Sunday, September 28, 2003

ICM Poll

In a Breaking News item from The Guardian about Blair's appearance on 'Breakfast with Frost' ahead of his party's Bournemouth Conference the following report of an ICM Poll published in the News of the World appears:-

A poll released Sunday found that 64 percent of Britons questioned said they did not trust Blair and 48 percent think he should resign. The survey, by polling firm ICM for the News of the World newspaper, found Labour tied with the opposition Conservatives and Liberal Democrats, with 31 percent of voters saying they'd support each party in an election. The next general election must be held by 2006.

ICM questioned 1,002 people between Wednesday and Friday, with a margin of error of three percentage points

What does this mark, with all three parties level pegging and the government horribly unpopular? Three party politics does not work in Britain!

Saturday, September 27, 2003

With friends like these?

Michael Heseltine shows himself as ready as ever to dish the dirt on his own party as reported in today's Daily Telegraph Heseltine warns of Tory election defeat "Lord Heseltine said people suspected the Tories stood for something the public "don't quite like"."

Friday, September 26, 2003

Six Month Test for IDS

The following quote is from the Opinion piece in this morning's Daily Telegraph by Alice Thomson:-

Mr Blair couldn't care less. He knows Lord Hutton won't destroy him, just one of his minions. He can pass off the by-election as mid-term blues. One Cabinet minister told me this week that Mr Blair is convinced that Iain Duncan Smith will never become prime minister. As IDS himself has said, he had six months to prove his mettle, and he's failed. The Tory party has lost all interest in winning, giving up over the summer and cutting their autumn conference to 13 hours of debates. The Sun has warned that "Red Kennedy" is a "man who will ruin your life"; but he will "decapitate" only Tories. He is not a real threat to Mr Blair. However low the turnout, Labour is still on course to win a third election.

The full piece is here

Sunday, September 21, 2003

IDS and Theresa May Critique

The Independent on Sunday is the latest to again raise the 'Leadership Question'.

Duncan Smith bids to save Leadership is the headline of the newspaper's article. Who will bid to save the party if Portillo steps half a pace forward yet one more time?

Meantime in The Spectator Simon Heffer rips into another apparently equally ineffective Tory grandee in this piece entitled 'To all intents and purposes, Theresa May might as well not exist'

Perhaps the criticism of the lady in the article referred to in the second paragraph above leads directly to the failures identified in the first article linked. George W Bush could raise campaign money and performed barely adequately in the Presidential Campaign. His strength seemed to come from his ability to pull good people to his cause. IDS has his weaknesses; is the greatest his failure to build a strong team around him?

Saturday, September 20, 2003

IDS on Brent East

An interesting report from ic Berkshire Tory leader dismisses Brent result

He claimed that Charles Kennedy, "in a desperate attempt to shore up his own position", had attacked Labour from the left, winning votes from people who in the 1980s had voted for 'Red Ken' Livingstone.

"As our vote held up, we saw a move from the left to the left," said the Tory leader,

He claimed the Liberal Democrats were a left-wing party who at their conference next week would discuss "offensive" policies including abolishing the monarchy, banning smacking, and imposing compulsory sex education for seven year olds.

And despite the Brent result, local council by-elections were held on Thursday in which Tories won 45% of the vote to Labour's 25% and the Lib Dems' 16%, said Mr Duncan Smith.
Brent East By-Election

Today's Leader in the Daily Telegraph discusses the implications of Thursday's vote under the title 'Tories get the Blues' and says:-

The Brent East by-election poses the sharpest question for the Conservatives. Everyone knows that they are no longer the natural party of government. Now, it appears that they have also ceased to be the natural party of opposition as well.

Sunday, September 14, 2003

New Portillo Leadership Challenge?

On an interview with Adam Boulton of Sky News Portillo is reported as saying IDS cannot win. Portillo said it would take a "once-in-a-generation" upset for Mr Duncan Smith to win a victory going on to add:-

But speaking on Sky News' Sunday with Adam Boulton programme, Mr Portillo said the party leader's position was safe as there was no real challenger to his premiership.

Annanova also reports the story highlighting "a failure to communicate" a somewhat strange charge to level against the lengthy policy documents put forward last week and accessible from this link back to our posting of 3rd September
A Relevant Exchange

This exchange of letters took place in the subsription magazine Euro Facts. The first is a letter dated 11th July from Christina Speight


11 July 2003


Nigel Farage MEP and Derek Bennett (letters 11 July) are defending the indefensible.

Duncan Smith was quite clear ...

1. The Tories demand a referendum on the constitution;
2. If they don't get one they will fight the election on the constitution issue;
3. They do not want ANY constitution at all;
4. Duncan Smith will have already succeeded in stopping the draft being railroaded through the IGC;
5. The Tories reject" a centralised and federalist Europe" and want " a partnership of sovereign states, trading freely with each other and co-operating on matters of common interest." [Isn't this what we all want?]
6. "But Parliament has no more right to lay Britain's sovereignty at the feet of a foreign constitution than it has to ban elections. No British government has the authority to give away that which it does not own. Because the Westminster Parliament's authority is founded in the will of the British people. An EU constitution would thwart the will of the peoples of Europe and over-rule their national parliaments. That's why the Conservative Party's opposition to the adoption of a European constitution is a matter of principle. It's a basic principle that sovereignty belongs to individual nations and their peoples"
7. "The European Union can only prosper as an alliance of sovereign democracies. A Europe of nations in a world of nations. Willing to fight for its own peoples and for a fairer, safer world. A stronger Britain in a stronger Europe."

Sure Duncan Smith does not want to leave Europe BUT HE DOES NOT WANT TO STAY IN THIS ONE!

We shall now be treated to that 1980s mantra 'we cannot trust the Tories' once again but after all if IDS can have sacrificed 5 years of his political life on a matter of principle of the Maastricht treaty, he at least deserves to be trusted!

So where does UKIP fit into this? It's now irrelevant!

Christina Speight

The following reply was published in the latest edition of the magazine from Mr Tim Parker

Dear Sir
As a new subscriber to eurofacts I read your excellent 1st August issue with great interest. But my attention was particularly drawn to the letter from Christina Speight as it sums up the ambivalence of the Tory position on the EU.

I have had this discussion with many local Tories, and, for all their undoubted sincerity, they are all stumped by the lack of logic in their own argument; how can any future Conservative government make the EU an alliance of sovereign states when this would require the unanimous agreement of all governments within the EU? Not one government endorses this view, and it would take only one government to veto it altogether.

The case against this approach was well put by Dr Alan Sked in the February 1995 issue of 'UK Independence News' in his article "Why the only good Conservative is an ex-Conservative" in which he says "Let me make it quite clear that there is a fundamental difference between Tory eurosceptics and members of UKIP. We want to withdraw from the EU altogether".

Which is why, Mrs Speight, recruitment to UKIP is very healthy in this area, not least amongst former members and activists of the Conservative Party.
Tim Parker, London.

The latest with today's date has been sent to the publishers of Euro Facts and will most probably appear in the magazine's next edition


14 September 2003

I was sorry to read Tim Parker's letter '"Tory Ambivalence" which was negative and no answer to the clear factual account which I gave originally. There is a very clear road ahead for us all which every organisation in the anti-EU cause endorses - EXCEPT UKIP!! (There was a rally in Bath with the Democracy Movement, The Tories, the Freedom Association, The Labour ESC, the (old!) Liberal Party, and others. UKIP as a party refused to cooperate!)

What we do is
1. fight FOR a referendum - all of us!.
2. WIN it!
3. If we don't get a referendum then back the only party that can get Blair out of No: 10 and promise a referendum then. WIN that!
4. The EU others will certainly go on without us - but SO WHAT? (see Article IV-7) No time for chicken heartedness!!

The limbo is (as Prodi says) a state of not being IN the EU. Isn't that what we want???? Trade will not stop and we hold all the cards. Unless they negotiate we stop paying them (that would make them bankrupt!), we support our farmers (and have a 100% milk quota), we ban all foreign fishing boats from our waters and if they cut off trade they would lose MUCH more than us. What's the worry?? Certainly the old treaties will vanish but I can't see them cutting off their noses to spite their faces. We don't have to take French wine ... plenty in USA and Australia and we are their biggest market!!

I relish the prospect ... we live in interesting times.

As for the facile quotes from Alan Sked. These were written when John Major was in No:10; when the party included at top level such people as Heseltine, Howe, Hurd and - yes - Clarke. Four of those are out to grass and the other is side-lined. The party is now run by one of John Major's principal opponents! Times move on and we should move on too.

As for UKIP Mr Parker has himself disclosed that the Treasurer has been sacked because he tried to introduce financial discipline. The result...?
As at 31/8/03
1. The party has £10,000 in the bank despite having sold many 3-5 year subscriptions all of which have associated costs in the next 2-4 years.
2. the party spent £100,000 in the election campaigns for the Welsh and Scottish assemblies. But only £41,000 had been approved by the National Executive Committee
3. The Party has a legal claim against it of £24,000 in respect of these elections
4. The national Telesales operation is running at a loss - of £5,600 in August alone.

So the party has eaten the seed corn for the next few years, is effectually insolvent and will soon probably be actually insolvent.

They are now irrelevant
Yours faithfully

Christina Speight

Friday, September 12, 2003

Can the Tories learn to trust the people? is the question with which Alice Thomson opens her article in this morning's Daily Telegragh. It is the first of many others to follow.

The Opposition held a party this week, in a foyer, and this is where the Tories are stuck, neither in nor out. Where is the great idea, the road map, the narrative? she continues before highlighting all the potential dangers of the party's latest big theme Decentralisation, as detailed in a new pamphlet Total Politics: Labour's Command State which can be read or downloaded in its entirety in pdf format from this link Total Politics Pamphlet or in summary form as provided by Conservative Central Office.

Thursday, September 11, 2003

EU Constitution Referendum

While we commented upon the first-rate coverage given to Tony Blair's position on the above in yesterday's Sun on our sister blog Ironies with a note regarding the appalling downgrading of its significance particulary by The Times which only gave it mention on page 12; we have now been provided, courtesy of Christina Speight, excerpts from the Daily Mail coverage, which providing as it does details of the remarks by David Heathcoat-Amory and Michael Ancram seems best placed here:-

The issue had a front page masthead together with most of page 2 and all of pages 4 and 5. with Comment on page 10
(Page 1)
Tony '45 minutes' Blair says the EU Constitution changes nothing. So why is he denying you a say in the nation's future?
(Page 2)
Has Blair misled the nation on EU reform as well?

+What Blair said in private ... '(It) is absolutely fundamental. It will define the relationship between Britain and the rest of Europe, the prospects for the euro, and it would last for generations. It is more important than Iraq" March 2002

+ and what he said in public ... "If there was fundamental change here there would be a case for a referendum. But there is not. There are no proposals ... at the moment that amount to such a change". May 2003

Mr Blair and his ministers have dismissed it as a 'tidying up exercise.. __ _ _ _ This. .... throws Mr Blair wide open to charges that he has persistently misled the country on an issue of burning importance - precisely the charge that he is facing over the war in Iraq.

Tory leader Iain Duncan Smith last night accused him of deceit declaring "You just can't believe a word the prime minister says."
- - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Shadow Foreign Minister Michael Ancram denounced the new document as "not
so much a White Paper as a White Flag".
(Page 3 - Simon Heffer)
They lied about Iraq. They lied about ending spin. How can you believe aword Labour say on Europe?

- - - - - - - - - - - - - -
"The public in choosing to distrust Mr Blair has already made up its own mind. - - - - - - - - Why then should we believe what it says about the equally controversial issue of Europe? - - - - - - - - An ICM poll showed 88% wanted a referendum. - - - - - - - - The government asks us to believe the constitution would change nothing., but that is not the
impression our partners [in the EU] are under. - - - - - - - - The Government ... knows that if it has a referendum it will lose it. - - -- - - - - The Government knew that much of what Giscard proposed would be politically unsaleable. To that end the Government proposed 200 amendments. Only 11 were accepted. - - - - - - - - The EU would ... have the right
to assume 'competence' over almost all areas of domestic policy - in other words it would have carte blanche to interfere inn our affairs, and to relegate us to the province of a superstate.
The claims that this loss of our democratic rights would be 'patriotic' would not have washed before the Kelly affair. Now they seem like just another insulting exercise in trying to swindle and deceive the public. -
- - - - - - -

(Blair) and his equally mendacious Foreign Secretary will no doubt ....continue by saying that nothing is fundamentally altered by the proposals and that the [few cs] so-called 'red-line' issues that Britain will not concede represent a great triumph for our negotiators. Like so much else that comes out of Whitehall these days that would simply not be true. Too much has already been conceded in the pre-treaty negotiations. If this treaty is ratified and we are subjected to its regulations we shall have surrendered a vital part of our democracy and of our birthright." - - - - -
- - -
(Page 4)

David Heathcoat Amory looks at what the White Paper says ... and, more pertinently, what it doesn't.

[DHA who submitted an alternative draft constitution, was the Tory represenrative on the Convention. He looks at 10 separate items and under the headings "What it says" and "What it doesn't" goes to the heart of the Constitution. I have precised these and do not necessarily use the Mail's words.. cs]

Title Blair says it is a "Constitutional Treaty for the EU" . It isn't ! It is a draft Treaty establishing a Constitution for Europe" [legal nitpicking ?? NO ! It is of profound constitutional importance! ..cs]

"No Fundamental change" The Constitution will enable the EU to interfere in just about every policy area, including employment, social security, foreign affairs, defence, the economy, the law, the police, asylum policy, our borders, sport, civil defence transport, energy, consumer policy, the NHS, education and even taxation. In many of these areas Britain is to surrender its veto completely and for ever.

"More accountable structure and strengthening of the role of national parliaments." Untrue! It is a massive transfer of power to Brussels. National Parliaments merely get the right to complain - and the Commission has the right to ignore those complaints!

"Foreign and Security policy is conducted by member states" Untrue. Member states must "actively and unreservedly" support "a common foreign and security policy" in a "spirit of loyalty and mutual solidarity". The European Foreign Secretary would oversee compliance with this. It commits member states to "comply with the acts adopted by the Union in this area" and to "refrain from any action contrary to the Union's interests." And Blair says member states are still in control!!!

"Member states to determine own economic policies" Untrue! The Commission has the power to coordinate the economic policies of member states which must "conduct their economic policies to contribute to the Union's objectives." The Commission is also put in charge "coordinating employment policy, regulating foreign investment in Britain"

"Charter of Fundamental Rights gives no new powers to the EU." Untrue! The government has already failed to stop the Charter being incorporated in the Treaty and so it would full legal effect in European law. This would give untrammelled right to strike with no exceptions. It would allow the Police or the armed services the right to ask for the right to strike [!]
There would be a Right to Asylum and the European Court would be the court of final appeal for all British legal cases.

"Qualified Majority Voting would speed up decision making on asylum and immigration" True.... BUT only by handing over these issues to the EU.

"Legislation on social issues can only be adopted unanimously." Untrue! The veto goes on matters of 'social exclusion' and changes to our 'social security system'. Brussels could set 'minimum standards' with disatrous effects on unemployment.

"Tax decisions must be unanimous". Untrue! On budgetary matters the British veto has gone with possible danger to our present rebate and if 'fraud' is supposed to be involved the veto also goes.

"Treaty sets minimum standards for citizens facing foreign courts". Untrue! The Eu will decide how UK courts operate, will define what are 'criminal offences' and length of sentences.

(Page 10)
A Dodgy Dossier on Europe

"After those dodgy dossiers on Iraq comes an even dodgier White Paper on the European Constitution. What is depressingly clear in these 59 glossy pages of half-truths, silky elisions, and bland reassurances is that this government is as mendacious and manipulative as ever. Why a White Paper at all? the answer ... is that Mr Blair is already defeated in Europe.
Three years ago he was against a constitution. Now he pretends it is 'good news for Britain'. - - - - - - - - ['humiliating climb-down' over the Charter of Fundamental Rights'] - - - - - - - - But then every page of this White Paper reeks of dishonesty and defeatism. - - - - - - - - [ "no fundamental change" !! - - - .... criminal justice and foreign policy ] ......In comes an EU with exclusive competence over trade, fisheries, competition rules, conservation and all international agreements. (With) 'shared' control over whole swathes of policy. - - - - - - - - What does 'shared' mean? Precious little. In future when the Commission lays down the law on such matters Britain will be forbidden to have its own
policies. - - - - - - - -

The Prime Minister admitted the constitution was " absolutely fundamental ...and it would last for generations"
Precisely. That remark - so wildly at odds with everything he and hisministers say publicly - is why his refusal of a referendum is so contemptible. .... (he) scrapes the barrel for any excuse to deny the British people a vote.
Has he forgotten this constitution was supposed to be about democracy and creating a Europe 'closer to its citizens'? Or, like his war dossiers, was that just another convenient lie"

EU Constitution Referendum Rally

Last weekends March and Rally in Bath addressed by Tory MP for Wokingham and noted EU critic John Redwood received the following coverage from the BBC News. Under the headline "Demo demands referendum on EU" it began:-

Tory Euro-sceptic John Redwood and one of the so-called "metric martyrs", Neil Herron, addressed hundreds of people in Bath on Saturday.

The cross-party march and rally was in support of a referendum on the EU constitution.

On Tuesday 9th September, at the English Speaking Union other leading lights of the EU-realistic movement some of whom also members of the Conservative Party met at a lunch to mark the tenth anniversary of the laying of treason charges against Government Ministers involved in the Maastricht Treaty. There they were addressed, among others, by Norman Tebbit and David Heathcoat-Amory.


We are adding a link on our side bar titled Referendum04. We believe that this organisation's careful and well-considered plans, will ensure the maximum possible impact, its organisers being responsible for two of the oh so few recent successes against the ever encroaching EU: namely the Metric Martyrs campaign and the present harassment of the unelected North East Regional Assembly and its financing, through NEARA (North of England against Regional Assemblies).

A petition form can be downloaded from the site Referendum04 Petition Form in pdf format and requires ten signatures. Those wishing to take an even greater part are invited to join the campaign by signing a standard two pound a month Direct Debit from their bank.

Further details can be obtained from this telephone number 0871 700 2004

IDS attack on 'Total Politics'

This item put out by the Conservative Party received some coverage in the FT which we are of course unable to link. The article stressed the disappointing opinion poll fall back behind labour of two percentage points which must be a matter of tremendous concern to all determined upon the urgent necessity of removing Tony Blair from Downing Street.

Epolitix trailers another policy statement that again clearly misses the central and burning issue for the country today and disproves the thrust of the argument in this opinion piece from today's Daily Telegraph by Daniel Johnson titled Why Duncan Smith's mission doesn't look quite so impossible

Time will tell?????

Tuesday, September 02, 2003

Looking the Leader

The Washington Times puts an interesting perspective from an outside viewpoint on the recent YouGov poll that appeared earlier in The Daily Telegraph. Appearing under the title Blame cast in Kelly suicide and first covering the Hutton Inquiry, the paper then turns to the Tories:-

As a result of the scandal, the Blair government has slipped into second place in the opinion polls, though only marginally.
His party was 2 percentage points behind the Conservatives in the latest poll, with 35 percent support, though it has gained a bit of ground against the much smaller Liberal Democrats.
More than half of those questioned in the YouGov poll, published in a national newspaper, said their opinion of politicians in general had gone down since the inquiry began.
The poll also underlined the basic weakness of the Conservatives, who lack a leader that the public sees as a serious alternative prime minister.
The poll shows 44 percent of Britons would be dismayed if Duncan Smith took charge of the country, compared with 16 percent who said they would be delighted.
Mr. Blair is still seen as the best choice for prime minister by 30 percent of those questioned, while 19 percent backed Mr. Smith and 18 percent gave their support to other candidates.

It is indeed a sobering thought for all opponents of the Blair Government that with the publicity presently so negative from almost every point of view, the fact that the main oppostion party is not surging far further into the lead must give pause for thought.

Monday, September 01, 2003

IDS and Deceit

The Leading Aricle in today's Daily Telegraph has some advice for IDS What the Tories must learn .

The following are quotes from the article:-

Let us be clear: the death of spin is itself chiefly spin. Mr Blair knows perfectly well how much his party owes to Messrs Mandelson and Campbell. He is not about to throw it all away.

Rather than loftily dismissing what New Labour has achieved, the Tories would do well to look at where their own primitivism landed them in 1997 and 2001.

Somewhat later it adds "But there is a world of difference between appearing unspun because you are trying to connect with your audience, and appearing unspun simply because you have not taken the time to think through your tactics".

In observing politics it is so easy to carp from the sidelines, that those involved in the day to day struggle can be forgiven for ignoring the mountains of amateur criticism with which they are faced. Observing from this distance, however, it is possible to see the seeds of the Tory's next defeat already being sown. We shall therefore continue to shove our oar in from this blog.

The Telegraph today voices its fear of amateurism in PR. Last night we raised the problems of failing to make a big enough break from the Major years.

The emphasis placed in the IDS article on health, schools and the police show signs that the party is not yet anywhere close to realising the need for a fundamental break with the past.

Leadership is required, setting the agenda and bringing public opinion behind. Those three great social issues might appear to be the driving prioroites of the British public, but they are NOT. Major's ministers managed the three responsible departments fairly competently and much more so than Blair's ministers have proved themselves capable. But competent management when headed in the wrong direction is equally disastrous as bungling.

Europe, or more precisely "Who Governs Britain" is the first and all important matter to be addressed. Only by clearly defining who is really in charge of what can clear Democratic Accountability be reestablished and a direction determined for those essential social elements of everybodies daily lives. That means Britain out of Europe!