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We do NOT need another Eurosceptic pressure group.

This group has been formed due the ineffectiveness of Open Europe. It has failed to communicate the Eurosceptic message effectively. Several colleagues have wondered whether Open Europe was set up to neutralise Euroscepticism. It does seem to be cosying to the the Commission and EU establsihment now.

The web site is here.

The creation of Global Vision is also a reflection of the success of the Freedom Association's "Better Off Out" campaign with, compared to its well funded competitors, a tiny budget. The Eurorealists have outflanked the EU apologists in the think tanks.

The EU, as Steve Norris has acknowledged recently, cannot be reformed. Con Homers should not waste their time and money on another EU collaborationist group. They should back Better Off Out instead.

You are right, Ed. We must surely recognise that squabbling among ourselves as the Judean People's Front squabbled with the splitters in the People's Front of Judea will only give succour to our opponents.

If existing groups are ineffective - which I don't, by the way, accept - then people should become involved in them and turn them into something better. A whole series of groups doing the same - or substantially the same - thing is rather pointless.

The gap in the Eurosceptic organisation marketplace is indeed for an activist group akin to the TaxPayers' Alliance or, in the United States, RightMarch.com.

That said, Ruth Lea has a considerable talent for self-publicity and good media profile in her own right. She may be able to make this new group pre-eminent.

The website is here, Tim.


I'd put another Eurosceptic pressure group at about 100 on my list of priorities.

Above Europe would be...

...something to educate the British people about Islamic fascism... a small c conservative human rights and global democracy campaigning group... a group that advocates use of technology to tackle the environment... an abolish the licence fee campaign... something to rebuild the transatlantic alliance...

We can also add the Democracy Movement, Conservatives Against a Federal Europe, Global Britain and the Campaign for an Independent Britain to the list of Eurosceptic groups - as well as groups such as the Freedom Association and Conservative Way Forward who also focus to some degree on the EU and its flaws.

The website link was to Global Vision. It is not impressive.

Thank you Christina. I've now added the link into the main post.

I agree with Donal. We need an effective Eurosceptic pressure group which has a similar structure to the taxpayers alliance. All the above groups do their little bit but are having zero effect on the media and public opinion.

Donal Blaney must be joking. The leaders of Conservative Way Forward have nothing to stop the leftward drift of the Party under Cameron. They have put their careers before principle.

Umbrella Man is right. The lesson from the United States for us to learn - if we ever want to win another election - is that we need to set up activist groups and/or think-tanks to rival those established left-leaning groups that the liberal establishment turns to whenever an issue arises.

We need to create moderate, centre-right alternatives to the likes of Greenpeace, the Howard League for Penal Reform, Amnesty International and so on. None of us are opposed to caring for the environment, reforming prison conditions or human rights but I believe the vast silent majority of Britons are opposed to the leftist agenda these established groups advance.

It's off topic, Thatcherite, but as you have asked me about CWF, I will respond (although I am not on its committee and have not been since 2004).

The leadership of CWF has not, to my knowledge, "sold out". It takes the view, as do many, that it is better to influence Project Cameron from within than from without. This means that there can be an alliance of those who are concerned about Project Cameron - some of whom are on the inside influencing debate and others of us free to criticise from the sidelines. I am heartened that many comrades in the struggle are on the inside and I am confident that they will bring their influence to bear, albeit in some small way, over time.

Now back to the thread, I suggest...!

No, we don't need another European pressure group. We don't even need another European think tank. This one looks a bit like the CPS for Eurocrats, so maybe they're buying forward on a Sarkozy win.

We do need some form of consolidation in this market. The real story about the encroachment of the EU has been the pretty unimpressive inability of the various Eurosceptic groups to work together and actually achieve anything.

I think the trick we have missed is not to keep pushing for something else when we do achieve something (such as blocking the Euro or the Constitution).

Contrast this with the campaigners advancing the "equal rights" or environmental agendas. They don't stop - they keep pushing for the next thing on their list of demands.

William Norton's point about Global Vision being a CPS for Eurocrats has a ring of truth.

I have been told that the CPS's home in Tufton is owned by the Keswicks. Tessa Keswick, Ruth Lea's predecessor, was Ken Clarke's Special Adviser.

Hopefully, Patrick Minford (a supporter of Better Off Out) will bring Eurorealism to its economic advisory council.

What a waste of money.

The website looks pretty old-fashioned, too.

Norton is right.

The current groups have no impact on the media. They either are not capable or cannot raise the ££.

Open Europe has done nothing and just seems to write silly blogs. Why does Tim say "run effective campaigns"? It has not run ONE! If he means that some of the Board were involved in successful campaigns years ago, that is different and should prompt the question - why is Open EUrope itself so ineffective? It may not be incompetence. Leach has his peerage and O'Brien seeks his safe seat. Neither will oppose Cameron so unavoidably they are silent on Europe and never appear in the media.

Lea's initiatvie shows people are fed up with OE but will they actually get anywhere with the public? Unfortunately, very unlikely.

I assume that when Lord Pearson joined UKIP Ruth Lea and Ian Milne were left high and dry. So they invented Global Vision to take over from Global Europe - Lord Pearson's vehicle to which they had both been major contributors.

Why don't we give this new organisation a chance before we attack it? There are certainly some pretty serious people involved with it.

Perhaps it'll be a good thing to have another pressure group.

The eurosceptic agenda has become dominated by the withdrawalist extremists in BetterOffOut in recent months, so if Global Vision can communicate the message of reformist moderates effectively and bring some balance and reason back to the debate, that can only be a positive development.

Lea wants it to be vehicle to leave EU.

Blackwell and CPS Board refused.

They each tell people opposite aims for GV.

It will be another Eurosceptic failure.

Tim thinks there is a "healthy conservative movement".

Why is there no serious organisation dealing with foreign policy, just a collection of little groups that fight and get nowhere?

I agree proliferation is not very helpful, scattering resources as it inevitably does; but if this new group can reach other people then fine. What is needed is for groups to work togther and not compete with each other. As re-negotiation / partial withdrawal from current EU commitments is not possible, withdrawal has to be on the agenda, or the debate would be a waste of time.

It is not surprising that such groups and parties are growing in number and strength, as the Conservative Party is no longer eurosceptic - it's just whistling in the wind praising the EU while trying to look sceptical, instead of dealing with EU realities.

We are going to oppose the Howard League for Penal Reform!?

This place is crazy-go-nuts.

Yes we do.But those who support Tory policy surely dont care about this pressure group, they obviously dont work do they

If elected politicians will not reflect the view of the electorate or address the number 1 concern of many low paid people, that of unrestricted EU economic migration, what do you expect.

Just because the political elite think its too touchy a subject to discuss honestly does not solve the underlying problem. It is the problem.

The longer the issue is swept under the carpet the greater the attraction of the BNP and their like. This is not a move to support racist views it is the only option for people fed up with having politicians lie to them.

The economic reality shows in the number of Labour voters BNP attract, hardly surprising as they have to live with the effects of reduced wages, widening pay gaps, stretched local resources and they are annoyed further by the fact it happened behind their back. The unrestricted migration that they were promised would never happen, the referendum on the Constitution they were promised that didnt happen and the prospect of losing our veto almost guaranteed by Camerons last announcement just makes them feel even more rejected and isolated.

Having had a quick look the website doesn't look too bad to me.

Whenever there's talk about the importance of getting all groups opposed to the EU into one organisation, I'm reminded of Caligula's wish that the Roman people had but one neck - so he could sever it with one blow.

Ruth Lea is a damn fine economist and an extremely pragmatic person.
That she has joined the Eurosceptic Club is fine and a demonstration to those that know her, that the EU is a busted flush, that we are better out of it, and developing our own economic base. For others she is just another voice.
All the anti-EU groups need to unite, thus giving breath to the message, allowing the message to permeate into people's minds and to counter the insidious propagagnda that is spread in our schools and through our society by Brussels and pro-EU bodies. It is also time that DC took a firm anti-EU stance, and showed some old style conservative values towards free trade and individual freedoms and against big government.

Like DVA and others, I used to favour EU reform but our "partners" in the EPP have collaborated with the Commission and other federalist forces. The EPP did little or nothing to support Whistleblowers like Marta Andreasen.

Groups like Open Europe, Global Vision and the Movement for European European are part of the problem not the solution. They continue to perpetuate the myth that the EU can be persuaded to reform itself.

Reform is impossible unless the EU is convinced that, without it, Britain will withdraw.

I agree wholeheartedly with DVA. We want a Europe which does less, but does things better. Conservatives will never leave the EU - we'll continue to stand up for British interests, make more allies and win the day.

Nice bunch of cliches Justin. I just wish they were true!

They are true! What do you think the majority of our MEPs are doing?

We have heard the same "reform" nonsense for the last 15 years. We have tried to build an alliance through the EPP. The EPP has chosen to support the EU constution. It takes our money and expects us to toe its federalist line.

The European Democrats(supposedly "our group") exist in name only and has no presence on the EPP-ED web site.

Enough is enough. We should deselect every MEP who is unwilling to sign a public declaration supporting withdrawal from the EPP.

I like Ruth Lea . She regularly cuts through the b------- and sets out the basics in a very common sense sort of way .

Justin, another load of platitudes! The Tories don't have any intention of moving to a free trade relationship, they would have to admitt the complicity and the fact that they have been wrong for the last 30 years!The fallacy of 'influencing from within' does not stand up to the cold reality and the EU Federal 'creep continues. We should pull out and it could be done. THEY NEED US MORE THAN WE NEED THEM!

You refer to "The Tories" - this immediately makes me think you are a UKIP troll. Conversation closed.

Justin, like so many thinks you are wrong again, a card carrying member and patron!

God help us!

Ruth Lea is a bit nuts.

Justin is absolutely right.

Like it or not, withdrawal from the European Union simply isn't on the cards, either now or for the foreseeable future.

With that in mind, it is far better to focus on how the European Union could be made to work best to meet our needs, rather than wasting time and effort chasing our tails.

Accepting this political reality does not make one a europhile (i.e. integrationist) and is far more likely to yield positive results for Britain than the extreme approach of the withdrawalists.

PS Hello Chad - or should that be bonjour?

I see no evidence of Chad on this thread.

Chad: I think you should be made a life-peer for your righteous and virtueous defence of British independence on this blog.

You're absolutely right.

If we don't withdraw within the next 8 months then Helmut Kohl will ride over to Blighty on his chariot of flame and personally skewer every British child under the age of 5. It is a widely known fact he will be endorsed and paid for by the EU.

This madness needs to stop!

It could be you, Thatcherite, or any of the other nutters who refuse to use proper identifiable names. Chad makes clear that he views this site and comments about us "Camerloons" and "Father Tim" on his website.

If people wish to set up a number of Eurosceptic groups that is certainly fine by me! The Conservative Party is supposed to be a "broad church" after all. However, on reading the first few posts in this thread all that came to mind was "The Life of Brian" and the "People's Front of Judea" and "The Judean People's front"!!

Justin, if "we want a Europe which does less, but does things better" why has Cameron just suggested that the EU should tell us what kind of light bulbs we
are permitted to have in our living rooms?

Aha! I see Donal has already commented in the same vein... Great minds think alike?

Whilst Europe 'reforms' Britain burns.
Game plan set and match.........

Anything which gets the Sun advocating UK withdrawal from the EU is worth having. We should encourage 1,000,000 new pressure groups to get Britain Out Of The EU, not whinge at the arrival of each one.

As a courtesy to Chad, I will stop posting under this name to avoid confusion.

Auf wiedersehen and au revoir!

Some consolidation amongst the Eurosceptic groups would help. The Bruges Group hasn't been the same since Professor Holmes stopped leading it but the efforts of such groups in stopping the UK joining the Euro should never be forgotten.

Ruth Lea is a first-class mind and her work in this area should be supported. There needs to be more depth in the Eurosceptic publications, and Ruth can provide it.

Isn’t this what the Conservatives never tire of telling us that this is what they want?

a looser arrangement with the EU” in the EU but not ruled by the EU” the difference I can see is that Although Global Vision supports the aim of persuading the EU to reform, but like many of us see little evidence that this approach will succeed.

Global Vision therefore believes Britian must take the initiative to negotiate a new arrangement for the UK outside the existing EU structure that ensures we have the freedom and flexibility to succeed as a global trading nation.

They also recognise the kind of relationship we want in Europe means we would no longer be members of the EU as currently structured.

In other words they are prepared to leave if the do not get the settlement they want.

It has been very frustrating as a conservative to see so many half thought through messages emanating from Conservative head office that promise reform of the EU or promise to return powers from the EU without setting out a clear road map in order to achieve an effective resolution of the stated approach,. Fishing waters and ‘social chapter' for instance. It seem self defeating to promise something to the public that has very little chance of success within the present centralised structure of the EU, it is simply not possible without renegotiation the treaties and breaking the Acquis and the federalists within the EU will fight tooth and nail to prevent that happening. .

Useful information on website, but a looser EU is not on the cards.

Good ammo here to support the obvious conclusion - that happens to be that advocated by UKIP.

People would be far better focusing on the issues people care about not something that doesn`t even register on peoples radars.
The EU will only be a decisive issue in deciding a small number of fanatics and oddballs votes it will not change the votes of those people we need to attract the sensible majority.

Tapestry, the fact remains that most of these anti EU groups haven't actually achieved anything. I would be happier if they joined together and spoke with a single and more powerful voice.
Justin tell me what exactly the EU does better? I'm really struggling to think of anything.
I'd be happy to remain a member of the EU that did less. ie Withdrawal from the common fisheries policy, withdrawal from the CAP, Westminster law to be supreme, no European common foreign policy , British contol of our borders and a neutral arrangement on EU contributions. I somehow doubt that the Eurocrats will agree to this.

Judging by the range of answers/wishes given here (and the friendly collegiate and respectful manner in which all of them have been offered) - perhaps we don't have enough European think tanks after all.....

I attended the launch of Global Vision at lunch time today. It was very encouraging to see who actually turned up. There was everyone there from senior Peers, MPs, journalists, commentators and economists. The list of business people backing this campaign is impressive as is the economists that are doing work for it.

I wish them luck!

Cameron is the biggest idiot on the planet.

If he committed to EU withdrawal, he'd be 50% ahead in the polls and Labour and Lib Dems would be reduced to a rump of no more than 60 MP's.

The birds would sing, the children would laugh and we'd all be happy forever after.

David Davis would have already taken us up to 60% in the opinion polls by now and Scotland and Wales would be voting for us in droves in May.

Did I mention Cameron is an idiot?

Ho hum. Global Vision rightly summarises the problems with the EU but comes up with the old third-way-pick-'n'-mix-a-la-carte solution.

That is not and never will be an option for our masters in Brussels. There are thus only two honest viewpoints to hold. Get out, or sign up to the federalist project wholeheartedly.

I would be more interested to hear if there are any UK pressure groups which actually admit to supporting the latter argument. Apart from ones funded by Brussels of course.

Ed, do you have Charred Knobble's ip add? Some of us think he is still with us...


"the fact remains that most of these anti EU groups haven't actually achieved anything"

When an anti group ever achieve anything?

The exception to the rule being the anti-apartheid movement and that took some 42 years!

I would argue that apartheid could have been polished off a lot sooner than if there had been no anti-apartheid movement.

The EEC is now a fact of life and is actually bringing benefits. Also there would have been a better outcome if we’d had the backing of the EEC for Blair’s military adventures. In the case of Iraq no outcome at all would have been better.

If those who went to Kinnock’s anti-Common Market meetings could have seen into the future, they would have been astonished to find him and his wife at the head of the gravy train!

It is that gravy train that needs dismantling.

The Conservative Party should be the leading Eurosceptic pressure group.
That is what the majority of the party members want it to be.

i agree with Frank Mcgarry which is why I bother to post on this site in the hope that eventually the Conservative party in the Commons will begin to realise that we have had enough of this EU socialist interfering adgenda and that the majority of people in this country would vote for a party that stood up for the nation state of Great Britian and returned the power to run this country to its proper home in Westminster.

Technically Global Vision is quite clearly distinct from other eurosceptic groups.

It's different from Open Europe, in that OE goes no further than criticism of some EU activities and wants to influence the EU's direction, while Global Vision seems to want to push ideas for an alternative relationship.

It's different to the Democracy Movement's 'Vision Europe' campaign, because GV's alternative is Britain-centric - for us to pursue a looser relationship - not spreading ideas about better co-operative alternatives to today's out-dated 1950s-style EU altogether.

And GV is different to Conservative policy, because it wants to set out an alternative relationship more specifically, and how it might be achieved, rather than talking about EU policies piecemeal and only indulging in vague rhetoric about more general 'flexibility'.

And of course, it's different to the trad scep groups like Bruges Groups, Freedom Association (Better Off Out), CIB etc. because (like Open Europe and the Democracy Movement) it recognises the ineffectiveness of branding alternatives to today's EU as 'leaving' or 'withdrawal' - and of accompanying such political debate with frantic waving of the Union Jack.

So I think GV has a role. Whether it will be effective will depend on how much money is being put behind it. Let's see.

But as someone else commented, the bigger problem is wealthy supporters of eurorealism splashing cash on countless grand think tanks - publishing glossy pamphlets read by few and holding fancy seminars - while those out on the streets trying to win over public opinion and direct pressure for change on MPs from the grass-roots up are working with next to nothing in comparison.

Just one member of staff for these think tanks probably equals about 3,000,000 leaflets that the Democracy Movement could distribute in a matter of weeks.

The sort of money that's being sunk into such groups could make a massive, consistent and professional grass-roots eurorealist splash. The people to do it are there too - it's just the money to keep them busy is not.

The formation of GV, while it undoubtedly has a role, also shows that eurorealism continues to suffer from too many posers and not enough help to exert people power.

Fred Baker wonders whether anti groups ever achieve anything.

Is our currency the pound or the euro?
Is the EU Constitution in force (yet)?

Of course, the second question is still open, but if eurorealist groups hadn't forced the government into a u-turn on a referendum (by formenting a pro-referendum revolt by backbench Labour MPs), it's likely that we'd be living under a new Constitution by now.

The EU is no more a 'fact of life' than other since collapsed misadventures in political centralisation and superstate-building turned out to be. The way they went shows why it's essential the efforts of 1950s EU enthusiasts to shoe-horn diverse European cultures and interests into government by remote, central institutions - as distinct from simple co-operation - is stopped now.

It's not surprising little was achieved by eurorealists before about 1997 - before the Referendum Party, the eurorealism had next to no money.

With groups like the non-party Democracy Movement coming out of the RP, UKIP winning seats in the so-called European Parliament, and wealthy eurosceptics putting money into various think tanks, there have been obvious achievements since.

But the EU is such a big problem it's never going to be solved quickly.

David Davis would have already taken us up to 60% in the opinion polls by now and Scotland and Wales would be voting for us in droves in May.

Yeah, right. Dream on. Even in the darkest days of sleaze and reccession under Major, Blair never made 50%, let alone 60%.

Comstock 20:58

I *think* he might have been posting sarcastically?

(by the way, if you're looking for me, you left me under the kitchen sink)

The only way to brake the bureaucracy is to simply obstruct implementation of policy and refuse to implement policy.

John Hampden did not pay the Ship Money and ask The King to consider refusing it - he refuse to pay it and suffered the consequences.

No British politician today is prepared to stand out and refuse to pay, refuse to implement, and to oppose the EU because it lives in fear of being slapped on the wrist

"(by the way, if you're looking for me, you left me under the kitchen sink)


So I did. Thanks.

So we need 1 million new pressure groups to get the UK out of this fucking mess. Welcome to Global Vision. And good luck - and roll on the day when the Conservatives openly admit to what most believe and say in private.

Ed, I DO object to posters who use the f- word.

so do I, except when it comes to describing what the EU has done to Britain. There is no more appropriate term.

One thing I note on the Global Vision website is this statement, which, if it is supported by those who have leant their names to the organistaion is a vast steop forward
"Nevertheless we accept that unilateral withdrawal may be necessary if we cannot negotiate the outcome we want".

So good luck to them

Eurosceptic at 10.19:

Not so sure about your argument that Open Europe "never appear in the media" - this, from their bulletin, suggests that they have had 25 media hits in the last two weeks, which is a hell of a lot more than most sceptic groups...

EU announces centralised fingerprint database proposals
Times 16 March

Open Europe Director Neil O’Brien was quoted in the Times saying, “The European Union is gaining criminal justice powers very rapidly. The problem is that one thing leads to another and that setting up centralised institutions is then used as an excuse for further harmonisation of powers which will take decisions about criminals and victims further away from ordinary voters.

City dwellers exploit EU loophole to cash in on EU farm subsidies
Aberdeen Press and Journal Times Telegraph Today Mail Farming Today Evening Standard 12, 13, 16 March

Several papers reported on Open Europe’s exposure of an EU loophole allowing city dwellers to make huge profits out of the CAP without ever having set foot on a farm. Open Europe’s Neil O’Brien was quoted in the Times saying, “This is the final reduction to absurdity of the Common Agricultural Policy. Only the EU could have created a situation where people who are not farmers are paid not to farm.” He was also interviewed on the Today programme.

Open Europe told the Telegraph, “This is supposed to be supporting small farms. It's not meant to be a payment to people who have nothing to do with farming at the expense of the taxpayer.'' Open Europe’s Paul Stephenson was quoted in the Aberdeen Press and Journal describing the auction: “It was so strange that experienced farmers were having to bid over what could only be said are financial instruments... In doing this we're trying to highlight the absurdity of the regime and how it has changed and evolved from trying to support production for smaller farmers to people who might not be doing that at all."

Brewers attack “excessive interference” of EU over decision to remove crown stamp
BBC Sun Independent Express Morning Advertiser The Publican Caterer and Hotelkeeper East Anglian Daily Times Nottingham Evening Post 9-12 March

Open Europe’s campaign to reverse the decision to abolish the Crown symbol on pint glasses was covered in the Independent, Sun, Telegraph, BBC, Express, News of the World, several regional papers including the Nottingham Evening Post, and industry magazines the Morning Advertiser, The Publican and Caterer & Hotelkeeper. Open Europe’s Paul Stephenson was quoted saying, "This might seem like a small thing, but it's an example of an important problem - the way the EU just can't stop itself from interfering. Businesses and voters don't want this change, but politicians seem unwilling to do anything about it. We hope they might change their minds."

Government criticised over EU 50th birthday celebrations
BBC Radio Five Live, 12 March

Open Europe’s Neil O’Brien discussed the EU’s plans to celebrate its 50th birthday in the UK and debated with Anthony Gooch from the European Commission on whether the EU is on the right track.

Cameron and the City
Sunday Telegraph 11 March

Open Europe board member David Ord was interviewed in a Sunday Telegraph piece looking at David Cameron’s relationship with the City of London. He said "Cameron does not want a new Constitution and he wants to repatriate powers back to the UK. From a business perspective, this has to be right. The red tape from Brussels is a nightmare.”

Merkel launches plan to have new Constitution in force by next February
BBC Today 9 March

Neil O’Brien appeared on the Today programme, discussing what themes should be included in the Berlin Declaration. He argued that “The EU was designed fifty years ago to solve the problems of post-war Europe. It did that very well - but the challenges that are facing us today are completely different”. He concluded that “Instead of trying to dig up the rejected European Constitution I think the challenge is to come up with a completely new flexible structure.” He said that “everything but the single market should be optional” and that “the future of Europe is going to be about cooperation, rather than compulsion.”

Cameron: “there is no case for a Constitution or a Constitution-lite”
Daily Politics, 6 March

Open Europe board member Stuart Wheeler appeared on the Daily Politics show, commenting on David Cameron’s speech at the MER conference in Brussels.

Growing burden of EU legislation
E-Sharp, 7 March

An article in Brussels magazine E Sharp cited Open Europe’s recent research, which found that 100,000 of the 170,000 pages of regulations and directives which make up the EU’s acquis communautaire have been passed in the last ten years.

Euro army ambitions damage NATO
Sunday Express, 4 March

Neil O’Brien was quoted in the Sunday Express criticising the EU’s ambitions for a European army: “Some EU members are making it very difficult for Nato in Afghanistan because they are so obsessed with replacing Nato with a European Defence Force. The European Union is draining away resources to missions elsewhere in the world when we really need more people in Afghanistan”.

The FSAP: overrated, oversold and over here
Financial Regulator 4 March

Keith Boyfield had an article in trade journal The Financial Regulator discussing Open Europe’s report: “Selling the City short? A review of the EU’s Financial Services Action Plan.” Keith argued that the prosperity of the City of London could be jeopardised by the regulatory burdens associated with the EU initiative to create a single market in financial services.

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