Posts Tagged 'Tribalism'

Delusions of the Living Dead, aka Europlastic Tories

A Victor Kiam moment here at AM Towers.  This blog post over at EU Referendum hit the nail on the head so accurately and articulated my own thoughts so precisely, I have ripped it off almost entirely, with only a few minor personalisations.


Normally, I ignore Conservative Home. That part of the blogosphere remains the hunting ground for tribal warriors, and I have neither time nor patience for its party-before-principle guest and the attendant petty-mindedness.

Others, with tougher constitutions, still frequent the site, and I have thus had my attention drawn to this from Andrea Leadsom (above), who is still pushing her mantra of “meaningful reform” of the EU. And there is also this from George Freeman, also of the Fresh Start Group.

Actually, having read the pieces, I wonder why I bother – why anyone bothers. Neither are saying anything new, nor anything interesting – there is nothing at all that informs or inspires. We are not getting argument – simply leaden propaganda, repeated again and again, presumably to reinforce the belief systems of the faithful – for no one else will believe it.

Richard North’s answer to this was given in June 2004, repeated many times, but particularly in January of this year. These are Richard’s “barking cats” pieces, to which – in conceptual terms – neither he nor I can add very little. Leadsom and her ilk – including her Open Europe minders, say we must “reform”. I, and many others, say that “meaningful” reform is not possible and will never happen.

And those are the positions – fixed, unchanging. There is no debate, nor any possibility of debate. Disagree, and make the mistake of disagreeing too forcefully or too often, as you get “disappeared”. The other side do not want to know, any more than we want to hear the repetitions of their flawed, evidence-free and indeed ridiculous arguments.

From that, though, does not emerge a counsel of despair – simply a recognition that head-butting gets you nowhere. It seems to Richard – and I wholly agree – that a better strategy is to introduce new facts and ideas, which by-pass the blockage. Leadsom might want to bleat about “over-regulation” and “negotiating over tedious directives”, at EU level. We simply point out that the regulation is at dealt with at a global level and that is where the UK needs to be engaging.

On wind turbines, we can rehearse the arguments for and against until the cows come home and the macerated birds fall from the sky. But sell the idea that, if you buy wind, you get diesel, and pay an additional £1 billion extra for the privilege, and the argument looks very different. Similarly, take the claims of our influence inside the EU, and tell people we can’t even argue for our mackerel quotas and again the terrain looks very different.

But talking about the reality and sharing it with others who are not as well informed is why the opposition wants to control the flow of information. It does so mainly by ignoring new facts – by not discussing them, not debating them, not even recognising them. When, for instance, have you ever heard about Codex on Conservative Home?  Where have they added value or anything worthwhile to the sum of their readers’ knowledge?

Thus, we do not speak to the close-minded. It is a waste of time. The likes of Leadsom will go to her grave still arguing for “meaningful reform” of the EU, long after we have left the EU and it has crashed and burned. We can’t deal with that. This is the dialogue of the living dead.  The stake through their heart or axe through their head will be when reality – that thing they desperately ignore as they play party political games for a party political audience – bites hard.

Roger Helmer abandons Europlastic Tories and joins UKIP

When this blog coined the increasingly common term ‘Europlastics‘ to describe politicians and tribal political party members/supporters who are pro-EU but claim to be Eurosceptic, it was as a direct result of comments made by Roger Helmer MEP in support of pro-EU Conservative MPs who were .

This blog had published a post that exposed yet more Tory deception, with MP Chris Heaton-Harris taking a leading role in a new Tory MP grouping that claimed Eurosceptic views when their Commons Committee actions and voting record showed otherwise.  Helmer stepped in via the comments to defend his friend and former fellow MEP while trumpeting Heaton-Harris’ Eurosceptic credentials.

While tribal Tories rushed to Helmer’s defence, our criticism and that of a number of other blogs that had joined the discussion, we learned that within Europlastic circles there was substantial concern about the way their fragile edifice was being demolished.  The Eurosceptic gloss had been wiped off and grassroots Tories were starting to accept the reality of the situation – their party is bereft of genuine Eurosceptics at senior and parliamentary level.

Roger Helmer’s statement that he has resigned from the Conservative Party (channelling Neville Chamberlain at the same time) and joined UKIP is a further nail in the Tory Europlastic coffin.

It suggests Helmer’s principle may have finally overcome the tribalism that kept him part of a party that does not share his publicly stated views on the most fundamental political issue in the UK today – whether this country is genuinely democratic and who really governs it.  While I am not a UKIP voter for reasons previously explained on this blog, I applaud Helmer for taking what I know to be a very difficult decision.

The response from the political blogosphere’s answer to Hans Christian Andersen is as predictable as it is laughable.  This is not a Cameron problem, it is a Conservative Party problem.  The Conservative Party does not provide the best, or any, hope for Eurosceptics. It remains pro-EU and anyone remaining in that party while professing to be a Eurosceptic is a Europlastic.

The fault lines in the Conservative Party now appear to be opening – and not a moment too soon.

Europlastics? A explanation through analogy

Over on his blog The Boiling Frog, in response to yet another tribal Tory appeal for genuine Eurosceptics to support the pro-EU Conservatives, uses a great football analogy to explain why the Tory ‘Eurosceptics’ are nothing of the sort:

I have supported my team for over 25 years, in that time I’ve criticised players, managers and the board but every year I still renew my season ticket. That makes me a supporter not a sceptic. And the same is true of Tories, despite the criticism of some aspects of the EU, when that EU season ticket renewal comes up they gleefully renew. They are supporters not sceptics.

It is a superb explanation of the Europlastics.  Anyone who declares that genuine Eurosceptics – those people who want the UK to leave the EU – have a home in the Conservative party is either deluded or plain dishonest.

Tories increasingly desperate to stem falling support

Earlier this week we blogged about a piece in the Daily Express where Conservative ‘EU rebel’ Mark Reckless made the ludicrous claim that as many as half of the 306-strong Parliamentary party were in favour of total withdrawal from the EU.

In the comments section we went on to explain that the Tories were desperately trying to claw back deserters and cling on to waverers as their own polling data shows they would lose the next general election if it was held tomorrow, and that many Tory supporters had been saying they would never vote Conservative again after the sellout over Lisbon, HRA being shoved on the back burner and continued EU opt ins in 2010.

Yesterday Gawain over at England Expects highlighted another ‘Eurosceptic’ Tory playing tribal party politics.

It is increasingly looking like the party-before-country sentiments being expressed are being coordinated. The Tories have been damaged as the realisation has dawned among a growing number of voters that Cameron has duped them and that he never had any intention of standing by all the Eurosceptic noises made before the election.  Now all hands are being roped in to hold the line – even the supposedly Eurosceptic backbenchers who were dumped on by Cameron and the Whips in the referendum motion vote.

Clearly the Tories are frit.


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