The smart way to keep people passive and obedient is to strictly limit the spectrum of acceptable opinion, but allow very lively debate within that spectrum – even encourage the more critical and dissident views. That gives people the sense that there’s free thinking going on, while all the time the presuppositions of the system are being reinforced by the limits put on the range of the debate.
Not many readers would have thought the musings of Noam Chomsky would have found a place on this blog, but this blueprint for limiting and tightly controlling people perfectly describes what is taking place inside the Conservative Party today.
The subject on which MPs are being pacified and herded into a controllable pen in the manner Chomsky describes is the European Union.
The Conservative Party is limiting the spectrum of acceptable opinion among its MPs by encouraging some of the new intake to form a group to promote ‘moderate Euroscepticism’. Irrespective of the construction of the word ‘Eurosceptic’ it has commonly been accepted as a description of those who wish to see the UK withdraw from the European Union. But as we have seen in history, from time to time words are hijacked by people with an agenda who change the meanings and understandings associated with them. The term Eurosceptic is currently being hijacked in this way by people who wish the UK to remain firmly inside the EU while giving voters the impression they support the majority’s wish to leave.
The members of this group, led by George Eustice (a former press secretary to David Cameron who laughably describes Cameron as a ‘genuinely Eurosceptic Prime Minister’) believe the EU can be reformed and the UK must remain within it, despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary and the entity being fundamentally anti democratic. Therefore, although the members of this group describe themselves as ‘moderate Eurosceptics’, they are not Eurosceptics of any type.
They are better described as Europlastics, cheap and nasty imitations of the genuine product.
As one might expect the group has started to attract some attention with some journalists attempting to define it. Patrick O’Flynn of the Daily Express recently wrote:
So, what to make of a new group of Conservative MPs who do not wish to leave the jungle altogether but simply to gravitate further out towards its edge? The group of 70 or so younger Tory MPs is proposing that Britain renegotiates the terms of its EU membership with a view to repatriating substantial powers from Brussels.
These MPs, such as Chris Heaton-Harris and George Eustice, have solid Eurosceptic credentials. Their new group has been heralded as a radical innovation.
O’Flynn has unwittingly assisted in the effort to redefine the word Eurosceptic with his assertion, underlining the subtle corruption of the real meaning in order to undermine the term and make it meaningless to all intents and purposes. However, O’Flynn adds some valuable background insight into this group that may help open the eyes of those who have been blinkered by the idea these people are anything other than Europhile:
But one very senior source from the Better Off Out part of the political spectrum puts his scepticism in striking terms: “This is just a Tory Whips Office stunt. It is full of people who want to be Cabinet ministers. They haven’t said what powers they want repatriated, when or how it is to be achieved.
“This is a cynical distraction to try to stall the momentum among grass-roots Conservatives for having a referendum on leaving the EU. They are offering a fake alternative to try to take the wind out of our sails.
“When nothing substantial gets renegotiated they will then just blame Nick Clegg and promise to do better when there is a Tory majority. If that occurs then they will find another excuse for effectively doing nothing.
“They are attempting to kick Britain’s subjugation by the EU into the long grass alongside human rights reform, immigration control and an inheritance tax cut.”
The story has more than a ring of truth about it. George Eustice’s wing man in this little project is none other than Chris Heaton-Harris, a man who has developed a cosy relationship with the very Tory whips behind this Licensed Dissenters club.
It was Heaton-Harris who, at the behest of the whips, torpedoed a motion concerning the European Financial Stability Mechanism to bail out eurozone countries. The motion would have required the Government to place the EFSM on the agenda of the next meeting of the Council of Ministers or the European Council and effectively mandated British ministers to vote against continued use of the EFSM unless a Eurozone-only arrangement relieving the UK of liability had been agreed. In so doing, Heaton-Harris put the interests of the EU ahead of UK taxpayers.
Unsurprisingly, it was also Heaton-Harris who led a group of 14 Tory MPs who sent a letter to the Financial Times arguing that the financial crisis sweeping Europe was an opportunity for the UK to shape Europe’s post-crisis order. Without any sense of irony, having scuppered the motion to ensure the UK would not be subject to any financial liability for European bailouts, Heaton-Harris argued that the solutions to the crisis proposed by eurozone countries amount to no more than “throwing good money after bad” and will further expose the British taxpayer to any future economic meltdown!
If you are one of the majority of people who want the UK to leave the EU, it is time to ‘call out’ people like Chris Heaton-Harris and George Eustice, and those who support their efforts to stall momentum for an In/Out referendum, such as Roger Helmer. Genuine Eurosceptics are being led up the garden path by these tricksters who professes to be Eurosceptic but in reality are Judas goats in Cameron’s petting zoo.
Some Eurosceptics have been stunned to see Helmer and friends being challenged in the last week by Autonomous Mind and other blogs such as EU Referendum, Witterings From Witney and Ironies Too as he has stated he wants an In/Out referendum. Our exposure of the doyen of the Conservative Eurosceptic movement – an oxymoron if there ever was one – looking both ways on the EU has caused rumblings and is forcing people to look beneath the words at the all important actions. That is as it should be, after all, how can Helmer’s position be squared with his endorsement of Heaton-Harris and Eustice, who are working hard to keep Britain in the EU and whose efforts to create a ‘moderate Eurosceptic’ grouping are seen as undermining the prospects of a referendum being held?
Helmer cannot continue to have it both ways and he needs to pick a side. His ‘having it both ways’ position cuts the legs from underneath those who want a referendum. By staying firmly inside a Conservative Party that is determined to remain firmly inside the EU, and giving support to those who want to keep Britain in the EU Helmer gives false hope to Tory members and supporters who would leave the charlatans behind if they realised there was never any prospect of their wishes being realised.
It is time to stop people being taken in by the Eurosceptics-in-name-only and time to show them up for what they are.