Roger Helmer should oppose new ‘Eurosceptic movement’ or resign from The Freedom Assocation

In a comment left in reply to a recent blog post by Conservative MEP, Roger Helmer, AM pointed out the contradictory nature of Helmer’s position.

On the one hand, Helmer is convinced that Britain would be Better Off Out of the EU and says he wants an In / Out referendum.  On the other, Helmer is convinced the new ‘Eurosceptic movement’ set up by George Eustice, Chris Heaton-Harris and Andrea Leadsom does not support Britain remaining in the EU and that AM is wrong in claiming otherwise.

The problem for Helmer is trying to balance being true to his stated principles with maintaining a tribal loyalty to his Tory colleagues.  He can’t have it both ways.  The fact is, Helmer has got it badly wrong.

You don’t have to take my word for it, why not take the word of Anthony Browne, who attended the meeting in the Thatcher Room in Portcullis House and wrote about it on ConservativeHome – content partner of The Guardian:

Under the chairmanship of George Eustice, there was a calm determination to take advantage of what everyone agreed was a “golden opportunity” presented by the euro crisis to renegotiate the UK’s relationship with the EU – with the aim of repatriating some powers. Contrary to media reports, the aim of the meeting was not to pressure the government into holding a referendum on pulling out of the EU – indeed, that was explicitly and repeatedly ruled out as a purpose of the new group. The government has very good reasons not to want to hold such a referendum – it would pull the coalition apart, it would stop the government doing any other policies, and the outcome would be very unpredictable.

Hmmm.  We continue to see the deliberate misrepresentation of the EU as only have a relationship with Britain, rather than governing it.  But crucially we have confirmation that this group of Europlastics is (unsurprisingly) holding the line against a referendum on being governed by the EU.  Two weeks ago Patrick O’Flynn of the Daily Express reported the comments of a Tory backbench MP who said of the group:

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.

When you consider Browne’s account of what was discussed in the meeting that backbench source had got it bang on the money…  Open resistance to a referendum. Only partial repatriation of powers from Brussels. The use of the Lib Dems as cover for not trying to achieve what voters want.  And the usual rhetoric about making the EU work better.  If that is not evidence enough all we need to do is take a look at the voting records on key EU integrationist Bills of the two Europlastic co-founders of the group, George Eustice (who when he turns up to vote goes pro-EU) and Chris Heaton-Harris who never misses a chance to please the Whips and vote for as much EU as he can.

So what is the response of the supposedly withdrawalist Helmer?  Read it for yourself:

There is a campaign in Westminster right enough.  But it isn’t for a referendum and it isn’t to extract Britain from the EU. Once again we are led to ask, how Helmer can support two viewpoints that are mutually exclusive?  Is it a stunning failure of comprehension? Or is it a deliberate ploy to trick those opposed to EU membership into thinking that he is their flag bearer, when he is giving support and encouragement to those MPs who are actively undermining his stated position?

Roger Helmer is either a fool, or he is playing many well meaning people for fools.  As the Honorary Chairman of The Freedom Association, the pressure group which runs the Better Off Out campaign, it seems incredible that Helmer can endorse the Eustice / Heaton-Harris initiative.  Members of The Freedom Association should ask Roger Helmer to do one of two things:

  1. Publicly oppose the new faux ‘Eurosceptic movement’ which is actively heading off a referendum and wishes to keep Britain in the EU, or
  2. Resign from The Freedom Assocation for holding views contrary to those of the group

Let us see if Helmer has the moral fibre to do either.  As long as he continues to shill for those Europlastics who wish to deny us our say on how this country is governed and who want to keep us firmly in the EU, Helmer confirms himself as the ultimate Judas goat, leading the unwitting who have faith in him deeper into that which they think they are being led away from.

13 Responses to “Roger Helmer should oppose new ‘Eurosceptic movement’ or resign from The Freedom Assocation”

  1. 1 Andy Baxter 14/09/2011 at 6:58 am

    I’m convinced he’ll resign, or come out with an unequivocal statement opposing the EUroplastic movement…..hang on a minute….I could have sworn I’ve just seen a Judas goat fly past my window!

  2. 2 EU Hypocrisy 14/09/2011 at 7:25 am

    Norman Tebbit sees throught the charade :

    “Why I’m sceptical about William Hague’s Euroscepticism ”

    “It is a great pity that there is a lot less in this outburst of Euroscepticism than the headline writer, and no doubt Mr Cameron would like us to believe”

    And Alex Singleton of the Daily Mail, starting his new blog, offers this insight :

    “The new intake of Tory MPs are too cowardly to reform Britain”

    “So far, only 11 out of 306 Tory MPs have joined the Better Off Out group.

    Some of those nearly 150 MPs who entered Parliament last year privately agree with that campaign. But as one of them told me: “I can’t join Better Off Out, because then I’d be banned from being a minister.”

  3. 3 Shevva 14/09/2011 at 8:51 am

    I love your optimism AM, that a politician will do what’s good for the people and not for himself and his party.

    Me if I ever see a politician speak the truth I’ll know I’m dead and have gone to heaven.

  4. 4 ReefKnot 14/09/2011 at 12:12 pm


    If you see a Politician when you are dead, you will almost certainly not be in heaven – the other place is a more likely destination.

  5. 5 DaveK 14/09/2011 at 12:55 pm

    No doubt you are right about the motives of this new group, they may however end up publicising issues that most of the public are unaware of. Also headlines mentioning meetings of over 100 Eurosceptic MPs may persuade those not into politics to think there is something to it.

    Since the majority of the MSM ignore UKIP and their supposed “Single Issue” stance then any Eurosceptic news on the MSM must be indirectly a good thing.

    Maybe they should be judged on what they do at the first hurdle, you never know there may be a smattering of converts within the group.

  6. 6 cosmic 14/09/2011 at 1:09 pm

    It’s easy to come up with unflattering explanations for what Helmer is up to.

    A long time ago, it was put to me that the way to deal with silly strategic pronouncements from on high, was not to argue against them directly. It was to be completely enthusiastic and embrace the idea, then start asking questions and and then suggesting all sorts of applications where it would obviously fail – make a demand to see some real flying in this obviously unairworthy wreck which was being passed off as the latest hi-tech fighter.

    There’s little doubt that the Europlastic movement is fully endorsed by the powers that be in the Conservative party and knows where the bounds are.

  7. 7 jameshigham 14/09/2011 at 2:02 pm

    This roll back the powers v referendum thing has been going on for some years. In 2009, the Albion Alliance was pressing MPs for the referendum and people such as Chris Mounsey were calling us loons and giving the Helmer line.

    This is the current state of the debate but I do think it will be superceded by actual events in Europe soon and then there’s going to be a crisis for Westminster to “manage”, as the EU will wash its hands of it.

  8. 8 TomTom 14/09/2011 at 2:58 pm

    The EU has policies on Education and Training…….does that mean Eustice is in favour of this and that Helmer is opposed ? On the one hand Education has been centralised in England and removed from schools and LEAs, yet it is being europeanised through the EU Commission.

    In concrete terms what do these Conservatives propose ? That Schools should function independently, or that Central Coordination is required ?

  9. 9 cosmic 14/09/2011 at 5:03 pm


    “In concrete terms what do these Conservatives propose ?”

    Yes indeed.

    Until this grouping comes up with definite, achievable objectives with time scales and a contingency plan against what will happen if its objectives are not met, it’s not to be taken seriously.

    I don’t believe it can produce those objectives and it’s an exercise in dissembling, to talk away the need to do anything about the EU. So far it all smacks of a PR gesture.

  10. 10 WitteringWitney 14/09/2011 at 5:19 pm

    Nice one AM and to which not a lot I can add – I have however linked to you on a piece about misinformation

  11. 11 EU Hypocrisy 14/09/2011 at 10:33 pm

  12. 12 Julian Williams in Pembrokeshire 17/09/2011 at 12:35 pm

    They were promoting their new group on radio 4 today. They come across as mild reformists on the radio.

    I find the term “europlastic” easy to use when on sceptic blogs like EUref where we all share the same view but hard to use on MSM blogs. If I use the term in conversation with friends who are only mildly interested in politics I have to explain the phrase with words like “they are being called Europlastics because they are faux sceptics”.

    This new group are really just another version of John Major’s and Tony Blair’s creed that you have to be “at the heart of the EU” in order to reform it. They are saying this method has more chance now because the Eurozone is a shambles and they want to write new treaties. We have been here before, it never works that way.

    I think they are EU-reformists rather than sceptics. I don’t think they will be able to hold on to the sceptic tag for long because amongst other things they have to work with the Libdems to carry out their strategy of reform from the inside. They want to reform the EU, when they open their mouths they immediately come across as tame EU-reformists who will never rock the boat.

    Being an EUreformist is better than being and EUzealot. Good luck to them, They just will not get my vote becasuse it is a failed strategy that has been rebranded to sound more determined than the really are.

  1. 1 That EU Referendum | Orphans of Liberty Trackback on 20/09/2011 at 6:02 am
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