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?
- In order to achieve power, a political party is must capture as many voters as possible.
- 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).
- 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:
- 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.
- 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?
- 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.
- 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.
- 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).
- 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.