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We've got to be careful with this - the questions were a bit leading. The pledge was a mistake that has re-opened old wounds on Europe, but that doesn't mean it should be ditched. Likewise I doubt the electorate care two hoots about it, but it needs to be retained for the sake of internal party politics.

I support the EPP pledge and I hope we withdraw. However, we should also recognise that - rightly or wrongly - no-one outside the Party cares who we sit with in Strasbourg. It is a complete non-story and Cameron's trustworthiness was not at stake until Conservatives started moaning about it. Talk about shooting yourself in the foot...

The leaked email was interesting.

Hague seems to be going out of his way to block our exit from the EPP. Hague's rambling on making speeches about the EU joining up with NAFTA. He's living a fantasy of creating worldwide government. Hellooooooooo

Dan Hannan is living in the real world, and is going to break away with a group of other Consrvative MEP's, and start a new group independently that can represent true Conservative views.

All Hague has to do is sound a bit less mental and all will be well. Good luck Dan Hannan! If anyone can build a new grouping, you can do it. Hague's out of his depth - as usual.

71% of the respondent disagree with you Iain.

It is an unequivocal issue of trust because it was the only firm, fully defined policy pledge within Cameron's leadership bid.

If he is happy to break a pledge to members in order to win the party leadership election, then what is he prepared to say to win a general election?

Let's face it, the "public don't care about the EPP" argument is weak as although it may well be true, that also probably accounts for 95% of what politicians do, however trust and honesty have always been very important to the public.

This is about honouring a pledge. It is an issue of trust and honesty.

Davis must be quietly sniggering that the inexperienced Cameron dhould have so snookered himself but at the end of the day a promise is a promise.

This is a real litmus test. Part of me agrees with the other correspondents. Since 85% of all laws emanate from Brussels, until we leave the EU, who gives too hoots about who's at Westminster. However, many local Party members that I know are worried that Cameron is really just Blair-lite. No policies and no principles. On such a genuine matter of the national interest and principle, he should make good on his word.

To me it's simple, If Cameron fails to deliver a pledge that he made to his own members when he was up for election, how could the electorate trust him to deliver pledges at the General Election. He would just look unprincipled and dare I say it, Blairlike. (I'm sure he will deliver though)

Does anyone know when there will be an announcment on this?

The EU is full of decent people with whom it is no shame to be associated. The EPP represents them. Angela Merkel's CDU beat the SPD in Rhineland/North Palatinate, the equivalent of beating Labour in Geordieland. The World Cup has shown that our fellow Europeans of are also patriotic, without being stupid about their neighbours. The Conservative Party has to chuck out the gruesome bunch of Euroseptics into UKIP where they can watch re-runs of Dad's Army to their hearts' content, become a business-friendly family-orientated centre right party that millions of voters like me will elect, even join.

"Cameron's trustworthiness was not at stake until Conservatives started moaning about it."

It's important to Conservatives that we feel we can trust our leader, so that even if we don't agree with him on a particular issue we know he means what he says. That this issue is more important to Conservative members than to the public doesn't mean it's not important. The party needs committed workers as much as it needs friendly media image to win.

This is going to be an interesting test of whether putting policy development out to committees can work.

As time passes it becomes harder to make a definitive statement that a difficult policy is right in principle.

Pledging to leave EPP at a convenient time (2009) is probably the best solution given today's starting point.

By the way, the "hug a hoodie" concept is right in principle but what can the actual policy be, other than being a nice guy? It will be very interesting indeed to see if any proposals are put forward in such an explosive area.

Jim, you've fallen for the line that if you're Eurospectic, then you hate Europeans. There are many pieces on Platform written by people like Dan Hannan which outline the problems with the EU, and how they impact on us in the UK.

Angela Merkel's CDU beat the SPD in Rhineland/North Palatinate, the equivalent of beating Labour in Geordieland.

I take it you mean Roland Koch in Rheinland-Pfalz ? Translating German states into English becomes horribly convoluted. I am not sure Roland Koch shares Angela Merkel's ideas, but then again I detect that the German public is now aghast at how Gerhard Schroeder snookered them into denying her a proper mandate and saddled her with an SPD Coalition so reforms would come over decades rather than months.

The EU is full of decent people with whom it is no shame to be associated. The EPP represents them.

I am sure that I would find many of those represented by the EPP completely delightful. For that matter, I could probably share a happy drink with representatives of Europe's many, Green, Socialist and Liberal parties. I would happily associate with people of all kind of political views.

However, choosing our allies based on the fact that they are decent, despite them having a core philosophy with which we differ, seems a little silly.

The Conservative Party has to chuck out the gruesome bunch of Euroseptics into UKIP

Which would probably make the UKIP a bigger party than The Conservatives.

Don't try to replace argument with cliche, it just doesn't work anymore.

Henry, I have not fallen for any line at all. I have seen Europe with my own eyes, very often. It works. It works better than the Home Office, for a start. I would not have voted for the absurd French draft constitution, as millions of EU positive Dutch voters did not. But I want it to have a constitution, a sensible one. British Conservatives leaving the EPP will contribute nothing to that process.

If he broke his promise, be sure that Labour would trumpet it from the rooftops. The public, not knowing EPP from the DUP, would still care about the lie.

'The Conservative Party has to chuck out the gruesome bunch of Euroseptics into UKIP.

Which would probably make the UKIP a bigger party than The Conservatives.'

Would just be left with Hesletine and Clarke. It does raise an interesting question about how Eurospectic the members panel is. Would be handy if this could be measured on next months.

"Don't try to replace argument with cliche, it just doesn't work anymore."


The positive BetterOffOut campaign founded by Tory MP's and including both them, senior UKIP members and others shows that eurosceptics from different parties are working together presenting their case in a calm and rational way and are therefore winning the argument.

We're all pro-european (bar a tiny rabid minority that we can effectively ignore).

We simply disagree that the EU is the right organisation to forward european cooperation. Quite straightforward really.

Er..Jim, I was hoping for cogent comment on my excellent posting on the perils of delaying making up your mind on something. I don't know what you are talking about. The name of the poster, rather confusingly, is underneath the dotted line at the bottom of each post, as you will see on your own post.

I am quite prepared to accept that you have not fallen for any line.

Thanks, Henry, and sorry. I am new here- a randson visitor. I am a natural conservative, I have paid a payroll out of my own pocket, I love my liberty, I believe in values not moral relativism, I am proud of being English, I despise Blair and his cohorts- but I share this core philosophy with friends across the channel. The Conservative Party would be full of members by rejecting the Euroseptic fringe, because moderate supporters would join. From 1979 until David Cameron came to the fore I didn't even bother with the Conservative Party.

I think that this smacks of navel-gazing, the average punter at the average pub isn't talking about whether the Conservative Party is or isn't going to withdraw from the EPP. They are more concerned about whether the Party will actually get to grips with the issues which Labour are ignoring or unable to deal with. Most people are not obsessed with Europe, and neither should we be, in the same way as in the 1980's the left was obsessed with Unilateral Disarmament when the general public was not!

I think Jim may have meant me.

The EU and Home Office have something in common. The both haven't had their accounts signed off for years. I'm not sure what you mena by the EU working. Working at what? Disengaging voters by taking the law making powers of the executive they vote (or used to vote for). In this, the EU is working superbly.

Er Jim, are you serious? You didn't bother with Margaret Thatcher and took the view that it was better to support one of the other parties who backed unilateral disarmament, higher taxes, greater power for the unions and so on?


Surely this is crazy. You can see that Jim is a man of goodwill with very useful and unusual experience. I value his input and recognise that even though I felt compelled myself to stand for UKIP at the last general election (West Ham 407 votes) we are all natural conservatives wanting a decent life for ourselves, our families and our country.

We all love Europe as well as the UK, and NONE of us have all the right answers. Let's show a little humility and openness, in order to reach some enlightenment. Grandstanding our limited experience and thoughts without listening and learning, is a waste of everyone's time. Isn't it?

Jim, welcome to the Conservative Party! The Party is a 'broadchurch' and I can assure you that there are people - myself included - that think we should either stay in the EPP or sit alone - not allay ourselves with a coalition of homophobic, anti-semitic, fascist fruitcakes. Although I am only a small fish in a big pond, I have made my views known to the people that matter. I think Cllr. Lindley is right when he says that the public couldn't give a toss about where we sit in the EU Parliament. It's the three big issues that we get us a majority at Wesminster: Education, Health and Crime.

Yes, Donal. I admit I was a bit busy at the time but Maggie's sloganising Euro-bashing was a turn-off. Heath was in the Churchill tradition- yes, really! Read Winston's speeches on Europe. I am leaving now. Thanks everyone for giving me a say. Whatever you think, Angela Merkel is a political phenomenon. I shall ponder Andrew's comments over a glass of Reinheitsgebot beer. It looks like you all need another five years in opposition.

"From 1979 until David Cameron came to the fore I didn't even bother with the Conservative Party. "

Not a Conservative then.

Enjoy your beer Jim.

Jim, what about me? Oh yes, I am not a nasty old Tory but a cuddly Ukipper! You're probably right about this lot of closed-minded bigots.

As many people have said the issue here is that this is the only commitment that has been made by David Cameron so far. Whether we stay in the EPP or not is to the vast majority of the United Kingdom completely irrelevant. However, as the opposition party we need to convince the electorate that we can once again be trusted to govern. Should the commitment not be undertaken then Labour's spin machine is able to portray Cameron as being unable to deliver upon a simple promise.

"I think that this smacks of navel-gazing,"

Far from it.

What happens if Labour reverses a manifesto pledge? How can the official opposition even begin to hold them to account if it does the same to its own members?

Can you imagine it?

Cameron: Policy x reverses the clear pledge you made to the public in the 2005 general election. How can we trust a word you say?

Blair: A government has to respond to changing circumstances, which you will appreciate having reversed the only pledge you made to your members in your leadership manifesto.

Suddenly pledges mean nothing, the last remaining dtops of trust trickle away.

Chad, you've just caught up with the politics of biography. Stash your cash in the Gulf and play the UK political game for laughs until there is a crisis. It is the ONLY sensible response to ABlair/DChameleon.

'You're probably right about this lot of closed-minded bigots.'

Henry, what are you on about? You stand for UKIP, and call us bigots because we are concerned about the undemocratic EU steadily taking over our law making. No one on this thread has said they dislike Europeans, just the EU.

"Yes, Donal. I admit I was a bit busy at the time but Maggie's sloganising Euro-bashing was a turn-off. Heath was in the Churchill tradition- yes, really!"

I seem to recall Churchill didn't want us to be part of a federal Europe.

I am genuinely curious to know how you think we benefit from the EU other than free trade. I expect most people here (myself included) just wish that the EU was a free trade area. No CAP. No common external tariff. No social chapter or other regulations. No compulsory metrification. I do not see how Britain gains from any of these.

Just being playful Andrew. I don't see the need to upset Jim who seems a good bloke. Not everyone is as intense as we are.

Will check comments later as I don't want to over-post and spoil the thread for others.

Only asked him to justify his position.

I think Jim needs to research his history a little more. Churchill was a passionate European integrationist. For them, not us! In his own words -

"We are with Europe, but not of it"

As for the wonderful workings of the EU, I can only point to auditors report on the last 9 EU annual accounts. What about the hoard of regulation coming from the EU which is making our economies less and less competitive? What about the EUs total lack of understanding about the need for tough and decisive foreign policy? What about the on-going EU assault on our 1000 year old system of common law? A system that seems to have works jolly well for Australia, the US, Canada and New Zealand.

Get real Jim, the EU is increasingly a burden to Britain. Instead of us sceptics leaving perhaps you should look elsewhere. It was seem less problematic if the tiny gaggle of mislead euro-enthusiasts left the party rather than we sceptics who I think it is fair to say clearly make up the majority of the party.

Belt up Drew.

Can we keep the thread focused on the EPP issue please?

Sorry Editor.

Yes we should leave the EPP - if our MEPs dont like that, then they can register the EPP as a political party in the UK and fight the next European elections under that banner. There, solved!

"Most people are not obsessed with Europe, and neither should we be, in the same way as in the 1980's the left was obsessed with Unilateral Disarmament when the general public was not!"

This is a silly argument because if the left _had_ succeeded in Unilateral Disarmament of the UK it would have had profound consequences, quite likely NATO would have collapsed without the UK. In the early '80s the USSR was seriously considering a preemptive invasion of Europe, without the UK & its nukes it's much more likely they would have attacked.
Likewise, Europe is important, whether people care about it or not. Most people assume that liberty in this country comes with the air, that it's inevitable and free of charge, and that other EU countries have the same idea of liberty we do. They don't, and the transition of the UK from common-law to civil-law is a huge change that comes with enormous disruptive effects to our society - look at how badly the ECHR & many many EU Directives have been applied here.

This EPP pledge should not be seen as a test of our Euro policy. It makes not a jot of difference to our European policy. When we were in the EPP we fought a whole general election campaign on saving the pound and then campaigned against the constitution. The EPP question is now really one of practicality. Do we alienate our centre-right partners in Europe (like Merkel) or do we please our grassroots? The key point is that if we choose the latter we actually impede our chance of changing Europe into the flexible model we favour. And we give Blair and co a big stick to beat us with. And we break our manifesto pledge to the electorate (to be in the EPP). I know there was a pledge to the members, but should our leader be bound by everything he said back then even if circumstances change?

DC has got himself into a muddle by not having a clear idea as to which groups the tories would align themselves with when he announced they would leave the EPP. However, he is very new to the leadership game and as a great European (Goethe) observed: "aller Anfang ist schwer" (beginning is hard). He has to extricate himself and we should help him, if we can. I hope he does so with honesty and not arrogance; if he has made a mistake he should admit it but he made a pledge and he cannot just hope it will go away. It won't.

Except of course Changetowin circumstances have not changed.A promise is a promise and DC needs to keep his.

I found the results regarding sitting with Homophobic parties very interesting and reassuring. As a Gay Conservative myself i have often felt isolated from friends who are predominantly Labour supportes, i also cringed when they said that the conservatives were against 'my sort'. I can now hold my head high and state that things have definately changed, and the Conservative party shuns all things Homophobic. However on this particular issue i actually voted in favour of forming an alliance with an Homophobic party in Europe. The party in Europe doesn't necessarity have to follow what the party in the country does. Unless they are voting on a european wide Gay rights directive, it shouldn't matter what this homophobic party decides to do within their own borders. I believe it such an important issue that i am willing to put aside my own prejudices against homophobic people and state that i would rather the Conservative party in Europe formed a strong anti federalist grouping than sit isolated and powerless.

DC made the EPP promise as a sop to the Conservative right, knowing he was going to be making a series of modernising changes which would annoy a lot of party members. This was a pledge DC made largely as he did not particularly care about the policy consequences (for those who have studied the New Labour pitch book, Fox Hunting performed a similar policy role for Blair). The problem is that having made a pledge which the right likes, he is now seeing the whole situation is more complex than he envisaged and wishes he could back down. What would he offer the right instead? (yes, given the unpopularity of many modernising polices, the right does have to be offered something, and besides, New Labour did it, so DC will follow). Tax cuts are about the only thing that could trump EPP withdrawal, but they are not going to be on the agenda. So DC is left playing for time and hoping events conspire to move this issue off the agenda.

Hi Malcolm,

Would you not accept that the election and success of Angela Merkel (and her attitude to us leaving the EPP), the intervention of John McCain and William Hague's difficulty finding partners has changed the situation?

That's a good argument, Changetown.

With regard to the Jim argument raging above; did anyone listen to the "Challenge The Chairman" Francis Maude Tory Radio interview, and what Mr Maude had to say about being a Conservative supporter?

Not all people vote for the Conservatives for the same reasons, and there is no such thing as a 'proper' Conservative and, if Jim is truly a supporter of the Conservative party now, then we should accept that for what it is. His reasons are his own.

If you haven't listened to the interview, I recommend you do: http://www.toryradio.com/

Doctors and nurses are being made redundant in the NHS and patients are being made to wait longer for treatment, violent crime is out of control, the country is facing an energy crisis, pensioners are being driven into poverty by sky high council tax and the government intend to concrete over most of southern England with houses and you people think that the defining issue for David Cameron`s leadership and the most important issue in Britain today is do we leave the EPP or not. All I can say is that you wonder why the Conservative Party is not in government!

David Cameron is unlikely to have pledged EPP withdrawal from purely tactical reasons. Such a move is in accord with his expressed beliefs in Compassionate Conservatism.

Cameron's problem is not in the concept, but the execution of the plan which he delegated to William Hague. It is quite clear from Hague's recent output that he is wedded to the idea of forming vast trans-national coalitions...the ideal of the Bildeberg Group of which he is a long-standing member. Hague is more than happy to scupper the quitting the EPP plan.

With Hague and only Hague blocking the way, Cameron will have to turn to Dan Hannan to carry out as much of the EPP-quitting promise as is possible. If the Magnificant 7 MEP's - Callanan, Van Orden, Kamall, Syed, Heaton-Harris, Hannan plus one stand aside and make a move out of the EPP, the process is started and can be completed in steps.

kfog, I congratulate and admire you for the depth of your committed opposition to a federal Europe.

One question (an honest question- I am not very up-to-date on continental politics, especially Eastern Europe): When people refer to "homophobic" parties, what exactly do they mean? What are these parties, and in what ways are their policies "homophobic"?



That is the most queer piece I have ever read on this mind-expanding site. It has made me gay.

You are a true homosexual and it is a pleasure to have you with us sir.

Absolutely not!I assume DC had thought of partners or sitting on our own before he made this promise.Nor am interested in the views of a foreign head of government or a US Senator.DC wants to be Prime Minister of Britain and it is to the British people and only the British people that he should keep his promises.

Ian B,
the homophobic parties refer to the Polish party (which i think is now in government in Poland) and a Latvian Party that have as part of their manifesto the desire to make homosexuality illegal. They have a strongly anti gay rhetoric. It is not a 'hidden' homophobia, but very blatant and is displayed by their plans for legislation.

Henry Mayhew, that is a highly offensive comment, and i doubt that you are a Conservative. You are a moronic bigot though.

From the BBC website:

"Soft on hoodies, soft on the causes of hoodies"


It is not an offensive comment.
I am open-minded.
Read your own post about your thoughts on offensive "homophobia" so long as it doesn't affect you.
Debate is good, let's be friends.
Let's all be friends.

Thankyou for the info kfog. I shall have to look those parties and their policies up.

Actually, I thought HM's comment was intended as either humorous satire or genuine (if slightly strangely expressed) approval. I do think your codemnation was a bit hasty, considering what you had to go on. Of course, I can understand and sympathise if you have been embittered by genuine homophobia. But please remember that neither a personal unease with homosexuals or homosexual behavior, or a genuine religious belief that homosexual behaviour is immoral is necessarily homophobic, or motivated by homophobia (and they don't always go together either). I must admit one of the reasons i asked for more information is my suspicion of the abuse of the word homophobia. Like all the "x"-phobia words, it has been distorted from its true meaning (irrational fear of and hatred toward "x") to mean any disaproval of or criticism of x or those who support or practise x ). This is simply a dishonest twisting of language to attempt to slander ones political or idealogical opponents as irrational bigots. It also, in the long run, weakens attempts to fight real bigotry and hatred.

"Lets all be friends" indeed- recognising that there are things we disagree on,things we agree on and that we can have a rational discussion about both.

Ian B

I am sorry if i was overly sensitive earlier, but i don't think i was.
Yes i appreciate there is a difference between homophobia and just disapproval, and people are often too sensitive. It is hard to contemplate someone wanting to ban homosexual behavior being motivated by anything but hatred. It would be like someone banning people for breathing or having red hair. But the point i was trying to make was that having a Eurosceptic group in the European parliament was more important than individual issues that should only matter on a national level. On this basis we could also form an alliance with a Eurosceptic party, that at home supported raising taxation for example.

Belonging to the federalist EPP is at odds with Conservative European policy and a legacy of the failure of the Major years.

Any MEP wishing to remain in the EPP against the vast majority of the wishes of Conservative Party Members should then be automatically deselected. Those individuals could stand as EPP party candidates at the next Euro-elections and face the same abject failure that Stevens et al had several years ago.

It seems that we’re not prepared to jilt one girlfriend until we’re already in bed with another. Why is it so essential that we are part of an alliance? It’s a genuine question and I hope the answer is more substantial than “a bit of political funding”.

Any MEP wishing to remain in the EPP against the vast majority of the wishes of Conservative Party Members should then be automatically deselected.

Without wishing to interfere in the selection process (in the scenario that the official Conservative delegation has withdrawn, some MEP's peronally pledging to sit with the EPP would obviously be untenable), I'm just wondering what the headlines the following day would be...

Go for it Dan. We're all right behind you. (90% anyway!)

The funny thing is, I believe is that so is Cameron. The promise won him the leadership. That's for sure. But he also seems to be happy to leave the EPP. If he can show his approval for Dan Hannan, and show that it was Hague that was not willing to play a non-Bildeberg card, he might still retain the Party's trust.

There is no doubt that Dan Hannan's Magnificent 7 are the men of the moment.

The full line-up will be -

Heaton Harris
Van Orden

"The Conservative Party has to chuck out the gruesome bunch of Euroseptics into UKIP"

And the last one left should turn out the lights because there won't be anybody there to pay the electric bill.

Glad to be gruesome......

As Chad says, Europhiles don't pay the bills.

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