Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Tory MP resigns

Curiously it is a pro-EU MP from the left of the party. All the criticisms could have come from either wing of the Tory Party.

The real damage in this is
it seems to me is that all the remaining sitting Conservative MPs can now have little chance of getting out from the Cameron disaster with any self-respect or authority remaining.

If only John Redwood or David Davis had penned something like the following:

Quentin Davies' letter to Cameron:

I have been a member of the Conservative Party for over 30 years, and have served for 20 years in the Parliamentary Party, in a variety of backbench and front bench roles.

This has usually been a great pleasure, and always a great privilege. It is therefore with much sadness that I write you this letter. But you are entitled to know the truth.

Under your leadership the Conservative Party appears to me to have ceased collectively to believe in anything, or to stand for anything.

It has no bedrock. It exists on shifting sands. A sense of mission has been replaced by a PR agenda.

For the first 19 years of my time in the House, in common I imagine with the great majority of my colleagues, it never occurred to me to leave the party, whatever its current vicissitudes.

Ties of familiarity, of friendship, and above all of commitment to constituency supporters are for all of us very strong and incredibly difficult to break.

But they cannot be the basis for living a lie - for continuing in an organisation when one no longer has respect for its leadership or understanding of its aims.

I have come to that appreciation slowly and painfully and as a result of many things, some of which are set out below.

The first horrible realisation that I might not be able to continue came last year. My initial reaction was to suppress it.

You had come to office as leader of the party committed to break a solemn agreement we had with the European People's Party to sit with them in the EPP-ED Group during the currency of this European Parliament.

For seven months you vacillated, and during that time we had several conversations.

It was quite clear to me that you had no qualms in principle about tearing up this agreement, and that it was only the balance of prevailing political pressures which led you ultimately to stop short of doing so (though since then you have hardly acted in good faith in continuing with the agreement, for example you never attend the EPP-ED Summits claiming that you are "too busy" - even though half a dozen or more Prime Ministers are always present.)

Of course I knew that you had put yourself in a position such that if you did not leave the EPP-ED Group you would be breaking other promises you had given to colleagues, and on which many of them had counted in voting for you at the leadership election.

But that I fear only made the position worse. The trouble with trying to face both ways is that you are likely to lose everybody's confidence.

Aside from the rather significant issues of principle involved, you have of course paid a practical price for your easy promises.

You are the first leader of the Conservative Party who (for different reasons) will not be received either by the President of the United States, or by the Chancellor of Germany (up to, and very much including, Iain Duncan Smith every one of your predecessors was most welcome both in the White House and in all the chancelleries of Europe).

It is fair to say that you have so far made a shambles of your foreign policy, and that would be a great handicap to you - and, more seriously, to the country - if you ever came to power.

I have never done business with people who deliberately break contracts, and I knew last year that if you left the EPP-ED Group I could no longer remain in a party under your leadership.

In fact you held back and I tried to put this ugly incident out of my mind and carry on.

But the last year has been a series of shocks and disappointments. You have displayed to the full both the vacuity and the cynicism of your favourite slogan 'change to win'.

One day in January, I think a Wednesday or Thursday, you and George Osborne discovered that Gordon Brown was to make a speech on the environment the following Monday.

You wished to pre-empt him. So without any consultation with anyone - experts, think tanks, the industry, even the Shadow Cabinet - you announced an airline or flight tax which as you have subsequently heard from me in a long paper (which has never been refuted) and I am sure from many others, is certainly defective and contradictory - and in my view complete nonsense.

The PR pressures had overridden any considerations of economic rationality or national interest, or even what would have been to others normal businesslike prudence.

Equally it seems that your hasty rejection of nuclear energy as a 'last resort' was also driven by your PR imperatives rather than by other considerations. Many colleagues hope that that will be the subject of your next u-turn.

You regularly (I think on a pre-arranged PR grid or timetable) make apparent policy statements which are then revealed to have no intended content at all. They appear to be made merely to strike a pose, to contribute to an image.

You thus sometimes treat important subjects with the utmost frivolity. Examples are 'inequality' (the 'Polly Toynbee' moment - again you had a paper from me!), marriage and the tax system (even your own Party Chairman was unable to explain on the BBC what you really meant) and, most recently, mass consultation of the public on policy decisions. (In view of your complete failure to consult with anyone, within the Party or outside it, on many of the matters I have touched on, or on many others, the latter was perhaps intended as a joke).

Of course I could go on - up to three weeks ago when you were prepared to stoop to putting forward a resolution on Iraq (demanding an inquiry while our military involvement continues) which it was admitted at a Party meeting the following Monday (by George Osborne in your presence) was motivated by party political considerations. That was a particularly bad moment."

Believe it or not I have no personal animus against you. You have always been perfectly courteous in our dealings. You are intelligent and charming.

As you know, however, I never supported you for the leadership of the Party - even when, after my preferred candidate Ken Clarke had been defeated in the first round, it was blindingly obvious that you were going to win.

Nor, for the same reasons, have I ever sought office in your shadow administration.
Although you have many positive qualities you have three, superficiality, unreliability and an apparent lack of any clear convictions, which in my view ought to exclude you from the position of national leadership to which you aspire and which it is the presumed purpose of the Conservative Party to achieve.

Believing that as I do, I clearly cannot honestly remain in the Party. I do not intend to leave public life. On the contrary I am looking forward to joining another party with which I have found increasingly I am naturally in agreement and which has just acquired a leader I have always greatly admired, who I believe is entirely straightforward, and who has a towering record, and a clear vision for the future of our country which I fully share.

Because my constituents, to whose interests of course I remain devoted, are entitled to know the full background, I am releasing this letter to the press."

Friday, June 15, 2007

Has Britain's veto on Police and the Judiciary already been abandoned?

The following two reports from the Conservative Party web site on the EU, certainly might indicate that is the case, as do the EU's own web pages as has been explored more fully on another of my blogs "Ironies Too" linked here, which is also covering the grave constitutional crisis with a lame duck PM about to sign away his country.

Thursday June 7, 2007
EU Constitution moves in by the back door
EU Constitution moves in by the back door

Plans to resurrect the obsolete EU Constitution have moved one step closer to becoming a reality as the European Parliament voted today to support the controversial Prüm Treaty.

The Prüm Treaty contains many of the measures that were originally part of the EU Constitution which was voted down two years ago by France and the Netherlands. These measures include proposals to give foreign police the right to freely enter the UK and arrest British citizens suspected of crimes abroad with no regard to the current extradition procedures. Other plans include a central European database of EU citizens, containing highly confidential data such as credit cards records. Police would have the right to search any EU citizen's details even if the person in question is not suspected of any crime.

Despite vocal opposition by MEP Philip Bradbourn, Conservative Spokesman on Justice and Home Affairs, the Parliament has today voted in favour of the Treaty. Mr Bradbourn addressed the Parliament last night in a tough speech outlining his opposition to the Treaty.

Mr Bradbourn said:

"This Treaty fundamentally goes against the rules of data protection and civil liberties that we have come to expect in Europe. This 'one size fits all approach is clearly inapplicable for countries with very different legal traditions and even senior police in the UK have called for this Treaty to be scrapped, proposing that voluntary bilateral agreements between Member States should be the way forward in security co-operation.

Now that the Parliament has unfortunately voted through the Treaty it is up to the British Government to veto it when it reaches Council of Ministers, which is something Conservatives insist they do".

Top Story TODAY 15th June 2007

British police must share fingerprints, driving licenses and DNA records with all EU police forces from today
British police must share fingerprints, driving licenses and DNA records with all EU police forces from today
Blair fails to veto new EU powers on personal data-sharing throughout Europe and, despite of Labour's rhetoric, some elements of the rejected constitution came into force today.

The first shot of a constitution climb-down sounded today as Franco Frattini, Commissioner for Justice and Home Affairs, confirmed that the Prüm Treaty would now have EU force.

Sunday, June 10, 2007

Vapid begs Daily Mirror to be kinder

The report is from the The Observer linked here.

It seems the Tory leader thinks the following is unfair political comment, though presumably not denying the facts:

Class struggle: the Mirror on Cameron

'Cameron's all too aware his toff-class membership is a potentially fatal problem, instructing Con spin doctors never to invite your columnist to Tory events, because I've spent 18 months highlighting his toffness. I turn up anyway at Tory shindigs, just to annoy him'.

'Spotty Cameron was packed off to £25,000-a-year Eton, puffing on wacky baccy rather than learning Latin. Then it was off to Oxford's dreaming spires, where he bought a silly £1,200 tail coat, pratting around as an Edwardian gentleman in the restricted gene pool that is the Bullingdon Club.'

'Only toffs with plenty of dosh bray there is more to life than money. It's easy for well-heeled David Cameron to come over all Ken Doddish and preach happiness. Daddy was a stockbroker and the Tory leader fought his way to the top from the, er, top. Born with a silver dinner service in his mouth, he suffered the indignity of a bog-standard education at Eton and Oxford.'

'You don't have to be a toff to get on in Old Etonian David Cameron's Tory Party - but it certainly helps'

'Tory toff David Cameron accuses parents who fail to discipline their children of being 'selfish and irresponsible'. But what the hell does Diddy Dave know about that world? His parents didn't raise him like that. They sent him to boarding school as soon as he could say "Goodbye, Mama".'

'Labour MPs were having a fag behind the bike sheds when Tory toff David Cameron was fagging at Eton. The posh chap's latest wheeze to reward youthful goody two-shoes reeks of his privileged upbringing.'

Saturday, June 09, 2007

An E-mail somebody has sent to Vapid

Dear Mr Cameron
As the UK nears the point when the Prime Minister is involved in
discussions on the content of a proposed new European Union constitution which could be binding
upon the United Kingdom, HM Opposition's stance is conspicuous, once again, more by its silence
on this momentous issue than any principled and public response to what should be its highest
priority, namely the future governance of the UK.

The content of the following speech made by Mr Ashley Mote MEP is the one that should have
been delivered by you in one form or another, and indeed by the leaders of all other political
parties in the UK at this critical time. As it is, the statesmanlike appraisal of the
current prospects for the UK's future relationship with the EU is left to a relatively unknown
and independently minded MEP. Shame on you Mr Cameron!

The Conservative Party website trumpets: "Parliament should be the watchdog of the (British)
Constitution." Shame on you Mr Cameron for not acting on your own stated principle through
your guilty silence.

Your web site also suggests proposals that the Conservatives will ensure "No deals being made
in Europe without full explanation first".

Once more the British people will see through this empty promise because just such a "deal"
is being negotiated in secret by Mr Blair with our EU partners on the proposed EU 'constitution',
and in particular with Angela Merkel of Germany, at this very moment.

The deal is being passed off by Mr Blair as of no particular constitutional significance, and
therefore not requiring a referendum by the British people. Whilst your Party does call for such
a referendum, that call is muted and mis-trusted because of your Party's abysmal track record in
its approval of further EU/UK integration in almost every possible policy area since the signing
of the Treaty of Rome.

Shame on you Mr Cameron, for failing to make a single major policy speech in opposition to
the EU's increased hegemony over the will of a freely elected UK Parliament by an unelected
foreign organisation, and for failing to expose the nature of the second hand EU 'constitution
now being proposed.

Now read on - for the speech you should have made:

Sovereign Nations Don't Have Constitutions Imposed on Them - 7 June

EU Constitutional Debate, European Parliament, 7 June 2007

Text of speech by Ashley Mote MEP, independent, SE England

"You are our Neighbours - Not our Masters", Ashley Mote MEP
tells European Parliament
"The British government's White Paper on the original constitution
said that it involved “no fundamental change”
"But why have a constitution if you don’t want fundamental change – what
else could be its purpose? Angela Merkel has said that the new version should have a new name and
“use different terminology without changing the legal substance”.

How reassuring to be so vividly reminded of German commitment to
democracy and the rule of law.

The old - and doubtless the new - constitution totally reverses the
relationship between the EU and the Member States and between the
governing and the governed.
Whenever before did a sovereign nation permit outsiders to write and
impose a new constitution on them, except after defeat in war?

In my country the state draws power from the people, and answers to them.

In the EU, the State now seeks to exist in its own right, and have the
people answer to it.
Our rights and freedoms are our birthright. They are not in the gift, or
at the discretion, of a passing parade of political nonentities - here
today and gone tomorrow.
The original draft constitution did us a great service: it crystallised
the future.
It attempted to turn a Europe of nations into a nation called Europe.

It forced us to decide if we would allow Europeans to become our masters.
We do not.
You are our neighbours. You should be our friends. But nothing more.

Whatever its new name - like the last one, this one will not be a
constitution at all.
The first version was vague, grandiose, imprecise, deliberately complex,
confusing and extremely long.
It was proscriptive rather than enabling. It made law, instead of creating a framework for law-making. It offered no effective checks and balances to control future law-makers,
and no mechanism to stop the train. It consolidated power for a system of government by a self-perpetuating
bureaucracy. It turned the member states from theoretical masters of the house of
Brussels into its servants. So what's different this time?
This oppressive constitution is not the answer. It is a 1950s solution to 1920s problems.
Today we live in another world. People living in today’s fast-moving, flexible, unpredictable, hi-tech
world need responsive, imaginative, minimalist government.

The EU has been left far behind by the Americans, and soon the Indian
sub-continent and China will overtake as well.

The EU and its grandiose ideas are part of the problem. They are not part
of the solution.
Hostility exists across all 27 countries. It abounds in Poland, the Czech
Republic, Austria, Latvia, parts of Scandinavia and, of course, the UK.

The Dutch are rightly angered by suggestions that they didn’t understand
what they were voting about last time. Given the chance, they may well
vote ‘no’ again.
And what happens in Ireland and Denmark, where referenda are mandatory
even if the word ‘constitution’ disappears? Resistance will inevitably harden.

These are important constitutional issues which the Council of Mínisters
has largely chosen to ignore just as they have ignored the failure of the
first version of the constitution.
Some 36 new EU projects and institutions - wholly dependant on that
document for their legitimacy - have all gone ahead already. So much for
due process and the rule of law.
For the bureaucrats, rebirth of the constitution - even under an assumed
name – really is just a tidying-up exercise. For the rest of us it changes everything.
No British parliament has the power to bind its successors. The EU
constitution - whatever it's called - threatens to deny that power of an
elected British government.
That alone makes it unlawful.

Suggesting – as clause 18 of the original did - that we might have to
come, cap in hand, to ask to leave is preposterous. And wait two years while the rest of you decided? Who are you kidding?

The Victorian lawyer, Professor Dicey told the British people that they
are free to withdraw their consent from parliament at any time and have
the right to use any means to regain control of their sovereignty.

The Bill of Rights, 1689, is still the statute law of the UK. Its
authority was re-affirmed in a House of Lords judgment

in November 2001. Desuetude (repeal by lack of use) is unknown to English
The Bill of Rights is based on a concept of permanence and declares that
any actions taken against its principles are null and void. It
specifically forbids handing power to foreigners. "

Sunday, June 03, 2007

Shock and astonishment!

The headline reflects my reaction to an interview on Boulton on Sunday on Sky News this morning when Conservative MP Graham Brady was interviewed and brilliantly defended his stance on Grammar Schools and lambasted the state of present party politics.

It appears the Tory Party still retains some upright, decent and thoughtful individuals among its parliamentary representatives.

One is only left to wonder why former party leader Michael Howard, first promoted George Osborne and then backed David Cameron as his replacement when there were people of integrity and character available. As Conservative Home points out here, the new four hundred thousand pound a year press chief the ex-NoW editor once used his pages to describe these two as follows:

"Osborne ... has now owned up to his encounters with a cocaine-snorting call-girl ... like Cameron, the frontbench MP won't be drawn on whether he has taken drugs himself. But remember, politicians make the laws. That's why we have the right to ask about their backgrounds - especially when they aspire to run our country."

Clearly politics is all a matter of money for Mr Coulson, perhaps that attitude is what rubbed off on the present Shadow Foreign Secretary, William Hague MP, who wrote in his column for Coulson's rag during the run up to the 2005 general election that he was earning too much money to sacrifice time to take an active role in the campaign.