Sunday, October 21, 2007

The Tories and a brave Newmania world

I am fed to the back fucking teeth of whining fucking Tories turning up on this blog and bollocking on about how the Tories are the only viable anti-EU party and that I should vote for them. The latest one is the worthy and wordy Newmania, who says this (amongst other things).
The only way out of Europe is via the Conservative Party. This Party is now universally Eurosceptic and only needs the added element of a solid after EU narrative to tip the political edifice over.

So, I'd like to look at whether the Tory Party—or rather the bit that matters, CCHQ—is, in fact, EUsceptic. And I'd like to do this by amplifying a little logical argument—if you could all attempt to put aside any tribal affiliations for five minutes, I would be grateful.

In his comment, Newmania contends that "this is how real politics works, occupy the centre and move it." To an extent, he is right; but however it works, the actual purpose of the exercise is to capture as many voters as possible. So, ready?
  1. In order to achieve power, a political party is must capture as many voters as possible.

  2. In most polls of Britain, the split of those who want to be in the EU and those who want to be out of the EU is roughly 50:50 (the precise weighting differs with timing, etc. and is usually weighted slightly to those who want to get out, but let's work with a 50% split).

  3. Given this, any political party needs to capture some of the other side. To do this, there are two main tactics and which one the party adopts will depend on the core values of those running it. Those two main tactics are as follows:

    1. Any party that was anti-EU would placate those who wanted to be in by making encouraging pro-EU noises, but the actual actions that they took would keep the country out of the EU.

    2. Any party that was pro-EU would placate the anti-EU voters (by promising certain future actions or, say, promising to repatriat Charters that no longer existed), but always actually sign the instruments to take the country in.

    With me so far?

  4. Therefore, to determine whether the leaders of a certain party are pro- or anti-EU, we should look at their actions and ignore the rhetoric.

And so we return to the Conservative Party. Ignore what you think the members believe in, what is it that the leaders believe in? Well, they make encouraging anti-EU mutterings and have done for decades. Right now, their leader is promising to take the Tory MEPs out of the federalist EPP, they are promising to repatriate the Social Chapter, and they are even promising to hold a referendum whenever there may be more powers ceded to the EU.

But let's look at these pledges a little more closely, shall we?
  • Removing Tory MEPs from the federalist EPP.
    But this will not happen until 2009, after the next European Parliament elections. And where are the MEPs going? Are they, for instance, joining the EUsceptic Independence and Democracy Group (which includes the UKIP MEPs)? No.

    Cameron is attempting to form his own grouping. So what happens if they do not get the requisite twenty members from nine different countries (which is looking likely)? Will the MEPs go into the InDem Group? Well, Cameron has not even mentioned entertaining that possibility. Or will they stay in the EPP? Just as a temprorary measure, you understand, while they get the new group up and running...

  • Repatriating the Social Chapter.
    The Social Chapter does not exist; it has been incorporated into other Treaties (most notably the Treaty of Amsterdam) and these Treaties cannot be altered except by a unanimous vote in the Council of Ministers. In other words, we would need to persuade all of the other 26 EU countries that Britain should not have to abide by rules that they themelves are bound by.

    There is no chance of this happening, not in a million years. But I am sure that Mr Cameron will return, a wan smile on his massively-foreheaded swede, as he explains that, alas, he was unable to do this (and he will, of course, blame the previous government).

  • Holding a referendum over the ceding of powers.
    This is, of course, the most mendacious of the lot. The EU Reform Treaty's so-called "ratcheting clause" has made the Treaty self-amending. And the red lines are only valid for five years and only apply to laws in force up until the point when the Reform Treaty becomes law.

    As such, any power will already have been given away by the time that the Tories get into power. They will never actually need to have a referendum because the EU can take any powers it likes under the terms of the new Treaty; the Conservative government will not ever give away more power because they will have none to give.

So, there are three examples of the Tory leaders' empty rhetoric; it is mere sophistry, designed to appease the anti-EU 50% of the electorate. And, unfortunately, far too many otherwise intelligent people have been taken in by this bullshit; many of them have been taken in because of their tribalism, because they want to be taken in, because they want to believe that the Tory leadership sympathise with what they themselves believe.

So, we have seen anti-EU promises and what we would now expect is to see pro-EU action. Do we? Well, let us look at the Conservative Party's main achievements, as regards Britain and the EU, whilst in power.
  1. Conservative Prime Minister Edward Heath and the 1972 European Communities Act. Heath takes us into the EEC, the pre-cursor of the EU. This is about as pro-EU as you can get, really.

  2. The Conservatives in the Eighties.
    Despite a good deal of anti-EU speechifying by Margaret Thatcher, the Conservatives signed the 1986 Single European Act which formed the single market. The Conservatives also prepared for and eventually, in 1990, joined the ERM which was the mechanism by which the countries of the EU would harmonise their economies in order to prepare for monetary union (The Euro).

  3. The Conservatives in the Nineties.
    The Conservatives show every intention of signing up to the Euro without a referendum; however, the surprise showing of The Referendum Party coupled with the Black Wednesday ERM disaster force them to reconsider. Plans to enter monetary union are put on the back-burner and a referendum is promised.

    However, despite a huge demand, the Tories refuse to hold a referendum on the 1992 Maastricht Treaty—despite the fact that referenda were held in Denmark and France—which came into force in 1993 and led to the official formation of the EU.

Throughout this time in power, the Conservatives were often seen as a EUsceptic party and employed a good deal of EUsceptic rhetoric.

But, when you look at the Conserative Party's actions over the last 35 years, and ignore the vote-gaining anti-EU protestations, we can see, by applying our logical model above, that the leaders of the party have always been—and still are—pro-EU.

The only question that remains is: why the living fuck does anyone still think that the Tories are EUsceptic? Hey! Tory Party Members! Just because you are EUsceptic does not make your leaders inclined the same way; and just because you wish, hope or believe that your leaders are EUsceptic does not actually make them so.

You can argue that the Tories are the most EUsceptic party but given the EUphilia of the other two parties, that isn't actually saying that much. You can even argue that I should vote for them because my properly EUsceptic party hasn't got a chance of getting into power.

You can argue that the only realistic thing that I can do to get us out of the EU is to change the Tories from within but that's crap too. Why would the leaders change their stance: they've managed to string you fucking morons along long enough. And they will keep stringing you fucking morons along too because you keep wishing and hoping that your leaders think as you do. They can carry on as they always have and you will still keep sending in your subs and voting for them

Wake the fuck up! And now ask yourself an honest question: if the Tories dropped any pretence of EUscepticism, would you still vote Tory? Would you still vote Tory because, y'know, they are the only party who are near what you want in terms of freedom?

If the answer is "no", well, according to Newmania, you take the EU far more seriously than the majority of people in this country and so the party probably aren't going to give a shit. But, you have admitted that you wouldn't vote for the Tories under these circumstances, so please stop whining on at me refusing to do so.

If your answer is "yes", then you do not take the EU nearly as seriously as I do—it is the single most important issue in this country because the EU impacts on everything else that the general population apparently cares more about—so, please, stop whining about me refusing to vote for the Conservatives.

OK? 'Kay.

18 comments:

John Trenchard said...

Nothing to do with the Tories....
Brown boasts EU deal a great success


Camera microphone caught an unguarded conversation between Brown and Jose Socrates. Do read it all.

Anonymous said...

Heard Hague and Gove over this weekend,referendum my foot,no difference between NuLAB and NuCons or Libdums,if we get UKIP where I live then that's me,that's Wirral West.

AD627 said...

I’m not going to whine about you refusing to vote Conservative. I do, however, find your urge to attack the Tories at every opportunity – and not always accurately – baffling. If the EU is your main concern, then attack the government’s policy and promote the policy of your own chosen party. By attacking the Conservatives – the major party you agree is the most eurosceptic – you advance the federalist cause.

And what is the relevance of Tory actions in the 1970s, 1980s and 1990s? By this logic, Labour would be the most eurosceptical party. Similarly, UKIP would be a fringe party, characterised by vicious infighting and ineffectuality … Oh!

Newmania said...

Wordy?

Devil's Kitchen said...

AD627,

You said...

"By attacking the Conservatives – the major party you agree is the most eurosceptic – you advance the federalist cause."

I said...

"You can argue that the Tories are the most EUsceptic party..."

Perhaps I should have emphasised the "you" at the beginning but, given that I had just written a long post about how the Tories were not EUsceptic in any meaningful fucking way I didn't think that it was necessary.

Look, I dislike the Tories as much as I dislike Labour but I have not criticised them nearly as much, over the last (nearly) three years, as I have the government. But, listen up: ALL THREE MAIN PARTIES ARE PRO-EU and therefore federalist.

Given that I have outlined this in the post above, why on earth do you find it odd that I should attack the Tories as much as Labour (I would attack the LibDems, but who gives a shit about them)?

"And what is the relevance of Tory actions in the 1970s, 1980s and 1990s?"

Because those who do not learn the mistakes of history are doomed to repeat them.

"By this logic, Labour would be the most eurosceptical party."

Who's to say that they aren't? Except for their opting in to the Social Chapter, signing the Nice Treaty, ramming through the Reform Treaty, blah, blah, blah...

DK

Anonymous said...

Hi I have posted recently and Mr Trenchard told me about common purpose. If I leave my email can you please contact me I want to ask you a few questions but don't want to do it on the forum.

smithbarry22@yahoo.co.uk

Please contact me I want to ask you something and tell you some things aswell.

Newmania said...

If I bet the time to day I will be dealing with this , it is compellling inparts but unbalanced , as you would expect.

By this logic, Labour would be the most eurosceptical party.

I think thats a better point than you admit and in fact the whole question of left wing resistance to the EU is a tad awkward ...any way I `ll deal with it on mu blog .

Can`t say you do not land a a few blows here though

mister scruff said...

Parents of fat children to be given a warning

Devil's Kitchen said...

Newmania,

It was easier to answer your comments in a full post; I hate typing into the teeny, tiny comments box!

You are right, left-wing resistance to the EU is a difficult one, and I shall try to amplify my reasoning for that at some point.

DK

Mark Wadsworth said...

Fine post, good stuff.

wildgoose said...

Excellent Stuff.

Of course, the real point is that parties are supposed to believe in something, and to endeavour to persuade voters to their line of thinking. Not lie to voters whilst pretending to pander to their prejudices in all directions of each viewpoint.

This is why it's not worth voting for any of the big 3 parties - by definition they're the ones that can no longer be trusted because they no longer have any genuinely held beliefs.

That leaves UKIP and the Nationalists: English Democrats, SNP and Plaid Cymru.

rigger said...

it really hacks me off when I get local tories-of which I was formally a member-moaning at me about losing seats on the council due to UKIP standing.

They love FPTP when they're winning but it's a totally different story when some of them can't get their snouts in the trough because of us.I see their point to a degree but we have to work within the electoral framework that exists to achieve our aims then so be it.If we used their logic,then the status quo of creeping federalisation would continue.End of story.

I've got to say that if we had PR we would grow and the big two know it.As would the greens and other small parties.It's all a bit too comfortable for them in my view and trying to talk us out of existence is pursuant to maintaining that cushy life.

Sword of Zorro said...

DK,

Much as I DO agree with you that the EU is the single most important issue facing our country - UKIP stand NO CHANCE Of even winning ONE SEAT. Lets face it the Lib Dems stand 100x more chance of winning the election than UKIP and the LD have 0% chance of winning. So a vote for UKIP is a WASTED VOTE.

Would you say you'd prefer to continue with Gordon Fucking Taxed my arse right off Brown, or would you like a change to a different party with some clue that the other party MIGHT LOWER SOME TAXES, something GB simply doesn't know how to do (at least without raising another tax by more at the same time).

I agree with you that the Tories are not THAT different to ZanuLab BUT they are a little less obnoxious, and anything which gets rid of the Cyclopean one would be a good thing.

Your anti-Tory stance is likely to help Nulab, that's all... Think about it.....

Zorro

Nosemonkey said...

The thing is, there's a distinction between people who want out of the EU altogether and people who tend towards being eurosceptic. The former group is, I reckon, rather smaller than the latter (which I'd estimate as having a moderate majority in the UK, depending on your definition of "eurosceptic").

The Tories - like the country as a whole, I'd say - are primarily eurosceptic, but not withdrawalist. However, the logic of their current position would - if continued - gradually shift the party (and, arguably, its supporters) closer to being withdrawalist, as it would become increasingly apparent that some of their policies about regaining powers from Brussels are simply not possible under present arrangements. (More possible if the reform treaty is passed, I reckon, but that's an altogether different argument...)

So, considering the Tories have a far higher chance of getting into office than any other party that's openly critical of the EU, supporting them makes sense on that basis. Because the further they go down their current path, the more they'll realise that the only way to reclaim the powers they want is to leave the EU altogether.

It's all about the practicalities - the case for leaving the EU altogether remains one being made only by fringe parties. If eurosceptics give the Tories enough backing, then they may well start to bring it into the mainstream - but only if they see that it will get them votes.

And, let's face it, the Tories being convinced to turn withdrawalist over the course of the next few years is significantly more likely than UKIP or any of the other hardcore anti-EU parties ever winning a general election.

Shug Niggurath said...

OK, fuck it.

Brown says the treaty is nothing like the constitutional one, the tories say it is 99% the same.

So either;

Someone's lying to us

or;

The document is so open to interpretation that it can be all things to all men.

Both cases therefore REQUIRE a referendum win or lose - for all the populace to make a decision - make your case BROON it's either what you say or you're a liar.

Devil's Kitchen said...

Guys,

For the purposes of the post above, UKIP's prospects are simply not important. Would it even have come up were I not a member?

For what it is worth, the best way in which to push one of the big three towards one's way of thinking is by hitting them where it hurts: in the wallet and at the voting booth.

Regarding the Tories and low tax: the Tories are committed to NuLabour spending plans and revenue neutral tax alterations for the life of the next parliament at least; so I wouldn't pin your hopes too firmly on a lower tax bill for at least 7 years.

NM, you are probably right but you must see that, from my perspective, we are running out of time.

DK

Roger Thornhill said...

If people want to be enslaved and collectivised they have not god damn right to make me so, nor drag the entire country into it. Under the EU and New Labour I only have violent/illegal means at my disposal.

If people want to collectivize amongst themselves of their own free will under a Libertarian environment, then they are quite welcome.

Therein lies the difference between an EU future and a life.

AD627 said...

To tar the Tories – after ten years of opposition – by reference to the 1970s, 1980s and 1990s is wrong. The party leader is 41 for crying out loud – he was in short trousers when Ted Heath took us into the EEC.

In William Hague, he has chosen as his shadow foreign secretary a man that led his party into a general election campaigning on an anti-European ticket, not because the polls showed it was a winning strategy – they didn’t – but because he believed it. The shadow foreign secretary is identifiably more Eurosceptic than any significant front-bencher in the government.

The idea that the Tory Party is not Eurosceptic is untenable and referring to the 1970s, 1980s and 1990s does not affect this. Anyone that fails to acknowledge this fundamental change is simply unwilling to reflect the facts. We have seen the passing of the post-war generation of politicians – a group that was determined to believe – in the face of all the evidence to the contrary – that the European project was a necessary protection against another European war. Refusing to acknowledge that the passing of the likes of Howe, Hurd, Lawson, Heseltine and Clarke represents a fundamental shift in Tory thinking on Europe verges on the indefensible.