Monday, 4 October 2010

Wrong Question, Roger

Writing on Centre Right (Conservative Home), Roger Helmer, Conservative MEP poses the question:
"Has the Coalition (and the Conservative Party) lost the plot on the EU?"
And states, later on:
"The truth is that we’ve been handing powers to Brussels under the Coalition arguably faster than Labour did before us."
The first question could well be phrased: "Have the Eurosceptic Tory MPs and MEPs lost the plot on the EU?"

An argument exists that MPs and MEPs are in politics for their careers and for financial reasons. This reasoning - and one to which I admit I subscribe - is valid in that if they stuck to their principles and beliefs they would not be able to remain a member of, or represent, a political party with whom they were in such violent disagreement on a fundamental question. On the other hand, Helmer also presents what in his eyes is a valid rebuttal:
"As a Conservative, I have for years received e-mails from constituents asking how I, as a eurosceptic, can remain in a party so obviously committed to the European project, and I have replied that the Party needs a bit of Eurosceptic ballast, that I’m trying to keep it honest, that if all the sceptics leave then the pro-EU trend will get worse.  And I’ve cherished the hope that Conservatives in government would prove the doubters wrong."
 Unfortunately, Helmer's rebuttal fails to stand up to scrutiny on two points. The idea that views can be changed from within has been demonstrated as a fallacy - witness the Conservative presence in the EU Parliament - in that the EU is, by nature, socialist in its thinking and majority. The second 'point of fail' is the last sentence of that quotation: "And I've cherished the hope that Conservatives in government would prove the doubters wrong." Since 2005 when Cameron assumed the leadership of his party - if not before, under Major - there have been no 'Conservatives' in the Conservative Party. Those who are Eurosceptics - Carswell, Hollobone, Lilley for example - have been most noticeable by their comparative silence. One can only presume that their lack of action is based on the fact that they do believe that being an MP is a career, coupled with the unsaid, but implied, threat that 'rocking the boat' may harm their chances of reselection.

To turn to the second quotation, Helmer's assertion may be unfair bearing in mind that EU legislation takes ages to come to fruition and it just may be circumstances have meant a number of directives becoming operable in the first months of the Coalition reign. Conversely, he does have a valid point and one that demonstrates that Cameron's alleged 'Eurosceptism' is but a facade adopted for the General Election.

In conclusion, either the Eurosceptic MPs and MEPs become more vocal in their opposition - and lets face it, due to their positions they can command a hearing in the media with no trouble at all - or they do desert their parties and stand as Independents (or join another party - perhaps their experience and knowledge might just teach the other parties how to run a political party, how to implement administration that delivers - and above all, how to get taken seriously!)

Just a few thoughts for readers to mull over - as a change from the Conservative crap emanating from Birmingham!


Anonymous said...

Poor old Roger is sounding a little bit frail of late I think, WfW.

I think that Gavin Hewitt illustrates his problem only too well.

Witterings From Witney said...

A, for the BBC, a reasonable article.

Repatriation of Powers, the Budget and Rebate will be Cameron's test - one I am sure he will flunk!

Do agree Helmer is a tad frail now!

Anonymous said...

I am quite sure that when EU-sceptic Conservative MPs and MEPs leave their party because insurmountable political differences regarding the EU, then it will not be on principle. It will be for the purposes of extending their careers when unavoidable events reveal that their party had collectively lied in order to win votes at a general election. Think of rats deserting sinking ships.

At this point, no other party should touch them, no matter what sort of benefit they might bring to matters administrative. We don't want to turn gamekeeper.