Anyone who has been even remotely interested in how the EU’s institutions are eviscerating this country will be familiar with the Arc Manche. This is the artificial EU administrative area made up of a number of southern English counties (including Conservative ones as it happens) and French regions that border the English Channel.
The Arc Manche transnational regional network has existed since 1996 – note that date well as it was the last year of the last Conservative government under John Major. Then in 2003 the Arc Manche became a defined political project ‘resting on an informal and voluntary network of local authorities who can use the network to share best practices, coordinate initiatives and pull together project ideas to draw in EU funding‘.
Two years later, in October 2005, the Arc Manche Assembly was created to improve the visibility of the network. A French Socialist politician, Alain Le Vern, was elected the inaugural President of the Arc Manche Assembly, though as usual with such EU initiatives none of us actually voted for its creation or for this French placeman.
Why am I providing this potted history? Because of this piece in yesterday’s Daily Mail, by super scoop Glen Owen, where we are told:
Eric Pickles last night accused the European Union of trying to ‘wipe England off the map’ by developing a new cross-Channel region, complete with its own ‘flag’.
New? Oh piss off. Our media never fails to plumb new depths of utter incompetence. It continues:
The Cabinet Minister condemned the EU for ploughing millions of pounds of taxpayers’ money into the ‘Arc Manche’, the name given by Brussels to an ambitious attempt to merge Northern France and Southern England.
Mr Pickles, the Local Government Secretary, says he is incensed to have discovered that Eurocrats are planning to roll out a new Arc Manche ‘transnational emblem’ across England.
So what is happening here? Is it possible that a man who has been an MP since 1992 and is now a Cabinet Minister could have failed to notice what was happening just south of his Essex constituency, something of major national importance? Or is Eric Pickles only incensed because this largely anonymous but lavishly funded (with our tax pounds) entity is about to become much more visible to people thanks to its new emblem?
Perhaps the answer here is provided by Glen Owen. Having breathlessly delivered his scoop that Arc Manche is ‘new’ he seems to have engaged in some afterthought research to round off his non-story with background information that demonstrates it is anything but. It just isn’t feasible that Pickles knew nothing of Arc Manche or that his ire has been summoned up because of a frankly dismal and meaningless logo. So that leaves just one thing – naked electioneering ahead of Thursday’s local elections.
In this what we see is that Pickles is like the rest of his egregious ilk in the political class. Having merrily plodded along within the EU’s status quo, he now seeks to suggest the Conservative party has been led up the Arc Manche path by Labour and will ‘fight these plans’ to ‘wipe England off the map’. Sorry Pickles old ‘chum’, some of us can see past your bullshit, for the records show it was the Conservatives who helped give birth to Arc Manche and similar regional carve ups and since coming into office again they have done the sum total of diddly squat to reverse the position.
As for stopping England being wiped off the map, perhaps Pickles has memory deficiency. After all, wasn’t it Pickles’ Cabinet colleague Ken Clarke who managed to kill off even the pathetically inadequate Tory concept of an English Grand Committee? The reason for Clarke’s position, that we should allow Scots, Welsh and Northern Irish MPs to continue dictating laws that will never apply to their own constituencies, is that because giving the English any form of national democratic structure would undermine the very concept of EU regionalisation that brought Arc Manche into being in the first place.
What this shows us is that if you believe anything the Conservatives say about EU governance, structures, financing through taxation, repatriation of powers etc, you are a gullible fool. The Conservatives are a pro-EU party and they will not ever honour any promise made to we voters to loosen Brussels’ control.