European Elections 2014

Labour are getting spooked by the rise of Red UKIP. Ed’s British guru Lord Glasman used his interview with the Sunday Times to warn middle-class metropolitan Miliband that he is haemorrhaging working class votes to Farage:

“This is a long-term trend since 2001, in terms of the working-class vote just declining quite dramatically. The Labour middle-class vote held up [in 2010]. It was the working-class vote that died. These are often people who are earning, who have jobs, but they don’t see Labour as representing their interests. There was possibly an assumption at first that [the rise of Ukip] would just work against the Tories. But there is a view that says that after the European and local elections are over, there could be a swing back to the Conservatives of Ukip voters. But will there be necessarily a swing back to Labour from the Ukip voters?”

At the same time as there appears to be a surge in support, the misrepresntation of UKIP increases. This is best articulated by Peter Osborne:

“No political party in modern history – not even Neil Kinnock’s Labour in 1987 – has come under such sustained attack and misrepresentation. Mr Kinnock at least had The Guardian and the Daily Mirror; Mr Farage cannot boast a single national title, and several papers are running vendettas against him. Mr Kinnock was treated reasonably fairly by the broadcast media. This is not the case with Mr Farage: consider the lacerating contempt shown towards him by Channel 4 News and its chief presenter, Jon Snow. Nick Robinson, the BBC’s political editor, has also abandoned his usual fairness when dealing with the party.”

The political class do indeed feel frightened. Farage may turn out to be a buffoon but that is a sideshow issue.  The issue for me is two-fold, I want to wave two-fingers and I am strongly against the politicisation of the ‘common market’. Like a wounded animal the establishment feels cornered and it WILL fight back. The narcicistic system has too many feeding at the trough to let any populist rebellion go unchallenged. Expect the state funding of political parties to be back on the agenda as the main players seek to consolidate their strangehold.

Finally, as someone who has worked with politicians for thirty years I firmly believe that we should change our politicians often, much like nappies, and for the same reason.  The election poster up in my front window is the one below.  Feel free to download it (copies available on request). By all means vote byr for that added protection – attach a condom!

European Election Poster

Be warned though. I was challenged over it’s content.  It was suggested that my reference to Guy Fawkes was a breach of Section 1 of the Terrorism Act 2006. The poster is still there. I’m sat here in my tin hat and camouflage jacket.

All rights reserved © 2014 Andrew Hutchinson

EU Referendum

“This House respectfully regrets that an EU Referendum Bill was not included in the Gracious Speech.”

This House didn’t want one. We the People bloody well did.  They are definitely running scared. Their little world of cosy expenses and vast pay will crumble unless they sort it.  Eurosceptic Conservative MPs have tabled an amendment to the motion welcoming the Queen’s Speech, expressing regret that it did not include a referendum. They are trying to engineer a Commons vote next week on an EU referendum by 2017.  Should the Speaker accept the amendment it could be debated and voted on next Tuesday or Wednesday.  It is important because if passed it will commit the next parliament to a referendum on EU membership, regardless of who wins the next election in 2015 (though strictly speaking on parliament can bind a future parliament).  Prime Minister David Cameron had previously offered a referendum by 2017 if the Conservatives win the next election. This lunchtime former Chancellor Lord Lamont told BBC Radio 4′s World At One programme (yes the very same one which I’ve appeared on) that, “Europe has changed and become more and more a political union, a political
organisation”.

The story behind the obvious headlines in the wake of UKIP’s surge in the polls and former Chancellor Lawson’s previous intervention is why do politicians only admit to being Euro-sceptic after leaving office?

This very question is the subject of an article published in today’s Daily Telegraph newspaper written by David Hannan entitled Why
politicians admit to being Eurosceptic only after leaving office
.

The spectacle of Nigel Lawson, Michael Portillo, Norman Lamont and now Dennis Healey arguing that Britain would be better off outside the EU and news that Margaret Thatcher reached the same conclusion after leaving Downing Street does beg the question why no party is ever Eurosceptic while in office.

David Hannan speaks of what Milton Friedman called ‘the tyranny of the status quo‘:

“An immense apparat has grown up around the Brussels system. Disbanding it would mean taking on the Foreign Office, the Home Civil Service, the big multinationals, the mega-charities and NGOs (most of which receive EU subsidies) as well, of course, as the Brussels machine itself. It would consume all the energies of an administration for at least a year. Small wonder most ministers, while grumbling at their powerlessness, prefer to leave things as they stand.”

In Hannan’s article Portillo’s suffering on the subject is raised and the problem that the status quo looks respectable simply because it is the status quo. Cameron’s support for EU membership isn’t based on a deep commitment to the European ideal: you will scour his speeches in vain for any such sentiment. It is instead based on the impression he formed in the early 1990s that the people ‘banging on about Europe’ were disagreeable and eccentric.

Yes oddballs and criticalfriends do challenge orthodoxy and if I had been around in the 1790′s I’d probably have been banging on about the slave trade. Only when something becomes the new consensus do the moderate, sensible, cautious men suddenly remember that they backed it all along.

Portillo grasps the implication:

“If we were cowed into voting for continued EU membership, the British Establishment would claim that the issue was settled for all time. Over the following few years, defeatism would run its full course and the political class would deliver Britain into the euro. So the referendum, were it to occur, would not be simply about withdrawing from the EU or going on as we are. It would really be about pulling out, or in due course entering political union.”

All rights reserved © 2013 Andrew Hutchinson