David Cameron has caused dismay at the highest levels in the Foreign Office over plans for a hardline European policy under a Tory government, The Independent on Sunday has learnt.
The Conservative leader risks leaving Britain isolated and ridiculed, say diplomats, if he pushes ahead with plans to form a new Eurosceptic group in the Strasbourg parliament which would include a party that warns homosexuality will trigger the "downfall of civilisation".
Officials are also alarmed that the shadow Foreign Secretary, William Hague, has told Sir Peter Ricketts, the Foreign Office's permanent secretary, to prepare for a referendum on the Lisbon Treaty as the first act of a Tory government. Mr Cameron has not ruled out calling a referendum even if all EU countries ratify the treaty, a move that has caused particular consternation at the Foreign Office.
As Douglas Carswell points out, what fucking business is it of these unelected technocrats?
What possible business could it be of unelected diplomats to decide what alliances we form in the European parliament? Since when did FCO officials decide foreign policy rather than those we elect?
Now you mention it, since about 1970-something, actually.
The driving force behind our involvement in the EU has been our foreign policy establishment at the FCO. Thanks to Crown Prerogative, our diplomats are almost wholly unaccountable to the Commons. Callaghan, Thatcher, Major, Blair or Brown – ultimately it made not a jot of difference to the integrationist outcome of our Europe policy.
Dan Hannan has also weighed in on this subject...
FCO mandarins are in a panic. They are terrified that a Tory Government might implement the wishes of the British people rather than deferring to the "experts". The Conservatives might even allow people a referendum. Good Heavens, Sir Humphrey! Where will it end? What if the voters don't want closer integration with Brussels? Where will that leave the Foreign Office?
Pace any diplomats reading this, it's nothing personal, my mother was one of you. It's just that you chaps have a tendency to pursue your own agenda, not ours. In his book This Blessed Plot, the Europhile journalist Hugo Young tracked down several of the diplomatists who had presided over Britain's Euro-accession in the 1960s and 1970s. They cheerfully admitted that they had, on occasion, disregarded the stated will of their elected ministers in order to pursue what they regarded as Britain's national interest. No doubt they did so from patriotic motives. But, looking at where we are today—our intercontinental trade damaged, our Commonwealth links prejudiced, our agriculture dying, our oceans sterile, our democracy vitiated and our Treasury several hundred billion pounds the poorer—it seems clear that they were wrong.
Indeed. Dan has some prescriptions for fixing this state of affairs, and they may well be sensible. Your humble Devil's policy on this would be, I must confess, a more slash-and-burn affair.
Sack the top three grades of Civil Servant across the entirety of government. Sack them all. For too long, the Sir Humphreys have ruled government policy, stuck their noses in where they weren't invited and dictated measures leading to the ruination of Britain.
It is time to clear out the rottenness from the whole of Parliament and just destroying the power of the Executive is simply not enough: the scum who direct policy behind closed doors must be rooted out and cast aside.
Otherwise, nothing will really change.