Sunday, February 29, 2004

More on Tory Betrayal over Nato

The following is the Fourth of Five principles put forward in March 2000 by the EPP - ED Group of the sham-European Parliament, in which Howard is committed to remain after the 10th June elections:-

"4. Europe's presence in the world

Europe must play a more active part in international relations. A coherent and effective foreign policy will help us to uphold our values and interests.

The EPP-ED Group puts forward the following proposals.

A more active EU role in international security will help to strengthen transatlantic solidarity, which remains crucial for European defence.

In this capacity the EU should call for a revision of existing international legal instruments, such as conventions and protocols, in order to respond adequately to the duty to assist civilians in danger during a war.

The EU should develop its own sea and air transport capacity to allow for the provision of humaniatarian aid in case of major natural disasters.

Under the Amsterdam Treaty, the dual structure comprising the Commission and the High Representative will apply; the High Representative should report on a regular basis to the Commission as well as to the Parliament, thus involving both in his activities.

The single legal personality of the European Union in its external representation must be written into the Treaty.

After the establishment with effect from 1 March of the new political and security structures, on the political level, informal meetings of EU Defence Ministers and Joint Meetings of EU Foreign Affairs and Defence Ministers should be promoted.

In co-ordinating EU and Member States' non-military instruments in international crisis management, the Commission must be given a leading role, including the necessary instruments; in this context an early warning system should be developed with a view to preventing humanitarian crises or to responding adequately where such a crisis has occurred.

When developing operational (military) capabilities for crisis management within the Petersberg tasks, military and civilian crisis management have to come under a higher joint decision-making body, with Commission participation, so as to avoid a split between civilian and military crisis management."

The first of these principles was acceptance of The Charter of Fundamental Rights that has since been incorporated into the (thank heavens still only proposed) Constitutional Treaty. Read the whole piece from here

None of this matches what Conservative MEP candidates will be telling voters up and down the country between now and polling day. Arm yourselves with the facts which we will continue to expose on this blog.
Howard's Explanation of EPP- ED Deal Extension

What further proof of the Conservative Party's abandonment of a Eurosceptic Stance could be found than the explanation quoted below of Howard's decision to stay allied to the EPP group after the 10th June elections. Even more so if read in conjunction with the EPP Election Manifesto published short days before Howard announced this understanding. See our posting on that topic by clicking here (or scrolling down to 9th February posting) and read the 4th - 5th February 2004, EPP Manifesto in all its federalist fundamentalism from here in pdf format.

The following Conservative Central Office crowing over what I believe will become the cause of the Conservative Collapse of June 2004 becomes increasingly incomprehensible.:-


Thank you for your recent email to Michael Howard about the Conservative Party's relationship with the EPP-ED grouping in the European Parliament. He has asked me to thank you for your email and to reply on his behalf.

The main point which I would make is that the Conservative Party now has a better deal with more autonomy from the EPP, as well as more of its own say over its staff and finances, than it did before this deal was agreed.

Since 1999, the Conservative Party has observed the terms of the 1999 Malaga Agreement negotiated by William Hague, which was for the duration of the 1999-2004 European Parliament. There have been, however, substantial differences of view on constitutional and institutional matters that have created, and continue to create, tensions within the EPP-ED. These
needed to be resolved if a new agreement was to be arrived at following the European Elections in June. We needed to look again at the Agreement and to explore whether the British Conservative MEPs could renew their allied membership of the EPP-ED group. This process of negotiations, which started two years ago under Iain Duncan Smith, was recently revived under
Michael Howard.

There were three specific areas where we were seeking improvements to the current arrangements. First, the need to clarify the issue of the status of the ED element of the Group. This meant we needed an addendum to Article 5(b) of the Group's Rules of Procedure which would confirm the right of the ED element of the Group to promote its distinct views on
constitutional and institutional issues. In addition we sought a rule change which
would reserve one of the vice-chairmanships of the EPP-ED formally for the ED.

Furthermore we made it clear that any such agreement would depend on such rule changes being made by the group in March, so that if they were not made, there was still time for our MEPs along with other parties to form a new Group outside the EPP-ED to become effective after the election in June.

Second, the issue of access to Group membership. We sought agreement that MEPs elected from parties which are or become members of the European Democrat Union (EDU) will be invited to join the EPP-ED Group.

Further, any MEP wishing to apply to join the Group would have the option to apply to
join either element by accepting the EPP Party programme under Article 5(a) or the ED element under Article 5(b). This was a major demand of ours in order to allow us to build up within the ED element a body of likeminded parties, particularly from the former Eastern European countries,
within the group. These parties share our own Conservative values.

All these elements have now been agreed by the EPP Leader and the appropriate rule changes will be put to the overall group meeting in March. Our demands have effectively all been met.

Third, we have made it clear that any final agreement on all matters referred to above are subject to satisfactory arrangements on the issues of finance and staffing. A new basis of calculation of the financial arrangements has been agreed and will also be kept under ongoing
review. We have also secured an agreement to ensure that the ED element of the Group
should have sufficient staff resources to enable it to fulfil and deliver its objectives under the terms of the revised Article 5(b) of the Rules of Procedure of the EPP-ED Group.

Heads of agreement giving effect to these agreements, but still contingent upon the rule changes being made in March, have now been signed by Michael Howard and Hans-Gert Poettering, the EPP-ED Chairman. Our party position has been safeguarded, we can promote our views from within the centre-right in the European Parliament and we can encourage others to join us in doing so.

I hope that this is helpful and thank you for taking the trouble to write to Michael Howard.

With best wishes,

Ian Philps
Office of the Leader of the Opposition

and here comes the 'Lets Dump Him Brigade'

We quote from The Scotsman linked here:-

With former Edinburgh Pentlands MP Sir Malcolm Rifkind already being talked about as a possible future leader within days of being selected to fight the safe seat of Kensington and Chelsea, many believe Mr Howard is a stopgap. At the age of 62, he probably has just one shot at the top job left and the view, even among many senior Conservatives, is that he won’t become Prime Minister.

They think he can give Mr Blair and New Labour a difficult time and revive the Tory hard-core support, which would enable him to dramatically slash Labour’s majority and the next UK General Election but not beat them.

He would have to retire gracefully and let someone else appeal to the middle-ground voters that this one time right-wing hard man couldn’t.

Would Rifkind be any better? Not a hope in hell! NO SENIOR MINISTER UNDER JOHN MAJORHAS A HOPE OF EVER BEING PRIME MINISTER! When will it sink in?
Neil Herron to run as an Independent Candidate in the Euros

According to Christopher Booker's notebook in this morning's Sunday Telegraph Neil Herron, co-ordinator of the Metric Martyr Campaign and leader of the North East's fight against the EU inspired democracy destroying Regional Assemblies is to stand as an Independent candidate in the upcoming sham-European Parliament Elections. Brilliant news for the people of the North East.

The full item may be read from here ;A battle lost, a war to win' and the following is a brief quote:-

Neil Herron was so fired up by this fight that he has, in four years, become one of the most effective grassroots political campaigners in the country. He is leading the campaign against John Prescott's plan to have a vote in the North-East later this year for the first elected regional government in England outside London. A series of local victories won by Mr Herron have thrown the Deputy Prime Minister's scheme into serious disarray.

Now Mr Herron plans to make the chaos of metrication a centrepiece of his campaign to be elected as an independent for the European Parliament next June. "I shall give the people of the North-East," he says, "the chance to vote on just one issue: who should govern Britain, Westminster or Brussels?"

The Tories in the North East and their one MEP Martin Callanan must now know their chances of regaining a seat in that region look forlorn. More Independents in other regions are now required so that anti-EU votes are not wasted on the corrupt UK Independence Party (Read the latest on UKIP Uncovered by clicking here), racist BNP and certainly not Howard's Conservatives now pledged to join the arch-federalist European Peoples' Party grouping in the new sham-European Parliament.

Friday, February 27, 2004

Howard's Honesty

The factor this commentator always feared made Michael Howard the wrong choice can now clearly be seen to be damaging his party's recovery chances. The latest YouGov poll published in today's Daily Telegraph makes dreadful reading for any hoping for a revitalised opposition to those forces, both Labour and Liberal Democrat, apparently determined to consign our democracy to the dustbin via subjugation to the EU.

The stigma of Howard's years as a senior Tory Minister during the Major governments is, as we feared and predicted, proving impossible to shed. The following excerpts are taken from the summary of the poll from this link:-

The best PM: Blair 32 + 1 Howard 28 -1

On personal qualities only on Honesty, Reliability and Wisdom, does Howard beat the PM and not by any impressive margins or with much support : 23/16 24/20 24/16 an astoundingly dreadful performance in view of all the character issues now confronting the Prime Minister.

Particularly dreadful for Howard were the following lowlights :

'Caring' only 14 per cent believed him so; Moderate 16; Energetic 10 etc. etc., incredibly for a leader only annointed by his colleagues a few short months ago, in not one single category of personal attributes did Howard score over 30 per cent. While our devalued Prime Minister managed one (energy) in the 40 per cent and five categories scored 30 and above.

Who now believes the Tories do not have a death wish?

Nobody can review the archives of this blog, or Ironies, without noting that any fool could have seen this coming. The crucial point is, however, who are the ones who contrived the disaster and what in heavens name were their motives? From recent events it might seem the EU and the EPP are the principal beneficiaries, with the British people once again the losers, once again stuck with no viable opposition.

Tuesday, February 24, 2004

Flatlining Forever?

The Guardian publishes its ICM poll this morning which shows the Tories stuck at 34 per cent, two points behind Labour, we quote:-

The regular monthly Guardian/ICM poll for all voters shows that the situation facing Mr Blair in the country is getting tighter. Labour's voting intentions lead is cut to two points this month - the lowest since last July, before Michael Howard took over the Conservative leadership.

But the figures make clear this has more to do with an erosion of Labour support - down three points on last month - than any advance by the Conservatives, who remain unchanged on 34%.

The rise in Michael Howard's personal popularity since his enthronement as party leader in November appears to have stalled. He is still a firm asset for his party, with a net personal rating of plus 11 points, but that is down three points on his performance last month. The change is accounted for by a movement from the "don't know" to the "dissatisfied" column.

Sunday, February 22, 2004

The Conservative Columnist who 'Cannot?' answer a Constituent

Daniel Hannan again writes in today's Sunday Telegraph about how terrible is Tony Blair our federalist Prime Minister linked from here, while refusing to reply to some simple questions directed to him by email and copied on this blog on 9th February which is readable from here.

In today's article he states The following year, at St Malo, he (Tony Blair)reversed half a century of British strategic thinking by agreeing to an EU defence structure outside Nato.

My question to Mr Hannan my constituency conservative MEP ignores my point about Nato. It is nevertheless a fact that a day or so before Tory Leader Howard, announced his party would remain in the European Peoples Group afte the June European elections, that group issued a manifesto for those elections which at line 98 and 99 states the following:-


Mr Hannan and his Party are going to have to address this critical matter. I for one plan to keep asking until a response is obtained!

Tuesday, February 17, 2004

A Glimmer of Daylight in the long dark Tory Tunnel?

Black Wednesday, as 16 September 1992 came to be known, when the pound crashed out of the ERM, is remembered as one of the most memorable failures of post-war British economic policy.

The main casualties of that latter event were John Major, Norman Lamont and the Conservative Party. Nothing for those three has been the same since, but perhaps things could be about to change.

The Maastricht Treaty had been signed almost six months earlier on 7th February 1992, and as is now becoming clear has been a disaster for Europe. Our post of earlier today on Ironies touches upon some of the strains within the EU. As collapse of the European Project becomes a daily more realistic scenario will the villains of yesterday emerge into the sun?

Britain obtained two opt outs from the misconceived Maastricht Treaty. The first on the provisions of the flawed Social Chapter, was sacrificed on the altar of the TUC as a necessary price for Tony Blair to put his feet on the first rung of the ladder he seems to see leading to absolute power. The second, on the Euro remains to this day, and few now believe it will ever be lost.

Will Black Wednesday seem like a small precursor to the trauma to come from a possible Euro collapse? A report from the BBC economics editor on the tenth anniversary of that event linked here suggest that there were in fact many benefits; no doubt a Euro collapse will eventually do the same for the recession bound and failing economies of the Eurozone. But who would wish to be bound up in the actual disinsintegration?

Black Wednesday will seem as nothing to what happens if the Euro cannot be sustained. Those who masterminded their country's avoidance of such a fiasco will surely seem as giants on the modern-day political scene and their party will inevitably hail them and feast them and reap the resultant electoral awards. If Major and Lamont are consequently rehabilitated then their close colleague Michael Howard as Party Leader might not appear as such a dumb choice after all! (Apologies will be offered from this blog and will do nothing to reduce the resultant delight at the collapse of the non-democratic potential tyranny under which threat we have all lived for so long).

Sunday, February 15, 2004

Daniel Hannan MEP Article

The Conservative MEP for South East England has found time to write an article for today's Sunday Telegraph about taxes and EU spending, which is worth a read and is linked from here.

I am disappointed that he has not found time to reply to the letter from this, one of his constituents, on the grave implications of his party continuing with the EPP Group in Brussels, which among other horrors now advocates a suspension of the relationship between Britain's defence and NATO. I posted that letter earlier last week and it is linked here

Saturday, February 14, 2004

Howard's Hundred Days

A review of some of the popular press and their attitude towards the new conservative leader has been summarised by The Guardian this morning, is interesting and linked from here.

Friday, February 13, 2004

Howard's Berlin Speech Fisked

The full text is taken from a Guardian report linked here.

The Conservative leader's speech entitled A New Deal for Europe to the Konrad Adenauer Stiftung in Berlin

Thursday February 12, 2004

Mr Chairman, ladies and gentlemen, I am enormously grateful for your warm words of welcome and for giving me this opportunity to speak to you here this evening.

The obsequious tone of the speech is immediately established. Why should a Leader of Britain's official government opposition party be 'enormously grateful' to set forward a position on Anglo/German relations in Berlin?

The Conservative Party and the German CDU in partnership with the CSU share many political values and I appreciate the strong relationship that continues to exist between our parties.

A popular misconception held by many Tories! They are extreme federalists

It is no accident that I should be giving this speech in Berlin, a city which encapsulates so much of Europe's recent history. There is no better place in which to set out a new vision for Europe's future.

My first visit to Berlin was in the summer of 1963. I was there on 26th June. I was one of the half million people who thronged in front of the Rathaus Schoneberg to hear President Kennedy give his famous address. The whole world remembers his words: 'Ich bin ein Berliner' - I am a Berliner; I am at one with the people of Berlin.

To all those who believe in democracy, in freedom, in hope for mankind, President Kennedy had a simple message: 'Lass'sie nach Berlin kommen'. Let them come to Berlin. It was an iconic moment, echoed almost a quarter of a century later when President Reagan stood in this city and called across the divide "General Secretary Gorbachev ... if you seek peace ... if you seek liberalisation: come here to this gate! Mr Gorbachev, open this gate! Mr Gorbachev, tear down this wall".

Throughout those years, West Berlin was a beacon at the frontier of the battle for freedom. Those presidential visits were inspirational. They represented defiant idealism in the face of a brutal reality.

Today, the people of Berlin are one. The west's vision and determination unified a city, a country and a continent. So I come to Berlin once again - to the capital of a country which has been one of the great success stories of the post-war era - aware of history but looking to the future, aware of the battle for freedom that took place here, and determined that freedom should flourish in Europe.

I am here in a new century, in a city that is the gateway between the east and west of Europe, at the heart of this great continent. We are on the point of welcoming 10 nations as new members of the European Union. The entry of these countries, large and small, from Poland to Malta, which my party has always welcomed, will profoundly change the nature of the European Union. And the European Union has a profound responsibility. For if it stands for anything, it is for the healing of our continent.

The European Union has never concerned itself with anything other than trade and the pursuit of narrow national advantage at the expense of one's neighbours. It played absolutely no role in the re-unification of Europe and was mainly noted for its complete silence on the subject throughout that recent and clearly remembered period. Present policies pursued by both Germany and France have led to the destruction of the Growth and Stability Pact threatening the economic growth of the entire continent, and even the very future of its common currency for purely selfish domestic policy objectives of the two leading powers.

Different National Perspectives on the European Union

Britain and Germany are two great nations with their own histories and their own perspectives.

Germany has wanted to achieve closer and in some cases irreversible integration thanks to her specific experiences in two world wars. Konrad Adenauer, whom we honour in this foundation, understood that the European process could be of great service to Germany. As a result, he made this country strong in Europe, valued as a trading partner and trusted as an ally. I understand why his European policy, which helped to establish Germany's place in the community of nations, is admired in Germany today.

We in Britain came through the war with our national institutions strong. When we seek to preserve those institutions, we are defending a constitutional settlement that has survived great stresses and strains and which continues to work well and be understood by people in Britain.

Britain has always been a global trading nation. We have historic connections with our Commonwealth partners and with the United States. Look, for example, at where our international telephone calls go at Christmas and New Year: to North America, to the Caribbean, to the Indian subcontinent, to Australia and New Zealand.

This is not just a sentimental point. It is also a hard commercial truth. More of our trade is with non-EU members than is the case for any other member state. We have more overseas investments in non-European markets than any other member state. We are unique in the EU in having a global financial centre.

Given these clear facts, after thirty years of attempting to fuse with the continent, would it not have been more sensible to concede defeat and announce a policy that pursued the interests which he lists? Namely pursuing Britain's future with its historic and trusted global allies.

But Britain and Germany are not the only countries that approach European integration from a perspective shaped by their history. Every European country does. I do not always agree with your Foreign Minister, Joschka Fischer. Nor, I suspect, do you. But he was recently quoted in one of our newspapers as saying: 'All the countries ... have different traditions, different political disputes at home, complicated parliaments, complicated majorities ... Language and history matter in Europe and we have to understand these different histories and difficulties'. He makes an important point.

The Eastern European accession countries have thrown off the yoke of Soviet domination. They, along with other new member states, have rediscovered their own national identities and the freedom to determine their own destiny. As a result they may well be wary of giving up too much of that hard-won independence.

Different histories, different institutions and different traditions.

To undermine these institutions and ways of life, whether they have developed uninterrupted over hundreds of years or only recently re-emerged, and which are seen as legitimate by their people, would be an act of folly. Most people in the nations of Europe do not feel the same affinity or identity with EU bodies that they do with their own national institutions. People who identify themselves as Europeans rather than as citizens of their own country still remain a very small minority in every member state of the European Union.

Most people simply do not feel European in the same sense that they might feel American or German - or British.

There is no European public opinion; no European national identity. In the absence of a European demos, we are left with unadorned kratos: the power of a system that commands respect through force of law, not public affection
A Competitive Europe

Yet the European Union has achieved a great deal. Together we have created a single market of 380 million people. People now have the right to work, study or retire in any other EU member state. We have also achieved some of the best environmental standards in the world. These are things of which we can all be proud.

But there are dangers too. The communications revolution means that individuals now have a global reach and a global outlook. International institutions, whether they are businesses or charities, have abandoned the head office culture. Today, they create multi-centred organisations with power devolved to local and national centres.

In this world, competition is fiercer than it has ever been before. The pace of change is faster than it's ever been before. Those who respond most quickly and effectively to these changes will win the prizes. So flexibility is at an enormous premium.

In this new environment we need a flexible Europe which puts global competitiveness at its heart. It would be idle to pretend that we have it. We now have to compete against China, India and the Asian economies. We cannot afford to be complacent.

When I was Employment Secretary in the early 1990s I had to negotiate over the Working Time Directive. I had a meeting with one of my European counterparts, and pointed out to him that this new regulation would harm our competitiveness. His reply was chilling. "If we all do it" - by which he meant the countries of the EU - "It won't make any difference".

I hope we have all moved on since then. The EU was designed to free up our markets so that we could compete globally. But the weight and burden of the directives and laws it has introduced has had almost exactly the opposite effect - damming the flood of enterprise that should be sweeping across our continent.

I was struck by the recent remarks of Gerrit Zalm, the Dutch Minister of Finance, who pointed out that "over 50% of the administrative burden on businesses in the Netherlands has a direct European origin. On a European scale these costs must be enormous. European legislation tends to be very detailed in its prescriptions and in its information demands. It also tends to grow rapidly. The decision makers involved, including the politicians in the parliament and the council, should realise the pressure they put on the economic potential".

These are fine words and I agree with them. But reform is simply not happening. The nation states of the European Union are still bedevilled by rules, regulation and red tape, which significantly impede our ability to compete. That is why our economies are not as dynamic as that of the United States. That is why productivity per person is almost 20% higher in the United States than it is in the European Union, and output per hour is 15% higher. That is why over the last decade employment in the United States grew almost twice as fast as in the European Union. If we had the same record as the United States in creating jobs, 28 million more people would be in work in the European Union today.

We must build a Europe that is flexible. There is huge scope for improvement. This means that we must be honest about the work that the European Union should and should not do. .

Given this clear and realistic recital of facts it is hard to comprehend how he reconciles the continuation of his speech, which it will be seen is totally at odds with these hard truths.

The Conservative Vision for Europe

Europe needs to go in a new direction. I say this as leader of a Party, the British Conservative party, that has been at the forefront of Britain's engagement with Europe. It was a Conservative government which first applied for membership in the early 1960s. It was a Conservative government which took us into the European Economic Community in 1973. It was a Labour government which threatened to withdraw from Europe and held a referendum on that issue in 1975. It was the Labour party which stood on a manifesto of withdrawal from the European community in 1983, a manifesto on which Tony Blair was first elected to Parliament. Three years later, in 1986, it was Margaret Thatcher who was one of the leading forces behind the Single European Act which established the single European market. Which is perhaps why the former European commissioner Jacques Delors was recently moved to remark that 'I have nothing to complain about with Mrs. Thatcher ... she is a figure who counts in Britain's and Europe's history'.

So let me, too, speak frankly. I am determined that Britain shall remain a positive and influential member of the European Union. But British policy towards the EU has often led to worse rather than better relations between States. Faced with a new EU initiative, our traditional response has often been to oppose it, to vote against it, to lose the vote, then sulkily to adopt it while blaming everyone else. You are understandably sick of constant British vetoes. And shall I tell you something? So am I.

As far as I have been able to determine there is not a single recorded incident of the use of the veto by Britain! This statement therefore beggars belief.

Many fears about the way in which the European Union is developing, on both sides of the Channel, stem from the fact that it is seen as a one-way street to closer integration to which all must subscribe. This is a perception which must be changed if Europe is to retain public confidence.

It is only a fear within the British Isles. Closer integration is the driving force and main poltical objective of the EU and has been for many years. If Howard does not yet realise that point he should not have any role in establishing British policy towards the EU, as after this speech most informed voters will surely rapidly appreciate?

Of course there are basic requirements which all member states must accept. Foremost among these are the four freedoms of the single market; free movement of goods, services, people and capital. But a single market does not require a single social or industrial policy, far less a common taxation policy. Allowing countries to pursue their own policies in these areas will encourage the spread of competitiveness across Europe. Forcing common standards upon them will mean that Europe as a whole falls further and further behind as each member state tries to put its own costs onto its neighbours.

Most people in Europe show no sign nor inclination to take on board these simple facts that appear immediately obvious to most native English speakers. Howard again shows he lacks any understanding of the present EU debate. It is fresh-creepingly embarassing to display such obvious naiveity. This crassness is then heightened in the following sections:

A Flexible Europe

A flexible approach raises the important question of how to decide which areas should be applied to every member state, and which should be optional. In my view, every member state should be allowed to administer for itself those policies which do not directly and significantly affect the domestic affairs of other member states. So, matters such tariffs and cross-border pollution could be left to Brussels. But in areas which serve their own national interest, individual member states would be able to decide whether to retain wholly national control or whether to co-operate with others. The nations of Europe should come together as a series of overlapping circles: different combinations of member states should be able to pool their responsibilities in different areas of their own choosing.

I first spoke about the need for Europe to adopt a more flexible approach a decade ago. For me this is not a new concept.

And nor is it the revolutionary approach that many commentators might consider it to be. Historically, there have always been moments when Europe has been prepared to be flexible. This, after all, has been the case with NATO since its inception, where France signed up for membership but refused to submit her armed forces to separate NATO command and control. It is the case with the Euro. It remains the case with the 1990 Schengen Agreement. It was the case with the Protocol on Social Policy, negotiated at Maastricht, the so-called Social Chapter.

A New Deal for Europe

So the precedent is clearly established. And it can be developed. So far, everyone has had to move forward together, with individual countries negotiating specific opt-outs. This has caused tremendous tension. But since 1998, there has been a procedure within the Treaties which could be used to allow some member states to go ahead with further integration in a specific area, without involving every other member state. It is, as you know, called enhanced cooperation. It means that, instead of individual member states having fraught negotiations to opt-out of a new initiative, those that support it can simply decide to opt-in.

This would allow those countries who want to integrate further to do so. But others would not be compelled to join them. It suits the integrationists. It suits the non-integrationists. Let's use it.

It would enable us to strike a new deal on Europe. Those member states which wish to integrate more closely would be free to do so. It would not be necessary for them to drag Britain and quite possibly some other member states kicking and screaming in their wake. We would say to our partners: 'We don't want to stop you doing what you want to do, as long as you don't make us do what we don't want to do'. In that way we would be able to break free from the institutionalised tug of war which has so often characterised relations between the Member States of the European Union in the past.

It would no longer be necessary to impose on the European Union a rigid straitjacket of uniformity from Finland to Greece, from Portugal to Poland. We would be able to create a structure in which Europe's member states would have room to breathe.

I am not talking about a two-speed Europe. That implies that we are all agreed on the destination and differ only about the speed of the journey. I don't want to reach the destination that some of our partners may aspire to. But I don't want to block their aspirations.

My policy is simple. Live and let live. Flourish and let flourish. That is a modern and mature approach.

In my view it would create an imaginative structure for the European Union which could well be seen as a model by countries in other parts of the world which wish to co-operate more closely with each other without sacrificing their essential national sovereignty. That flexible approach, variable geometry, would ensure that we create a 'made to measure' Europe in which the institutional arrangements comfortably fit national interests, not an 'off the peg' Europe, ill-fitting and splitting at the seams.

Howard clearly has never read the 'Treaty of Nice' which is linked from here If he has he clearly has not grasped the implications of 'enhanced cooperation'.

Britain's Influence in Europe

There are some who say that this would mean a loss of influence on the part of those countries which choose not to integrate more closely. But influence is not an end in itself - it is a means to an end.

Britain, for example, does not need a seat at the table when decisions on the Euro are being made. And our economy has not been adversely affected by staying out. The decision to keep our own currency does not mean that we oppose the establishment of the Euro, or secretly hope for its failure. On the contrary, the euro-zone accounts for a significant amount of our trade: we depend on the prosperity of our European partners. So we wish them, and the Euro, well. But I thank M. Delors for acknowledging, in the same interview that I quoted earlier, 'Since we have not succeeded in maximising the economic advantages of the euro, one can understand the British...saying "things are just fine as they are. Staying out of the Euro has not stopped us prospering".'

For a long time, on both sides of the Channel, commentators expected that Britain would eventually have to join the single currency. They simply could not envisage a situation where the United Kingdom diverged permanently from the rest of the EU. But it is now widely accepted that the status quo is sustainable. Our absence does not seem to be causing any ill effects within the euro-zone. We see, in short, a major European policy from which Britain, along with Sweden and Denmark, has amicably stood aside. This is something which seems to cause some people anguish. I see it as a source of satisfaction all round.

Britain is the second largest economy in Europe. It is also the strongest military power in Europe. So we should not have any fears about our influence. Influence depends much more on what you can bring to the table than on any particular institutional structure.

National Powers

The kind of approach I am suggesting should also enable adjustments to be made to the acquis communautaire. Where it is clear that policies can be more effectively implemented on a national basis the European Union should be prepared to recognise this. Proposals to achieve national control in such circumstances should be treated on their merits and not automatically rejected as an affront to the European ideal.

In 1996, when I was Britain's Home Secretary, my country tabled a proposal to re-assert national control cover over civil defence and emergencies: that is, over how Governments respond to disasters like floods and fires. I could see no reason why we needed to have common policies on volcanic eruptions - something hardly likely to be relevant to Britain. It struck me as absurd that these matters should be dealt with by a European Secretariat funded by the European taxpayer. British negotiators were therefore instructed to press for the removal of the provisions relating to civil defence and emergencies from Title II of the Treaty.

But my fellow European interior ministers took a different view. Interestingly, none of them argued that there was some compelling European interest in how we should respond to burst dams. Rather, their concern seemed to be that any diminution of Brussels' role would be a betrayal of the European ideal.

There should be no need today to maintain that attitude. Just as it would be dogmatic to refuse to co-operate with our European neighbours in areas where we have clear common interests, so is it equally dogmatic to insist that the EU should administer policies which can perfectly well be left to national governments.

Specific Areas of Concern

Within this new framework, what would be my priorities for reform?

From a British perspective, the Common Fisheries Policy has been a failure: it has led simultaneously to the dwindling of fish stocks and the near-destruction of the British fishing industry. Its quota system encourages the dumping of dead catches over the side of boats. Its rules have turned good men into liars.

There is no reason why fishing grounds could not be administered at national level. Not only does this happen in the rest of the world, where many countries have pursued successful conservation policies; it has also happened within the EU itself, where large portions of European waters were never incorporated into the Common Fisheries Policy.

That which no one owns, no one will care for. The first step towards regenerating fisheries as a renewable resource is to establish the concept of ownership. That is why an incoming Conservative government will immediately negotiate to restore national control over British fishing grounds, out to 200 miles or the median line as allowed under maritime law, with sensible bilateral deals and recognition of the historic rights of other nations.

I am also keen to see individual member states take more control over their overseas aid budgets. Britain has one of the most effective overseas aid and development programmes, where almost all of the aid reaches the people it is intended to help and is used effectively. Very few people could make the same claims about the EU programme, despite Commissioner Patten's heroic efforts at reform. As someone who is genuinely concerned with the need to give British taxpayers value for money, and to alleviate global poverty, I see a compelling case for increasing national control over overseas aid and development.

What can Howard believe would induce the EU to give up something they stole through their deception and Heath's treachery many years ago? Something which they have knowingly and ruthlessly plundered with no concern for the future ever since. The only explanation for the profligate exploitation of Britain's Fishing Grounds is that the Continentals must have (apparently mistakenly?) realised years ago that stupid, blinkered and treacherous British governments could not continue to hold power indefinitely. Germans hearing Howard's speech might now perhaps wonder if killing off what is now a 'common resource' was such a good idea after all!

Other Areas of Reform

There are many other areas where reform is needed. I shall resist the temptation this evening to give you a long list of examples. But radical reform of the Common Agriculture Policy is especially urgent.

It is no exaggeration to say that this policy has been disastrous for many of the poorest countries in the world. It has led to the over-production of food in Europe and the dumping of cheap food in Third World countries, harming their indigenous industry. Enlargement has made the need for reform more urgent. Over 40 per cent of the EU's budget - 40 billion euros - is still spent supporting this policy, and that is likely to increase with the advent of the accession states, unless there is urgent reform.

The European Constitution

In short the European Union should stop trying to do everything and concentrate on doing fewer things more effectively. It should give the member states the chance to develop their own European approach that suits their national traditions, within the framework of the EU.

It is on this basis that British Conservatives oppose the proposed constitution. We disagree with many of its contents, of course, but we also oppose the idea of having an EU constitution. There is a world of difference between an association of nation states bound together by treaty, and a single entity, whether you call it a state or not, with its own legal personality, deriving its authority from its own constitution.

If this constitution were accepted in anything like the proposed form, the EU would gain many of the attributes and trappings of statehood: its own president, its own foreign minister, its own legal system. For the first time, the supremacy of EU law would derive not from Acts of national Parliaments but from a supra-national constitution. That is a profound and radical change.

It is quite dishonourable to pretend that this is all a tidying-up exercise. What is proposed is perhaps the biggest change in Britain's constitutional arrangements since the Seventeenth Century.

I do not believe it is right to make a change of such magnitude without specifically consulting the people on whose behalf we purport to govern. Parliament does not own our liberties. It is meant to safeguard them. It should not diminish those liberties without an explicit mandate from the British people.

So let me make it clear. I believe any proposal for a new constitution must be put to the British people in a referendum.

Europe and America

Our continent has always had close links with America. She has stood by us in two world wars and beyond. For all of us, she has been the difference between living a life of freedom or living a life under tyranny. It is a very long way from this city of Berlin to the Atlantic seaboard of the United States. But from the late 1940s onwards President Truman and his successors disregarded that distance. They declared that a threat to Berlin's security was a threat to America's security. They all gave steadfast support to Nato. They were all honorary Berliners.

It is vital that Europe and America continue to remain close. Germany's role in this is critical. Most of the greatest challenges the world faces can best be overcome by Europeans and Americans working together. But if each of those challenges becomes a cockpit for transatlantic rivalry, an opportunity for one to score points off the other, the outlook is very gloomy. The challenges will be much more difficult to resolve. We must not allow friction to become fracture. So we must manage our differences so that they do the least possible damage to a crucial relationship and we should draw back from initiatives that will risk exacerbating these difficulties.

For example, I have grave reservations about Europe's plans to undertake a new defence initiative which involves duplicating the planning and command structures of Nato. I strongly support greater co-operation between European countries on defence. But it should take place within the framework of Nato. Nato should remain the cornerstone of our defence. And Europe should not seek to create a defence structure as an alternative to Nato or as a counterweight to the United States.

After a year in which the death knell of the transatlantic relationship has been sounded on both sides of the Atlantic, I hope that both Britain and Germany will play their part in repairing and renewing the relationship. Undermining Nato is not the best way to achieve that.

A Europe for the 21st Century

It took more than a quarter of a century after Kennedy spoke for the Berlin Wall to come down. It was dismantled brick by brick by the people it had divided. Its fall united a city, a nation and a continent.

Now, some fifteen years later, ten new countries will be joining the EU, many of whom never expected to experience freedom in our time. Their accession to the Union is a matter for celebration.

Now we are in a new century. And I can do no better than to quote my predecessor Iain Duncan Smith. This is what he said in Prague last year. 'The Union's founders built a solid foundation. They built structures that served their time well. But some of those structures are no longer right for today's Europe or today's world. The children and grandchildren of those who shaped post-war Europe now want to stand on the shoulders of their forefathers to advance a vision of their own.'

We have today a unique opportunity. An opportunity to recast Europe in the image of the 21st century. To build a Europe that is truly free, one based on co-operation and not on coercion. One that serves each and every citizen in this great continent of ours, from whatever background and from whatever nation. I hope we can work together to make the most of that opportunity. History will not forgive us if we squander it.

For thirty years the British public have been forced to hear their leaders mouth this garbage, while doing nothing and achieving nothing, and returning home to spout more lies and half-truths about the real European agenda. Only their electorate seems more gullible and more stupid than they, appearing not to hear or see the truth and living the myth that the EU does not matter.

If there are any true Eurosceptics within the Conservative Party they have no choice now remaining but to leave. Let's see if even one MP or MEP has the courage to set an example.

Tuesday, February 10, 2004

Howard Goes Native in Euroland

After yesterday's amazing speech by Michael Howard, (available in full on Ironies) which implied that this country was not beholden or regulated in any way by the European Union; or indeed that such a potentially tyrannical non-democratic conglomeration did not actually even seem to exist in Michael Howard's strange view of Britain, it is hard to re-read this report from yesterday morning's Daily Telegraph and believe one is still in the real world. We quote just a sample:-

Howard to put the Tories back on European stage
By George Jones, Political Editor and Ambrose Evans-Pritchard in
(Filed: 09/02/2004)

Michael Howard is preparing to tone down the Eurosceptic approach of his predecessor Iain Duncan Smith and to demonstrate that the Tories have become players on the European stage again.

Michael Howard wants a more flexible EU In his first significant policy decision on Europe, Mr Howard has reversed Mr Duncan Smith's plan to withdraw from the dominant centre-Right alliance in the European Parliament.

The entire column is available by clicking here.

Worse, much worse is this report of his planned itinerary from an internet forum:-

* Howard is also going to visit the very federalist Konrad Adenauer Foundation in Berlin on 12/13 Feb.
* He is listed as visiting the 4 December Paris summit of the federalist EPP (Tory MEP Roger Helmer's January newsletter spelt out how venomous this group's platform is - "EU police force, income tax, constitution without a veto", etc.).
* H.G. Poettering, the EPP leader in the European Parliament welcomed Howard's election as Tory leader and responded warmly to his wish for "the virtues of mutual support and friendship" (7.11.03)
* Several 'Conservatives' in the European Parliament are federalists, and some like Richard Balfe MEP, have called for a single currency
* As recently as 2002, Howard told a foreign audience (of course):
"The creation of a political union in Europe - whether you call it a single European state or a United States of Europe or anything else - is a noble ambition and an entirely legitimate ambition"
(Check the Tory Party website,
* He has allegedly been on the executive committee of the federalist European Movement according to one website.

See the post immediately below, where a link to the manifesto of the European Peoples's Party is available!

Monday, February 09, 2004

Letter to D. Hannan, Conservative MEP

The following was sent to my MEP this morning. Others may wish to ask similar questions after they have read the full EPP European Election Manifesto apparently acceptable to Michael Howard.

Dear Mr Hannan,

I am an overseas registered voter within the Mole Valley parliamentary constituency
who follows events within the EU closely.

I am concerned at the report that the new Conservative Party Leader has been
reported in yesterday's 'Sunday Telegraph' as planning for his and your party
to remain within the EPP group following this June's European Parliamentary
elections. I am sure you have seen this article, butit is nevertheless linked
for reference: 'Howard risks Tory backlash over European alliance'

My concern is aggravated by the manifesto published by that group, which
among many other statements I would have thought no true Conservative could
agree is this in lines 98 and 99:-


The full manifesto in pdf format is linked for ease of reference:

EPP Manifesto in pdf

Are your party now proposing a national defence policy outside of NATO?
If not then this statement surely prevents you from honestly campaigning
under this manifesto!

Are you now planning to split from your party if it remains within the EPP
beyond the June election?

I will place this letter and any reply on my blogspot Teetering Tories.

Yours sincerely,

Saturday, February 07, 2004

Conservatives are running out of time

A quote from the Opinion piece by Alice Thomson in the Daily Telegraph

Howard still sounds too chilly, too lawyerly, like the hunter who shot Bambi's mother.

Poor Polls

The Independent reports as follows this morning:-

Tony Blair's loss of public trust after the war on Iraq and the Hutton report is underlined today by a poll for The Independent showing more than half of voters want him to resign.

The NOP poll, conducted this week, shows that 51 per cent want the Prime Minister to quit and 54 per cent believe he lied to the nation over the threat posed by Saddam Hussein.

It also shows the Tories are ahead of Labour in popularity. The Conservatives are on 36 per cent, with Labour on 35 per cent and the Liberal Democrats on 24 per cent.

But when those polled were asked how they would vote if Gordon Brown, the Chancellor, was leader, Labour regained the lead. The Conservatives would be on 36 per cent, Labour 37 and the Liberal Democrats 22.

This dreadful showing for the Conservatives, at a time when the nations Prime Minister is performing so appalingly comes on top of last weeks poll result from YouGov which showed 76 per cent of those asked did not consider Michael Howard honest and fairminded.

After Hutton, the verdict: 51 per cent say Blair should go

Wednesday, February 04, 2004

Howard and Clarke on Radio 4's Today Programme

A report on the Howard interview may be read from Ironies which also has links and advice on how to listen to a replay of the programme. Clarke started by stating that he had not been on the programme recently as it was well known that he had previously held different positions than IDS.

Ken Clarke supports Howard on the acceptance of the Hutton Report! Clarke was asked if he was not close to the Liberal Democrats position over the Iraq war, he did not reply to that specific point. Clarke said he, Robin Cooke and the Lib Dems all wanted a proper inquiry as to when the decision to go to war was taken !

Tuesday, February 03, 2004

Conservative Response to Concerns over the Constitution

Multiple Choice Question: From the following list, select who drafted this Official Opposition Reply on the EU Constitution:-

1) Edward Heath?
2) Kenneth Clarke?
3) Both the above?

No prizes will be offered, all participants will be obligated to give up the British portion of their joint EU/British Citizenship whether or not they enter the competition! Here is the unbelievable Tory Party document:-

Michael Howard has asked me to thank you for your recent e-mail about the draft constitution of the European Union and to reply to it on his behalf. Careful note has been taken of your comments.

First of all, I would assure you that Mr Howard is deeply concerned about many aspects of this document.

The Conservative Party is opposed to an EU Constitution in principle. In form, it provides much of the framework for a federal European state.

In content, the draft Constitution will diminish Britain's sovereignty. The EU will be given large powers over asylum and immigration, with no national vetoes allowed, and for the first time it will be given the right to make directly binding laws on criminal procedure and, in some cases, the definition of crimes.

There will be a Charter of Fundamental Rights, which will fundamentally change the application of EU law and could give the European Court of Justice practically law-making powers where the EU has some jurisdiction. It also raises serious concerns on the integrity of NATO, the independence of our foreign policy and of our economic management, among other matters.

All this seems to Mr Howard so serious that it fully justifies a referendum on the Constitution before it can be accepted by the British people. That is why, since December 2002, the Conservative Party has been leading calls for a referendum to be held on the draft EU Constitution before ratification.

It would also be, in our opinion, bad for Britain and bad for Europe. That is why, when a referendum is secured, Mr Howard will be at the forefront of those who wish to see this Constitution rejected.

Since the failure of the Brussels summit on 12/13 December the Constitution's agreement is, for now, postponed. We do not, however, believe that issue will go away. Pressure to agree a Constitution from its supporters is likely to rise again next year.

We will continue to oppose the Constitutional agenda. We are also aware that we now have a golden opportunity to change the European agenda. We will exploit this chance to move the debate onto new ground and argue that the right way forward for the European Union is as a partnership of nation states.

Thank you for writing on this important issue.

With best wishes

Ian P.....
Office of the Leader of the Opposition
Lessons in Opposition from the Lib Dems

Howard's leadership of the Conservatives has increasingly showed signs that he seems to have forgotten he is no longer Home Secretary. This extract from a report on the Lib Dems refusal to join the latest charade of an inquiry illustrates the point:-

Conservative leader Michael Howard said that questions about the use the Government made of the intelligence provided to it were “fairly and squarely within the remit of this inquiry”.

He said he was “very surprised” by the reasons given by the Liberal Democrats for boycotting the review.

“I am confident that these terms of reference cover the use made by the Government of the intelligence,” Mr Howard told BBC Radio 4’s World at One programme.

“Indeed, I was told that that was what the Prime Minister wanted them to do, amongst other things.”

Liberal Democrat leader Charles Kennedy said it was “a matter of regret” that his party was unable to participate in the inquiry, but said its terms of reference were “unacceptable”.

He added: “My party has been asking for an independent inquiry into the controversial aspects of the build-up to our participation in the Iraq war for many months. I have frequently said that Lord Hutton’s remit was too narrow.

“The remit for this new inquiry is equally unacceptable.

“An inquiry which excludes politicians from scrutiny is unlikely to command public confidence.

“Politicians should always be willing to answer for their judgment and their competence to the public.

The lack of any real opposition from the Conservative Party is becoming truly worrisome. Read the full Scotsman report from here

Monday, February 02, 2004

The Daily Telegragh! Is it Now Promoting the EU Constitution?

Our concern over the increasing pro- EU federalist line and pathetic reporting of the Daily Telegraph on the dangers posed by the EU Constitution have been growing for some time. (See our 'Ironies' posts at the time of the IDS ouster).

We reproduce below, a contribution to an internet forum posted this last weekend which confirms our own suspicions. The DT article and editorial are linked at the foot of this post, while the internet posting follows:
The Telegraph seems to be in on the subtle plot to make us all lower our guard - did you see Saturday's big headline "Germany gives up dream of federal Europe" over an interview with Oskar Fischer.

We EU sceptics picked up Saturday's paper with great expectations on Saturday morning, thinking "Wow! at last Germany is giving up, they are admitting that it is all an unattainable dream, they are packing in the
idea of an EU united by a single constitution..."

But then we actually read the interview, and we find that Fischer says that the Constitution has "reached" [i.e. in the already agreed draft] an "excellent compromise" between Germany's "integrational" and Britain's "intergovernmental" "traditions"!! No mention of changing article 10.1 (supremacy of EU over national law) or any reference at all to any part of the actual text of the constitution itself, which we must remember of course is supposed to be binding once signed (whereas anything Fischer says in any interview to induce us to sign up to it will have no binding force at all).

The idea is to get Telegraph readers, ie Tory voters, to say "Well, if Germany has given up the idea of a superstate and if our Torygraph newspaper says this is genuine and OK, then why shouldn't we accept this new Treaty with them?

The Torygraph itself says in its editorial, "Every prime minister since Harold MacMillan has been prepared to sign up to policies which are not in Britain's immediate interest for the sake of influence in Europe. Tony Blair's readiness to accept the EU constitution is no different, in this regard, from John Major's support for the Maastricht Treaty, or Margaret Thatcher's for the Single European Act. The trouble is that this policy has never been explained to, or endorsed by, the electorate. Voters naturally feel frustrated. ..."

Note the cunning insertion here of Tony Blair's name into a line of three Conservative PM's including that of Thatcher, mostly admired by Tory Eu-sceptics (but leaving out that of the hated Heath). So the strong implication is that - however much we may dislike Blair's other policies, in this particular case he has got it right, and consequently, just as the Tories rightly supported Blair over the war in Iraq, so they can rightly support him over the EU constitution.

Ladies and Gentlemen, we are being softened up in preparation for the unedifying spectacle of Howard voting WITH Blair to accept the Constitution... What other meaning can this interview and editorial possibly have?

Combine this with Howard's manifest chumminess with the notorious EU-integrationist Ken Clarke (and not just over a pint in the bar reminiscing over their Cambridge days, but on the floor of the House, and with Clarke officially promoted back to the front bench), and the picture is complete.

The reality is that the Tory Party under Howard is about to complete the dastardly work begun by Heath, and supported throughout by Howe, Hurd, Heseltine and others ... (Author kept anonymous as contact details unavailable - ed.).

Daily Telegraph Leading Article of 31st January 2004 is linked
from here, while the interview with the Green Party German Foreign Minister and apparent ex-Terrorist linked street fighter Joshcka Fischer is available from here with the accompanying descriptive article from here.

The Barclay Brothers are today reported to have increased their off for the Telegraph titles. We must seriously hope that if successful they make sweeping changes in the editorial departments as Britain is in serious danger of not just losing any remnants of broadcasting independence, but also the last broadsheet stalwarts opposed to the non-democratic advance of the EU superstate.