Thursday 20 October 2011


They are in a bit of a flap at Downing street. 

Poor old Dave, there he is in the middle of his packing for Australian, and the part of being a prime minister that he, in fairness, probably does not badly, that of meeting leaders from other countries for talks of a very general and probably rather inconsequential nature, and breaking bread with them, and the Queen... and all hell has broken out over the last few days. Foxy, Letty and Djanogly, making asses of themselves, and now this pesky democracy thing.

For, having enshrined in law the right for MPs to discuss any topic upon which more than 100,000 of us mere UK inhabitants have petitioned to have discussed, the government is less than happy that the very one subject that our Dave wanted even less than toothache, has appeared.

The EU: in or out?

It's no secret that a good number of MPs on the right of the Tory party loathe and detest the EU. They wouldn't have taken us in, and they want to take us out. But that is not Tory policy. 

For all the vitriol she poured on it and on the leaders of the other big countries (remember how she pronounced Mitterrand?) she kept signing up to more and more of the EU. Major too. (In the interests of fairness I'd have to say that Labour were just as 'guilty' of signing up to deeper European co-operation; even Brown, who became more and more sceptical as time went on, signed  the Lisbon treaty.)

The debate has even been brought forward from Thursday, after Downing Street made it clear that the prime minister wished to speak in this backbench debate before heading for a warmer place. 

And a further complication is that David Nuttall  has tabled an amendment proposing a third possibility be added to the referendum. (Now where did I recently hear of a third question in a referendum?) That of renegotiating the terms of Britain's membership of the union. At the time of writing 76 MPs, including 50 Tories, have signed Nuttall's amendment.

Downing Street has not ruled out the possibility of tabling its own amendment proposing a white paper be published on the subject with the possibility of a vote sometime in the future. Oh, they make you laugh, don't they? 

However, this morning it was made clear from Downing Street that Conservative and Liberal Democrat members should vote against a referendum. (Correct me if I am wrong, but didn't the Liberals have this referendum in their manifesto? Oooops!) Threats have been made that a three line whip will be put on the debate, meaning that all members from the two governing parties will be obliged to vote the way that Downing Street instructs or suffer the consequences. 

(Ah democracy: don't you wish we had one?)

Government interference in what is a back bench debate is going down like a lead balloon. Graham Brady, chairman of the 1922 committee has questioned minister' participation in the debate. It seems that Dave, rather like Tony, wants everything to go HIS way and it looks like he is going to have to smooth some ruffled feathers over the weekend.

One of Cameron's apparent allies, Nadim Zawahi, has somewhat arrogantly suggested that what we should be doing is helping the EU to get over its current financial difficulties, and in return we should be allowed to take back powers to London. Help them with financial matters? 

Would that not be the blind leading the blind?


  1. The construct that is the EU Dictatorship is showing signs of Gaddafi like rule. I hope these cretins running the show get to visit his new tent soon.

  2. In Europe, engaged with Europe - at the heart of the project.

    In the EU, engaging with the realities of our times.

  3. btw Tris, you do realise that this is bound to cause massive argument on your comments thread? :)

  4. OR: Hello, a while since we saw you here. Hope you are well!

    Interesting what we are seeing in Libya. I suspect that within a very short time the divisions will start to show in the new leadership.

    Having rid themselves of the dictator, who did much good as well as much bad, I fear that people, so united in achieving that end, may now start to withdraw to their corners and prepare their own vision of how Libya should be.

    I think we have not seen the end of the fighting.

  5. Nah Dean, not arguments, just different points of view, discussed in a cerebral manner...

    Just as well, because I couldn't be bothered moderating. I feel like death warmed up!

    I think an independent Scotland should send you to Brussels or Luxembourg as our ambassador. Your enthusiasm for the project is unwavering.

    Au fond I'm in favour of the EU, the concept of nations bound together, but there are so many things I would want to see changed not least the luxury which the functionaries seem to feel they deserve.

  6. Cast iron finally shows his true colours. Although we knew all along that he was a Deanite over the EU.
    From a cast iron guarantee of a referendum on the EU in or out. To a 3 line whip to make the tolies vote against a referendum. And cancelling his tour to make sure he gets what he wants. Ditto the wee funboy Hague.
    Cast Iron was funny today. Saying the new NTC in Libya must hand over those responsible for the murder of Yvonne Fletcher. This will be the people the tolies allowed to walk free from the Libyan Embassy and fly home isn't it ?

  7. I heard Daniel Kawczynski mp wanting the Libians to reimburse the UK for getting rid of Gadaffi using the oil money! UK is now offering its services as a mercenary force to get rid of dictators.

  8. Deanite Monty? I live the sound of that! :)

  9. "Having rid themselves of the dictator, who did much good as well as much bad"

    Interesting you should say that, tris. My dad (quite literally been all over the world, first in the Navy and then in the oil industry) was in Libya before Gaddafi got in. He says kids from 5 to 15 were roaming the streets, and it was pretty scary - and as I say, this was while in the Navy! Gaddafi came in and made them all go to school. But according to the news, all he did was breach the human rights of his own people. Hmmm, everyone's a goody or a baddy on the news.

    I suppose that's the problem with dictators - they start off with good intentions, but they end up going nuts. A bit like our Prime Ministers, except we can unelect them, rather than having to shoot them to get rid of them.


  10. Well at least if we come out of the EU our politicians will have no whipping boy to blame for all the ills of the nation and nothing with wich to distract our attention from their own considerale failings!

  11. Tris,

    After consultation with your Mum and Niko, we refuse to change the habits of a life-time in order to adhere to your dictatorial curtailment of free speech with your "discuss things in a cerebral manner" diatribe.

    The EU as a theoretical entity seemed extremely worth-while but in practice has turned out to be a largely unelected bureaucracy with nit-picking regulations such as the 20,000 on how to deep-fry Mars Bars - First remove wrapping etc etc.

    I could go on nit-picking but the curse of the drinking classes calls me away. Who are all these guys with the white coats?

  12. Dean..

    A Deanite is someone who has been brainwashed by the state and is now unable to see the truth despite the evidence in front of them. They are incapable of individual thought. They will be seen wandering the ruins of Brussels and Strasbourg murmering 'more fiscal union, more fiscal union....' long after everyone else has deserted the place and found freedom.

  13. The strange thing, Monty, is that I was certain the Libs had it in their manifesto that they would call a referendum (never for a second thinking that they would have to).

    Maybe my memory serves me badly.

    But now, the Liberals will have a whip too?

  14. Amazing CH, especially when you look at the number of weapons that have been sold to the Libyan ex-government, on licences approved by HM government... in this last year.

    So now we are selling weapons to people that are using these weapons against our forces, when we pimp them out so that BP can make more money.

  15. Well Dean:

    You've arrived when your name gets an "ism" and your followers get an "ite".

    I'd ditch Cammy as a follower though. You don't want to get a bad name for yourself.

  16. Yes Doug.

    I think it's only fair to paint a full picture of people like Gaddafi, and indeed all the other dictators that our press like to demonise.

    I'm not saying that he was good, and I'm not saying that I liked him, but like so many others, there were good things that he did before he went off the rails.

    We hear how he financed the IRA and the PLO with his oil money, but we hear less about the fact that he modernised Libya from the place you describe, to the modern country it is now. It has good roads, good schools, good hospitals stable banks.All rather an oddity for people like us. Would that Thatcher had dome that with OUR oil money.

    The country was and is incredibly wealthy. But he didn't live in splendour. He had a few tacky things including a supposedly gold plated gun (much use that would be), but the money didn't go on him.

    He also helped neighbouring countries, which, heaven knows needed it. Burkino Faso, Niger...among the poorest in the world (although did you know that Ouagadougou, reputedly has some of the best restaurants in the world?).

    So yes he was bad, but he was also good. He just saw the west from a different point of view. The IRA and PLO were freedom fighters in his eyes... as in many other people's.

    A country like Libya (a construct of many tribes) needs a strong government. Democracy western style is OK for some countries, but it may not be strong enough for Libya. It wasn't and isn't for Iraq, Afghanistan, and initially after Tito's death, for the ex Yuogoslav republics.

    And what's so good about democracy anyway? We can get rid of troughing incompetents (Brown et co) and replace them with another set (Camo et co). The difference is there, but it's hardly stark. Same sh*t, different bucket.

    I don't want to sound like I was a fan of Gaddafi, because I wasn't, but he wasn't as much of a demon as we're painting him. And we may find out pretty soon that what follows is every bit as bad in different ways. (The lies about the manner of his death is not a good start.)

    BTW, I found your blog... added it to the sidebar. Brilliant it is too. Alba Matters is a superb read. Witty, intelligent, beautifully written and open minded. Who could ask for more?

  17. John:

    You should simply never consult with my mum or Niko. It's dangerous and may lead to loss of memory, and a sense of unreality.


    The men in white coats are the butchers in that Tesco you guys have just got yourselves. Pay attention, or take more of that beautiful pure water with it. (I'd get the lamb cutlets if I were you mmmmm parfait!)

    But you're right. EU: Good in theory; bad in practice. But it's only greedy incompetents that are to blame for that.

  18. Maybe that's one of the reasons that despite all the 'anti' rhetoric, our PMs go on and on saying YES YES YES.

  19. Sorry, that was in reply to Munguin. I'm not at my brightest today. In bed with a virus and missing our conference. :(

  20. Monty: I think that that is rather unfair. Dean has only recently had a revision of his thinking and, certainly without approval from the state or the Tory Party, has started taking a much more (in my opinion) sensible line.

    The EU has its good points. There is a lot of funding form projects in Scotland that would NEVER come from the UK government. I worked for a project that taught language skills to people from areas considered to be poor. They were identified by post codes and funded by the Social Inclusion Partnership (as it was then called).

    With that funding we covered 4 areas of multiple deprevation in Dundee. We applied for and got, matched funding for the EU, and were amazed to find that by European standards, 3/4 of Dundee was covered. Our project was able to reach maybe 4 times as many people.

    And that's just one example. The Scottish Labour/Libberal government was not prepared to fund it to the extent the EU was. It brought money and jobs into the city that would not have been here otherwise. And created a more jobready workforce for one of Dundee's prime economic targets: tourism.

    Yes the UK's contribution more than pays for that, but the UK government has better things to spend its money on than projects for the poor.

  21. We'll agree to disagree about the EU tris. But imagine if we hadn't given away all of our fishing rights ( £100Bn ) and our jobs etc to the EU.
    Billions to spend on Scotland instead.

    Yes the LimpDems had a campaign for an in/out referendum in the run up to the last election. It was still on their website up to a few hours ago..

    But like all pledges from Limp Dems they are just lies.

  22. Well, yes, Monty. We should do that.

    We both have points in our favour; we just see the outcome differently.

    Well, well, so the Liberals' Winston Smith has been busy rewriting the Lib Dem Manifesto overnight.

    I hope he was excused physical exercises this morning before his Victory coffee.

  23. The EU isn't 'bad in practice'. The EU has led ahead of Britain in so many areas, lets talk social policy.

    The EU social agenda will enhance workers protections far in advance of what the native Tories and Labourites would have allowed.

    Long live our Common European destiny.

  24. Yes, I agree with that Dean. I've always felt that the EU guarded against the worst ravages of the natural right wing agenda of England, and in particular of the South East of England, with over half the population of the UK.

    The political direction of the EU is far more in tune to the left of centre Scottish brand of politics.

    What I meant by in practice was the massive overpaid bureaucracy of Brussels, Luxembourg and Strasbourg (including this idiotic division of the parliament between two locations!).

    I'd have thought even the most ardent admirer of the EU project would be against the greed and cheating that goes on there, probably every bit as bad as Westminster.

  25. I would love reform to clean up some of the corruption in the system. But the Constitutional Treaty would have helped do that, except europhobic idiots blocked its ratification.

  26. "except europhobic idiots blocked its ratification."

    You mean the French and Dutch voters who stopped it in a referendum ? Good old democracy. Horrible to you totalitarians isn't it ?
    But as you know the Lisbon Treaty is essentially the same thing and the voters were ignored.
    According to the European Scrutiny Committee report ...

    "The EU treaty is "substantially equivalent" to the EU Constitution thrown out by Dutch and French voters in 2005, MPs have said." There are sacred 'red lines' but there is no opt out to force a referendum if they're broken as well.
    We should have had a referendum but were denied by Gordon.
    Now we're being denied a referendum on getting out of the Rumpey totalitarian state by Dave backed by Nick and backed by Ed.
    Oh and to think that the 'Constitution' would have stopped the billions of pounds of corruption confirms your total brainwash is complete. You will make a good European drone. The people doing the corruption are running the show.

  27. Come guys, play nice. Tris has a virus and doesn't have the physical or the intellectual energy (who said he never did have) to moderate a fight.

    It's bad enough missing Eck without hair and feathers flying.

  28. Monty

    The Constitutional Treaty would have greatly enhanced the powers of the European Parliament. Thankfully President Barosso has managed to secure the Lisbon Treaty, which has boosted the parliaments authorities.

    I'd call that the opposite of totalitarianism. But don't let facts get in the way of your Euro-hating.


  29. Plus, on the corruption aspect - the EU institutions do suffer from corruption problems. I totally accept this, but what your saying is silly.

    Take it this way, 1. Westminster expenses scandal reveals parliament is 'corrupt' , your solution seems to be 2. Abandon the Union with England.

    Rather than throw the baby out with the bathwater I suggest we reform, not destroy. I believe in lifting the people up, by giving them the tools to regulate and control global capitalism.

    Let us work together, not pull apart. You are a lone wolf, howling at the winds of progress. You have no currency at all, only bitterness and hate.

  30. I see that worked then :)

  31. Dean..
    We can vote out the MPs at Troughminster.
    Who voted for Barosso ? Who is he accountable to ? How can we get rid of him ?


    " An official ideology to which general adherence was demanded,
    Central control and direction of the entire economy "

    I doubt if I'm a lone wolf. UKIP got a million votes at the last election and stopped cast iron from getting an overall majority. Plus about a hundred tolies are planning to vote for a referendum on the EU on Monday. Cast Iron changed his mind about an EU refrendum as soon as he got into No10 and is anti democratic. Same for Nick Clegg who hurriedly took down his petition for a referendum on Friday having forgotten about his pledge for a referendum to 'give the people a voice for the first time in 50 years'

  32. The EU is the most transparent institution of governance in Europe. Every policy paper, every official document, every strategy working paper, every recorded meeting - published online on their website.

    I don't see the secrecy-obsessed Westminster publishing all their policy papers ... lobbyists not even registered in the UK ... but they are in the EU.

    I call that a heck lot more transparent and open than Westmonster... sorry, Westmidden ...

  33. Yes you keep mentioning this transparency but you've just been brainwashed by your instructors. We pay in £15Bn a year yet we have no idea where the money goes. The accounts haven't been signed off for 15 years. They can publish the latest fishing catches and tractor production online all they like but it's just smoke and mirror to cover up the corruption.
    from The Daily Torygraph..

    "Every public company in the EU must present its annual balance sheet according to strict rules, yet the EU itself produces accounts that break all the rules it imposes on everyone else. They don't use double-entry bookkeeping; tens of billions of euros float in and out of the books without explanation, and year after year the EU's Court of Auditors refuses to approve the accounts, because they are riddled with "material errors" and "irregularities".

    Anyone who dares question this shambles is treated with the same disdain as the small boy was when he first pointed out that the emperor was wearing no clothes. The most famous such whistleblower was Marta Andreasen who, after the corruption scandal that forced the resignation of the entire European Commission in 1999, was made the EU's Chief Accountant. She was the first accountant in the post (her predecessors included an architect and an engineer) and she was so appalled by what she found that she refused to sign the accounts.

    Her reward was to be suspended, within weeks, by way of a fax from Neil Kinnock, then the commission's vice-president in charge of cleaning up its affairs. Last summer she was among those invited to give evidence to a House of Lords committee on "the management and audit of EC expenditure accounts". She was politely tolerated by a largely Europhile committee, then Lord Kinnock appeared before them to dismiss everything she had said. His picture was so distorted that Mrs Andreasen had to send the committee a whole series of factual corrections"

    And who voted for Neil Kinnock ?
    Someone paid hundreds of thousands to blow hot air and cover up corruption.

  34. You say brainwashed, but by who exactly? Assertions like that really make you appear absurd.

  35. I thought you said you did a degree in EUology ? I doubt if you would have passed if you had highlighted the corruption and totalitarian nature of the project.
    This brainwashing means you refuse to answer any questions put to you and go off on some 'little englander' rant. Classic brainwashing results.

  36. I did a degree studying EU policy mechanisms. Perfectly reputable.

  37. I'm sure it's perfectly legal.
    Any chance of ever answering any questions though ?. Without ranting ?

  38. What questions? Ask them and I will answer them directly. No insults about brainwashing etc, be polite.

  39. Dean..

    I'll give you a few questions and would appreciate it if you wouldn't reply with a question or a diversion.

    1. The EU accounts haven't been signed off for 15 years. Do you think an investigation should be carried out to root out the fraud ?

    2. How do we get rid of Barroso if we think he's doing a poor job ? Ditto Von Rumpey, Ashton , Kinnock's etc

    3. Our 3 'leaders' all promised a referendum on an EU in or out vote. Do you think it's right that they are now having a 3 line whip to make their MPs vote against this motion on Monday ?
    Bearing in mind that many MPs got elected on their commitment to a referendum.

    4. Do you think it's right that commissioners in the EU get their job as a thank you from their respective leaders rather than being elected ? bearing in mind the power they have to affect all of our lives.

    5. Do you agree with the formation of an EU Armed Forces, Foreign Service, Poice service and Coastguard service ? If you do will it undermine the sovereignty of the UK ?

    6. Is the Queen still our Sovereign after having allowed powers to be given to the EU via the Lisbon Treaty that undermine her Sovereignty ( ECHR, ECJ, EU Armed Forces accountable to the EU rather than the UK Crown etc)

  40. Tris I take it neat from the bottle when flu strikes.

  41. Cheers CH.

    I see the recommendation:

    "By 'eck it's strong stuff"


    Anyway, thanks....

    I'll send the lower downstairs footman to Asda!!