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"I dont know of a single person in the constituency who has brought up the EPP with me or indicated that it would sway their vote."

Hi James,
Have truth, trust, spin, lies, politicians not delivering their promises come up at all?

We are all thoroughly sick to death of New Labour and their lies and failure to deliver. How often has Blair been portrayed as good on promises but old Labour stopping him from delivering?

I know this is going to sound terribly old fashioned, but for me, when a politician seeking election makes a cast-iron pledge that he is fully in control of delivering, I expect them to deliver that pledge.

It's a question of either honesty, or effectiveness. Either Cameron made a pledge that he had no intention of delivering (how I understand it) , or he made a pledge that he was incapable of delivering. This was a minor pledge but an unequivocal one.

It is a bit like the loans scandal. The Tories should have been in a position to slam Labour but kept schtum and failed to hold the government to account because they were equally implicated.

When opinion of politicians is so low, with party memberships very low, no-one is looking for mr perfect, just someone who only promises what they either intend or are capable of delivering.

Being less incapable or dishonest than the other rabble is not inspiring.

I hope the feedback here helps Cameron to understand how important honesty is right now, particularly after the past few months in which politicians have not done themselves proud.

If you can't honour a pledge to your party members, then you have no place asking the country to trust you with their vote.

What useful influence does the conservative group have within the EPP ? Surely it is better to leave the EPP, show some independence and do something right in opposing the onward march of the self-serving EU towards a centralised totalitarian state. Even if the conservative MEPs are no longer unified at least it will free up the eurosceptic MEPs.

Whilst these arguments may only interest political hacks, ultimately the future of the UK is at stake - the independence of which I wish to regain, but is that so with the conservative leadership ? By their actions I for one don't know.

At the fringe event hosted by The Economist at the party conference in October 2005, David Davis declared that he wished to see all powers except for a few single market rules repatriated by a British government to the British parliament.

Since that was far more useful to Britain than the question of partisan groupings in the European Parliament, I really do wonder why people like Daniel Hannan and Bill Cash supported Cameron over Davis.

If the news is true, could that lead to the majority of Conservative Eurosceptic MEPs taking matters into their own hands and walking out of the EPP, irrespective of the wishes of Cameron and Hague?

Militating against this possibility is that some of those MEPs are on the Conservative Party's candidates list for the next UK General Election, and would thus not want to rock the boat too much.

99% of the electorate have never even heard of the EPP so who gives a flying one? There are about 600 more important issues facing this country right now.

Chad, the EPP didnt come up as an issue at all. The EPP policy announced by Cameron wasnt a test of honesty. He could have simply made a misjudgement, which is silly at his level but they happen. Honesty and integrity have come up in my discussions, but the EPP is not the link, nor did it have anything to do with the European Parliament. The EPP policy is not about honesty. Indeed it was gutsy and needs a tough resolve to get through but ultimately it was not a test of honesty. Plans do change with the political seas...any retreat is not due to a lack of guts but due to difficulty in getting the group established. Hes going to get hit for this no matter what he does. Theres no point in kicking him when he is down by bringing up, in my opinion, a pointless charge of political dishonesty. A misjudgement yes, a lie, no.

Good God, Im defending him!

Chad,

First of all, this is thus far just a rumour. Let's see what happens.

Secondly, leaving the EPP will be much smoother once we have negotiated a new grouping. If this is taking time, so be it. I'd rather leaving was done properly rather than rushed, leaving a huge mess behind.

Thirdly, stop being a hypocrite. I don't think you are in any position to lecture on consistency. Over the last few weeks you have portrayed yourself as a Forthite, then a week later as an arch-moderniser. You stated on your site that you were "anti-dinosaur" and that UKIP couldn't win, and then you backed a UKIP candidate who image-wise is the epitome of a pin-striped, old-school Tory... and now you have the nerve to come on here and talk about honesty and consistency!

This matters a lot and I say that as someone who would prefer us to be outside of the EPP but was never particularly concerned about being part of the grouping. I've always been worried that DC's capital on EU issues would be exhausted by taking us out of the EPP - leaving none for the much more important business of taking Britain out of the fishing and international development etc policies.

Why it matters a lot is because DC said that he would leave the EPP and a failure to deliver would diminish the credibility of any future commitments he makes.

The story above is true but I hope Mr Cameron reads this thread and sees the strength of feeling on the subject. It's not too late for him to tell William Hague that retreat is unacceptable.

A retreat would diminish his credibility. Undoubtably it would be used against him at PMQs. I think Cameron needs to make a choice. Either press ahead with it or back off and admit that the leaving the EPP is a challenge too far. He wont do the latter, but I dont think he can find the partners either. Hes certainly trapped himself by being to frank with regards to the EPP. We shall see in the coming days...

Also, George Osborne was on TV a few weeks ago saying that things were going extremely well regarding leaving the EPP.

I still believe that David Cameron and William Hague will get us through this difficult stage.

Have faith people. Labour are doing appaulingly in Government. The polls and people are swinging in our favour. Don't ruin it all by having 'yet another' argument over Europe. Yes it is important. Yes it is relevant. And yes, the situation does need to be dealt with quickly. However, give David and William a chance. At least see what they have to say before we all jump to conclusions.

Ok, so I take it that the Conservative Party are supporting Euro-Federalism and ever closer union, and of course the Euro? No? Well what the hell are they doing in the EPP then. It is an absolute farce and a betrayal.

There may be 600 more important issues than the EPP Houndtang,but there are none more important to me than my confidence in my leader to say what he means and do what he says.Otherwise we are no better than Labour.ie Cowardly and dishonest.

[email protected]:54, I agree with your comments.
"Come the next euro elections we may be able to form a better grouping, with parties who's obligations to particular groupings will have ended" I have come to the same conclusion after following recent events.
I am not surprised that it will take a bit longer than was first anticipated. The road to Brussel's is littered with the good intentions of British PM's who have sought a swift consensus with their European neighbours!
[email protected]:05, I found your post extremely disingenuous and nothing more than a reflection of your lastest change of political allegiance.


Simple question - If this is such a non-issue why did DC make this one of his few promises during the campaign ?

End of the line with alot of members if DC can't deliver on this.

Because he had to give something to those on the right. He did that by giving a pledge on something critical to the Right- European representation.

I'm suprised by a lot of these comments.

It is clear Cameron, and the vast majority of the party wants to leave the EPP.

BUT, if reasons beyond our control complicate the forming of a new group, we simply need to stick it out until a new, solid, European Parliament group can be made. End of.

So Tom - Cameron is good on aspirations, but might not deliver on even minimal commitments ? Is this the message for the country ?

This is important. Cameron gave a very specific pledge on this and people took him at his word on it. If it slips a bit so be it but to abandon the pull out would be damaging to his reputation in the party and would make it harder for him to push through other things he wants to achieve.

He MUST stick to his promise, even if we lose some influence and some Euro fanatic MEPS from the group.

What useful influence does the conservative group have within the EPP ? Surely it is better to leave the EPP, show some independence and do something right.

If nobody, on this site at least, seems to think that ideologically membership of the EPP is justified for the Conservative Party, why does Cameron have difficulty leaving this grouping? The case isn't made, in any of the above comments, in favour of positive Conservative membership of the EPP, and when such consensus is reached and a leadership candidate explicitly promises this popular policy, how can he benefit from reneging on it?

It seems to me that the membership's attitude is wholely inconsistent; when, in a recent survey, site members were asked if, in the case of a hung parliament, the Tories should coalesce with the Lib Dems in order to govern, only 15% supported the proposal. If Tory MPs can't sit with integrationist Liberals at Westminister, despite the political advantage that would be conferred thereby, why can they in Brussels? To jettison the position of the natinal leadership and most MEPs to get more floor time in the EU parliament barely seems justifiable.

It cannot feasibly and politcally be advantageous for David Cameron to break his only pre-leadership promise and prompt internal conflict just as Labour are on the verge of imploding.

The fact that the vast majority of voters are uninterested in the EU and its vile and undemocratic doings is not a reason to ignore the issue. Most voters do not understand how the NHS or the tax and benefit system work, nor how much it impacts on their lives - should we anoraks and the politicians ignore those issues too?

A reliable Euro-source told me that the main reason some of our MEPs don't want to leave that Federalist bunch is because they'll get their noses pushed out of some highly profitable troughs. Nuff said.

Chad said: "this is a major issue, a major issue of trust. Sure it is about the EPP, but the issue is about reneging on a cast-iron pledge."

And so it is. There are two issues, one clearly major, and the other apparently not so.

The obvious major issue is the pledge. We will leave the EPP. That is unequivocal, and there is no room for spin or backtracking. This is a matter of trust. Whether one agrees with this pledge or not, it was made, and it cannot be unmade. So far, Mr Cameron has asked us to take him on trust. So far, we have. This is THE test.

There cannot be any whitewash here. Whether Conservative MEPs are in the EPP or not is irrelevant, both to EU Governance, and to the vast majority of people here in the UK. What is totally relevant is the trustworthiness of Mr Cameron. He must act, and without delay, and if Mr Hague demurs, then that is just tough. It is time for Mr Cameron to be tough.

The apparently minor point is regarding the EU itself, and the role of Conservative MEPs. I am a small businesswoman, and even one such as I feels the dead hand of Brussels on my business. Christina raises this point most eloquently, arguing as she has, that we Conservatives must renegotiate the balance of power between the EU and the UK. It is past time to start this process. In no way can we be associated wth the EPP - as a matter of principle. I am utterly opposed to 'ever-closer union' and the acquis communitaire ('the rachet') that consistently and inexorably transfers powers away from the UK and to the EU. Leaving the EPP is the first stake in the ground. This is really, really important to the long-term survival of our country as an independent nation-state. I believe that to be a fundamental conservative value, and one that must be a core tenent of the Leader of our Party. And that is why this issue is so critical: both on the count of trust; and also on the count of Conservative values.

Darn it! I wrote: "core tenent" I meant core tenet, of course.

The issue is not only about the EPP. It is one of principle. Are we to sit inside a federalist grouping in the EuroParliament when 90% of Conservatives dont believe in the objectives of the grouping?

If Conservative MEP's have no intention of representing Conservative viewpoints inside Europe, then they should all resign.

Better than that however would be for Conservative MEP's to resign from the EPP on an individual basis - if Hague is flunking this important decision. If 7 or 8 MEP's would do that and begin the job of building a new grouping, then a bridgehead would be formed which could become the way forward.

If individual MEP's will not take the steps, then they are not showing the kind of courage we need to get the Conservatives out of a place they should not be. I see much courage in Roger Helmer and others like him. Come on, Lads - provide the leadership which we need here.

Hague is again sadly to be seen as vague - there is no reason why one outburst from a jumped up Polish politician should be allowed to enforce our silence in Europe.

It's just another pathetic excuse of the kind that William Hague is well known for..... yes he's a very nice fellow and writes good histories, but we need leadership right now, and he's not showing any more willing to provide it than he was before.

We need not just a past to fill your history books, william Hague but also a future - it is your job to provide us with one. Please don't let us down again.

The obvious major issue is the pledge. We will leave the EPP. That is unequivocal, and there is no room for spin or backtracking. This is a matter of trust. Whether one agrees with this pledge or not, it was made, and it cannot be unmade. So far, Mr Cameron has asked us to take him on trust. So far, we have. This is THE test.

How far do we have to take him on trust before he delivers his promise? He promised to leave the EPP: not to investigate leaving it, determined by the domestic politics of possible allies. If Cameron is incapable of delivering this pledge before the end of the year, with or without a new grouping, he will have lost both the Eurosceptic wing pf the party and the general public's trust in his credibility as a principled alternative.

If David Cameron cannot deliver on a small coalition of Eurosceptic parties in Brussels, can he be trusted to conservatively lead government any better than Blair?

We have no influence in the Ultra-Federalist EPP, so leaving to be independents for a while will not diminish our influence one jot. Only the gravy-train will be affected.

If true then this is yet another case of "read my lips, and don't watch what my hands are doing behind my back". Betrayal, betrayal, betrayal.

Like many others, the EPP pledge, being a concrete promise to move away from EU deception politics, was the sole reason I voted for DC. If he betrays us on this one crucial pledge issue - then his eurosceptic stance is shown to be another fake to get our votes.

Reduction of the EU stranglehold is the one clear belief left which distinguishes us clearly from Blair: and it is one issue on which the vast majority of the public agrees. The people of this country are sick of being ruled by the EU, and the crushing weight of regulation & laws imposed by the eurocrats.

One lister said not one person will consider voting differently because of breaking the EPP withdrawal pledge. Oh yes? He was wrong: I am one person who will indeed decide who to vote for by judging DCs actions, not his words - and I am sure I am not alone.

Very sad if he lets us and this country down in this way. There was so much promise. I just hope it is a nasty rumour. Over to you David Cameron, to prove to us that you are an honest politician who can be trusted, and who will fight for our beliefs in the EU as well as in the UK.

Andrew wrote: "How far do we have to take him on trust before he delivers his promise?"

My answer? Exactly THIS far. I was willing to cut him slack, and I could see the reasoning behind getting Mr Hague to explore the possibilities. But now it time to fish or cut bait. There is no reason I know of why action cannot - or should not - be taken now.

I do think it is a trifle unfair of you to expect Mr Cameron to deliver on /other/ parties. But he sure can deliver on his own. For the benefit of the Conservative Party, and for the people of the UK as a whole, he must.

It is truly his 'stand up and be counted' moment. "Pull the switch on the EPP, Dave" is what I say, and don't consider for a moment a Blair-spin. Be a Leader. Lead.

Sean [email protected]:29 "It does fuel the belief, among the type of voter who will switch between us, UKIP, and BNP, that we will strike a patriotic pose, but ultimately back down when it comes to standing up to our country's opponents." I have to admit that I don't worry about losing a few votes to the BNP and UKIP. When these parties become a threat on the scale of Labour and the Libdems I might worry. At the moment where I live in Scotland I have a Libdem MP, a Labour/libdem coalition in the Scottish parliament and a Labour government in Westminster. I have always thought that it has been a mistake to pander to these minority single issue parties. It might shore up the tory core vote but it does not put the conservative party in a position to actually govern the agenda.

For those who aren't convinced about the merits of leaving the EPP, I highly recommend reading the Platform piece The Twelve Lies of Christmas by Dr Lee Rotheram.

This issue isn't really about what influence we have and where we sit.

Let us be honest, the EU gravy train will trundle on regardless. MEP's have no influence, and with QMV neither do the Council of Ministers. It is all a nonsense and the sooner we admit the inevitable truth the better.

This debate isn't about "groupings" it is about the integrity of the leadership. If DC wasn't sure he could deliver he should not have made the "cast iron pledge".

It is yet another kick in the teeth for the Right of the Party. It is what I have come to expect from Cameron but I am deeply disappointed in William Hague.

Andrew wrote: "It is yet another kick in the teeth". Not yet it isn't.

I have rarely seen a topic drive the debate to such strengths of feeling. Let us remember, that it was /rumour/ that was reported, and that about Mr Hague.

Fact is, we have seen nothing definite yet, and the jury is still out. Remember also, the benefit of the doubt. I would ask people not to knock Mr Cameron in particular, when he has not said anything yet.

Tomorrow is Wednesday, and there will be PMQs. I will bet £100 that the topic will come up, and Blair will seek to push Mr Cameron into a humiliating admission. I won't bet on the outcome, though.

At this moment, Mr Cameron has my trust. We will all know a lot more tomorrow evening.

For myself, the only /principled/ outcome is this: the Conservative MEPs will leave the EPP immediately, regardless of consequences. That would be Leadership.

Principles really matter to me.

The only thing that is surprising about this is that so many people seem surprised.

Do people not get it?

David Cameron has no firm ideological beliefs or principles. There is not a single tory belief or policy that he would not abandon if he thought it would help him become Prime Minister.

[email protected]:56 "Why it matters a lot is because DC said that he would leave the EPP and a failure to deliver would diminish the credibility of any future commitments he makes." You may be right Tim, but equally I would also say that after giving David Cameron such a clear mandate to "change" the party we have reneged on our side of the bargain regarding his pledge to make the conservative party more representative of modern day Britain. The constant criticism of the "A" list has been a good example of agreeing with the doctor's diagnosis but refusing to accept the treatment. If we are unable to leave the EPP immediately I can accept that it was because David Cameron had to rely on outside co-operation but if the "A" list fails it will be because of internal party opposition.
When we have a fair set of rules whereby the leader and the party member's reach a consensus about equal responsibility for the trivial stuff like winning an election let me know. Then I can hope that the electorate might take us seriously as a trustyworthy party that is fit to govern. As for now I wait with little surprise for the headlines about "internal tory strife about Europe". The British voter might be right in asking "when are they going to bother with us?"

Why was a thread even created on such a sensitive subject before confirmation was received? Just to whip certain elements of the party up into a frenzy that may yet prove to have been needless?

David Cameron isn't the only one whose credibility may rest on the outcome of this 'rumour.'

It's in the Telegraph, confirmed by a spokesman of Hague.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/main.jhtml?xml=/news/2006/06/07/ntory07.xml&sSheet=/news/2006/06/07/ixuknews.html

Thank you, Christina. I hadn't checked the Telegraph at the time of posting my previous message - only The Times and the BBC, neither of which mention anything on the subject so far as I can see.

I note that this spokesman for William Hague says that the goal has been postponed (albeit until after the next Euro Elections, when presumably the landscape may be more conducive to fashioning a new centre-right bloc), rather than scrapped altogether.

Told you so.

There is a big difference between the Cameron I thought I joined in May (yes, I was a May Cameroon) and the Cameron who became leader.

Young Mr. Cameron, it turns out, thinks he needs to be a leftie to win power and winning power is what he is all about. He does NOT adhere to the "and theory of conservatism".

His economic policy is a disaster and now it turns out he's soft on Europe as well. Don't forget that he has already ditched our eminently sensible policy of repatriating the fisheries policy.

His promises are worth very little. This man will apparently do and say anything.

Support him at your peril.

I shudder at the thought what this man and his buddies might do in Government.

Well it is recognition of a basic fact: that the EU is bigger than any individual nation or political party and that conformity is the line that comes most easily.

It appears that the Conservatives have made their peace with Europe and will not let it upset a smooth working relationship - business as usual - Blair will lay down the markers and Cameron will follow them in a continuity of policy.

One thing that annoys me is that the Conservatives are playing poor politics with Europe. Instead of trying to jump to the pro-Europe/Eurosceptic groupings, they should first outline what their vision for the EU is. So many arguments are over the EU but no one apart from the LDs are actually talking about where they want the EU to go, what direction and strategy it should adopt. Whether this be a free-trade zone or a political union or whatever, at least people know that the Tories are talking about something tangible and not in platitudes and back-flips.

Acording to the Financial Times:

"But aides to the shadow foreign secretary rejected suggestions he had got cold feet over the withdrawal pledge. "That's not true at all - it's full steam ahead," a Conservative official told the Financial Times."

Seems we have conflicting reports.

Just been listening to Mr Hague on R4 and he didn't indicate that EPP withdrawal had been abandoned.

Thirdly, stop being a hypocrite

[rolls eyes as Iain made the same attack for the third time].

Iain, what don't you get? Will you stop this repetitive attacks?

How many times do I have to tell you that I am not tied to a rosette but to values? I don't care which party delivers them. For the third time, please go and read David Aaronovitch's article "Forget red, blue, and yello. Now the choice is Progressives v Reactionaries." as it might help you understand why party memberships are falling.

So, yes, in an election, if Pary A is closest to my values I'll work with them and vote with them, but if at a different time, they don't I'll happily oppose them.

Hypocrite? Inconsistent? Look back at my gold list post where I stated my four core values that if represented I would happily stand aside if they were on offer. They were in order of importance.

Now, please tell me which candidate came closest? Yes, I wanted it to be the Tory (as I clearly stated), but the only other BetterOffOut candidate was Nigel Farage.

Now, hopefully you will finally understamd that many of us are not committed to a political party, and will support the nearest to our values at that time.

I am almost 100% agreed with BuiltToLast. And If you read my resignation letter my annoyance was not the party direction, as a progressive I warmly embraced it, but that I felt that Cameron was not being genuine.

So, please, get off my back. I am not a Tory, but a conservative small government supporter, but desperately wanted Cameron to be genuine, voted for him, tried ot get MP's to vote for him, to help get rid of Blair and his rabble, but could see by March that he was just a pr machine.

There are millions of voters in the UK and only 250k Tory members and fewer still who will accept anything to get a Tory government.

In terms of this pledge, if it is not delivered, it can only be because wither Cameron has lied, or his is incapable of delivering his promises. Neither one is the basis to become prime minister.

So please Iain, understand, millions of us are sick of Blair and Brown, but for us, 'change' is an action not a soundbite.

So I will vote for values thanks.

You only have to read some of these comments to realise unless your an obsessive that is that many people in the party are obsessive about your Europe in fact I would go as far as to say that there are some who would rather have us have a policy of withdrawal from the EU and of course lose every election going than see us actually get back into power.
Its about time you recognised that Europe as it stands now is not an issue with the general public and if we once again tear ourselves apart over it we will look like the single issue nutters who belong to UKIP.

Could Mr Cameron explain how living a lie a day longer inside the EPP is going to be good for our General Well Being?

EPP or GWB? It's not only about number of hours worked. Health also comes from mental attitude, from belief that what you are doing is right. If something is wrong, it must be changed.

Dump on the EPP decision, and we're dumping on change, and the move towards a GWB economy - which is one of Cameron's best ideas

because it's intelligent to move business away from a total focus on competition/oneupmanship and look towards meeting more of peoples' needs as well as making them richer...looking for contentment out of success, not only money.

If Cameron is doing anything, he's trying to say,'let's be intelligent about what we do and say' about life.

It is not intelligent to stay inside the EPP for all the reasons known. If Cameron shrinks away from this, he is failing himself by his own standards, which would be a pity when he is doing so well and has some very important ideas which will change peoples' lives for the better.

Whenever the subject of the EU arises, the Europhiles (who represent a dwindling minority) always blame us sceptics of being obsessed, after they urge us to be "reasonable over Europe".

Its like beating a dog with a stick and then complaining when it bites you.

There is nothing remotely Conservative about either the EU or the EPP, and europhiles will have to forgive our foaming at the mouth. We would prefer the Conservative Party to stand up for our nation, not to pander to the spoilt whims of a bunch of MEPs who have gone native.

Having just listened to Hague on Radio 4 he has comprehensively denied that he is recommending abandoning the pull out from the EPP. He said "by the end of next month" he will have news on a new grouping.

I am content to wait and see what the news is. I suspect that Czech coalition talks have delayed the launch of the new grouping.

Henry Cook:
"You are comparing the EU to the rise of Nazism. That is an offensive, even dangerous, view."

The EU resembles the Empire of Charlemagne rather than the Third Reich, as I explain in my PhD thesis (available by email on request) :)

I found this - and Hague's statement on the Today program this morning - profoundly depressing. I will continue to support my local Conservative party, but there is no way I can campaign for the Conservatives in the next European election on this basis.

Jack Stone 07:54:

"I would go as far as to say that there are some who would rather have us have a policy of withdrawal from the EU and of course lose every election going than see us actually get back into power."

Since there is apparently no chance of winning an election in the face of the left-media-complex on a poilcy of EU withdrawal, I would prefer the Conservatives got back into power and repaired some of the damage of the past 9 years even at the price of staying in the EU*. However leaving the EPP was a freely given commitment and I don't think it would have negatively affected our election chances. To renege on the commitment is to demoralise me and others for no good reason.

*The best approach would be a referundum once in power, giving the people a choice whether to leave the EU or to commit fully to the European project of ever closer union in a federal state, with no more dissembling. If they voted for Europe, fine.

I agree with having a referendum.

William Hague said on Today programme that we were sorting out new partners, not abandoning the pledge to withdraw from EPP.

Sorting out new partners sounds like we lost out on our preferred choices and are struggling to find new ones. Thats my slant on it.

Serf: No-one on this thread as far as I can see, and nearly no-one in the Parliamentary or national party apart from a few old-timers like Ken Clarke, is a "Europhile". The ones urging caution are the moderate Eurosceptics. The ones pressing ahead are the people who draw analogies between the EU and Nazism, talk of the extinction of the UK, the future of the UK being at stake, the danger from our opponents etc. etc.

It is precisely this sort of rhetoric that fuels an image that we are slightly head-banging on Europe, and meant that we have actually been behind Labour on this issue: http://www.ukpollingreport.co.uk/blog/issues/europe/. There is a world of difference between making a reasonable case for the repatriation of fisheries policy and making allusions to Napoleon or jackboots. The apparent obsession with the EPP (how many posts have this thread generated? compared to public service reform or Darfur?) confirms to floating voters that we are fruitcakes who denounce the EPP as Euro-fascists and then proceed to sit happily alongside Ms Mussolini.

Simon Newman compares the EU to Charlemagne's Empire - that would be the Charlemagne who indignantly maintained that he did not force Christianity on pagan tribes, he offered them a choice: get baptised or get slaughtered. Good simile, Simon.

Why not just offer a referendum?

Cameron could keep the MEP's in the EPP, could campaign as a passionate reformist, wanting to stay in, but could end this distraction for the next generation?

It would be that simple, and it would see the end of UKIP.

Calm, rational, democratic.

I'm in favour of withdrawal (as I do not believe 'reform' is possible), but am more in favour of supporting the democratic view, and if that is to stay in and fight for reform, then so be it; but now is the time to end the division on such a major issue that is causing such division, and to let the British people decide.

No hysterics, no rages, no accusations, just a simple vote. Both sides make their case, then a vote, then we can move on for at least the enxt 25 years following a path decided by the British people.

If Cameron is worried about losing influence and scrabbling about on the edges, then make the case to stay in, with a democratic vote on the issue.

Cameron can please both those for and against EU withdrawal at the same time. Just give us the referendum.

AlexW:
"...talk of the extinction of the UK..."

EU teleology requires the eventual end of the nation states; 'ever closer union' means just that, it's not an empty statement. The end result, as is accepted everywhere outside the UK, is a state more tightly integrated than the USA. This requires the ending of Britain's common law tradition, which is not compatible with Europe's Codex Justinian/Napoleonic system based on the law of France. Hence it's a bigger shift for us than, say, Belgium or Austria. The EU is not Nazi Germany and if the British people were allowed to understand what the EU _is_, and supported that, that would be entirely legitimate. But the Europe debate in Britain is couched in obfuscatory language, I'm not sure most people on either side of the debate actually understand what they're talking about.

Ok, this is just getting depressing now, and I'm not talking about David Cameron's actions. I think just about everyone is over-reacting here, and this is why:

1. It's a Rumour
This fact hasn't already been confirmed in any way shape or form, and yet not only is the jury out, so is the hangman.

2. Circumstances have changed
Yes, pledges should be kept, but they can be justifiably broken if the outcome of the pledge is not the same as before. The pledge was made on the basis we would withdraw from EPP-ED and form a new grouping, which would accomodate fellow right wing eurosceptics. A new group cannot now be formed because two of our main partners are refusing to work together. We can't actually create a new group now as we don't have enough people from different countries, so our only choice would be independents if we left the EPP-ED. Now, DC might have pledged to leave the EPP-ED, but that pledge was made with the intention of joining a new grouping. If we don't allow politicians to change their policies when circumstances change then stupid mistakes will happen.

3. The timing is hardly great
The plan hasn't been carried out for 6 months, because Hague has been busy trying to broker a deal with other political parties. All of that deal brokering is now useless because two of those parties have fallen out, and Hague is just a tad annoyed for having wasted his last 6 months talking for nothing rather than writing a new book. I wouldn't be suprised if he'd stormed out of his office upon hearing the news and yelled across Westminster that the EPP-ED withdrawal wasn't going to happen, not meaning anything but just expressing anger. Would Tim mind letting us know his sources?

4. Please unite again!
Its taken so long for the party to be seen as united again, and here we are unravelling, planning to execute a leader over an unconfirmed rumour (which is being denied). If you hate DC please don't destroy the party, else there won't be a party for you to put a hitler clone in charge of after DC has been stabbed in the back.

"2. Circumstances have changed"

Hi Chris,
Nothing has changed. The pledge was not given with the constraint of any particular group joining etc.

It was an unequivocal pledge to withdraw. Ask Roger Helmer and others. They didn't recall that the pledge had any caveats.

Those MEP's etc remember the pledge to be immediate withdrawal. It didn't happen. So it can't have been conditional on setting up any group first, unless you believe these elected Tories are not telling the truth.

The goalposts have been continually moving to avoid delivery.

Chris:
"...planning to execute a leader over an unconfirmed rumour (which is being denied). If you hate DC please don't destroy the party, else there won't be a party for you to put a hitler clone in charge of..."

Nice.

FWIW I still support DC and I definitely don't hate him. Not too keen on Hitler clones either, which would be why _I'm a Conservative_. If I wanted a Hitler clone I'd join Respect.

Ah Chris accuses those of us who dont agree with Cameron that we want to put a Hitler clone in the Party... Chris, grow up. None of us want that and you know it. Dont be so silly.

"If you hate DC please don't destroy the party, else there won't be a party for you to put a hitler clone in charge of after DC has been stabbed in the back."

Well Chris, I suggest you obtain a copy of 'How to win friends and influence people' by Dale Carnegie.

It seems to me that many people asking for unity like to throw insults as they do so.

I thought Henry's accusations of comparing the EU with Nazis was far out, but you're on Saturn.

Chad,
I'm desperately trying to think of an example where circumstances have changed before, and a change in policy has been justified, but I'm struggling, so you'll have to make do with the only example I can think of off the top of my head. Many people supported bombing Iraq when we were doing it to get the WMDs, however there are none so a lot of people now opose it. Are those people flip floppers or are they just adapting to the climate?

Adaptability within a politician is crucial, it stops stupid decisions made years in advance (Like promising large amounts of tax cuts) from being implemented when the circumstances are not right.

But Chad, what most annoys me is the fact that you've been insisting that DC lied about the pledge to get elected, and that he never planned to go ahead with the plan. The fact that 6 months was spent building a partnership with other parties should show he was serious about this pledge. He will probably still keep this pledge, its just going to take longer, because preparing to leave in a different manner had been unconceivable until this point and therefore plans are not in place.

Ah Chris accuses those of us who dont agree with Cameron that we want to put a Hitler clone in the Party... Chris, grow up. None of us want that and you know it. Dont be so silly.
Not quite, I'm just sick of all the moaning from the right wing of the party (and the right wing of the left wing right wing party Imagine) about how DC is no longer fit to be leader because he has broken his pledge, which he hasn't. For the past 14 years our party has been falling apart as we squabbled amongst ourselves about trivial issues. The media then seizes upon those issues are paints us as a divided party that can't agree about anything. I'm not at any point suggesting anyone wants a Hitler clone, I'm just saying that whenever our party finds itself in trouble we always swoop as far over to the riht as possible, and to be honest its a horrible defence mechanism and its lots us 3 elections now.

Hi Chris,
That is simply my belief. Delivery will obviously be the proof. You or I do not know the truth, so we have different beliefs.

I really do believe that he lied. I think (based on the lack of delivery upon being elected and comments from Roger Helmer and others) that he panicked during the leadership election, and made a pledge that he hadn't thought about and didn't plan to deliver as he feared losing to Davis and wanted to win over the eurosceptics. A red mist, desperate to win moment.

As I have stated many times, I desperately want to be proven wrong on this. But nothing has occurred that has disproven my belief to date. I really hope it does.

As with others, I don't hate DC either. If he actually delivered what he is pledging in Built To Last etc, he would be my hero too.

Warm progressive words, but it needs warm progressive delivery. We have had enough of broken promises.

It's what I believe Chris. No-one will be happier than me If I am wrong.

"I'm just saying that whenever our party finds itself in trouble we always swoop as far over to the riht as possible,"

Chris it is also worth noting, as I am often criticised for it, but I consder myself moderately centre-left.

I've just listened to William Hague on the Today prog on Radio 4, via their online recording, and he has NOT abandoned leaving the EPP and setting up a new group. His segment starts at 1:35 into the prog.

You may still lose your bet Chad. :-)

"Chris it is also worth noting, as I am often criticised for it, but I consder myself moderately centre-left."

Have you been at the alco-pops again Chad?

:-)

No, Gareth (I'm a G&T man anyway), I am one of those progressives that Cameron is supposed to be appealing to, to make the party electable again. Remember his LibDems4Cameron.com site?

My beef with Cameron is not that I disagree with his change agenda, I support it, but that I want it to be real, and not just a soundbite.

Well, if not booze, you've definitely been out in the sun (delivering leaflets in B & C?) a bit too much.

You and Roger Helmer as the great hope of lefty tories? I think not.

"else there won't be a party for you to put a hitler clone in charge of"

Chris you not only suggest it, you say there is an intention by some to put a hitler clone in there.

Chris you not only suggest it, you say there is an intention by some to put a hitler clone in there.
Ok, lets just put it down to my obvious teenage angst that I obviously have built up inside me and move on. What I was meaning to say was that if we carry on down this route we're simply going to end up getting rid of DC and replacing him with some right wing dinosaur who'll remove us from the EPP immediately, but will also manage to undo all of the hard work thats been put into the party since last year.

DC isn't a magical omnipotent being, and I recognise that. However, others don't seem able to. DC can't just wave his hands and leave the EPP and have a nice new set of offices in Brusels, just as he can't wave his ahnds and win an election. Just give the man some time and don't stab him in the back before he's had a chance to even deny this rumour himself.

We've got to a point now where Tim's sources are saying everythings off, and the party leadership is saying "errrr no". I think the only sensible thing to do for now is to put down the noose or the cameron banners and just watch this whole thing play out, so we don't do too much damage to this partys image. This site is high profile and gets regular mentions in newspapers, hell I wouldn't be suprised if this mornings headlines have come about because of this thread and the comments within...

'the much more important business of taking Britain out of the fishing and international development etc policies.'


Tim - if you are there - I can understand about the fishing but what have you got against our participation in the EU international development policy ? Wouldn't that just reduce our influence over how the money is spent ?

"lets just put it down to my obvious teenage angst that I obviously have built up inside me and move on"

Done.

Withdrawal from the EPP was the main reason given by John Redwood, for his support of DC for the leadership. Will Mr Redwood please make a statement if this rumour is true.

Oh all this other stuff, civil servants being wonderful etc. Got one clause 4 for sale only one previous owner, hardly ever used:going cheap.

Chris @ 08.55
"If you hate DC please don't destroy the party, else there won't be a party for you to put a hitler clone in charge of after DC has been stabbed in the back."

That is on of the most offensive statements I have read from a fellow conservative.

I have been a member of this Party for 28 years. Yes, I consider myself Libertarian Right. I did not vote for David Cameron - but to imply that those of who who are opposed to his policy wish to see "Hitler clones" leading the party is deeply offensive and vulgar.

Such crass comments undermine the validity of your otherwise reasonable post and certainly debase your own authority.

Chris has already made his reasons. There are bigger things in the world than a badly written post. Lets move on.

Perhaps John Redwood has now been reminded of Paddy Ashdown's comment about Blair: "he believes things when he says them.....just like Don Giovanni".

I can understand about the fishing but what have you got against our participation in the EU international development policy ? Wouldn't that just reduce our influence over how the money is spent ?

I think the idea would be to stop contributing to it and put the money into our own ID programmes. There is some debate about the EU's comparative advantage in providing aid, but on the whole it seems to get the same things wrong as the UK's system but to a greater extent - particularly in its top-down approach of "giving more and more money straight to the governments of developing countries" - to quote Clare Short.

Thanks for this explanation. I work for a leading NGO and we certainly find DFID easier to work with than the EU.

Talk about navel gazing! The reality is that, according to the latest poll announced yeaterday,

"The monthly Populus for the Times suggests that Labour may be starting to recover from their recent difficulties. The topline figures, with changes from Populus’s poll last month conducted immediately after the local elections, are CON 37%(-1), LAB 34%(+4), LDEM 18%(-2)" http://ukpollingreport.co.uk/blog/index.php

It's fairly obvious that the MORI poll showing a 10% lead was a rogue result.

Against this government and with the lame leadership of the LibDems, DC can only show a marginal lead and not one which could deliver a Commons majority. Why not? Well honesty for one: this thread indicates that the Cameroons are gagging so much for power they are prepared to be apologists for the breaking of the only(?) straightforward and deliverable pledge given by DC.

The electorate is fed up with being lied to. After all we've had the experts in power for the last 9 years. Its also fed up with Brownite/Blairite policies which is what DC and GO are offering in a dubious "me too" auction. Anecdotal evidence, of course, but here in North London my non-Conservative neighbours are unconvinced by DC and would rather abstain than vote for Blair Mk 2: my Conservative neighbours are increasingly desperate as they see any distinctive Conservative policies junked by DC.

This is not the way to win a battle for hearts and minds, let alone an election.

A poll of polls puts the party seven points ahead of Labour which makes the Mori Poll plausable as its within there margin of error.
The party is stronger now in the polls than its been since 1992 no matter how hard many on this site try to pretend otherwise.
Personally it really gets up my nose that so many on this site continually talk the party down as much as they do. As for a referendum on Europe. The party would be absolutely mad to go down that path. It would not only tear the party in two it would make us look like a party of flat earthers and obsessives.

Jack Stone:
"As for a referendum on Europe. The party would be absolutely mad to go down that path. It would not only tear the party in two it would make us look like a party of flat earthers and obsessives."

If Ministers and MPs were totally free to campaign on either side and all agreed to accept the result I can't see why it would tear the party in two. On the latter point I think it's generally agreed Europe is an important issue - or are you saying that although it's important, all sensible respectabe people already concur and only 'flat earthers' hold the opposite view?

Jack Stone

"A poll of polls puts the party seven points ahead of Labour which makes the Mori Poll plausable as its within there margin of error"

The poll of polls at the head of this blog puts us 4.2% ahead.

It really is pretty pointless to try and enter a debate with Jack Simon.He very rarely responds to anyone comments and all his posts are on the same theme 'I support the leader'.He as you can see also has a very low opinion of his fellow bloggers on this site.Today we are not only 'flatearthers' but also a bunch of foreign hating xenophobes like 'Alf Garnett!'.
Others seem to think he's some sort of UKIP troll trying to stir up trouble,I doubt that myself his posts are too untintelligent to benefit UKIP in the slightest.In short a poster who is best ignored.

To Malcolm 1625:

Oh, ok, then. :)

"all his posts are on the same theme 'I support the leader'..."

Oh well, at least we have one thing in common, we both support DC!

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