Thursday, 30 March 2017

Beyond Their Ken

Is Theresa May being opposed from the left of her party? No, she is being opposed by Ken Clarke and Michael Heseltine.

Those were leading members of the Government that privatised the railways, that first tried to privatise the Royal Mail, that imposed VAT on domestic fuel and power, that tried to double it the following year, and that closed the pits that had worked through the Strike, something that Margaret Thatcher had honoured her promise never to do.

Clarke has been a Whip or a Minister under every Conservative Prime Minister since 1970, other than the one who came to office after he had already announced his intention to retire from the House of Commons.

He was a Minister continuously from 1979 to 1997, implementing key aspects of Thatcherism at Health and Education. He was Chancellor of the Exchequer for most of John Major's Premiership, notably attempting to double the fuel tax. 

Had the Conservatives won the 1997 Election, then he would certainly have taken Britain into the euro, to which Gordon Brown had the foresight to be implacably opposed. Like the Liberal Democrats, he must take a share of the blame for every bad thing that the Coalition did at home and abroad. 

Yes, he voted against the Iraq War, and he delivered what now turns out to have been a painfully prescient speech against it. But that was his stopped clock moment. He is no hero. 

Heseltine, meanwhile, privatised more of the British economy than any other Minister, ever. In so doing, he also completed the destruction of the British coal industry.

All in all, and even granting that he opposed the Iraq War, opposed the Poll Tax, and supported the Race Relations Act, it is no wonder that he loves the EU so much, just as it is no wonder that Clarke does.

That said, neither they, not Major, nor Ted Heath, would ever have suggested making the entire acquis communautaire the law of this land even though there was to be no further British role in determining its content.

Forget the idea that it will be "only up to 2019". That cannot be made to work. The ridiculously misnamed Great Repeal Bill will turn the United Kingdom into a colony of the European Union.

With the acquis communautaire as the law of the United Kingdom, several of the good things that the triumph of the Old Tory Left might have made possible, especially the renationalisation of the railways, will remain out of the question.

Deviations, if any, will not be by Act of Parliament, but by Ministerial decree. Watch out for who gets to be a Minister with such responsibilities, if at all, from now on. Look up "Finlandization", although this goes well beyond that.

And if you are old enough, then consider how you voted in 1983.


  1. Once the European Communities Act is repealed, ending the sovereignty of EU over U.K law, any of those laws can be repealed by the Government.

    EU law can't be repealed by Parliament. British law can.

    You've got all your facts wrong again.

    1. No, I haven't. Your own Paul Nuttall said the same thing on Question Time last night. Watch out for Peter Hitchens's column on Sunday, I hope.

    2. And Nuttall is a nobody now. They've been completely had by the Tory Leadership on Europe, not for the first, second or third time. This Bill will put us further in than ever, but with no say at all. Almost all the clever anti-Marketeers, Eurosceptics, etc. have always been on the Left. They Tory/UKIP ones are just the funny costumes and funny voices brigade, always have been, always will be. It's very, very easy to get one over on them.

    3. Aren't they just? But they'll blame everyone else. They always do. They still assert that Thatcher was "bullied" over the ERM, and over the Single European Act before that. They still try to justify their failure to vote Labour in 1983. They still claim to have been "deceived" in 1975. If that. Some of them are still maintaining that the EU was never the idea in those days, and that it was "a free trade area" called "the Common Market".

    4. You won't get access to the Single Market without obligation to incorporate all future law of the EU regulating that market. Period. And you will have to accept the jurisdiction of the European Court or at least something very similar like the EFTA Court. Ask the Swiss, they know how it works.

      The Tory Brexiteers are led by Davis, a good man but not a clever one, backed up by Fox, nasty and like a lot of medics not as clever as he thinks he is, and Boris, a sociopathic buffoon. May has set them up to knock them down and she'll be doing that very soon.