Monday, 22 June 2009

New Kids And Their Bloc

I sometimes get angry emails from the right sorts of addresses, blaming my very persistent comments on things like Coffee House, Conservative Home, the Telegraph blog and Iain Dale's Diary for eventually forcing David Cameron to say that he would campaign for a No vote in any referendum on the Lisbon Treaty. In that case, when is he going to promise not to bother with a referendum if Lisbon has not been ratified by the time he comes to office, and instead simply not ratify it, because he doesn't agree with it? Don't hold your breath.

Meanwhile, to the Tories' new Strasbourg group, which my comments on those sites are today - seriously, people have written to me saying this - accused of having forced all those Tory MEPs to sign up to even though they had been all ready, as I said, to tell David Cameron where to stick it and just get on with their five guaranteed years. Well, I give it a year. And that is only because I am feeling charitable today.

Take the Dutch Christen Unie, the latest manifestation of a long tradition of overtly Calvinistic politics in the Netherlands. It may be a bit Green and a bit pro-immigration, but it supports the one-earner model, so that one parent, usually the mother, can stay at home and take care of the children. It wants to leave Sunday a day of rest. It is opposed to abortion and euthanasia, and instead supports adoption and palliative care. It would end the Dutch policy of toleration towards drugs, pornography and prostitution. It would enable civil servants to refuse to conduct same-sex "marriages". It defends church schools. It would limit the use of genetic manipulation. It supports the public services, in the public sector. And it wants to increase spending on international development.

In other words, it is too good for Cameron's Tories. They all are. They deserve British allies like the Labour MPs who mostly voted against Heath's Treaty of Rome. Who all voted against Thatcher's Single European Act. And who voted against Major's Maastricht Treaty in far greater numbers than the Tories, including the only resignation from either front bench in order to do so.

They deserve British allies like the trade unionists who have spent decades defending the high-waged, high-skilled, high-status jobs of the working class. Not for us the restriction of travel to the rich, or the arresting of economic development in the poorer parts of the world.

They deserve British allies like the Catholic and other Labour MPs, including John Smith, who fought tooth and nail against abortion and easier divorce. Like the Methodist and other Labour MPs, including John Smith, who fought tooth and nail against deregulated drinking and gambling. Like those, including John Smith, who successfully organised (especially through USDAW) against Thatcher's and Major's attempts to destroy the special character of Sunday and of Christmas Day, delivering the only Commons defeat of Thatcher's Premiership. And like the trade unionists who battled to secure paternal authority in families and communities by securing its economic base in high-waged, high-skilled, high-status male employment, frequently marching behind banners that depicted Biblical scenes and characters.

And they deserve British allies with deep roots in the former mining communities, in the women's suffrage movement, in the 1945 General Election victory, and elsewhere. We are unsullied by the weird cult of Winston Churchill. Instead, we can and do condemn his carve-up of Europe with Stalin. Just as we condemn genocidal terrorism against Slavs and Balts no less than genocidal terrorism against Arabs, or the blowing up of British Jews going about their business as civil servants, or the photographed hanging of teenage British conscripts with barbed wire.

Many of them need these British allies in order to call them away from neoliberal economics and neoconservative foreign policy, both of which have in any case collapsed. Nothing could be more destructive of national self-government, or traditional family values, or the historical consciousness of a people. Cameron is completely signed up to both.

So I give it a year. And that is only because I am feeling charitable today.


  1. To clarify - you are claiming that people have written to you, saying that your comments on various blogs have forced Cameron into stating his position on Lisbon, and forcing the MEPs to accept the new grouping? All due to your comments.

    Either you are mad, or your correspondents are.

  2. Oh, I've received another three just since putting this up. "I hope you're pleased with yourself", that sort of thing.

    I don't normally reply, but this time I just might, saying that I hope the Tories become worthy of their new partners, but I know they won't, so the thing is doomed.

    Now, will Cameron promise simply not to ratify Lisbon, rather than to cede the decision to the BBC by means of a referendum?

  3. What a great word.

    You have direct links to sections of several of these parties, but you don't talk about them on here.

  4. Do you think your repeated pronouncements on how the Labour party won't select a candidate who can beat you in NW Durham etc might have the same effect? And that this would be your excuse when you are heavily beaten in a year's time?

  5. That's right, Balt. I don't talk about those links on here. Not at this stage, anyway.

    Anyonymous, funny you should say that. I have just been told (I mean within the last hour) that they are literally struggling to find enough people to sign the nomination papers for their candidate. They will, of course. But those will be decidedly undistinguished people. The people they want, and could previously assume, are now either staying out of it or looking elsewhere...

    But anyway, on topic, please.

  6. Break Dancing Jesus22 June 2009 at 17:08

    More theo-fascist nonsense. I am going to nominate you for the post of village idiot of Lanchester and with any luck you might become the chief village idiot of the County of Durham!

  7. But David Cameron has always said that he would campaign for a No vote in any referendum on the Lisbon Treaty. He's been saying this since before you had a blog.

  8. Take a look at David's two posts on "Why I joined is why I left". That is where several of the parties in this group are more or less. And that is where the Labour or ex Labour grandees of this constituency are completely. They were only still Labour because they were councillors and now that they are no longer councillors they are no longer Labour. They haven't left Labour. Labour has left them and left us, their voters. No wonder that they are backing David instead. His views are the views of people round here. Mothers able to afford to stay at home with their children. Sunday as a day of rest. Public services kept public. Adoption not abortion and palliative care not euthansia. Anti drugs, ant porn and anti prostitution. I never thought I'd see politicians like that again. But now I can vote for one. David Lindsay.

  9. Stort, there was no Lisbon treaty before I had a blog.

    And, in point of fact, Cameron never until very recently indeed said that he would campiagn for a No vote either on the EU Constitreaty or on Lisbon. He only said that he would hold a referendum. We all know what that means - 1975 all over again, with the BBC taking a month to turn an initial No majority into an eventual Yes majority.

    My inbox has never left me in any doubt as to the strength of the anger of those courtiers and cheerleaders who reflect Cameron's own fanatically pro-EU views at the campaign that I did indeed wage on certain blogs to expose his lack of any promise to campaign for a No vote. Well, I'm far from finished yet.

    Anonymous, I think you'll find that our position is called "theo-fascist nonsense". No wonder hardly anyone votes for BDJ any more. If you know how his own party's campaign to kick him off for non-attendance is coming on, then do please email me. Mind you, I'll hear soon enough, anyway.

  10. From the 2005 Conservative manifesto:

    "Conservatives support the cause of reform in Europe and we will co-operate with all those who wish to see the EU evolve in a more flexible, liberal and decentralised direction. We oppose the EU Constitution and would give the British people the chance to reject its provisions in a referendum within six months of the General Election."

  11. "I’ve also said if Tony Blair and Gordon Brown negotiate a Treaty in the next few months that transfers new powers from Britain to the EU, and try to smuggle in bits of the Constitution by the back door, they should give people a say in a referendum."
    David Cameron, 29 May 2007

    "They said in their Manifesto in black and white that we will, have a referendum on this constitution. Now so little has changed from the constitution to the treaty that the Spanish foreign minister says it’s 98% the same, the Irish prime Minister says it’s 90% the same. You know, we should get that referendum and I think the government is being fundamentally dishonest and is fundamentally weak when it comes to actually standing up for what Britain needs in Europe."
    David Cameron, 29 August 2007

  12. Exactly my point - "We'll have a referendum", not "We'll campaign for a No vote".

    You may not believe that I made any difference. I don't quite believe that I made any difference. But my correspondents are in no doubt that I made ALL the difference. And my goodness, do they hate me for it...

    If Cameron really did "oppose" the Lisbon Treaty, then he would promise not to ratify it, so that there would be no need for a referendum, if elected. But Michael Heseltine's mini-me, Ken Clarke's ventriloquist's dummy, will never do that. For one thing, it looks to me as if much of his staff would walk out.

  13. Are you sure Cameron never said he would campaign for a No vote in a referendum?

  14. So are a lot of people rather closer to him than I. Not that that's saying very much.