Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Libertas to Stand in Euro Elections in the UK

Excuse me if I can't get terribly excited about the announcement this morning by Libertas that they will field candidates in Britain in the European elections. It's not clear to me what they are really offering, beyond opposition to the Lisbon Treaty. Well, the Conservatives and UKIP already offer that, so what exactly is the point of Libertas, beyond being an outlet for Declan Ganley's increasingly large ego? Ganley did a brilliant job with the Irish referendum, and I can't help thinking that his efforts would be better directed in campaigning for a No vote in the second Irish referendum. But the whole experience seems to have gone to his head.

I think Libertas will find it difficult to make headway here without a charismatic figurehead. Ganley has appointed ex soldier Robin Matthews as UK leader of Libertas. He had to appoint him, since they clearly don't have enough members to hold one of those quaint old things called a leadership election.

Libertas's only hope is to somehow capture the public imagination like they managed to in Ireland. I can't see how that is possible when they are spreading themselves to thinly over 27 countries, and when they don't seem to have anyone at the top capable of capturing the media's attention - apart from Ganley himself.


no longer anonymous said...

Why doesn't he ally with the Tories? Rhey're both pro-EU but anti-integration.

Idle Pen Pusher said...

What happened to the lovely Robert Kilroy-Silk?

Idle Pen Pusher

Elby the Beserk said...

Kilroy-Silk? Stuck at the hairdressers I think

Anonymous said...

Iain, to say that the conservatives already offer opposition to Lisbon is almost laughable. Bar a couple of great speaches from Bill Hague there was nothing. After the vote was lost in the Commons there was no fight at all. Ganley's fight in Ireland showed what could be done!

Furthermore, do the Tories even have a coherent position on Lisbon? Not in my opinion.

ConHome published a piece a while back now stating that 10% of those who would vote Conservative in a GE will vote UKIP in Euro Elections. Add to this mix Libertas (a more moderate Euroscpetic "party"), and the Conservative vote could suffer further.

In the Eastern region we're hoping to push for a 4th MEP but I'm concerned this won't happen unitl DC sorts his policy on the EU out (including the issue of the EPP).

Blue Eyes said...

Sorry Iain but the Tories are too closely associated with the EU project to gain any anti-Lisbon credibility. I don't think the Tories can or want to change our relationship with the EU much if at all.

For anti-EU-voters it is now a question of which anti-EU party to vote for.

Simon said...

I haven't seen any Tory opposition to Lisbon bar a few half hearted comments relating to what they might do if it hasn't been passed by the time they get into power.

EU Dave could kill the Lisbon Treaty stone dead if he promised a referendum on it regardless of any ratification which has been achieved without the promised referendum in this country. He chooses not to do that which tells you all you need to know.

Head of Legal said...

I doubt, too, that they can succeed here, but I disagree about their having an electorate. I'm concerned about the lack of listening in Brussels, and would like somehow to register that, but I certainly do not want the UK to leave the EU, which is UKIP's policy, so I can't imagine I'd ever vote for them. And it'd be a one-issue, one election thing for me - I wouldn't want to vote Conservative (I'm not a natural Tory, Iain, sorry!) just because of that.

If Libertas are against Lisbon, pro-change in the EU but neither anti-EU nor rightist and populist, then I'll consider them for at least one of my votes.

Yak40 said...

Since when has the Conservative party offered any opposition to Lisbon, or any thing else associated with the Brussels dictatorship come to that ?

Praguetory said...

So that's 4 non-mainstream alternative closer to public opinion than any of the main parties. Looks like the Tory leadership have got the electoral maths all wrong and we will suffer as a result.

Why does our leadership always need to be dragged kicking and screaming to the sensible option (e.g. sharing the proceeds of growth, grammar schools etc etc)?

I have no doubt that we will make belated euro-sceptic noises as election day approaches. It will have little credibility.

Anonymous said...

I agree that Ganley did a great job on Lisbon 1 for Ireland.

Problem is they want to change Europe not leave it.

Dave won't commit to a referendum if the general election is after Lisbon 2.

There's only UKIP left to support.

Simon Gardner said...

When are the “anti-EU head cases” going to realise that their fantasy EU is not and is never going to be on offer?

You go with the EU as it is (and as it develops) or you get out (background cheers I hear for the latter).

Since it is so very much against the UK’s national interest to get out, this isn’t going to happen - whether under any Cameron government or not.

The EU has been used for decades as an all to convenient knocking post for all and any of the UK’s own domestic problems. Mountains of Euro-myths have been peddled by some of the nuttier press- especially the Mail and Telegraph. This silly hysteria has been colluded with by Tory and Labour front benches for years and years.

BUT. We are in the EU and we are going to remain in the EU. And the so-called “market-only” EU is a daft and non-existent pipe dream. It was never the case and is never going to be the case however much the anti-EU-nuts scream and stamp their tiny feet.

(The Tory party has managed to make itself virtually isolated with a few Dutch fascists and French nazis in the European parliament as a result of its recent myopic behaviour.)

It would be sad if it weren’t all so very silly.

Anonymous said...

That's the whole point...we're a bit short on charismatic figureheads. What are the credentials? http://wannabepm.blogspot.com/2009/03/political-blagging.html
Much as I respect your intellect...any chance you could translate the power of political blogging into some constructive gain? It's all blag and no action.
Ivor X

Blue Eyes said...

it is so very much against the UK’s national interest to get out

Assertion of the day!

Even IF the EU makes us a bit richer than we might otherwise be (highly debatable) is it really preferable to have so little control over our own destiny?

neil craig said...

I agree with you. he should have simply endorsed UKIP in Britain (& presumably they would have done the same in Ireland). I suppose he could have endorsed the conservatives if he thought their leadership could be trusted not to fold after the election.

jailhouselawyer said...

Head of Legal:

In relation to the lack of listening in Brussels/Strasbourg, I am presently pricking up their ears (thanks to Joe Orton).

I too do not wish for the UK to leave the EU, as I am pro-European. However, given that the UK is a rogue state, I am seeking for the UK to be sanctioned by the Committee of Ministers and suspended from the EU unless it starts to play ball. For example, Belarus has been suspended.

The Hirst v UK(No2) judgment does have ramifications for the Lisbon Treaty. And, I note that UKIP is trying to use our challenges in Europe to argue against the HRA 1998 and EU legislation being supreme to English law.

If Libertas would like to contact me, and support convicted prisoners getting the vote both in European Election and our General Election (and local elections), there might be 80,000 votes up for grabs:-)

ukipwebmaster said...

Nigel on Libertas:

Oldrightie said...

Europe may well not survive a deep depression.

Cato said...

Despite what Simon Gardner may say and think, there are countless thousands if not millions in this country who want us out of the EU...and I'm one.
It's all very well to say that the 'market - only' EU is a pipedream but that's exactly the way that the ever gullible British public had it thrust down their throats by Head Teeth. We know now that he lied and I suspect that had the truth been told, we'd still be an independent nation instead of the poodles we are now.

Thatsnews said...

Well, the Conservatives and UKIP already offer that, so what exactly is the point of Libertas, beyond being an outlet for Declan Ganley's increasingly large ego...

Unlike our own dear UKIP with its delightful Mr Farrago.

wv jaxingig.

Magic2010 said...

Simon Gardner:
"Mountains of Euro-myths have been peddled by some of the nuttier press- especially the Mail and Telegraph."

Whatever you need to tell yourself. Those 500,000 eastern european migrants that turned up when the government expected 13,000was just 'torygraph' hysteria wasn't it Simon?

Grandpa said...

Ian – Conservative MEP’s are part of the problem, not part of the solution and will remain so as long as the leadership dances round the issue of our long-term relationship to the EU. I looked at my (Conservative) MEP’s voting record and was stunned to see he had supported a report that voted to ignore an Irish “No” vote on the Lisbon Treaty. What is democratic about that? No excuses are valid, he was not the only MEP who did this the other main parties are just as bad. Unless the Conservatives put forward a clear euro sceptical manifesto for the June Euro elections they are going to be over run by out of work MEP’s.

JoeF said...

Who cares, they will be irrelevant.

The one thing they will add to is the backbiting between all the extremists vying for the "far right" vote- UKIP, BNP, now Libertas- I see UKIP already started.

Simon Gardner said...

Cato said... “thousands if not millions in this country who want us out of the EU”

Possibly. But that wasn’t what I was saying. We won’t be coming out. It’s not going to happen.

“It's all very well to say that the 'market - only' EU is a pipedream”

It certainly is a pipedream. It’s never been the Common Market/EC/EU and it never will be.

“but that's exactly the way that the ever gullible British public had it thrust down their throats by Head Teeth.”

This is a complete and bare-faced lie. I don’t know why you repeat it. Wishful thinking perhaps. But it’s still a lie.

“We know now that he lied...”

He did no such thing. And the Treaty of Rome was completely clear and god knows it had been around long enough.

Weygand said...

Libertas may well have a much greater influence on the EU elections in the UK than you suggest.

The image here of the Irish campaign was of a moderate, intelligent party which recognised that the EU is here to stay but fundamentally flawed in its present form.

I would guess that his is probably the majority view among UK citizens (and Tory sympathisers in particular).

Being an EU-wide movement, it has the chance (in theory) to actually do something to correct what is wrong while even electing 100% Tory MEPs would have little effect.

Also many anti-Labour supporters may hold back their switch to Conservative until the General election to keep DC on his toes.

May be this is all pie in the sky, but when MEPs of the main parties are mostly nonentities, the fact that the leader of Libertas is unknown may be not that much of a disadvantage.

Anonymous said...

The Tories have not made any signs that they will give the EU a hard time. I am far from convinced that the voters for the whole of Europe agree that the current EU direction is the way to go. Most EU main political parties are just going along with the GRAND european project. The lure of the large EURO gravy train too irresistible.

Util the tories publish a sensible EU policy, that addresses the undemocratic orwellian gravy train that is the current EU, then I welcome all parties that are prepared to give the EU a kicking.

Jack said...

Since it is so very much against the UK’s national interest to get out, this isn’t going to happen - whether under any Cameron government or not.

Please could you elaborate. I have heard many arguments against continued EU participation, but I have never heard a strong case beyond "politicians love the idea and you're wrong if you don't".

Let me rephrase the question. Suppose the Tories win the election and hold a referendum on the EU. They offer two choices: (1) continue with the project, or (2) withdraw entirely. Why should the man in the street vote for the first option?

Anonymous said...

Simon,the general public WERE lied to by that traitor heath and many more besides.I listened to the politicians and voted for an economic union as it was portrayed.If I had an inkling it was going to be another dictatorship I would never have done so.The general public didn't go and read the treaty of rome,the state only wanted us to work in factorys not become politicised.

Simon Gardner said...

Security and peace: The EU has fulfilled its primary purpose of ensuring western European nations have not gone to war as they used to before the EU.

The EU is the largest trading bloc on the planet and for that reason alone we have to be members of it. We are European.

Trade, business and jobs: The EU is the key to the success of British business because it accounts for almost 60% of our trade - with 700,000 British firms having trading ties with Europe and 3.5 million British jobs depending on it.

Only via the EU can the UK deploy any credible influence over major issues such as energy security, climate change, immigration and terrorism.

Two million UK citizens live and work in other EU countries (courtesy of our membership) and 300,000 British companies have businesses in Europe.

As the Wall Street Journal now says: “There is safety in numbers. As a global reserve currency, the euro enjoys advantages the relatively small sterling zone lacks. In this global financial crisis, investors increasingly will seek relative security in the dollar and euro zones.”

Today, in the words of the Economist of 3 Jan 2009, the euro is being seen as “a haven.., attractive because of the currency zone’s size, political stability and sound monetary policy”.

There are stronger arguments than ever for the UK to join the eurozone.

Simon Gardner said...

dmc said... “the general public WERE lied to by that traitor heath and many more besides.”

Balls. Ex post facto balls. Heath was truthful and the 1957 Treaty of Rome was always entirely clear.

“I listened to the politicians and voted for an economic union as it was portrayed.”

Once again the lie continues. Why is it that every Euro-phobic Tory has to lie through their teeth about a matter of simple historical verifiable fact.

You did not vote on us joining the CM because THERE WAS NO SUCH B***** VOTE. Heath took us in a good two years before Harold Wilson’s party-saving referendum ever happened.

In fact - and I stand to be corrected on this - Ministers can sign treaties on behalf of the UK under Royal prerogative powers.

In any case you cannot have voted on the matter because there wasn’t a vote. If you were ignorant (cf Treaty of Rome) and couldn’t keep up with current affairs then, it appears nothing much has changed since.

Bert Rustle said...

According to http://www.politics.ie/europe/52052-libertas-launches-party-uk.html#post1485752

... the person chosen to lead Liebertas' efforts in the UK is Lt Col Robin Matthews, former communications officer, i.e. spin/lie merchant, for the British war machine in Helmand Province, Afghanistan who is also an employee of, drum roll ... yes you've guessed it, Decko Ganley himself.

Great stuff, CM. Another British security reject turns up as a senior oficial of Liebertas. ...

Jonathan said...

No offence but can the Conservative's really be trusted on Europe? No horse trading? No compromising? Doubtful. Once Lisbon is fully ratified it's all over, RIP. Voting Tory is a risk. To be sure of sending the right message it must be Libertas or UKIP at the Euro elections.