We note that Roger Helmer has today chosen to use his own blog to write about the comments left here on AM by readers. In a post titled ‘True Believers’, Helmer returns to his theme of factionalism and tries to liken the Eurosceptics to a small religious denomination.
But it is not his analogies that are of interest, it is the way he has presented the exchanges of recent days on this blog to the readers of his blog. This is how Helmer introduces his reply to AM readers who left comments for him in the Open Letter thread:
Sadly, the Eurosceptic movement in Britain is rather similar. Too many eurosceptics spend their time sniping at each other, rather than turning their guns on the real enemy, which in this case is Brussels.
I was alerted by my indomitable press officer Neelam Cartmell to a web-site called Autonomous Mind, which appears to be of the UKIP persuasion, and has a host of contributors eager to attack Conservative Eurosceptics who clearly (in their terms) are not Eurosceptics at all, but part of a great Tory plot to burnish sceptical credentials whilst pursuing an integrationist policy. Autonomous Mind (AM), by the way, is said to “disdain Nigel Farage” — illustrating my point about factionalism and schism.
AM had published an “Open letter to Roger Helmer MEP”, which had attracted some angry comment. But at least Mr. AM invited me to respond — so I did. You may be amused by some of my replies.
Helmer’s comments necessitate a response.
If there are factions today one of them is the supposedly Eurosceptic element of the political class. This is the faction which has ventilated billions of gallons of hot air over the years, talking endlessly while achieving a sum total of zero when it comes to arresting the export of power from the UK to the EU, repatriating any power from the EU to the UK, or bringing about a binding referendum on membership of the EU so the British people can make a democratic decision about the way this country is governed. Roger Helmer is a leading light in that inert faction.
Helmer and Co have not so much turned guns on the EU – or more crucially the UK government which has ignored the wishes of the people and is responsible for maintaining the EU as our government – as fired off water pistols from a safe distance. There is little point taking aim at the EU when it is the British government that keeps us bound within that entity. The target should not be Brussels, it should be Westminster.
The issue is not about people being zealous ‘True Believers’. It is about exposing and dismissing people who continue to spin tired myths about developing ‘influence’ to bring about change, while their inaction, impotence and Janus-like tacit support sees EU integration plans continue apace, and ever more power and control signed away by his Conservative party colleagues to Brussels.
Autonomous Mind is not of the ‘UKIP persuasion’. It is typical of the lazy thinking of self regarding politicians that anyone who offers criticism must by default be supportive of their political rivals. For Helmer’s information Autonomous Mind is the blog of a former Conservative Councillor who resigned from the Party on a point of principle, duly stepped down from the Council rather than remain as an independent so voters could choose a new representative, and has not voted for any candidate or political party since. Helmer’s construction of a strawman that suggests AM is a UKIP blogger and therefore my disdain of Nigel Farage validates this notion of factionalism is therefore shown up as yet more nonsense.
The criticisms from this blog have been directed against members of all political parties. Some Conservative supposed Eurosceptics have been criticised here because they speak in lofty terms of withdrawal from the EU or repatriating power from the EU, yet have actually voted in favour of legislation that furthers integration. Any right thinking person would see that as unprincipled and hypocritical. But for Helmer it is just part of some cunning strategy that has long promised much yet achieved precisely nothing. It is a strategy that can be accurately summed up as no steps forward, two steps back.
Part of the problem is that Helmer exhibits a Tory tribalism that makes him defend those who say one thing and do another because they wear the appropriately coloured rosette. Which is why he is claiming this blog and a number of its readers believe there to be some great Tory plot to act sceptical while pursuing an integrationist agenda. However all this blog has pointed out is that some Conservative supposed Eurosceptics are deceiving people and their pledges about the EU cannot be trusted. While Helmer seeks to comfort himself with his strawmen, this blog is focusing on reality – and even Helmer has conceded the reality that some of his supposedly Eurosceptic friends have voted in favour of Bills that further integration.
Interestingly Helmer has completely failed to address the core point about Tory duplicity, which brought him onto Autonomous Mind to leave a comment in the first place. It’s like the dirty little secret that must be kept within the family and he is doing his best to deflect attention from that and to focus on dismissing those making valid criticism. In covering for those people Helmer is helping to hold the line against the very people whose objectives he claims to share. He can’t have it both ways. He is putting party before people or principle. It’s nice therefore to have him out of the closet of self interest.
Finally it is worth noting Helmer’s ungracious grandstanding. A number of people, frustrated and angry by the continuing march to ever closer union, have made serious points about the raft of broken promises, meaningless pledges and contradictory actions of those who profess to share their wishes for a wholly self governing Britain. Yet Helmer enjoins his readers to be amused by his responses, which suggests rather than engaging in serious dialogue with people he was attempting to score points and look clever. But considering the contempt politicians generally show for ordinary people this is perhaps not so surprising. Disappointing, but not suprising. A point that won’t be lost on people, I’m sure.
Update: There is a head of steam building up all right, but it is not among Tory Parliamentarians. Rather it is among ordinary people who are fed up of the same old meaningless pledges and whose patience has been exhausted as more control over this country is shipped to Brussels.
We see EU Referendum reminding people for the umpteenth time of the constant and continuous deception to which we are subjected, then pointing out that if, after nearly forty years, the Conservative Party has not yet moved in a Eurosceptic direction, then it is a fair bet that it never will. Witterings from Witney cites John Redwood’s increasingly passive stance on EU rule despite his claims to unrelenting Euroscepticism; while The Boiling Frog is tired after decades of the same old Tory mantra “in Europe, not ruled by it” while the reality sees the Tories entrenching EU governance over this country with undisguised enthusiasm.
The political class has taken too many for fools for too long and there would have to be a reckoning at some time. Matters could now be coming to a head.