Posts Tagged 'Powerless'

A dose of EU realism that the BBC seems keen to play down

Very curious.  Tuning in to Radio 4’s Today this morning, a little earlier than usual, I was able to hear a short interview of the President of the European Parliament, Martin Schultz.

While Richard has published a full transcript of the interview on EU Referendum, the words alone do not come close to conveying the bombastic and intolerant nature of the man.  But even that does not detract from the dose of realism Schultz injected into the confused morass of verbiage that passes for discussion about the fantasy of negotiated reform of the central pillars of the EU itself, or the in-out referendum that could not possibly be delivered with a treaty negotiation almost certainly well in train.

Perhaps this explains why even though the audio of the interview is contained deep within the UK pages of BBC online, it is not written up or commented upon anywhere on the BBC’s News page, Politics page, or even the Europe page.  It has to be searched for in the God-awful search engine on the site.  It has become the broadcast equivalent of the embarrassing ginger haired stepchild, being kept firmly out of sight, never to be discussed or mentioned again.  Which as I say is very curious.

Schultz was refreshingly realistic.  From his assertion that governments and heads of states such as David Cameron, Angela Merkel, Francois Hollande and Nickolas Sarkozy, declare themselves to be the government of Europe, yet it is Schultz’s beloved parliament that comes in for media and public criticism; to the satisfying moment where Today’s pisspoor token asian female presenter, Mishal Husain, was slapped down for talking of the UK’s ‘relationship’ with the EU with Schultz saying…

The United Kingdom is a member of the European Union so to speak about relationship between the United Kingdom and the European Union sounds as if the United Kingdom would not be a part of the European Union. It is the United Kingdom Government which is a co-legislator in the Council of Ministers. There are 72 members of the United Kingdom as law makers in the European institution, the UK is part of Europe so this description, our relationship with Europe sounds to me strange.

This is a point made repeatedly on this blog, so it’s nice to see it challenged, albeit by a federalist opponent.  One point Husain made that was useful was that MEPs are very well-paid parliamentarians and voters in the UK generally have absolutely no idea who their MEP is.  Schultz dodged this, choosing instead to compare turnouts here with the higher ones in Germany.  But as Political Betting just happened to point out today, we have a nonsense voting system in Euro elections that is designed in the interest of parties and their whipping systems, not voters.

But Schultz did not duck away from the main message he wanted to get across, his vision for the EU after Barroso.  It was a clear message for David Cameron, Open Europe, the Fresh Start Group and the likes of the self serving Matthew Elliott, who all seem to think the EU can be brought to heel and made to reform to suit their deluded vision of an EU – where the political is replaced by the economic.  Schultz wants:

… to fill the gap between citizens and between member states in the European Union. That some have an enormous profit and others pay. And, because I’m speaking with BBC, the United Kingdom as a full-fledged member of the European Union. That would be my vision, a United Kingdom which is taking part in the development in a common Europe and not speaking about a specific relationship between the European Union and the United Kingdom.

No reform agenda in sight. Economic carrots dangled to maintain political power seeping to Brussels.  There is a disconnect between what Cameron and his front organisations think they can ask for and get, and what the EU mandarins are prepared to give.  At some point, sooner rather than later, reality is going to bite and the UK’s political class is going to realise it is powerless unless it accepts the one option it has always rejected out of hand – leaving the EU.  Small wonder the BBC, having chosen to put Schultz on before the bulk of their Today audience tunes in, has chosen to bury this story as deep as they can.  It doesn’t fit the establishment narrative.

No, não, nein, non, nie, nei,

Regardless of the language being spoken, there is one word in particular where the clarity is unequivocal, the meaning is absolute. That word in English is no.

So when President of the European Commission, José Manuel Barroso, was asked by a journalist to comment on whether David Cameron was going to be able to repatriate any powers from Brussels, and brushed him off with a contemptuous laugh; but was followed by his Chief of Staff, Johannes Laitenberger, who responded with a firm ‘no’, the conclusion we can draw is very simple.

As Richard has already made clear, Cameron thinks he is setting the pace on cutting EU bureaucracy.  But he is two weeks behind the curve as the European Commission had already announced its REFIT initiative which at least claims to be seeking to do just that.

And now Cameron thinks he is making the weather on the subject of repatriation of powers, despite the very notion running completely contrary to the principle of ever closer union.  Yet here we have Barroso chortling away at the idea of the UK getting cherry-picked powers back from the EU, while his Chief of Staff – who as an experienced communications professional knows about how to deal with the media in surefooted fashion – slams the lid on the idea with a clear ‘no’ in response to the question.

This shows there is a clear disconnect between Cameron’s self aggrandising perceptions and reality.  Too much time spent in the Westminster bubble seems to have exacerbated Cameron’s capacity for delusion.  Nevertheless, those sections of the media that worship at the altar of prestige eat it up.  They can’t get enough of it.  And so the public continues to be deceived and the interests of the establishment are maintained.

Cameron’s EU speech – the die is cast, renegotiation confirmed as a sham

An article in David Cameron’s favourite loss-making newspaper has the Tory spin machine pronouncing his long awaited speech on the EU will contain a ‘red meat announcement’ on this country’s future in the EU.

As the paper explains, a senior government source said that the prime minister intends to make the speech this week – possibly on Monday:

He wants to go ahead as soon as possible. There will be something in it which will pacify all but the hard core.  But he could deliver the same kind of speech that Margaret Thatcher gave in Bruges in 1988 and around 25 MPs would not be happy. It is not possible to please everyone.

This language points to a forthcoming flim flam of largely meaningless demands that, even if achieved, will do nothing to remove the EU’s control over this country, or reduce the colossal sums the UK is forced to contribute to the EU’s coffers.  Cameron, in his state of delusion, is determined that the EU will continue to rule the United Kingdom, outside the control or accountability of democratic stuctures.  Anything he would ever be able to bring back from ‘Europe’ and put to the people will be as meaningless as the piece of paper Chamberlain brought home from Munich.  This background information says it all:

But insiders say he will spell out in greater detail his approach – including one significant announcement – while refusing to give a “shopping list” of powers he wants to repatriate. The shopping list idea was rejected after warnings from other EU leaders, Number 10 officials and the Foreign Office that he would have no guarantee of bringing home the goods.

This more than anything reveals the sham of the supposed renegotiation plan and it confirms the cowardice at the core of Cameron’s being.  He won’t articulate a shopping list because EU leaders and the rampantly EUphile Foreign Office told him not to.  Cameron isn’t in charge, the unelected bureaucrats are pulling the strings.  So we can be certain now this isn’t about getting back key powers, it’s about window dressing while leaving the inventory of the shop exactly as it was before.  This is a con trick of enormous magnitude.

Despite this the vast majority of Tory MPs will swallow it hook, line and sinker because it’s what they want to hear. They are devoted to continued EU membership and will continue to talk about renegotiation of a few token powers like nothing has changed and witter on that we have to stay a member of the EU for economic and trade reasons, because they are too ignorant to understand or deceitful to admit political union of the EU is not necessary for keeping access to the single market.

The piece also acknowledges that which Richard has been saying for many, many months.  Namely that there is hardly any prospect of re-opening the treaties due to the sway held by other member states – so much for our lauded ‘influence’ – and as for an intergovernmental conference over which Cameron has no control, the ‘strategy’ is a hotch potch of ifs, buts and maybes.


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