Friday, April 11, 2014

Patrick Wintour in the Guardian gives a helpful synopsis

This article by Patrick Wintour in the Guardian gives a helpful synopsis of the Conservative leadership's offer to the electorate at the forthcoming European elections

Let us take them one by one:

• An advantageous deal for British taxpayers in the EU budget
What does this mean?  A short term bribe bunged in our direction (but not actually reaching our pockets).  And in a few years the budget shenanigans will start again.

• A better deal for business through deregulation
Hmm.  The EU cannot help regulating.  Like the many headed hydra of mythology, you might cut off some bits but they will grow back again, more potently than before.

• A guarantee that Britain will remain outside the single currency and any EU bailout schemes
Big effing deal.  There is no way we are going into the single currency anyway.  Any party that even suggests it is dead in the water, so this "promise" is just a statement of the bleedin' obvious.

• Full control of borders, aligned to free movement of labour, but not the free movement of benefits
For me and many other people (perhaps most people) the European elections will be a referendum on immigration.  So these weasel words on a policy "aligned to free movement of labour" are of no interest.  I want the door shut, not slightly pulled-to for a little while before being flung open again.

• An opt-out from justice and home affairs
Comme ci, comme ça.  
• Opposition to ever-closer union inside the EU
This is one of the big issues.  What practical measures are proposed to stop it?  It's not enough to just say "trust us, we are politicians with your best interests at heart and our trusty diplomats will work tirelessly on your behalf".

• A guaranteed referendum by the end of 2017
This is where it all falls down as no-one (not even Tories) trust the Conservative leadership to deliver this.  A referendum was in the 2010 Conservative manifesto and reneged upon.  Even though the Lisbon Treaty had been signed, a referendum should have been held to allow the people to retrospectively comment on what Gordon Brown had done, and to act as a statement of intent on the negotiations to come.

As a life-long Conservative I am not voting Conservative in the European elections - mainly because the official Conservative policy towards the EU is not really Conservative and the people standing as candidates are not true Conservatives (with one or two exceptions).

They are luke-warm liberals, and I am spitting them out.

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