Sunday, October 04, 2009

Tory European Policy in Three Tweets

I have to say that Tory candidate Louise Bagshawe has articulated Tory European policy in three tweets better than either David Cameron or Eric Pickles did this morning.

Here's our policy on Lisbon: we oppose it, and we want a referendum. And if it's not ratified by polling day, we'll have one. And if it is?

If it is, we'll announce what we do about its lack of legitimacy then. The Tories: crossing bridges when we come to them.

Labour hates it when David Cameron is pragmatic. It's sweet how desperate for a Euro-split they are. This sceptic is fine w/ being practical.

There, not difficult, is it? Even Kevin Maguire is capable of understanding the logic of that position. On second thoughts...


canvas said...

Even if there is a referendum's bound to be a resounding yes vote - so that will be the end of that argument.

There's plenty of room from debate and discussion but the Tories can't stop progress. How is it helpful to be obstructive? It isn't - and DC knows that. DC is just keeping the wolves at bay. The poor guy has an uphill struggle to face.

Anyway, why did Labour promise a referendum in the first place? It's Labour who broke their promise - not DC.

Grumpy Old Man said...

Distinct signs of effective intelligence from Ms. Bagshawe. Classic precis of all the bombast, (including mine) over the last 48 hrs. When given a Ministry, she'll drive the CS crazy. A lady to watch.

wv; dremberg. Is that somewhere in Poland?

Anonymous said...

Nonsense, it's just a variation on the dissimulation we saw this morning from Cameron & Pickles. I WANT to vote Conservative. At this point in time I'm not at all sure I will. I have never before felt so angry with a Conservative leadership, it is taking us for fools. "We'll give you a referendum if the treaty isn't ratified before the election, but we're not going to give you a damned clue about what we'll do if it is." Grrrrrr !!

The Big Debate said...

Still doesn't say what you will do *if* it is ratified.

You cannot seriously tell us that the Party doesn't have a policy unless you are suggesting that they don't plan of alternate eventualities... and that isn't exactly good form, is it?

Is there a Plan B or not?

Atticus Finch said...

You forgot to include this tweet from Louise Bagshawe " I said we'll ANNOUNCE what to do about new circumstances when they happen. Cameron already knows."

To me that sounds that Cameron has made his mind up but is not willing to share it with the people. Not good.

Anonymous said...

"bound to be a resounding yes vote"


Anonymous said...

Nod,nod,wink,wink won't do dave!

Plato said...

That's a great summary - Pickles and Cameron have been iffy today so far.

Harry said...

Iain, do you at least accept that voters deserve to know the answer to "what if" at the next election?

Surely voters are entitled to understand the principles, the prism through which decisions will be judged, when voting?

Eduardo de Aston said...

Conman would not answer the question.

As I have said many times.

There will be no referendum!

Stop making excuses for this Tory conman.

Anonymous said...

Pragmatic, is that another word for shifty? Why not say, even if its ratified, we'll still have a referendum, even better, we'll have one; in or out.

Anonymous said...

The tory best start to stand up for the uk or there go the same way as labour
I will never ever ever ever vote for a pro EU party end off

1. get out off the eu that alone will save us 65 million a day
2. stop all incoming immigration for five to ten year's to give to uk own a change to get job's
3. kick EDF out off the uk unless thay hire uk work's
4.start puting up more house's for working class people. get the council's to pay for it
5. stop taxing road user's to death with find's
6. put the police back on the beat
7.make new law's that stop politician's from holing office if thay tell any lie's.........A politician that lie's should be SHOT

Duyfken said...

That is a weak approach. Far better to state what you intend and fight your corner. The lack of transparency makes one suspect Cameron has insufficient conviction on the topic. Let's mix it with the supine lefties and prove what an almighty mistake is being made.

North Briton Hunter said...

It's not vaguely pragmatic. It's incoherent and just delays dealing with Dave's European problem.

The voters might not want Labour, but they certainly haven't warmed to the Tories and a major factor in this is the complete inability of Dave and the shadow cabinet to be explicit and honest about any of their main policies.

Dave doesn't want to talk about Europe. He doesn't want to talk about job losses.

It's up to Dave, George, Eric and co to actually convince voters that they stand for anything at all.

Iain Dale said...

Harry, yes I absolutely do and said so on the BBC News Channel earlier. Cameron has already said that it will be in the manifesto, so worry not.

wonkotsane said...

Iain, the policy certainly is clear: "I don't want to upset my EU masters so I will continue to fudge and bluff until the Czechs have ratified and then I can say I did everything possible to stop it but it's happened now and there's no way out of it".

It's all bullshit of course, he wants Lisbon to be ratified before the election because he's a eurofederalist and doesn't want to be the one to upset the apple cart. There is only one way to undo the damage Lisbon will do and that is to leave the EU. Camoron says he won't do that even though the majority of his party and the electorate want it.

Amazing how a whiff of power can lead to so many Tories abandoning their principles.

TommyTom said...

Declan Ganley has some interesting thoughts on Mandy's manoeuvering in all this in the sunday express here

he reckons mandy's long term plan is to be blair's right hand man in europe.

Anonymous said...

No referendum, no vote!

Matthew said...

The question of what the Tories will do about their commitment to a referendum if the treaty is ratified is not exactly a massively hypothetical one. Why is it so hard to answer?

MikeyP said...

It is simple what to do if the Constitution is ratified by the time Dave gets to power. Just declare that the UK ratification was obtained illegally, and abrogate!

trevorsden said...

But really that is what Cameron and Pickles are saying. The beeb and others are being deliberately disingenuous.

Tories have a policy for what it the position now, I do not se the point in having 101 positions for 101 possible alternatives - especially as (I think unfortunately) the voters could not care less.

All those demanding a referendum even if the constitution has been ratified by everybody (including the labour government) are to a very great extent pointlessly whistling in the dark.
There is absolutely no guarantee and only a little hope that the nation would vote NO when all of Europe had voted YES.
Its one thing to hope for a NO when the rest of the EU is also undecided but not otherwise. 'canvas' is correct.
'canvas' is also correct to point out that labours EU position has been far more disingenuous that the tories. I doubt the beeb will stop to reflect on that.

Even with say Poland undecided a NO would not be certain. And then where would we be?? A referendum is a double edged sword.

Far better to wait and if faced with a fait accompli (and that would not be a conservative fault) then look again at the EU.

Cameron has clearly gone on record as saying the EU has taken too much power from the states and has a democratic deficit.
Its how a new tory govt would react to that which is important. If it reaches a new agreement or opt out than that is the time for a referendum.

Dear old Mr Annon 1.07 should ponder and wake up to which side his bread is buttered.

Wannabe MPs don't rock boats said...

That's no different from the evasion of the question by Pickles and Cameron.

It's a simple question. What you gonna do when the treaty is ratified Dave, as it will be by the time you come to power?

Since you became a cadet MP Ian, you seem to have lost your inquisitive sense of perspective.

Tory splitz said...

As demonstrated by Cameron's squirming on Andrew Marr this morning, there is no need for conditionality and Cameron ought to be able to say that the British people will have a referendum come what may.

The fact that he is unable to do that indicates that he has no intention of giving the people that referendum when the Lisbon treaty is ratified by Czechs and Poles.

No one is fooled by his equivocation, and only reminds us of how much like Blair he is.

Cameron simply fell at the first hurdle.

UKIP offer the only certainty on this.

AD627 said...

Off -topic, but could someone explain to Dave that we don't need to spend more money on sodding training and advice, which the government has been inept at providing for the past thirty years. We need to cut taxes on low-paid employment so that it is in the interests of employers to employ and individuals to work. It's not rocket science: raise the personal allowance, stop NI for the low-paid.

If we fail to fix this, the next Tory government will fail - it's by far the biggest problem the country faces.

'He told the BBC the New Deal would be among schemes replaced by personalised help to get the jobless and those on incapacity benefit into work.
The initial start-up cost of the change would be £600m, the Tory leader said.'

Dimoto said...

Ken Clarke has it entirely right:
The last thing this country can afford now is an incoming government having a massive navel gazing exercise about "Europe".

Labour don't care a fig about the state of the country, so are content to play petty politics, trying desperately to exploit anything they can find.
It will all melt away as soon as the conference starts.

BenS said...

So the Tories will hold a referendum unless it will make them seem uber uncool party poopers with the bureaucrats in Brussels? Hehe, it really is NuLabour v2.0.

Captain Haddock said...

I don't understand why Cameron doesn't support the Lib Dem proposals for a referendum on our position in Europe. Get it over and done with.

golden_balls said...

Three cheers for Boris Johnson and Daniel Hannan !

When does Ken Clarke get released from his shackles ?

I'd pay good money to see those have a serious deabte about Europe.

David Boothroyd said...

The fact is that once Ireland ratifies, that leaves only the Czech Republic and Poland - both of which have already had all political approval. The Polish President negotiated the treaty and is expected to formally ratify this week.

The Czech constitutional court has already said nothing in the Lisbon Treaty is any problem, and that the second challenge by Lisbon opponents has effectively been argued already so they will hear it over two or three weeks only. If they turn down the second challenge, as everyone expects will happen, the President of the Czech Republic has a legal duty to ratify.

It is practically certain that Lisbon will be in force from January 2010. The Conservatives cannot keep evading or hiding behind empty formulas like "will not allow the matter to rest". They need to say clearly what they will do.

Norton Folgate said...

canvas said...

"Even if there is a referendum's bound to be a resounding yes vote - so that will be the end of that argument. "

Silly little deluded trolling labour "chump"

Of course it's not bound to be a yes, if it was we'd have had the damn referendum.

It's bound to be a NO which why they lied and we were denied it.

The King of Wrong said...

Surely at least part of the reason for Cameron's reticence is that the circumstances around the hypothetical treaty-in-force are variable.

We (kinda) know what happened in Ireland, but the Poles and Czechs are still undecided. For the treaty to be in force, in principle they all need to have agreed. How? Why? What force was used against them? Were they just ignored on a pretext?

What are the penalty clauses for withdrawing from the Lisbon Treaty after it's in force? I'd assume there are some fairly huge ones to keep people from suffering Buyer's Remorse... If it'll cost us, say, £100bn to pull out, the fact is that we simply can't afford to do so.

Salmondnet said...

Only die hard loyalists and/or europhiles will think this is nearly good enough. Hardly anyone seriously believes that the treaty will not be ratified before the next election, so the Tory refusal to say what they will do in that eventuallity just looks evasive. Most people will conclude that Cameron regrets his commitment to a referendum and is looking for an excuse to kick it into the long grass.

DespairingLiberal said...

What would be really useful would be a succint summary of why you oppose Lisbon? The usual reasons put forward make no logical sense, so I presume it is just a general effort to seek to undermine the EU, which is pathetically unworthy of a once-major political party.

Jimmy said...

Deep down you all know what the policy is. Assuming ratification (face it, pretty much a dead cert now), there can be no referendum. Cameron will cobble together a figleaf which he'll announce at the last possible moment and rely on the flat earthers not wanting to rock the boat during a campaign.

Does anyone seriously imagine there is any other scenario?

Anonymous said...

If I was Cameroon I'd thank the Irish, if they had voted NO then the chances of a long overdue public consultation on the EU would have been nil, even EUrophilliacs must have realized forcing Eire to vote for a 3rd time was not an option

Anonymous said...

yes voters want a change, a change from the usual politician double speak.

don't evade the question, what would the tories do in the event of the treaty being ratified?

norman said...

So many Labour supporters in the garb of posters. They will not question the president-aspirant Blair or Brown about the referendum commitment in their manifesto in the previous election. Cameron said about referendum in the past, but the reality is that if he gives a referendum , the result will be coming out of EU and Britain is not respected around the emerging world: China, India, Brazil and ASEAN group and stands to lose. Norway and Switzerland have long been outside the EEC/EU and have
established their working relationship within the EU and outside the EU. Britain will be shunned by EU countries. After all, what can we offer to the EU-we have no manufacturing industry, our service sector is weakened.... Those want Cameron to come out say are either Eurosceptics like Cash or Labour supporters who want the Party to turn it on itself. That is their only hope of winning the next election. I am not an Europhile but if the Lisbon treaty is ratified by the Czechs and Poles, we have to come out if the referendum is held here.
As for Boris, he is a joker ( I voted for him and is disappointed by his performance), an advocate of amnesty for illegal immigrants in London and he should better work to deliver his manifesto commitment. He should shut up or he will hand the victory out to Labour. Cameron should find a way of working with Merkel.

TheophileEscargot said...

Sorry, but what's this "ANNOUNCE what we do" in aid of?

When does "DECIDING what we do" happen?

Is the plan to only start deciding at the very last minute?

Or is that the decision has already been made, but Cameron's unwilling to let the voters know what the decision is?

For instance, could it the plan be to hint to potential UKIP voters during the campaign that the treaty will rejected in the hope they'll vote Conservative, then turn round and accept the treaty anyway?

Victor, NW Kent said...

The Labour and UKIP shills are really working overtime today.

Labour people - the game is lost. Go home and cry.

UKippers - we already know your views, they are your only views. You may indeed poll a million votes. That might just get you one MP - not quite enough to change Britain's relationship with the EU. It might just save 30 or 40 Labour MPs their jobs. So, your one MP might condemn us to another disastrous Labour government by default. It is known as the Law of Unintended Consequences.

Conservatives - don't fall for these assorted trouble makers, fifth columnists and quislings. They are loving every spiteful minute of this.

Anonymous said...

Iain Dale said... Harry, yes I absolutely do and said so on the BBC News Channel earlier. Cameron has already said that it will be in the manifesto, so worry not

Iain, you're in the thick of it in Manx this week. If Cameron does not have a cast iron contingency which, as you righty pointed out this morning, must be part of the manifesto then there are major winds of change afoot.

You’re readers are "dry" Tories.Who are those on the left who need appeasing re the Europe question? Jesus, Sky reported this morning, in search of a sensational headline on a spilt, that Leon Brittan wouldn’t be happy. God save us.

Anything other than "a conservative vote is a vote for the Lisbon Treaty revocation" is a vote lost. Very simple and you can hear it loud and clear right here and over at ConHome, not to mention Redwood, Hannan, Speccie, Guido, Johnson, Hague etc. etc

Your blog reader content must go north with you.

Brian E. said...

Personally, I would at least like our politicians to think about crossing bridges before they come to them - too often they are met with complete surprise!
Gordon Brown should have realized that he would need to address the question of a TV debate from the time he became PM, but obviously had failed to do so and was apparently taken by surprise. I don't want Cameron to adopt a similar attitude about the future

Sceptical skeptic said...

" Labour hates it when David Cameron is pragmatic. It's sweet how desperate for a Euro-split they are. This sceptic is fine w/ being practical."

Well I'm still none the wiser about where DC stands after that interview. Why can't we discuss the referendum while the Poles and Czechs are discussing it ? All very muddled.
O/T I think 'skeptic' looks better than 'sceptic'. What's the correct spelling these days ?
I've seen it written both ways.

Anonymous said...

She still doesn't answer the BIG question.What if?

Charles said...

Despairing Liberal:

I used to be a member of the European Movement, and was even a president of my university branch of the Tory Reform Group - still very much on the traditional wing of the Conservative party rather than the Radical/Thatcherite arm.

Over the last 10 years, I have become increasingly Eurosceptic. The main issues for me are:

- Excessive centralism
- Democratic deficit (who voted for President Blair?)
- The sense that it is an "elite" project and one which has very much accelerated beyond the sense of a polity for the peoples of Europe as a whole

My concern is that the EU as currently constructed is a fundamentally unstable edifice on shallow foundations. I would rather go slower and steadier to build something that is both democratic and has the support of the peoples as a whole. The arrogance of the elites over the rejections of Lisbon/the Constitution by the French, the Dutch and the Irish (round 1), makes me fearful about the project as a whole.

Hopefully a rational response to your question: I am certinaly neither foaming at the mouth or a 'Little Englander'. Perhaps you would do us the courtesy of explaining (succiently!) why you are such a passionate supporter?

DespairingLiberal said...

The ringleader of Tory opposition to all things foreign and particularly European (unless neo-Nazi - they are apparently OK and indeed cool) appears to centrally emanate from Daniel Hannan, much beloved of many of our more over-the-top headbangers here in Tory blog-landia.

I was therefore much impressed recently to read the super-brainy Hannan's views on Iceland pre the crunch....

"For 70 years the Althing has been dominated by the splendidly named Independence Party, which has pursued the kind of Thatcherite agenda that is off limits to EU members ... Icelanders have no more desire to submit to international than to national regulation. That attitude has made them the happiest, freest and wealthiest people on earth. Long may they remain so!"

Anonymous said...

So the position is clear.

There is a Plan A and a Plan B and we're not discussing Plan B unless and until Plan A runs out of steam completely.

Seems perfectly reasonable to me; by then I honestly think the referendum horse will be long away. Besides Lisbon simply isn't the same as Nice and all this talk of threats to our sovereignty is all just a load of froth and bubble.

Jimmy said...

There is of course the wider point to be made that Cameron was faced with his first really tough decision and bottled it completely.

DespairingLiberal said...

Charles, thanks for the reasoned response.

My basic position is that all of the world's problems are now incapable of being solved or even attempted from the position of nation-states. Therefore we need supra-national organisation like we've never had it before.

I too am not a knee-jerk supporter of the EU institutions, many of which have evolved to be corrupted. That does not mean we should not try hard though. A key reason why the EU is so badly run is that Britain for years was first kept out and then kept itself at a distance.

Lisbon is not perfect, but it is designed at least in part to address the issues you mention, such as the democratic deficit, by giving more power to the Parliament. I do agree though that a simple "federalist" model of an EU superstate as desired by some bureacrats and politicians is not workable.

I suspect we really need a Europe 2.0 which genuinely embraces pan-nationalism and at the same time develops much more flexible institutions. So in that sense I also don't totally disagree with Euro-sceptics.

What I do think though is that much of the more extreme stuff about the EU that we get from UKIP and some Tories is motivated by traditional English loathing of continental "papish plots" and the like and has no place in the modern world.

For too long, big business interests and particularly those of France and Germany were allowed to dominate EU policy. We now have a good chance of making it more responsive to the people and to the issues that really matter. In that way, Lisbon is a small step on the road, as it removes the mind-numbing veto that corrupt interests such as French farmers could always use and makes things more workable and accountable.

I think if you care about the world's problems and the survival of one's children and grandchildren, one must see that the more and closer co-operation we can have internationally, the better. The EU still represents a bold step in that direction and should be celebrated and helped to become better, not reacted against for old-fashioned and knee-jerk reasons.

Whenever I have been to EU meetings (quite a few at the Commission level), the ones where Britain was present went better - the British were listened to, at times, almost with embarassing deference. It really is childish and cowardly to act as though we can't succeed there both to get things right for us and for the wider good.

Quietzapple said...

Tory policy will impinge on the politics of our nation when Chameleon is nailed down (IF that is possible) to what sort of referendum, and when he proposes come the nexy General Election Campaign

He has already stressed that such "pledges" are not "immutable" Ie he can lie.

That's it.

The Tory upset will be worth all the online kerfuffle.

Auntie Flo' said...

"Even if there is a referendum's bound to be a resounding yes vote" (Canvas)

You have no basis in fact for that claim. You are completely at odds with I Want a Referendum's regional Referendum results which produced 80% to 90% votes for a national Referendum on the Lisbon Treaty and the same percentage against the Lisbon treaty.

These IWAR results confirm the results of all surveys I'm aware of: that the overwhelming majority in Britain do not want the Lisbon Treaty at any price.

Jimmy said...

No sooner does he e-mail the membership promising no policy announcements on europe, he is already apparently briefing the press about the inevitable climb-down. This week could be fun.

John said...

why offer a referendum at all? Why not just have a Europe policy in the manifesto that promises to revoke all the unnacceptable bits of the Lisbon Treaty?

What happens if DC holds a referendum, reccommends a "No" ansswer, and then loses it to a "Yes"? Would he then resign?

Anonymous said...

"The question [snip] is not exactly a massively hypothetical one. Why is it so hard to answer?

Very efficiently stated, Mathew.

Why do you think it is so hard, Iain ?

Anonymous said...

Victor - “Labour people - the game is lost”

In what sense have Labour lost ? 80% of our laws are made in Brussels, and the EU will pursue a socialist big-government doctrine. The socialists have won – the Irish have just seen to that. And Cameron by his dithering.

Festooned said...

Dave just blew about any credability he had. I wont be voting Con, nor anything else for that matter - Im just sick and tired of lies.

Anonymous said...

One wonders if Dave is simply stalling so he won’t have to carry out his half-hearted promise?
This is the legal position taken from Mary Ellen Synon’s blog:

‘The legal position is clear. The Lisbon Treaty has to be ratified by all 27 states before it comes into force. Any time up to that point, the instrument of ratification of any state which has ratified can be revoked. If there is a general election before all 27 member states have ratified the treaty, then the United Kingdom can revoke its ratification. The treaty will then be dead unless the UK reinstates its ratification following a “Yes” vote in a referendum.’

‘However, if it is ratified by all 27 member states before the time of the general election, legally it takes effect and supersedes earlier treaties. Then it cannot be amended or revoked except by further treaty or an instrument equivalent to a treaty, such as a protocol. Britain would need to get agreement of all other member states for that.’