Monday, September 12, 2011

Goodness, this is exciting! Not!

The time has come to write a bit about the new eurosceptic Tory group in Parliament called together by George Eustice, former UKIP candidate, former campaigner against the euro and former Press Secretary to the Boy-King. More than 100 MPs attended the inaugural meeting with a number of new(ish) ones in sight. Given how few of those new(ish) MPs have dared to vote against the government on EU matters, their presence at the meeting indicates that this is not going to be seen as a threat to the leadership or their careers. In fact, William Hague has already indicated that.

What, one has to ask oneself, is the aim of this new group? Obviously, one aim is to renew the claim that the Conservative Party is the true home of euroscepticism; at the same time it seems that not frightening the horses or the colleagues in Brussels seems to be another aim.

According to Mr Eustice the real aim is to halt further European integration. Ahem, has that not been Conservative Party policy for some time? Also, they think they might be able to repatriate some powers, though, apparently, it has not yet been worked out which ones and how they will go about doing so.

They remain hopeful, though.
Backbencher Mr Eustice, David Cameron's former press secretary, told the BBC there was the potential for treaty negotiations later this year and the group aimed to do the "heavy lifting" - preparatory work - ahead of any potential treaty renegotiations.

"It is absolutely imperative that Britain has a very coherent plan, as to what we want the European Union to do in the future, how we start to take powers back so we actually have a new relationship with the European Union that is settled.

"I think there's a very strong support for that within the parliamentary party and we saw that with the strong turnout tonight."
Assuming there is a full-scale treaty renegotiation later this year (and time is running short for that sort of thing) and assuming there is some kind of an agreement on what these people will want to repatriate there still remains the tiny problems of getting the other members to accept those suggestions. After all, a treaty change on that scale will need a unanimous vote and acceptance in all the member states. (As a matter of fact, all treaty changes need that but, as we know, minor issues of by-passing Article 125 by the misuse of Article 122 can just be finessed.) So, the others will want a quid pro quo. What are we going to offer?


  1. The reality for the 'reformists' is that any repatriation so small to be agreeable to the rest won't "settle" our relationship and anything bigger, as you say, the rest won't agree to.

    Since few argue that we should have no relationship whatsoever with the EU (while it continues not to collapse under the weight of its outdated ideology), arguing for 'out' is also a reformist action. Simply with the proviso that our current deal must first end and it would be very foolish indeed for all parties not to ensure a satisfactorily 'reformed' replacement deal is in place by the time that happens.

  2. I wouldn't disagree but that is not what this group is saying, in so far as they are saying anything at all.

  3. Much to do about nothing, ah, that, that is, but isn't.

  4. Yes, was just offering my view rather than attributing anything to them. As you say, they appear to be proposing nothing at this stage. I read a view elsewhere that this group (Eustice being Cameron's former bag carrier) is merely a government ploy to give Conservative MPs something 'eurosceptic' sounding that they're supporting to point at when they come under pressure from growing moves to aggitate for an in-out referendum.