Thursday, December 07, 2006

Cameron Lambasts EU 'Culture of Hopelessness'

Last week a friend of mine attended an event in the City at which David Cameron spoke. He committed a future Conservative government to withdraw from the EU Social Chapter. I hadn't heard him do this before but I am told it was not new and he had said it on several occasions before. Today, Cameron is in Brussels and will be lambasting the EU for promoting a 'culture of hopelessness'. He will be meeting the two prime promoters of hopelessness, Peter Mandelson and Jose Manuel Barrosso. He'll be saying...

"Last year the EU made helping lift Africa out of poverty a priority. But many of the EU's policies are making poverty in developing countries worse. The EU remains committed to a largely unreformed CAP, an economic and humanitarian disaster which pushes up food prices for the poorest people in Europe and helps lock the developing world in poverty. And the EU still has higher trade barriers against poor countries than it does against rich. That's not good enough and it needs to change.

"The EU has not had its accounts signed off for 11 years in a row. The Commission continues to use an accounting system that the EU's former Chief Accountant says is wide open to fraud. If a company director failed to sign off accounts for 11 years, they would probably be heading for jail. It's not good enough and it's got to change.

"Europe's Kyoto target is to reduce carbon emissions by 8 per cent by 2012. But with just six years to go, carbon emissions are down by less than 1 per cent. Twelve member states have actually gone backwards and increased their emissions. The EU is set to miss its Kyoto emission targets. That's not good enough and it's got to change.

"In 2000 Europe's leaders said they would make the EU the most competitive knowledge-based economy in the world by 2010. EU politicians repeated their call for economic reform in 2002, 2003, 2004 and 2005. But since 1998 new EU regulations have cost business £37 billion.

"We will be the champions for real change in Europe. We are a new generation. We have no time for the culture of hopelessness that has plagued the way the EU has often attempted to address the big global challenges we face. It's because we want to see a future for the EU and believe in a strong Europe that we want to make the EU confront its failings. The next generation of Europeans wants a continent to be proud of. They want Europe to be a force for good, to lead by example, to be a shining symbol of progress. And they want to reach out with enthusiasm to the countries that aspire to join the EU."

Cameron will also be meeting British Conservative MEPs. I hope he will use the meeting to remind some of them that they do actually call themselves Conservatives. It would be great if he would also tell them they will all be up for re-selection next year and they will ALL have to face an open selection.


Johnny Norfolk said...

In fairness to DC the press only reports his leftie comments. He needs to work harder at getting the nuts and bolts reported

Anonymous said...

Agree with the scandal of EU accounts not being signed off. Sarbanes-Oxley legislation post-Enron has seen the chiefs of big companies risk jail if this happens. Like Nat West Three.

And the CAP certainly needs reform if sugar producers in Africa are being put out of business.

Social chapter ? Hmmm - what would then be to American multinationals asking us to give up all our social protection and asking us to work 70 hours a week for peanuts ?

I think like EU health and safety legislation people complain about it. But people would have no defence against giant companies without it.

hatfield girl said...

' The next generation of Europeans wants a continent to be proud of. They want Europe to be a force for good, to lead by example, to be a shining symbol of progress.'
Just off to my German class; their habit of declining the direct and indirect object (diversely) is climbing rapidly up the top ten causes of the First World War, but it's got to be easier than learning Chinese.
This generation are keen on a successful, not too pushy, Europe as well; so much closer to home.

Raggasonic said...

The EU accounts are not signed off because the dodgy bits are when the money is passed to national governments for them to spend, and some countries don't have the means to track the spending properly. This is something that should concern people in the countries responsible, since there's a risk that there's no audit trail for their money too. For example, people suspect the mafia is creaming off money in Italy, but the Italians don't want to delve too deep. This isn't the fault of Brussels, it's a national problem. In fact, the accounts for the bureaucracy itself in Bruxelles are signed-off.

Cameron's aims are laudable, but he's the leader of the opposition in just one of the 25 member states and for many in Europe, Tony Blair is seen as an "ultraliberal" free-market slave. So few will listen to Cameron and fewer will want to support his ideas. Maybe some Danes and Poles, but you're hardly going to get France and Germany on board....

Raggasonic said...

...and on the matter of the Social Chapter, faced with globalisation and competition from low-paid workers in China and India, many in Europe want MORE social protection, more rights to secure their jobs.

Of course, raising labour costs even higher is the fastest way to move the jobs overseas but few seem to grasp this idea, they just see a threat and want The State to protect them, not to enable them.

hatfield girl said...

people suspect the mafia is creaming off money in Italy, but the Italians don't want to delve too deep.
It would be digging your own grave, after all.

Anonymous said...

raggasonic - never fear ! Who is this I see riding a white charger ?

'Tis Randy Mandy fighting for the forces of the free market !

Hurrah ! We are saved !

Anonymous said...

Come on Dave, talk is cheap, but you've shelved action on fishing and on the EPP. This doesn't wash.

Praguetory said...

Good post, Iain. Raggasonic is too kind to Brussels. I strongly recommend you all read the story of the only qualified accountant to be CFO of the EU who is currently engaged in a David and Goliath battle with the said institution over her unfair dismissal.

Dr.Doom said...

Does Dave want to be PM or not?

Talking like that may not do it, in my view.

Accounts haven't been signed off for 11 years? True....but, the answer is because they haven't been, not because they are bent.

A £50M project to build a conference hall may be completed to spec and on time in perfect order and within budget. It doesn't get 'signed off' because they didn't buy hard hats for the workers, when spec says it on the paperwork. A false observation is to say that it is bent.

Dave also claims God status over Kyoto. Unfair because most people wait until the final whistle before realising what the score is.

I could go on but I should just observe the obvious. Nice try from a nice man, but could do a lot better.
An attack upon Europe is a false enemy. Europe is the friend of the British man, therefore, an attack upon urope is an attack upon the British man.
The EU is a 'soft' target, but only until Gordon makes the EU our very bestest friend.
That's exactly what the plan is.
Dave aint listening to reason.


bt said...

Words are cheap.
Q. So how will this 'real change' that he champions be achieved?

Ans. It won't. The protection of too many national interests and national votes ensuring the survival of too many national politicians depend on a 'more of the same' agenda promulgated by a secretive, unelected Commission.
Turkeys do not vote for Christmas.

About 80% of the legislation being 'enacted' in the UK is at the behest of the EU. So why don't our native politicos tell it like it is - "This is what they insist we do, is it a good thing or not? And if you don't think it is, what do you want us to do about it?"

With Blair reportedly organising a big push to make the EU look like Santa Claus, the Tooth Fairy and everyone's favourite uncle rolled into one, it's about time there were well-publicised, objective discussions in this country about what *we* want. But according to Desperate Dave Europe is a dead issue in the Tory Party.

Oh, really?
If that's so why is he wasting his time moaning in Europe? 'Cos they won't listen. The British electorate might - but that might cause him a few uncomfortable moments closer to home, mightn't it?

BTW - come your elevation to the green benches, how far will you go in toeing the line on the EU?

Anonymous said...

But after the EPP performance will they take any notice?

Muslim Unity said...

It is hard to imagine Europe as one entity if we try to focus only on the uncommon apects, but if there is a hard enough try, I am sure Europe could be one.

I wonder if the pound will ever become the euro though. p

wrinkled weasel said...

I am not aware of a groundswell of public arena Eurosceptic talk from the front bench at the moment.

Is it a taboo subject in the new Mandelson/Hilton era?

Anonymous said...

Doom said "Europe is the friend of the British man".

Is that right Doom?

Do you mean Europe or the EUssr?

JT said...

Iain, there is no legal means short of treaty renegotiation or unilateral repudiation whereby the British parliament can reassert sovereignty in the areas conceded under the Social Chapter.

Each country has a veto on treaty renogiation.

France, among others, would block any attempt to renegotiate.

Cameron has given no indication that he would be prepared to repudiate the treaties.

We are stuck with the present mess until we get out.

Cameron must be very stupid or very mendacious if he thinks that there is any other solution to the probelm.

Anonymous said...

No doubt if Guido showed this his readers would be complaining about giving airtime to those 'commies' at the ACLU. In any case, he is probably opposed to Shami Chakrabarti's Liberty trying to do the same for our country.

Still, Iain, you are a lot brighter than he is, and so are your readers.

chameleon said...

Come on Dave, just say we will leave and sign a free trade deal like Switzerland and Norway. Then we can do a deal with the USA, Commonwealth and other countries too. Boost jobs, trade and wealth.

The money saved by leaving, around £5bln a year, can be spent on the NHS. We could save our regional funding too, as the EU will be stopping it soon as it's being rediverted to Eastern Europe.

The Social Chapter is rubbish. The state cannot protect people from the realities of life. The more they intervene, the more firms will relocate. Socialism has failed and will always fail.

DrDoom, how on Earth is the EU Britain's best friend? The EU does nothing we couldn't do better ourselves. And if you think the EU isn't bent, you have not spoke to many who work with it!

Muslim unity, as for making Europe into 'one entity', why be 'one entity' when we can be many? I am liberal, I believe in a free World of free nations, not artificial unification. Let them be free!

The Euro btw is a total disaster economically. Plus with modern international finance, not needed. With plastic you can buy/sell in any currency you like.

We can achieve more through voluntary co-operation internationally, we don't need a political body to organise it or unify us.

Praguetory said...

Ridiculous post from Doom. Let me expand.

Marta Andreasen said that in her time at the EU "the computer system wasn’t coherent. The input did not equal the output. It was not secure. Many people could make payments to the bank, uncontrolled, and worse than that, it left no audit trail. Internal control was fragile..."

On the potential for "olive grove fraud" – payments for non-existent plantations – she said: "I will not sign a payment until I know who Gonzalez or Fernandez is." Yet in many cases the money was paid in advance so the EU never sought proof that it was used for the intended purpose.

"Why did I have to open a bank account for someone in Honduras and make payment in pesos? Can someone tell me who he is? That’s the type of thing I got no answer to. I stopped the payment and said I want the documents – the documents never came."

Before her sacking, a memo to Lord Kinnock from the EU's senior auditor said her claims were "factually and substantively correct".

Tim Almond said...

"We will be the champions for real change in Europe. We are a new generation. We have no time for the culture of hopelessness that has plagued the way the EU has often attempted to address the big global challenges we face."

Fine words, but what's the detail? What's he actually going to do to make this happen?

Maggie thought she could get the CAP reformed in 1979. Blair thought so too.

People have been trying for decades to reform the EU, and all attempts have failed. I have no confidence that Cameron has any idea how to reform it, either.

Helen said...

And he is going to carry out these reforms how? Through the Commission, the ECJ, the European Council, the IGC? Or do we think pretty words will make all the difference?

Anonymous said...

I'd love to see European farmers pulled off the CAP teat - never going to happen thou.

As many EU manufacturers become less productive it's likely their Governments will become more protectionist.

Andrew Zalotocky said...

Iain, the big thing missing from Cameron's speech is any indication of how he intends to bring about all these changes. With the certain opposition of several major governments and the European Commission, what chance would he have of making any of them happen?

If he doesn't address that question in a credible way, we will have to assume that he's just talking tough to appeal to Eurosceptic voters while being careful not to commit himself to anything specific. He must be worried about losing votes to UKIP.

Note particularly the Blair-style managerialist language. Cameron talks of change while avoiding any mention of who has to do it and how. He promises an attitude (being "champions for real change") rather than any concrete actions. His reference to a "new generation" implies that newer is automatically better, just as Blair does with his constant use of the word "modern".

The "culture of hopelessness" is a straw man. The lack of reform in the EU is not due to a lack of confidence and optimism, but due to the fact that many governments like it as it is. The French and Italians, for example, are quite satisfied with the way the CAP subsidises their farmers and the Commission knows that it buys political support for the EU. It's protectionist, socialist and centralising because it's designed to be.

Nul Points Dave!

Chris said...

At least the EU's getting Kyoto right by ignoring it (stopped clocks and all that). Dave's support of it is just one more reason why I can't vote Conservative any more. (And yes, I know calling him 'Dave' trivialises him. I do it because he's trivial, see?)

Anonymous said...

"do we think pretty words will make all the difference?

Cameron is bLiarforce 2, remember!

anonentity said...

Anon 2:03PM,

I wonder if I am the only conservative who is displeased at Chakrabarti's conversion of Liberty from a civil liberties organisation to a "human rights" one, with all the leftist rightthink that entails.


tom_r said...

I think a lot of people have hit the nail right on the head - Blair mastered the art of telling everyone that things needed to be changed, "Education, education, eduation" and all that, but has never delivered.

Surely Cameron has noticed that the more often he spouts policy ideas without any supporting plans on how to achieve them, he's just digging a bigger hole for himself for when he does finally announce his major policies next year or beyond.

Anoneumouse said...

Is this alleged meeting going to have a photo shoot, an after meeting press release and more importantly, like Norway, Afghanistan, Iraq and Dafur, will it be his primary topic at next weeks PMQ's


Drink Boll's, piss green

Anonymous said...

I'm just thankful Cameron has at least pledged to do away with British involvement in the Social Chapter, an abomination in EU regulation.

Yes the world is becoming more globalised, but that means making our labour market more flexible and controlling immigration to fill the gaps.

Anonymous said...

Roger Helmer's been listed as the most publicity-effective British MEP. Well done the Conservatives. Check out the list.

Mario Scaramella sends his congratulations to Roger Helmer. Those that assumed it was Italian mafia skimming off EU slush, are now aware that the Italians are in cahoots with Russians. Prodi the erstwhile Head of the EU Commission is Europe's top KGB agent. Now it all makes sense.

No wonder Litvinenko was murdered, and Mario is being burned at the stake. It all seems so unfair. These Italians and Russians are really beastly people.

David Lindsay said...

He's not going to do anything about it, though. He still has a Shadow Foreign Secretary who actually SIGNED the Maastrich Treaty, and I believe it is true to say that no one who voted against Maastricht sits in the Shadow Cabinet, whereas Peter Hain did so vote (and Margaret Beckett is the most Eurosceptical Foreign Secretary since Bevin).

Merely being the editorial position of the Daily Mail or the Daily Telegraph, or the opinion of most Tory members or voters, does not make somthing the policy of the Conservative Party. There is nothing Eurosceptical about that policy. Nothing at all.

proud to be anonymous said...

several points:

1) I am an Englishman, a subject of Her Majesty, born in Gloucestershire, and formerly a Conservative.

2) I rather like Shami Chakrabarti. She talks a lot of sense. I'm impressed.

3) I will never hold an ID card. If forced to possess one I will immediately destroy it.

4) I am not and never will be a "European citizen". I don't recognise "Europe" as anything to which I should pledge allegiance.

Anonymous said...

"No groudswell on the front bench" ...... err but there is in the voting population of UK. Renegotiation on our terms would get 99% support. If that doesnt suit EU well so be it. If only politicians started policy debates with the thought " right, what do the public want" this issue would be so much clearer.

The public want an end to spin and sleaze and government and the EU is the one topic around which voters can agree reform is needed. If he announces a serious renegotiation ahead of the election he wins by a landslide - fact.

Leave Now said...

EU is destined to failure anyway, why waste our money and time being involved a free trade area makes sense, nothing else does.

If a soap-dodger came canvassing at your door, trying toghet you to support some muppet MEP grouping what would the reaction of 99% of the country be?

Anonymous said...

Proud to be anonymous - I can't emphasise too highly that you need to log on to NOW.

Take your point about destroying an ID card, but by then it will be too late.

To issue an ID card they will have had to 'capture' your biometric information [say fingerprint, iris scan] and put information on the database. Once that has happened you can destroy as many cards as you like - it doesn't matter, you are on the system, and you ain't coming off it - ever.

So the objection has to happen far in advance of the actual cards being issued.

Anonymous said...

There's nothing in what Dave apparently wants to tell the EU that his best mate Tony couldn't tell them.

Dave daren't rock the EU boat or he's in trouble with the Tory left,Clark and Hezza in particular.

You can't trust any of our major parties to discuss anything with the EU. Dave's Tories are a waste of space. My vote's with UKIP as I can't bring myself to vote for the Eton Tony.

Anonymous said...

What Dave's apparently going to say to the EU could equally be said by Tony.

You can't trust any of the major parties to discuss anything with the EU. Dave can't make any EU waves as he will have trouble with his left wing. Look what happened with his alignment in the European Parliament.

The Tory Party is now completely useless. I will be giving my vote to UKIP as I won't vote for an Eton Tony.

verity said...

The only solution to this nightmare EU project is to bin it. It is insane.

verity said...

Leave Now says the EUSSR is destined to be a failure, which is correct. Just as the original USSR was destined to be a failure, but caused untold misery to tens of millions of people whose lives it controlled with an iron fist.

We should steer well clear of such megalomaniacal delusions. The vision is insane. And it is a gravy train for the apparachiks, none of whom we wanted or needed in the first place.

Anonymous said...

verity - love your comment about the 'EUSSR'. What you might not realise is that a politician from completely the other end of the spectrum of your views on capitalism agrees with you.

His name is Tony Benn - have a read of his books - I guarantee you will not be disappointed.

Anonymous said...

Cameron was quite impressive on Monday, despite telling his London academy / autograph on ebay anecdote again. He at least acknowledged that we are fundamentally a lower tax party.

As for the EU, I fail to see that committing ourselves as a matter of ideology to membership of the EU will allow us to drive reform. We have had thirty years of committed membership, but the only negotiating card we have to play is our willingness to leave. We should use it.

Tom Tyler said...

"He [Cameron] committed a future Conservative government to withdraw from the EU Social Chapter"

That's far too long a sentence. By the time he's finished saying it, his audience will have forgotten how it started and what its point is. I have a suggestion - If Mr Cameron could shorten that statement by just two words, that would be just kushty.

David Lindsay said...

Ah, Hezza! What a very importnat man he is: the European Commission's British point-man, without whose endorsement no one has become PM for 16 years and counting. And Cameron's guru, it seems.

Verity said...

"We will be the champions for real change in Europe." David Cameron doesn't understand that Europe is bad for Britain and we don't want to be bound to them legally.

We don't want "change in Europe". We don't want some mad prime minister fiddling while Europe burns. We want out. On friendly terms if possible. Or otherwise.

We have our Commonwealth. They are our family.

The Remittance Man said...

A rather anodyne if vaguely eu-sceptic speach.

But I suspect it has more to do with Darfur Dave's domstic standing than any genuine desire to attempt the impossible and reform a corrupt, self serving, monolithic institution like the eu.

Cameron's finally woken up to the fact that a large part of his most reliable support is getting very uncomfortable with all his touchy feely pronouncements. And he's also waking up to the fact that nowadays that support base has a potential place of refuge - UKIP.

So off he toddles to Brussels to make a couple of speeches that he hopes will bring his eu-sceptic right back into line.

Unfortunately I suspect the intended audience will see through the plan and continue to be hostile towards the NuCons.

About the only (slightly) positive thing one can forsee is that this heralds a Brown premiership right about the time when the economy goes as pear shaped as Cherry Blair's bum.

Voyager said...

a future Conservative government to withdraw from the EU Social Chapter

Why propose something he is powerless to do ?

This is an insult to the voters' intelligence - it is a cornerstone of The Single Market and he has ZERO prospect of this being true and he knows it.

james higham said...

Johnny Norfolk's comment stands but still:

Today, Cameron is in Brussels and will be lambasting the EU for promoting a 'culture of hopelessness'.

Rousing stuff.

strapworld said...

The Germans are going to press the 'constitution' by another name and demand that the UK back this new 'initiative'. This will enable Prime Minister Brown to call for a referendum and agree to abide by the decision! That will mean, of course, withdrawal and ensure that Brown is re-elected!! Conservatives to lose out again .

Anonymous said...

Oh I just despair. The only "hopelessness" is that felt the British people who see no end to the bottomless pit into which we are forced to throw our hard-earned money year after year. Lambast? Don't make me laugh. A fossilised sheep could savage better than this.

Rog said...

So this is Dave pretending to be tough on the EU eh? No-one's going to believe any of it now.

PS, I like the veiled threat to the MEPs near the end.

Better people than DC have tried to reform the EU, and have all been unsuccessful.

Marta Andreasen (ex chief accountant for the EU) was sacked by Kinnock for whistle-blowing after all attempts at accountancy reform were blocked. To suggest that the EU is honest and that it's the recipient countries who are bent is ludicrous.

All this is just the same old "at the heart of Europe, fighting for change" rubbish all the politicians spout from time to time.

It strikes me that we shouldn't voluntarily be a vassal of a system that we are continually fighting for small mercies.

We would be better off keeping our £40bn pa net cost, and exiting the sinking EU.

hatfield girl said...

Rog said
'Marta Andreasen (ex chief accountant for the EU) was sacked by Kinnock for whistle-blowing after all attempts at accountancy reform were blocked.'

Well, he would, wouldn't he.

When did any of the current Labour Party want, and at times try to actively obstruct, the honest conduct of the administration of public money.