No doubt most of you saw here and elsewhere over last weekend that only 1 in 3 Brits want to stay in the European Union. I have yet to see a single Minister comment on this finding, given that the question wasn’t ‘reform’ but ‘stay in’. Just under 1 in 5 UK voters now see the EU as democratic – which restores my faith in their discernment, because it quite clearly isn’t.
What we’re getting here is a re-run of the immigration question three years ago: 78% of the population wanted an end to immigration, and 0% of MPs had that issue anywhere on their radar. The parallel works particularly well, because for ‘an end to immigration’ read ‘not stay in EU’.
Yesterday there was some sort of response from the SW1 bunker. I’ve read several accounts of the newly stated Government ‘policy’ on transfer of powers, but this one from the Open Europe website sums it up rather well:
‘The Coalition Government will today publish details of the ‘referendum lock’, which would subject any future transfers of powers to the EU to a referendum in the UK. The lock will be introduced by amending the original 1972 European Communities Act and will be brought forward in the “Europe Referendum Bill”, which is set to come before the House of Commons in November.’
Now in point of fact, this is a waste of Parliamentary time on the scale of debating whether or how to kill verminous foxes. I say this as a bloke who, over the last five years, has gone from being vaguely eurosceptic on liberality grounds to being in strongly in favour of exit on commonsense economic and political bases. My reason for calling it a waste of time is that – bearing in mind Osborne’s pathetic display on Budget pre-monitoring last week – the Coalition in general and the Cameroonian Tory Party in particular are simply playing weasel words and silly politics here: they display zero real intention of any radical review of our trading strategy beyond gaffe-ridden jollies to India.
So far that’s just my informed opinion, but take a look at how the mechanics of what the spinners are calling ‘the referendum lock’ on power transfer will work:
‘The lock would cover any future treaty or any large scale transfer of power outside those treaties, although full details of how it is going to work in practice will be announced gradually. MPs would then be given the chance to vote on holding a referendum – if they vote in favour, a referendum would be held. The lock would not cover accession Treaties. Crucially, the process by which it would be decided what constitutes a “transfer of powers” remains unclear.’
It’s bollocks isn’t it? You can see it’s bollocks as easily as I, but the clunkers in Westminster think we’re going to bite their hands off for this ‘right’. This isn’t a referendum for us: it’s giving the deadbeats in the Commons ‘the chance’ to vote on a referendum, only after which will we get a say in things. Remaining questions include 1, define power transfer/treaty 2, will the votes be whipped and 3, are you deaf?
Note ‘The lock would not cover accession Treaties’. I’m not interested in acceding to anything at all, and neither are the two-thirds of my countrymen who agree with me: secession is the word on our agenda. But it’s nowhere on the legislators’ agenda. Normally I’m opposed to referendums, which I prefer to call plebiscites. I think elected and better-informed specialists should do their jobs, take the decisions, and then face us at the next election. But we don’t have many of those, so on this issue in particular I’m hugely in favour of a referendum on the EU – a la that version being touted by Daniel Hannan: do we want to stay in or not?
James Delingpole rightly pointed out last week that the BBC now ‘frames’ anti-EU sentiment in the UK as ‘mad’. He’s right: but Mark Thompson’s Trots could do a lot worse than review the market research among member nations. In the UK, Holland, Hungary, Slovakia and even Germany, there are clear majorities for secession.
However, my point remains the one expressed here earlier this year: the leadership of UKIP reads, to be frank, like A Brief History of Numpties. I cannot possibly take an oaf like Nigel Farage seriously, nor the shifty Lord Pearson who blathered through his eyebrows all over our TV screens while Farage was busy fighting elections and crashing planes. The Party now faces an election for a new leader, but the choice of an interim leader labouring under the name Jeffery Titford does not bode well – and nor does the decision of Farage to stand again. This sort of Ruritanian stuff makes it far too easy for the Guardian, the Beeb and witless Cameroons to depict UKIP and its supporters as nitwits incapable of holding their own in a grown-up debate.
The Slog (and many of its grassroots Tory readers) got it right on the button last April when we said that a more openly eurosceptic Conservative campaign message would have allowed them to romp home. The fact that the Party bigwigs are now going wobbly on Europe – and offering this risible non-lock on power transfer – shows first, that a tiny number of LibDem MPs are dictating a policy which flies fundamentally in the face of what UK citizens want; and second, that we do need a viable alternative to the sensorally challenged SW1 shower – hereinafter referred to by this site as The Swines – but UKIP in its current form ain’t it.
I think UKIP needs a weight and gravitas implant, and I think it needs it quickly. But I have an open mind about how that can be achieved. Like 67% of Britons, I want a Britain with an independently wise view on how to choose the best export, immigration, social model and economic approach in the coming decade; what I don’t want is a bunch of harrumphing Captain Mainwarings playing at soldiers.
I’m keen to turn this into a wider debate, so what does anyone else think? (Diatribes and 4-letter stuff will be taken down beyond a certain point of pointlessness). Also do please publish this argument elsewhere: the usual Slog rules apply…..I’m after a broader debate, not more hits. But for example, are there enough people around who want – and could help engineer – a Tory Right breakaway to UKIP – or even some of the Labour Right who don’t fancy the Miliband of Soap?
Write in and stay tuned.