Monday, June 28, 2004

Only two little ducks

Two and two, twenty two.....that is the percentage of voters who would trust a Tory Government. Three points below the trust level for this surely totally disgraced New Labour fiasco. Oh how the lies are all beginning to tell. Read the full poll from today's Daily Telegraph linked from here.

Failure on such a spectacular scale cannot possibly be bad luck, accidental or put down to any other reasonable explanation that comes to mind - nobody can pretend Howard's Conservative Party is a government in waiting!

So who is deliberately sabotaging what should be Britain's racing certainty as next government but now looks most likely once again opposition party? All this at a time of clearly looming crisis!

Saturday, June 26, 2004

Could Contempt for the Conservatives and Howard cost victory in the EU Referendum

A suggestion is being circulated on a euro-sceptic internet fora that UKIP must plough its own Constitution Referendum furrow

Believed to have originated in a document between members of UKIP's NEC it is now receiving much broader circulation. It begins:-

Whilst, as we believe, the majority of the British people are inherently opposed to the EU Constitution, we should not underestimate the one factor most likely to play in Labour's (acceptance) favour: the widespread disaffection for the Tories

There is a real danger that those with a deep loathing of the Tories will choose the lesser of the evils of supporting Blair simply because Howard is against the Constitution.

This indeed is a matter of considerable concern. If the schedule outlined by Blair is adhered to and the General Election precedes the referendum, the question is unlikely to arise as Tory Leaders have now seemingly established the precedent of resigning the morning after their defeat.

Should the economy deteriorate at a faster rate than presently forecast; however, then delay might put the referendum first, the problem might be then very real. The 10th June YouGov poll of 6,073 voters had this response to the Howard/Conservative question:-

Has Michael Howard’s election as Conservative leader made you more likely or less likely to vote Conservative?
More likely to vote Conservative 18
Less likely to vote Conservative 15
No difference – I would have voted Conservative anyway 19
No difference – I would NOT have voted Conservative anyway 38
Don’t know 9

Hardly a ringing endorsement. More worringly still are the repeated results that the voters do not trust Howard. Indeed they trust him less than even the now totally discredited PM Blair. So a Referendum between a new Labour leader advocating Yes and a NO campaign supported by a Howard led Conservative Party might just be tilted in the wrong direction.

As stated on Ukip is Uncovered this morning, UKIP has many severe and critical problems.

The Tories are if anything worse.

Friday, June 25, 2004

Howard's Health Howler

Not only does it seem impossible for Howler to get his EU policies right, now it seems he cannot even get his facts right either. Everyday that passes it gets a little bit clearer that Michael Howard was put in charge to finally see off the Conservatives as a force in British politics. Read the sorry story from the Torygraph linked here.

Thursday, June 24, 2004

Dr Howard should look to Politics

Among the many failings in the concept of the National Health Service, is the fact that it plunges politicians into the nitty gritty detail of health care provision. Never has this been more obvious, or reached such absurd lengths as this week. Howard's obsession with the intricacies of medical matters may be read in the Daily Telegraph linked here. Blair is poised to enter the debate again today I understand

Meantime Europe hovers on the brink of chaos and collapse, Jack Straw's centre piece foreign affairs strategy in courting Iran lies in tatters but is ignored, and the BBC is justifiably attacked by another nation's news provider for extreme bias. Those interested in such events can find comment and suggestions on Ironies.

Wednesday, June 23, 2004

Howard pins hopes on health

Ananova reports the politicians' attempts to divert attention from the huge and important issues facing the country and put the publics mind back on to the NHS. Today the Tories unveil their health proposals ahead of Labour tomorrow, the topic also dominated the exchanges at PM's questions as may be read from here.

Chris Patten, meantime blows his top in Brussels as reported in The Scotsman linked here indicating that the EU is destined to dominate debate whatever the two main political parties may try to carve up between them.

An internal BBC report on the lessons of the Hutton report, will establish a College for Journalism, enough of an admission as we are ever likely to receive that the Corporation is incompetent as well as totally being biased and a propaganda tool for the EU, which we already knew. Clearly it deserves no further public funding and should be closed. Let other employers decide which if any of its mass of journalistic staff are worthy of proper training - my view is none.

Anyway, why should such a job should be put in the hands of a proven incompetent management. Shut the BBC and reform the existing journalist colleges! If only the BBC were just another existing political party like the Tories, heading for extermination with our votes.
Telegraph titles no longer House Organs of the Conservatives?

Such was a statement by Sir David Barclay to a Guardian journalist who misreported it indicating a possible switch to Labour, which was then denied. The paper's own article on their new owners may be read from this link.

All concerned with the task of re-gaining Britain's independence, principally sold-out by the Conservatives must hope that the two papers will now take on a role of sharp cattle-prod to force the Tories into a 180 degree turn and thereafter keep them on track as we slowly but steadily make our return towards nationhood.

Tuesday, June 22, 2004

Scared of the Reality?

Today's Editorial in the Daily Telegraph makes almost incredible reading, when it is recalled that the debate being reported was only one week since the Eurosceptic triumph in the European Parliamentary elections. The full piece is linked here while these are some selected lowlights:-

Yesterday's skirmish between Tony Blair and Michael Howard in the Commons was only the opening shot in what promises to be a long war of attrition, before a referendum that is, in all probability, still two years away. Though the British people are instinctively distrustful of the EU, as the European elections showed, the public imagination has yet to be caught by the constitutional debate.

.... The British have long been far more Euro-sceptical than their politicians. Has that penny dropped yet?

Not if the party leaders have anything to do with it. Up there on the world stage, the Prime Minister assured the House, the British view of Europe is seen as triumphant....

Neither Mr Blair nor Mr Howard seems to have understood the depths of popular discontent. The "narrow nationalism" that the Prime Minister caricatures so patronisingly is, more often than not, what most of us call patriotism. And Mr Howard must know that the Europe of nation states he promises is just not on offer. His promise to renegotiate will carry no weight unless it is backed by a credible threat to withdraw altogether.

...... And both will have to reckon with the people of England that, as Chesterton said, have not spoken yet. If and when they do, the game will be up.

Sunday, June 20, 2004

Conservative naivety and politician's plundering

If there were those in the Tory hierarchy who believed that there was ever the remotest possibility that a Brit such as Chris Patten might have a cat in hell's chance of becoming EU Commission President (and Malcolm Rifkind waffling on the BBC last week gave every impression that he was one so convinced) - then it proves for once and all time how seriously deluded the Conservative Party is over Europe. (For
Howard to have remained in the EPP with any such expectation, would
give final proof of his incompetence!)

The lesson is clear, Britain can never be a full and equal member of the EU because geographically and by national character we are separate. Ask any of the hundreds of thousands of Britons who live on the Continent or have second homes there or have relatives living there. That group generally has very few professional politicians from the three main parties among their number. That is why Britain has been shamefully ripped off by the Continentals for the past thirty years. Britain's politicians, as Blair this week so ably demonstrated, have no comprehension of the Continental political mindset.

If that were all, it would not be so bad. But, of course, it is not by any means the whole case! The leaders of the Tory party (as opposed to New Labour) are not stupid, deep down inside they know these truths may indeed be facts. BUT as revealed in yesterday's The Times they are deliberately selling out the interests of their country and our democracy for the money they accrue from the EU Parliament.

To quote that article titled 'Brussel's grant to fund UKIP' anti-EU battle':-

"..the alliances they make with other Eurosceptic groups could allow the party to benefit from more than five million (pounds) of EU money ANNUALLY (my emphasis - ed) for extra staff and resources, on top of the many administrative posts automatically provided by the European Parliament"

Here we have it. The Danegeld levied by our political parties in return for selling out our democracy. Five million a year for a dozen MEPs. This session Britain has about six and a half dozen that is ONE HUNDRED AND SIXTY TWO MILLION POUNDS OVER THE NEXT PARLIAMENT.

In the last Parliamentary session, Britain had just under eight dozen MEPs netting our professional political parties the incredible sum of more than TWO HUNDRED AND TWENTY MILLION POUNDS.

These figures make the amounts individually fiddled by the MEPs themselves even pale into insignificance. Now spread it over the the new maximum number of MEPs ie seven hundred and fifty and the straight theft from taxpayers into the pockets of Europe's democracy stealing politicians comes to ONE BILLION FIVE HUNDRED AND SIXTY TWO MILLION FIVE HUNDRED THOUSAND POUNDS for one single parliamentary session.

Do not ask yourself ever again why or how Europe's political classes could perpetrate the destruction of an entire continent's democratic heritage as they are now doing. The 'how' is the toothless European Parliament purely existing to siphon funds from the taxpayers to the professional politicians - the 'why' can only be that these people are so low that I would vouch more trustworthy decent and straightforward people may be found in any European jail.

Friday, June 18, 2004


There can be no doubt that this is the immediate crisis area for the now badly (if not mortally) wounded Tory Party Leader. It will be interesting to see what, if any announcements are forthcoming following his day and half trip to Belgium to meet with the grandees of that grouping. Euractiv has an article on the overall implications of the recent election for the European Parliament which includes the following:-

Meanwhile the British Conservative Party, which fought the election campaign primarily on the issue of opposition to the proposed Constitutional Treaty, has lost heavily to the United Kingdom Independence Party (UKIP) that wants Britain to leave the EU entirely. The Conservative leadership is already coming under pressure from within the party to counter the threat from the UKIP by abandoning its alliance with the generally pro-European integration EPP.

Any such defections could weaken the EPP’s claim – as the largest EP party – that the European Council should propose one of its own leaders as the next President of the Commission. However the EPP was quick this week to insist that as the largest single party it should provide the next Commission President. Given the uncertainties surrounding the final make up of the European Parliament political groups, it is even possible that EU Heads of Government may decide to delay their nomination of the Commission President when they meet this week to be better able to judge the final political shape of the new European Parliament.

The risk with any such delay is that it will be represented in the media as another setback to the proper functioning of the European Union. Moreover the longer the delay in choosing a candidate for the Commission Presidency who can be assured of European Parliament support, the more problematic it will be to maintain the tight schedule for selecting and ratifying the 25 member Commission. The entire process must be completed in time for the new President and the new Commission to take office in November.

The entire article is linked from here.

Thursday, June 17, 2004

Ancram and Howard's EPP Federalist Friends!

Michael Howard is meeting with his EU integrationist and federalist friends and allies in the EPP - ED Grouping of the European Parliament in Meijse today, according to a report linked here


Kjell Magne BONDEVIK CON CON Prime Minister / Premier Ministre (NO)
Ivo SANADER CON CON Prime Minister / Premier Ministre (HR)
Erna SOLBERG CON CON Minister /Ministre -
Chairwoman/Présidente, HOYRE (NO)
Per Stig MÖLLER CON CON Minister Foreign Affairs/Ministre affaires
étrangères (DK)
Michael HOWARD CON Leader /Président, Conservative Party
Elmar BROK CON EP Representative in the IGC /

Howard's EPP Group party comrades successes were celebrated with the following telling statements :-

13/06/2004: "EPP family victory in polls, good news for Europe" -
states Pawel Piskorski, General Secretary of Civic Platform [a Polish Party]:-

"I'm glad to learn that the EPP-ED Group has confirmed it's position as the strongest political Group in the European Parliament for the coming term. This is good news for Europe. The issues are in the hands of serious [sp] politicians,dedicated to the idea of European

13/06/2004: European Elections - EPP-ED Group remains the leading group
in the European Parliament :-

Commenting on the results the leader of the EPP-ED Group in the
European Parliament, Hans-Gert Poettering, said: "I am completely satisfied with this excellent result for my Group. It will allow my Group to push forward its agenda and in the short term ensure that the appointment of the Commission President reflects the result of this election".

[I think we can guarantee that the Agenda is as Federalist as
Poettering... ]

14/06/2004: EPP winner of European Elections 2004

(Tories' allies, the "EPP Party" leader Wilfried MARTENS):-
"The result clearly shows that the EPP is the winner of this election"

NB He didn't say the EPP-ED - he means the federalist majority in it.

15/06/2004 and again we have this quote:-

'Regarding the future EU Constitution MARTENS said: "European citizens will not understand another failure in the negotiations of a European Constitution. Although a small number of points still prevent an overall agreement, it is encouraging that consensus has been reached on a number of important issues".'

Howard is quitre clearly firmly committed to the never-ending absorbtion of Britain within the present corrupt and non-democratic EU.
It must now be impossible to deny as the evidence in incontrovertible.

Furthermore he seems to show no interest even in the topic or possibility of reform or democratisation, locked as he and his party now is with the 'establishment' group of the existing EU.

UKIP Thrash Tories in the South West. HOWARD MUST GO!

The following is the headline in thisiscornwall' linked here.


The uk Independence Party is celebrating its stunning success in the European Parliament elections after winning 12 seats - two of them in the South West. The controversial Common Fisheries Policy and Common Agricultural Policy are credited with driving many people in the rural areas of the South West to becoming Eurosceptics.

Across Devon and Cornwall, UKIP took 28.7 per cent of the vote compared with 27.7 per cent for the Conservatives.

The Lib-Dems pulled 17.9 per cent of the voters while Labour came in fourth on 13.1 per cent

The Scotsman picks up on the problem this creates for the hypocritical Conservative Party leader, 'whose word no-one relies on' and his double-dealing party linked here, titled 'Howard's way to power is blocked' by Bill Jacobs of which this is a quote:-

Although the UKIP is headed by former Labour MP and TV presenter Robert Kilroy-Silk and took some votes from Labour, it took three times more from the Tories.

Mr Howard’s mini-reshuffle smacked of panic. On the one hand, he’s got the extreme Euro-sceptics demanding a move towards the UKIP’s position of pulling out of Europe. On the other, the pro- European wing led by former Chancellor Kenneth Clark and Lord Michael Heseltine is demanding a move in the other direction.

Mr Howard, who is by nature a Euro-sceptic, has promised no shift in policy. But the signs are that any further UKIP gains could split his party down the middle.

An urgent split in the conservative party is now most urgently required. Early root and branch reform of UKIP is required if it is to provide a respectable rallying point for the decent majority who wish to regain sovereignty for the Westminster parliament. Tomorrow's meeting of UKIP's NEC will probably provide the last chance for such to begin. Signs of the desired changes being implemented are yet to appear. Decisions taken over the next few days could determine the future of the nation.
Is this a worthwhile strategy for Europe? Even from IDS?

The Daily Telegraph provides a description of Howard's new approach to the EU following UKIP's election success.

Michael Howard, as an ex-minister of high cabinet rank in both the Thatcher and Major administrations, is not going to have one single word or statement he makes on the EU believed by any in the electorate with the vaguest memory of the past or the slightest aptitude for analytical thought. This was confirmed by ICM this week.

Disregarding Iain Duncan Smith's leadership qualities, television presence etc., he is sound on the EU and therefore I suggest eurosceptics trying to independently consider the worth of Howard's word, read the linked article and imagine the proposals as coming from IDS, could you then give a party with that platform your vote?

The article titled ' We want to bring power back from EU, says Howard' and is written by George Jones the Political Editor. It is linked from here

I did this test in an attempt to be fair to Howard and the Tories, and even picturing IDS saying those words I could not beleive the Conservative Case, even if IDS would not publicly admit that he would be prepared to threaten withdrawal in the absence of a negotiated agreement. Plus that awful word SEEK has recurred!

As Peter Oborne concluded in The Spectator this week :-

It is time that our mainstream, respectable politicians dealt candidly with the British people, before someone else does it for them. Clearly neither Michael Howard, nor his Conservative Party, have yet taken on that message.

Wednesday, June 16, 2004

Howard is honest but unbelievable

Not my headline, nor my opinion. Rather it is that of Robin Harris writing in the Daily Telegraph this morning linked here. I quote the opening paragraphs:-

Encouraging local election results have demonstrated that the Tories are now within reach of a general election victory. But the European result has also shown how far they still must go to earn the electorate's trust. The same message emerges from the latest ICM poll, which finds that Michael Howard's rating for trustworthiness is even worse than Tony Blair's.

In the case of Mr Howard personally, that is unfair. No more instinctively truthful, even tiresomely principled, politician sits in the Commons. If he is distrusted, it is because what he has been saying is simply not credible. That applies above all to Europe.

The problem of honesty and trust with Howard is quite simply that as a senior minister in the Major and Thatcher government he was part of a thirty year establishment cospiracy to lie and deceive the British people, he and the rest involved - which pretty much encompasses the entire British political establishment are therefore to never again be trusted an inch. Robin Harris seem agreed on that at least - namely Howard is as honest and trustworthy as any other member of a group of cheats and liars - some honesty!

I have written further on this today and posted it on Ironies under the title 'CONSTITUTIONAL CRISIS'. It may be read from the link from the name of the blog.

Tuesday, June 15, 2004

Franco/German Axis Meeting

As Expatica reports:-

Crowds of cheering local residents welcomed the two leaders as they made their way on foot through the main street of the ancient capital of the Emperor Charlemagne under the rosy glow of mid-summer evening skies to their private talks.

No details were divulged, but analysts said the two men were certain to have discussed their differing views on a larger Nato role in Iraq.

Amazing they weren't scattering rose petals at their feet! The duplicitous duo, no doubt might also have discussed how they plan to finally neuter the Growth and Stability Pact and otherwise rip off their 23 partners later in the week as usual I would speculate, or even the bra size of the waitress for all any of us will ever know.

And crowds cheered! Can one believe this bilge! Yes, if you happen to be a senior British politician called Blair or Howard (apparently under the rosy glow of some middle aged dementia, perhaps.) - No doubt they tell themselves, "Aren't our French and German partners wonderful, meeting in secret each time before every important meeting to see what more they can do for Britain and all their other grateful dependent states!" Is it a co-incidence they both roll out new lies on health, education, transport and the other few areas our cross channel friends have so far left us to have some control.

As this is a blog on the Tories here is a link to Howard's latest pledges on those so important Domestic matters.
The other D word "Democracy" has of course conveniently disappeared from his....and his party's concerns and vocabulary.
Howard understands UKIP Defectors

The Scotsman linked here reports that Howard, reacting to an ICM Poll in The Guardian has stated:-

The Tories lost nine European Parliament seats and saw their share of the vote slump 9% to 27%.

Nearly half the voters who helped the anti-Europe UKIP to its stunning European election success had abandoned the Tories, according to a new survey in today’s Guardian.

Responding to the result, Mr Howard said: “That’s not altogether surprising and I understand the concerns of people who voted for UKIP.

What I cannot then understand, is why the Conservative leader obstinately refuses to consider policies that reflect such natural conservative voter's concerns, but rather allies himself with an ultr-federalist grouping within the European Parliament instead, which clearly show all his stated concerns as absolutely FALSE?

The ICM poll is linked from our sister blog Ukip Uncovered.

Monday, June 14, 2004

Fisherman Now Back UKIP

In spite of 'Howard the hypocrite' making FISHERIES the centre piece of his EU dissembling and deception, the fishing industry wisely has little faith in more Conservative Party circumlocutions and circumambulations.

The latest from titled UKIP's Euro success could herald CFP reform proves where those who want things done now need to look. The following is a particulalry apt quote from the article:-

For UKIP’s pledge to withdraw wholesale from EU membership, not just parts of it, may sound radical, but it will be music to the ears of many in the fishing industry across the UK, whose fortunes have dipped ever since Edward Heath took us into Europe in the wake of a fisheries policy hastily cobbled together by other member states.

The entire article is linked from here.

Helmer on PM thanks to a plug from UKIP's Kilroy

Roger Helmer on PM states the word Withdrawal is a red herring. He wants all the UKIP policies without calling it withdrawal apparently?

Helmer believes Europe is the sixth or seventh issue on the voters mind and therefore........(fill in the blanks and estimate the next major loss of Tory seats)

Roger Helmer MEP

The following was the Tories East Midland's lead candidate's contribution to the election debate, posted to The Guardianduring the campaign on 7th June. IMO it now requires an answer from his party.


A seismic change

Euroscepticism is on the rise across the continent. A radical rethink of Tory policy must reflect this, writes Roger Helmer

Monday June 7, 2004

With only a couple of days to go to the election, it is clear that the United Kingdom Independence party will make gains that go far beyond anything we expected a couple of months ago. It also seems likely that in many regions, a majority of voters will cast their votes for Eurosceptic parties. This is an historic development, a seismic change. To quote Prescott's phrase, the tectonic plates are moving.

Across the EU, Eurosceptic parties are on the march.

All the established parties will have to reappraise their policies on the EU. Blair will have to abandon his hopes of joining the euro, or of ratifying the constitution. Even the Liberal Democrats may need to rethink their Euro-quisling stance.

For the Tories, this is a wake-up call. The party leadership has been trying to bridge the gap between the old dinosaurs - Clarke and Heseltine - and the vast bulk of the members and activists. But in the effort to keep a few distinguished Europhiles on-side, we are letting party activists and the public slip away.

Overwhelmingly, Conservatives want a relationship with the EU based on market access, free trade, voluntary intergovernmental cooperation - and nothing more. Over and over, they say: "In [the referendum of] 1975, we voted for a common market, not political union."

We have to respond to this demand, or become irrelevant to the debate. It is not enough merely to reject the euro and the constitution and to repatriate the common fisheries policy. We need to disengage from the acquis communautaire across a broad front. We need to repeal the 1972 European Communities Act and the European convention on human rights. We need to commit ourselves clearly to the independence and self-determination of our country.

Tony Blair will call this "withdrawal" - although I myself prefer Bill Cash's phrase "associate membership". But it doesn't matter what we call it. What matters is the substance, not the semantics. This is what the British people want. This is what the Conservative party must deliver.

And of course only a party capable of forming a government in Westminster can deliver. Ukip, a mere fringe pressure group, can talk a good story, but can achieve nothing. That is why Eurosceptics, whatever their doubts, should vote Conservative, not Ukip, on Thursday.


Sunday, June 13, 2004

EU Parliament Election Results and Comment

Commencing no later than 2000 GMT most postings on the above will be placed on the blog we devote exclusively to the European Parliament: The Strasbourg Cesspit.

-------------CLICK HERE---------

We will try to keep that blog fully updated as the evening progresses and the results arrive. I will be monitoring the national braodcasters of France and Italy as well as the international broadcasters CNN and BBC World Television for the latest news and inside comment. From the UK we will monitor the 'Five Live' radio broadcast and comment!

Christopher Booker a MUST read for all Conservatives

The section most applicable is linked from here and reproduced herewith. It is what this blog has been preaching and repeating since its inception:-

Break silence or be broken, Mr Howard

The indications are that tonight we will be looking at one of the most remarkable political events of our lifetime: that the British people will have risen up in extraordinary numbers to say "no to the European Union" by voting for the UK Independence Party, putting it ahead of one or more established parties all over the country.

One of the greatest mistakes made by the political establishment in assessing this phenomenon is to imagine that this revulsion against the EU is due to "xenophobia". What the British people have instinctively most come to resent - as I know from thousands of letters I have received in recent years from readers who will have supported UKIP last Thursday - is the realisation that we are being taken over by a wholly new form of government.

They view this system as alien, not because it is "run by foreigners" - they are well aware that our own political class plays just as active a part in it as those of other countries - but because it is undemocratic, oppressive and because it does not work.

No one will the "UKIP rebellion" put more firmly on the spot than the Tory Party. For years it has tried to anaesthetise its supporters by limiting reference to "Europe" to just a few empty "Eurosceptic" slogans, otherwise seeking to suppress any proper discussion of just how far this new system of government now dictates how our country is run.

What this meant in practice is that the Tory Party has had to abdicate from its role as a proper opposition. Currently, as a result of handing over the control of our policymaking to the EU, we are faced with all sorts of problems - the huge looming crises over energy and waste being just two - to which, because these are "European competences", the Tories seem terrified of giving any proper response.

Almost the only issue on which the Tories have been doing their job as an informed, effective opposition is the crisis of our fishing industry, where Michael Howard last week reaffirmed his pledge that a Conservative government would take back national control, if necessary by exercising the sovereignty of Parliament.

As our main opposition party, the Tories get £4 million a year from the taxpayers. If, as the Government itself admits, half our laws are now made in Brussels, then for at least half that sum we are not getting value for money. To show themselves fit to govern, the Tories must first show themselves to be a proper opposition. That is the lesson they must learn from the disaster which, as will emerge tonight, the British people inflicted on them last Thursday.
A smaller role in the EU? Is this Tory policy?

EU Business in a report mainly on Blair, linked from here describes the Tory policy on the EU as follows:-

"Pundits pointed out that the Conservatives had not yet pushed their score of the popular vote above 40 percent, seen as the minimum needed in Britain for a majority in the national parliament.

They are also seen as far more vulnerable to UKIP. The Conservatives favour a smaller role for Britain in the EU rather than withdrawal, but have suffered from severe internal divisions over the issue in recent years."

One can understand the confusion, and the policy of us having a smaller role makes sense considered in light of the recent enlargement - BUT if that is all the sense one of the leading news services covering the EU can make of the Conservative policy on Europe, is it any wonder the voters are confused? A smaller role while staying within must imply less control of our own destiny, or have I missed something?
Still the Tories Don't Get It

Nick Wood, who was the Conservative Party's media director, 2001-2003, writing today in the Independent on Sunday linked here, demonstrates throughout a long column the apparent ongoing inability of any within the present conservative party to grasp the true scale of their problem. A long study of this other analysis of the election results issued so far might have helped him - this is titled and headed as follows:-

Focus: So, when the counting is done, how do the big three stand?
Catastrophe, set-back... the worst result ever. But as they await confirmation of the blow UKIP has lined up for the Tories, the Prime Minister and his colleagues are beginning to take comfort from the details of last week's voting, writes Andy McSmith, Political Editor

The srticle is linked from here.

Saturday, June 12, 2004

FT reports - 'UKIP will NOT align with Tories in GLA'

The following gives early notice, that when elected UKIP fights ONLY for what IT believes. Since when have the present day Tories proposed 'removal of barriers to business and job creation'? An obvious impossibility with never-ending EU membership! I quote the article :-

The UKIP was also poised to gain its first member of the assembly, averaging about 10 per cent. Damian Hockney said it would be wrong to assume the UKIP would align itself with the Tories, adding it wanted the removal of barriers to business and jobs creation.

Read the entire Financial Times article from this link.

Thursday, June 10, 2004

If you believe in Britain it is today impossible to vote Tory!

The following is an extract from the inteview given yesterday by Michael Howard on the BBC Radio Four 'Today' programme with John Humphries:-

MH: Well it’s not the position of the Conservative Party and it’s not my position that we want to pull out of the European Union. That is absolutely clear.

JH: And indeed you go further and say under no circumstances would we pull out.

MH: We want to stay in the European Union because we think there’s an important job to do in Europe standing up for Britain’s interests and putting Britain first.

JH: So in other words, your position is precisely the same as the Labour government’s.

MH: Oh! Absolutely

Wednesday, June 09, 2004

EPP Head Poettering admits new pact is aimed to neuter Tories!

The latest European Foundation Intelligence Digest No.194 confirms the rumours regarding the Tory's pact with the German dominated federalist EPP group in the next parliament:-

Pöttering also commented on the presence of the British Conservatives
within the federalist EPP. He said that the EPP had been keen to keep them within the federalist movement so as not to have ?a party to the right of us which would exert a force of attraction on others?.

Howard's conservatives would appear to have been bought off!
'We'll tell you the policies after you vote':say Howard's Tories

An example of one of the enduring mysteries of the disastrous campaign run by the apparent trouncing-chasing Tories has been emblazoned on their website and trumpeted elsewhere is provided in this report (from the Scotsman of Howard canvassing in London this morning:-

The Tory leader was beaming and in high spirits as he posted party propaganda through letterboxes in a quiet suburban street in Battersea, south London, this morning.

Accompanied by around 30 Conservative London Assembly candidates, European Parliament candidates and members of his shadow cabinet he waved and said hello to bemused residents standing in their gardens.

One resident of Gayville Road, Steve Pryle, stopped and asked him how he planned to cut hospital waiting lists.

Mr Howard replied his party would be producing a policy on that in a couple of weeks.

Vote for us tomoorow - we'' provide the policies in a fortnight! Wierd!
Eastern Region Tory Leaflets miss Delivery Deadline

The latest news of the disastrous Conservative election campaign, that seems deliberately design to trash the Tories and end any further speculation that they might ever again present themselves as a viable alternative government. Read the latest from the East Anglian Daily Times linked here
Tories to turn out in droves for UKIP

Janet Daley, one of the blog Ironies' preferred columnists, spells it out for your Telegraph reader this morning:

What sense can we make of something that poses as a democratic process, but will elect people to take part in the business of a government that denies that it is a government, and whose decisions are not accountable, or even intelligible, to most voters?

Well, it's pretty useless as an election, but it makes an excellent arena for giving your party a good kicking. This is what is most alarming about the voting intentions that seem to be emerging this week. It is not the unfathomable consequences of electing minority parties, or the breakdown of traditional loyalties.

It is the almost universal belief that the point of democracy - the sense that you are voting for something that will make a difference to how you are governed - has become irrelevant. The European Parliament seems so remote, ineffectual and absurd that you may as well elect MEPs whose goal is to pull out of it, who will arrive with the sole objective of abolishing their own jobs. What a wonderfully anarchic travesty that makes of the whole enterprise.

Prosperous, stable democracies do not go to war with one another. What the EU is doing, perversely, is creating forms of government that move away from this direct, transparent democracy, in favour of impenetrable bureaucratic agencies that make people feel powerless and politically dispossessed. And so the extremists are on the march again, showing just the ugly face that this whole project was supposed to render obsolete.

The Europhiles dismiss this concern. They cannot or will not see that a combination of unaccountable government, and economic policies that depress wealth creation and create unemployment, makes a dangerous cocktail. It is precisely those things that lead to desperation, genuine extremism and, ultimately, violence.

Of course, the great panEuropean, post-nationalist entity may well implode before we reach that terrifying stage, and collapse under the weight of its own contradictions, as communism did. Whether it will unravel as peacefully remains to be seen.

Read the entire column, which is particularly accurate over last weekend's D-Day celebrations, from this link.


Tuesday, June 08, 2004

Tories torn in twain by Howard's EU hypocrisy

Pro-EU rebels have now delivered a devestating blow to the already shambolic stance of the consrvatives over the EU. The Scotsman reports euro-fanatics Ian Taylor and David Curry have gone public with crazed suggestions of yet deeper EU integration.

The article also reports that Howard, following yesterday's reference to Lady Thatcher in his dismal Bristol speech, will also invoke her name in their final PPB as a desperate ploy to restore a sense of stature to the severely tarnished party. The article is linked here.

The Daily Telegraph takes the same theme in a piece linked from here by Benedict Brogan,the paper's Political Correspondent which is titled ' UKIP threatens new schism in Tory ranks'.

The article ends with this quote from its Chairman:-

"Dr Liam Fox, the Tory co-chairman, accepted that pulling out of Europe was an "intellectually legitimate" position but insisted it was "simplistic" and not in the national interest."

The line taken by Dr Fox on yesterday's 'World at One' interview was that only a 'grown-up' party could handle the complicated negotiations required for a full-scale renegotiation of our relationship with the EU. A position soundly argued and first put forward in Dr Richard North's blog EU Referendum. (It is believed Dr North is presently acting as an adviser to the Tories so this should come as no surprise).

The increasingly obvious flaw in such an argument, is that there is no such 'grown-up' party offering such a policy, therefore one needs to be created. The best constituents for such a construct, depending on weekend results, might well be the euro-sceptic remnants of the once proud conservative party around the reformed and reconstituted shell of the UK Independence party, purged of its more dubious elements, but headed by the people pleasing and vote-pulling Robert Kilroy-Silk.

Have your doubts? Then read this Guardian interview with Nicholas Watt linked here.

Monday, June 07, 2004

Roger Helmer MEP breaks ranks

Roger Helmer, lead conservative candidate in the East Midlands region and therefore in the very front line of Tories trying to fend off the UKIP Kilroy challenge, has called in The Guardian for repeal of the 1972 European Communities Act - effectively EU withdrawal by another name! The report is linked from here

Eurorealist Roger Helmer's comments (well said indeed!) may be read from here
BBC Bares Tory Turmoil

Following Howard's lacklustre lunchtime speech, when he steered well clear of again mentioning the surging UK Independence Party, the BBC website has provided an excellent analysis of the conflicting concerns of the now very concerned conservatives. The report is linked from here
100 Tories for EU Withdrawal


Release Date: 6 June 2004
Release Time: Immediate

Contact Details: Sean Gabb, 07956 472 199,
For other contact and link details,


During the past few days, certain persons in the Conservative
leadership have indicated that the Conservative Party is opposed
under any circumstances to withdrawal from the European Union,
and they have denounced the United Kingdom Independence Party
for its alleged extremism.

In fact, there are over 100 Conservative Members of Parliament
listed by the Candidlist as "Sceptics". To be classified as a
sceptic, a candidate must be believed willing to withdraw from
the European Union. Some of these were classified on the basis
of reasonable inference, others on the basis of written pledges.

12 Conservative Members have pledged in writing their
willingness in certain circumstances to leave the European Union.

Several hundred candidates - many of whom can expect to be
returned at the next election - have also been classified as

According to Candidlist Director Dr Sean Gabb:

"Anyone who says the Conservative Party will never consider
leaving the European Union either ignores the Conservative MPs
and candidates who are willing to consider leaving, or assumes
that these people were not telling the truth".

The Guardian report on the campign carries the same headline used for this posting. The entire article may be read from here

With The Scotsman (see Ukip Uncovered for link for report and link) reporting the latest YouGov poll as putting the Tories at two points behind Labour on a miserly 24 percent with UKIP at 19, and if the result is reported correctly and valid, then the momentum now generated by UKIP and the clear falling apart of the Conservatives could spell the end, at the very least of Howard's sham eurosceptic party leadership. Excellent!

Sunday, June 06, 2004

Well-deserved Tory Wipe-out Looms

MORI Political Monitor — Topline Results

4 June 2004

MORI interviewed a representative quota sample of 1,863 adults aged 18+
at 192 sampling points across Great Britain. Fieldwork was conducted
face-to-face on 27 May-1 June 2004. Data are weighted to match the
profile of the population.

Q1 How would you vote if there were a General Election tomorrow?
Q2 Which party are you most inclined to support?

Base: 1,863 British adults 18+ %
Conservative 30
Labour 37
Liberal Democrats (Lib Dem) 20
Scottish/Welsh Nationalist 3
Green Party 3
UK Independence Party 3
Other 3

Lab lead (±%) +7

Would not vote 12
Undecided 12
Refused 2

Q1 How would you vote if there were a General Election tomorrow?
Q2 Which party are you most inclined to support?

Base: All absolutely certain to vote (1,068) %
Conservative 34
Labour 35
Liberal Democrats (Lib Dem) 18
Scottish/Welsh Nationalist 3
Green Party 3
UK Independence Party 4
Other 4

Lab lead (±%) +1

Would not vote 1
Undecided 9
Refused 3

The headline figures are based on all respondents absolutely certain to
Tebbit the last Thinking Tory?

Conservative leader Michael Howard has insisted he will not fight the general election "under a beige banner".

Mr Howard was responding to the latest intervention from former party chairman Lord Tebbit.

The right-wing peer used the phrase as he again called for more distinctive policies.

The Tory leader replied: "I can assure you we will not be fighting under a beige banner and there will be nothing bland about our policies."

He told BBC1's Breakfast with Frost: "We don't sit down and pick our policies in order to create any particular coloured banner. This is a serious business."

Lord Tebbit had told the programme: "People don't fight under a beige banner, that is the key to it. They want something that means there will be a real difference. If we don't set out that very real difference, then I think other people will pick at our votes, particularly UKIP and to some extent the Liberals."

Mr Howard said that under his leadership Tory policies were tailored to meet Britain's needs.
Sunday Mirror reports Major Surge for UKIP

The tabloid Sunday paper states:-

Internal polling by the main parties has seen a major surge of support for UKIP, according to details leaked to the Sunday Mirror ahead of Thursday's vote for 78 MEPs.

Then later continues:-

'A senior Tory source admitted: "We are haemorrhaging votes to UKIP because of their hardline stance on Europe.

"It is quite possible that they will double or treble the number of seats they hold which would be an unmitigated disaster."'

The item is linked from here
Top Howard aide was a UKIP Parliamentary Candidate

The Sunday Times reveals that a top aide to the Tory leader, previously stood for the party he has branded as 'extreme', in the last General Election. The Scotsman carries a summary of the report which may be read from here and from which the following extracts come:

One of Tory leader Michael Howard’s key aides stood as a candidate for the UK Independence Party, it was revealed today.

George Eustice, a press secretary to Mr Howard, stood for the anti-EU party in the 1999 European elections.

The Sunday Times revelation comes after the Tory leader branded UKIP “extremist”.

A Tory briefing document, leaked in the run-up to the local and European elections, said the party was full of “political gadflies and cranks”.

The anti-EU party threatens to do real damage to Mr Howard in his first poll test as leader on Thursday.

Saturday, June 05, 2004


In a landmark posting on Dr Richard North's Blog EU Referendum, the Conservative party is severely castigated by an insider with all the facts on one corner of the European Parliament's murky workings. The full article should be read from his blog and may be reached by clicking on the title: 'Money down the drain'. The early part of the post refers to the opinion article by Charles Moore, in today's Telegraph, which most visitors to this blog must now have surely read, I will therefore only quote the subsequent portion here:-


Herein, though, lies a story which has yet to be told, which demonstrates how devastatingly crass the whole EPP saga has been. It is a story about money, power and influence – but mainly about money.

Poorly understood by outsiders, European Parliament political groups are the driving force in the parliament, dictating the agendas, organising the voting and generally running the business of the parliament through the "conference of presidents", made up from the leaders (presidents) of all the different groups. The groups are also the prototype European political parties, much encouraged by the EU as a means of sidelining national parties and furthering political integration.

To promote their development – and this is the crucial point – the parliament is extremely generous in funding the groups, providing an income stream entirely separate from, and additional to the MEPs' own personal expenses and allowances. Unsurprisingly, the groups are extremely reluctant to give details of the extent of this largesse, and do not produce public accounts. But we do know that the budget of the smallest group in the EP (the Group of European Democracies Diversities – EDD) has an annual budget of about one million euros annually, say about £650,000.

This has allowed the eighteen MEPs of the EDD to secure additional staff, roughly in a ratio of 1:3, just over 40 staff. Thus, each MEP benefits from an additional three workers, over and above those they fund from their own secretarial allowances. Furthermore, these workers, based in Brussels and provided with full office facilities, come with their overheads paid, so the group funding is actually worth more than the bottom line figure.

By contrast, when I last enquired, the Tory group in the EPP, with twice the number of MEPs as the whole of the EDD, had a group staff roll of just seven people – when on the same ratio as the EDD, they could be entitled to up to over 100, depending on precisely how they spent their money.

Actually this is possibly an over-estimate as group funds are not disbursed in direct proportion to the size of the group, but on a sliding scale, the smaller groups getting a larger per capita allowance. However, there can be no dispute that the Tory component within the EPP qualify for very close to – if not over - £1 million a year of group funding, of which very little actually goes anywhere near the Tories, being absorbed in the EPP global fund.

On the face of it, therefore, the Tory MEP group is giving away something close to £1 million a year to a Europhile, federalist group, which uses the money to pursue an overtly federalist agenda. This is not what most Tory voters expect – and it gets worse.

One thing UKIP has arranged extremely well is the pooling of its MEPs’ secretarial allowances – roughly £105,000 each, annually. With minimal amounts taken for their own personal staff, they use the rest to finance party staff working to the common agenda. Each of the Tory MEPs gets the £105,000 but they pay only a small subvention to Tory Central Office for central services, and pocket the rest, to spend as they wish.

With 36 MEPs, that sum collectively amounts £3.8 million a year - or £19 million for the full five-year parliamentary term. Allowing the MEPs even to keep a fairly generous fifty percent of their allowances, and pooling the rest, that leaves £1.9 million - £2 million in round figures - a year. Add the group funding of approximately £1 million and the Tory group could marshal something like £3 million a year. The obvious outlet for that money is to spend it on policy research and development – the crying need in the Conservative Party – and a perfectly legitimate way of spending the money.

To put this in perspective, the Conservative Party is paid £4 million a year from public funds for the function of policy research and development – the so-called "short money". Clearly, this is not enough, and another £3 million a year would make a powerful addition to the fund. Furthermore, with the Party currently admitting to a £2.5 million overdraft, the EP money would make a sizeable dent in the deficit.

In short, therefore, the Tory group – in continuing to cosy up to the EPP – is throwing shed-loads of money down the drain, money which is vitally necessary for the Party to expand its woefully inadequate research function. In fact, it is worse than that. It is giving money to the "enemy". Thus, Mr Moore may want to vote Tory but, as he admits, Mr Howard's Party is not making it very easy for him. Actually, he understates the case. A vote for Tory MEPs at the moment is the equivalent of writing a very large cheque for federalism.

They do indeed deserve a bad result.
Blair believes Howard will be Super Thursday's Real Victim

Labour party thinking is well described in this article from The Guardian:-

If the results are disastrous, Downing Street is braced for a renewed bout of speculation about the prime minister's leadership, but believe the campaign has seen the pressure gradually shift from Mr Blair to Michael Howard, largely due to the emergence of the UK Independence party as the chief receptacle of the protest vote.

The full report may be read from this link

Friday, June 04, 2004

Howard's Militant Tendency

The Daily Telegraph's Andrew Sparrow and Benedict Brogan file an article (linked here) inspired by Jack Straw's claims of major problems in the Tory party over the EU - and who for once can call him wrong? A quote:-

Mr Straw claimed 21 Tory frontbenchers, including David Davis, Liam Fox and Oliver Letwin, have supported Conservatives Against a Federal Europe (Cafe), a group that says Britain should withdraw from the EU if fundamental renegotiation of membership terms proves impossible.

"Given the events of the last few days, it is hard to see UKIP as anything less than Michael Howard's own militant tendency," he said.

Thursday, June 03, 2004

Another Peer Loses Party Whip

The Earl of Shrewsbury, who joined the four earlier Conservative members of the House of Lords in urging Tories to vote for UKIP in the European elections next week, has been denied the party whip. The report is in The Scotsman which is linked from here.
Lack of Strategy

Dr Richard North on his EUReferendum blog had a very perceptive Comment yesterday on another aspect of the problems within the Conservative Party.

It has received rare praise from a longstanding member of UKIP's NEC and one time Party Secretary, Tony Scholefield, who extolls its analysis of both UKIP's and the Tories particular problem areas. I will quote only the closing paragraphs from here, but recommend it be read in its entirety, which should be possible by clicking here. "Attack of the teenage scribblers' concludes as follows:-

...Instead of addressing the substantive issues, the policy "wonks" of Central Office have written a facile and enormously trivial "attack" briefing, which offers an almost childish view of the "benefits" of EU membership. How for instance can the claim that the EU has brought us cheap air travel be sustained when the EU seems bent on wiping out the cut-price operators? Yet that is one such benefit that the teenage scribblers behind the briefing have offered.

Instead, they could and should have brought to the attention of the British public the enormous difficulties of unravelling our relationship with the EU, and the perils of doing so precipitously.

They could have shown that UKIP have very little idea of the complexities of immediate withdrawal and have no cogent "exit strategy" to deal with the complications and consequences – nor indeed the intellectual capability or resource to attempt such a task. UKIP would, on the face of it, be content to ruin the economy in pursuit of a beguilingly attractive but essentially unrealistic objective.

As the coup de grace, what the Conservatives should then have done is show that by addressing specific policy issues, one by one, and devising coherent alternatives, a Conservative government could roll back the tide of European integration, gradually adapting and redefining the EU institutions and their powers, to end up with a construct which was more in tune with our own aspirations.

But to do this, the Conservatives would have had to have prepared those alternatives, which they have not yet done, and to which they are affording very little resource or priority. In their absence, no Conservative leader can stand up with confidence and convince a sceptical public that he is serious in his intentions.

In response to the vague rhetoric and benign intentions, the public will say we have been here before. The Tories will talk the talk, but they have no real idea of how to get from A to B. When they do go to Europe, full of good intentions, they will be comprehensively trashed by the colleagues, and we will all end up worse than we were before.

Only when the Conservative Party gets its act together, therefore, will it be in a position to take on UKIP. In the meantime, making trivial and facile attacks on their supporters is neither helpful nor productive. In fact, this sterile policy might simply drive UKIP sympathisers further into the arms of the Party, and alienate them from the Conservatives to the extent that, when they are really needed at the general election, their votes will not be forthcoming.

In short, Howard needs to listen less to his teenage scribblers and put more resource into real policy development. He needs to come up with genuine answers to the genuine concerns of those who are currently disposed to voting for UKIP. And this is not only an issue for the forthcoming general election. The same strategy is going to be needed for the EU referendum – if we have one – which is altogether far more important.
Straw Savages Howard

Although the Labour Party are being hit even harder by the UKIP surge than the Tories and Lib Dems - Jack Straw in his Press Conference today turns the pressure on the Tories, who he clearly sees as the greater danger. The BBC report of the Labour Press Conference is linked from here.
Richard Shepherd MP - Rumoured Defector

The following link gives biographical details of the Conservative MP reported in the Daily Mirror this morning to be considering his position within the Conservative Party. Is this the 'First Country Considering Conservative MP'?
Reshuffle Rummours Hit Howard

Daily Telegraph reporter Benedict Brogan puts more pressure on the beleagured Conservative leader Michael Howard with this report of a post election shadow cabinet shake-out. The article may be read from here.

The twenty one Tory MPs who have been accused by Jack Straw as secretly supporting EU withdrawal, are presumably now carefully considering whether they should really continue within the confused if not now almost completely crippled conservative party. Third time lucky as their last desperate leadership ploy has now clearly failed!
Howard Backs Fuel Protestors

Desperate tactics indeed! The reporter in the FT at first seems hardly able to comprehend any logic in this latest move by the apparently astoundingly incompetent Tory leader. That paper's coverage opens as follows:-

"Charges of naked opportunism, irresponsible electioneering and inciting disruption were levelled at Michael Howard by his political opponents on Wednesday, after he signalled tacit support for fuel protests - a populist stance which could yet backfire on the Tory leader.

Critics linked the attempt to move petrol price rises back up the political agenda with next week's Super Thursday local and European elections. "Michael Howard is trying to divert attention from the difficulties of his own party in the election campaign," claimed Douglas Alexander, the cabinet office minister.

If Mr Howard's backing for fuel protests was a diversionary tactic, the political rationale for it is clear. He is under significant pressure to deliver in next week's polls. Failure to beat a mid-term government beset by discontent over Iraq could even threaten his leadership."

Even if Howard's leadership is under threat as the paper suggests, supporting protests which could quickly inconvenience many millions of people in a situation essentially outwith the control of the government of the day - hardly seems the well considered action of a future Prime Minister.

For those subscribing to the FT the article may be reached from this link. For those unable to read the piece in full we provide its conclusion:-

Opportunistic or not, Mr Howard appears to be playing a risky political game.

Wednesday, June 02, 2004


Michael Howard today in The Scotsman linked from here was reported as follows:

Mr Howard would not be drawn on whether any of his own MPs shared UKIP’s “extreme” wish to see Britain pull out of the EU altogether.

He said he had set out the views of the party very clearly, adding: “If there are people who disagree with them, it is up to them to say so.”

“No Conservative MP has said anything like what you are suggesting.”

To aid the Conservative Leader and prick the consciences (if they still have them) of those qoted below - I offer the following:-

Andrew Rosindell MP for Romford : "I don’t think the current relationship we have with Europe suits us, I don’t think that its one the British people have ever asked for we have never had a referendum on this, the only time we have had a referendum is for a common market and we all know that it is rather more than a common market now. And I think that an incoming Conservative Government would be quite within it’s rights to say that we end the existing relationship and we say to the European Union let’s agree a new one and replace the existing one with one that we are comfortable with and that you can also feel able to support. That would be my solution." (See Bruges Group here.)

John Redwood MP: I think a present or future British Prime Minister could get much more than we currently believe possible if we were strong minded in our demands and sensible in what we offered.

If we said to them, “You must be fed up France and Germany with every major plan for more integration being slowed down or rejected by the UK.” Either the British Prime Minister, whoever that might be, will have to tell them that he is not in a position to tell the people they are just going to have to integrate because people don’t want to integrate. So let’s come to an agreement and I think that it will be much easier to get a better deal than the one we have at the moment. (Bruges Group from here)
'Stop Skulking' Kilroy's advice to Tory Eurosceptics

The Evening Standard quotes UKIP's star MEP candidate as follows:-

Mr Kilroy-Silk claimed there were at least a dozen Tory MPs who shared common cause with UKIP. He said that Tory leader Michael Howard had called such MPs "gadflies and extremists". Mr Kilroy-Silk added: "That's what your party leader thinks of you because you want Britain to be a sovereign independent state. Why don't you put your courage where your convictions are?

"Why don't you stop sulking in secret in the corridors of Westminster and come out of the closet? This is the best opportunity you will ever have to get our country back from Brussels."

Asked if a defection was a serious possibility, Mr Kilroy-Silk replied: "I would have thought so. We are in talks."

The full article which has UKIP now ahead of Labour in the London contest is linked from here.
Hypocrite Howard's Nightmare Grows

The Herald linked from here, puts its finger on the the extraordinary error of labelling UKIP's policies as extremist, made by Michael Howard yesterday. Half an hour of browsing the blog UKIP Uncovered by the Tory Leader or one of his Central Office research staff, would have yielded many more effective areas for attack. Most papers do not include gross incompetence in the charges levelled at the Conservative Party head this morning - but it is one of the most justified and serious in my own view.

Not that attacks do not come. The Telegraph leader, linked from here while seemingly supportive of the Tory plight manages its own criticisms:-

"We have some sympathy with the frustrations of instinctive conservatives who are innately suspicious of the European project and do not see their gut instincts reflected in Tory policy. To them, Michael Howard's speech yesterday will have sounded suspiciously like a piece of Blairite triangulation: set up the Government and the Liberal Democrats as Euro-fanatics on the one hand; brand the UKIP as extremist withdrawers on the other; and position the Conservative Party as a "middle way" and wait for the adulation of a grateful nation.

Many disenchanted Conservatives will regard Mr Howard's contortions as too reminiscent of the John Major years, when the government huffed and puffed about its Euro-scepticism, but actually ceded ever greater powers to Brussels."

The Guardian gives an account of how the apparently mistaken decision to attack UKIP in such a manner was made, together with a description of the ensuing exchanges, in this item titled 'Howard denounces 'extreme' UKIP', which is linked here.

The Scotsman linked here, probably sums matters up the most adroitly this morning and concludes its well considered overview of Howard's attack as follows:-

Diana Wallis, the leader of the Lib Dem MEPs, said: "This is a desperate attempt by Michael Howard to deflect attention from the Tory party’s internal divisions over Europe.

"After so many years of downplaying its merits, it is a strange sight to see the arch-Eurosceptic Michael Howard making the case for Europe."

However, after delivering his speech in Southampton, Mr Howard insisted he did not feel threatened by the UKIP.

He said: "I think they seem to be taking some votes from all parties, not just the Conservative Party." Opinion polls have repeatedly shown Mr Howard’s optimism is ill-judged.

Tuesday, June 01, 2004

Tory MP Defection to UKIP?

The Scotsman linked from here reports a Tory MP will bre standing on a UKIP platform tomorrow. This follows the disastous mistake of Michael Howard in trying to label the vast majority of Conservative Party members, 'extremists' for sharing UKIP's concerns at the erosions of our nation's independence and freedom of action - particularly, as I understand it from many weekend discussions, in the field of foreign policy and defence.