – which we have already – and an end to “ever closer union” – although such a change would have been mere verbiage).  The only substantive request was for a four-year moratorium on in-work benefits for EU migrants.  Not a right to control immigration, please note.  Merely fiddling at the margin with welfare benefits.  The OBR has doubts about that request – suggesting that it would make precious little difference to immigrant numbers (though it might have helped Cameron push the issue into the long grass for a few years).

But now the story is that Cameron has recognised that EU member-states – especially countries like Poland – will veto any such measures.  Of course they will – how could they sell to their voters a measure that would hurt Polish citizens coming to the UK?  Maybe this is a useful reality check for Cameron – maybe he will start to realise that merely going to Brussels and making perfectly reasonable requests is not going to work

Now the suggestion from Downing Street is that “the PM has always been prepared to be flexible over the mechanisms for reducing migration”.  What this seems to mean is that Cameron is merely going to ask other member-states to suggest what they would allow to enable us to cut numbers.  This is humiliating.  It’s as if Oliver Twist had abandoned hope of more gruel, and asked if maybe there was some saw-dust or grass he could have instead.

Those of us who have been MEPs for a while could have spared Cameron the trouble – and the humiliation – and told him in advance what he could expect.  But of course he didn’t ask us.

At this point, let me bring on Alan Johnson.   Here we have a distinguished Labour politician (with, I would assess, rather more common sense than half the Shadow Cabinet put together).  He has held or shadowed several of the major offices of state.  In particular for a short period he was Secretary of State for Work and Pensions (Sept 2004 to May 2005).  It was during this period (I think – my records aren’t that great) that he came to Brussels to lobby British MEPs on the EU’s Agency Workers’ Directive, and in due course came to knock on my door.

The Agency Workers’ Directive was one of those pieces of EU employment legislation promulgated with good intentions.  But in the UK, where agency workers were well established and where agency work provided an excellent route back into permanent employment for many of the unemployed, the changes would have damaged workers, agencies and employers.  Not just my view – that was Alan Johnson’s view as a Labour Employment Secretary.  Would I please vote against it, asked Johnson.  Of course, I replied, but what about his own Labour MEPs?  They were hell-bent on supporting it.  He smiled ruefully, and admitted that his own side was the problem.

I was there in the Unemployment Committee when Johnson made his plea to allow the UK to be excluded from the legislation.  He was told in no uncertain terms by the then Chairman of the Committee that we might perhaps have a temporary derogation to let us get used to the idea, but this was EU legislation and we had to buckle down and accept it, whether our Westminster parliament wanted it or not.  Shades of Oliver Twist again.

I think it was then that I felt most keenly the humiliation of Britain being a mere province in a country called Europe, where Her Majesty’s Government could be over-ruled by foreign institutions (in one of which I sat).  I voted against the Directive, but as I predicted, Labour MEPs voted in favour, and it went through with a big majority.  There are unemployed people in England today who would be employed but for that directive.

Yet this same Alan Johnson has now become the official cheer-leader for Labour’s “IN” Campaign.  On the radio today he came out with the old mantra “We are better leading from inside rather than leaving”.  But Alan, we’ve been saying that for forty years, and we keep right on winning the arguments and losing the votes.  You’ve seen it yourself.  Now Cameron is seeing it himself.  The only way to end the humiliation is to restore democratic self-government to our country.  The only way is Brexit.









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9 Responses to Wrong call, Alan

  1. Anyoldiron says:

    If our Government and previous Governments have ratified TREATIES that prevent those we elect into Governing this Country, by and through our very own longstanding Common Law Constitution-in other words Treaties that may over-ride our Common Law Constitution which many people fought and died in the last War (1939-1945) to PREVENT FOREIGNERS GOVERNING US, without doubt, in putting recent Treaties before our own Constitution-thus preventing the people of this Country from the rights they have, by and through their own Common Law Constitution making our Constitution redundant-it is also written “to destroy our Constitution is indeed treason”.
    The Act of Supremacy 1559 went further.For it included the words: “…all usurped and foreign power and authority…may forever be clearly extinguished, and never used or obeyed in this realm. …no foreign prince, person, prelate, state, or potentate…shall at any time after the last day of this session of Parliament, use, enjoy or exercise any manner of power, jurisdiction, superiority, authority, preeminence or privilege…within this realm, but that henceforth the same shall be clearly abolished out of this realm, for ever.” If none can Govern this Country by and through our very own Common Law Constitution there is absolutely no point in having anyone in either Houses of Parliament-and again, I repeat, if we cannot be Governed by and through our very own Common Law constitution that so many gave THEIR lives for over the years. “to destroy our Constitution is treason.

    • Jane Davies says:

      Absolutely spot on…..why is this government and PM not being charged with treason? The man clearly has no balls and bends over for the unelected bureaucrats to get shafted by them over and over again. When is someone who can run him out of Number 10 going to stand up and actually do it?
      As for Alan Johnson’s comment “We are better leading from inside rather than leaving” give me a break, is he delusional or what? The UK has never led anything “on the inside” and never will. When are these idiots going to get a reality check and smell the coffee?

  2. George Morley says:

    Amen to that !

  3. ps3person says:

    And so it demonstrates, once again, that those who purport to represent us, certainly represent something…but it isn’t us! I am very much a UKIP man, but our greatest enemies sit in our national Parliament, not in Brussels

  4. I always enjoy hearing your views, Mr Helmer. And this excellent article was no exception!
    Poor old Alan Johnson! Being over 70 (as we both are) is no excuse for not being up to date. In Mr Johnson’s case, the arguments he uses are pretty old hat now. But he seems to have a good point about changing the benefits system.

  5. Ex-expat Colin says:

    On the topic of immigrants, uninvited visitors, invaders and those who arrive and work. The latter may have a job offer, or perhaps will have? Where’s that lot at RAF Akrotiri now?

    I note a particular programme that is aired on Channel 5 fairly regularly called Can’t Pay? We’ll Take It Away. One of the high court enforcers mentions the rise in sub letting properties. A 3 bed property or other dump suddenly gains 6 rooms unbeknown to the landlord/agent. Add in the circumvent of electricity meters as a general feature.

    It highlights the inadequacy of affordable accommodation in UK clearly and not a surprise. However, I am concerned that its left to such activity (recovery) by contracted bailiffs with odd (ad hoc) attendances of the police to reveal this. So, having laws available stops it? And whats worse, its left to ordinary people to discover it. Or should I say the police to detect and deal with it amongst everything else they have to achieve. Not necessarily detect.

    So as was said last week..certain places in London etc are not likely to be safe or more likely are no go areas. And worse, because the authority (Gov) simply does not care about who is here in UK. The attempted court spring and shooting in London last week (Turks and heroine) reaches from here right across the EU with bodies to match. Also, with the wooden pallets (cocaine) via Valencia.

    As someone recently said:
    “you don’t know what you are getting into”.
    “admit you have a problem”.

    190 countries think the problem is in 30, 50 or 100 years time. Thats leaders of countries with their bag carriers. The really big problem is now!

  6. Brin Jenkins says:

    Long term planning is misconstrued by these traitors, the next election is long term to them. Its the modern way, with short term contracts folk were expected to take long term mortgages. This is a madness of course.

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