Friday, February 01, 2008

Hannan thrown out of the EPP

Dan Hannan MEP has always been one of the good guys (apart from being in the Conservative Party, obviously) so I can't help but cheer at this news.
Amongst comedy scenes in the European parliament just now, Dan Hannan was summarily ejected from the centre right European People's Party Group(EPP).

This makes him the second Tory MEP to be thrown out of the Group, the first being Roger Helmer.

What makes this more interesting is that he was thrown out for much the same reason. He had risen to speak in favour of a proposal of Nigel Farage leader of UKIP. Helmer was thrown out for doing the same thing a couple of years ago.

The precise details are a bit hazy, but as Hannan was speaking the monstrous Christopher Beazley (so called Tory MEP) slid over to Dan and berated him.

Then Joseph Daul the toad like Alsatian famer who leads the EPP stood yup, announced that he finally run out of patience with Mr Hannan, and despite not discussing it with his own colleagues told the chamber that Dan was no longer a member of the EPP. He even admitted that his action broke his group's rules, but he was personally so fed up with Dan that the rules no longer mattered.

Given that Dan was speaking against the granting of arbitrary rules to the President of Parliament (as he and I have blogged about before) there was a certain irony about the action.

Nothing particularly surprises me about the actions of the EU-elite anymore, to be honest. As they get closer and closer to their dream of ratifying the Lisbon Treaty EU Constitution, they are ceasing to actually give a crap anyway.

As Elaib reports in an update, the Socialists have issued a press release on the subject. Part of it comes from Richard Corbett, the MEP for Yorkshire and the Humber (who is so dedicated to his constitutency that he apparently lives full-time in Brussels Antwerp. How appropriate: he's the twerp from Antwerp) and a strong contender for most odious man on the planet.
Socialist spokesman on Constitutional Affairs, Richard Corbett, who drafted the proposal, said: "Dan Hannan's comparison of President Pöttering to Hitler was absolutely disgraceful and he is likely to be rightly expelled from the EPP as a result."

Mr Corbett rejected Hannan's protests as unfounded. "This is not about freedom of expression," he said, "simply about whether he and others have an absolute right to delay proceedings of the House if they choose to do so."

Actually, Corbett, you cunt, they do have a perfect right to delay the proceedings of the House if they choose to. That is why, as Hannan reported, Poettering had to write asking if he could simply ignore the rules of the Parliament. And Corbett should know: he was one of those who drafted those rules.
Hans-Gert openly admitted that the behaviour of his Euro-sceptic opponents was within the rules. And he wasn’t asking to change those rules – a procedure that would take time. No, he simply wanted permission to disregard them. Permission was duly granted, by 20 committee votes to 3.

Hans-Gert’s letter is worth quoting in full:
Dear Mr Leinen, [Jo Leinen, a German Socialist, is Chairman of the Constitutional Affairs Committee]

In the course of the current part session, Parliament was confronted on several occasions with procedural requests which were formally based on and fulfilled the requirements of a provision of the Rules of Procedure, but which according to the full conviction of myself and of other Members of the House were moved with the intention of obstructing the procedures of the House.

I take the view that my overall responsibility for the implementation of the Rules of Procedure and the powers conferred on me by Rule 19 include the power not to allow such practices.

I should therefore be grateful if, pursuant to Rule 201(1), you could submit to the Committee on Constitutional Affairs the following question for urgent consideration:

‘Can Rule 19(1) be interpreted as meaning that the powers conferred by this Rule include the power to call an end to excessive use of motions such as points of order, procedural motions, explanations of vote and excessive, indiscriminate requests for separate, split or roll call votes where these appear to the President to be aimed at deliberately disrupting the procedures of the House or the rights of other Members.’

I would appreciate it if I could have your Committee’s interpretation before the opening of the next part session.


Re-read the letter slowly. Hans-Gert accepts that our demands for electronic votes and for the right to explain how we voted were perfectly legal. But he does not ask for the rules to be changed. He asks for the right to ignore them at his own discretion – that is, to ignore such requests when they come from Euro-sceptics.

The Socialists' press release continues into farce.
Said Mr Schulz [leader of the Socialist group]: "Mr Hannan's remarks were a deep insult to Hans-Gert Pöttering and the whole European Parliament. Mr Daul's response shows that he is a very honest man.

Joseph Daul is an honest man? Really? What, this Joseph Daul?
It is certainly and indisputably the case that the new leader of the EU parliament's biggest political group is under investigation for misuse of public funds in France – part of an inquiry into the diversion of €16m (£10.6m) of agricultural money in the 1990s that has also ensnared three former agriculture ministers.

Honest? By the EU's terms possibly, but this is a man who almost makes Derek Conway look honest.

Finally, Hannan himself writes about the incident.
At worst, our protest would occasionally keep MEPs from their lunch for another 20 minutes. But even this was intolerable to the authorities. In plain violation of their own rules of procedure, they demanded — and, this morning, were disgracefully granted — the right arbitrarily to set aside the rules as they sought fit.

I made a point of order to protest. An electoral majority, I said, could not over-rule a constitution. Majority or no, the Parliament still had to follow its own rule book. To do otherwise would be to replace the rule of law with arbitrary government.

I repeated the point I made in this blog last week: that the 1933 Enabling Act had had a technical majority in the Reichstag, but that it opened the door to unconstitutional rule. Whatever else MEPs are, they are not Nazis: many of them have proud records of fighting totalitarianism throughout the world. That is why it was so disappointing to see them resorting to this appalling measure in order to silence dissent.

Cue a hollow laugh from your humble Devil: if they know so much about fighting totalitarian regimes, why are they so happy to sit back and endorse it now? Because they don't mind totalitarian regimes as long as it is they who wield the power.
As I sat down, the EPP leader, Joseph Daul, sprang to his feet and announced that he wanted me thrown out of the group. He had lost patience with my filibustering, he said. Enough was enough.

I spoke to him afterwards. I hoped, I said, that he wasn’t taking any of this personally. But I understood why he wanted to exclude me. There was, I suggested, an ideological difference between us. “Not a difference, an incompatibility”, he snapped, adding: “I don’t care if you call for a referendum in the United Kingdom. But I won’t have you doing it from the floor of the European Parliament as a member of my Group.”

Fair enough.

After all, we wouldn't want the European People's Party supporting anything as democratic as a referendum now, would we?
It is, as I have always maintained, better for us to be friendly neighbours to the EPP than grudging tenants. Here, though, is the answer to those who wonder why David Cameron pledged to leave the EPP.

My own Chief Whip, Den Dover, was kind enough to see me afterwards and reassure me that nothing I had said was against Conservative policy, that our party is strongly in favour of a referendum and that, in any case, we are all pledged to leave the EPP next year. If the EPP excluded me, he added, that was their business. As far as he was concerned, I would sit as a Conservative and a member of the Conservative delegation, in receipt of the Tory Whip and as a re-selected Tory candidate.

Which seems to me about as clear a demonstration as you could ask of why it is that the Conservatives and the EPP cannot remain together. It’s time for an amicable divorce.

Yes, this is true but... Hannan makes the mistake of assuming that his fellow Tory MEPs agree with his point of view. It may seem arrogant for me to say that from over the Channel when Hannan works with these people, but it is the only conclusion that I can draw.

If his fellow Conservative MEPs support a referendum, why have they not joined Hannan in his protest (Roger Helmer excepted)? It is either because they don't agree that there should even be a referendum or because they are spineless freaks who should be left in Brussels when we bugger off out of this Union. In other words, the fuckers have gone native. They are utter scum, cunts of the very first water (as a taster, here's my appraisal of another Tory MEP, Giles Chichester).

Although I suspect that none of them are as bad as Richard Corbett: that really would take some doing.

UPDATE: wow! Those Conservative MEPs do like to have a go though, don't they. Here's Den "weasel" Dover having a go at Hannan in the comments to Dan's piece.
Den Dover MEP and Conservative Chief Whip
Den Dover MEP and Conservative Chief Whip 31 Jan 2008 18:06

In his Article on why the EPP wants to expel him my colleague Dan Hannan MEP attributes comments to me that I would never make. What he said was nothing to do with Conservative Party policy. Our Party is indeed strongly in favour of a referendum on the so called Reform Treaty (the Constitution). We will examine all options open to us, as UK Conservative MEPs, from June 2009 but no watertight pledges are in place, or expected in the near future. Finally I reminded him that he has just been re-adopted as a Conservative Candidate for the June 2009 European Elections for the South East. However I am not the only one who decides, in the light of his ill-advised comments in the Chamber and to the Press what his future will be.

Thank you, Den, for making clear a number of points.
  • Den Dover is a cunt.

  • Don't expect the Conservative MEPs to leave the EPP in 2009. After all, "no watertight pledges are in place" for which read, "there is no way that we are leaving the EPP and anyone who believed that load of old shite is stupider than I thought".

    Further, Cameron seems to have abandoned the idea of forming a new grouping. Why the Conservatives don't just join the Independence and Democracy Group, I don't know.

    No, actually I do: the IndDem group are anti-EU and the Conservatives are pro-EU. Oh, yes, and it's the same group that the UKIP MEPs are in.

  • Den Dover may not know what Hannan's future may be after his "ill-advised comments in the Chamber and to the Press" but it should be this: that he retains the Tory whip. If he does not, he should stand as an Independent and I hope that he would still romp home.

Still, it's good to see the Tories realy standing firm on their EU pledges, don't you think?

The Conservative MEPs plainly have no intention of leaving the EPP and the Tory leadership plainly has no intention of forcing them to do so. The Conservatives cannot even take a robust view of this relatively minor issue, and yet John Redwood and The Dude expect us to believe that the Conservatives are going to negotiate a new EU contract for Britain?

Don't make me fucking laugh.*

* Don't bother pointing out that UKIP are never likely to be in a position to do so because it's irrelevant. I am simply pointing out that the Tories will never do anything positive on this and you would be a fool to believe that they will.

If you care about the EU, here are your "viable" voting choices:
  • LibDems: very pro-EU.

  • Labour: pro-EU.

  • Conservatives: fairly pro-EU.

What a choice, eh? That's the beauty of a pluralist democracy.


Prodicus said...

Ben... oops sorry Den... Dover as good as calls DH a liar in a comment on DH's blog, regarding what he (DD) said to DH about this incident. Bastard. Hannan has more clear vision, courage and principle than the lot of them.

Elaib Harvey said...

Corbett FYI lives in Antwerp, not Brussels

Mark Wadsworth said...

Hurray for Dan Hannan! He was on Radio 4 early this morning, it's a pity he apologised, though.

If you want to get the cool umlaut over the letter "o" you type in ALT+0246. Like this "ö". Not sure if it works with a Mac.

Devil's Kitchen said...


You can do it by using the UTF characters, of which there is a list here.

So, to get ö, you type ö and that should do it.


Umbongo said...

Is "umlaut" just German for diaeresis (or dieresis)? Or do umlauts and diaereses [those plurals might not be in the correct form] serve completely different functions? If they serve identical purposes, shouldn't DK be encouraged - since this is a eurosceptic blog - to use diaeresis as a descriptive.

Roger Thornhill said...

Because they don't mind totalitarian regimes as long as it is they who wield the power.

Ain't that the truth.

london mike said...

This got an unlikely mention on the Today programme yesterday morning. It made me more outraged than usual as I tried to negotiate my way to work hampered by the bovine antics of West London drivers.

So later in the day - in Something Must be Done mode - I searched for the story (and I think it's a good one) on the BBC web site. Nothing. Ditto the Telegraph web site - a title for whom the venerable Hassan works.

Who says the mainsteam media don't bury inconvenient EU stories? Frustrating.

london mike said...

Hassan? Duh. Hannan.

London Mike? aka Assagai Mike, bit pissed from the pub, it shows.

Never Post When Pissed: It's the Law.

Tozznok said...

Daniel Hannan did apologise later, actually. You can see it here if you search the "Speakers on this subject" list on the right:;jsessionid=37110499115D5C0C94247B0759CA8985?session=last¤tSei=SEI1