Thursday, 26 June 2014

It’s time for some straight talking about the future of Europe

Last month’s European Parliamentary elections could not have been more unambiguous about the frustrations felt by voters in various member states about the relentless slide towards ever-closer union.  The tussle over who is to become the next President of the European Commission is fraught with politics and neglects some fairly fundamental questions which have remained unaddressed for an unacceptable length of time.

That’s why I have spoken in favour of the work of Andy Gross, who presented a paper calling for an honest and open debate about the problems facing the EU and the need for a new model of governance. It’s not as if these are a few local difficulties which can be ignored without cost: our continent is beset with unhelpful demographics and a declining economic prospectus for the medium term. I don’t accept all of the conclusions that he reaches, but he is correct to identify the chronic need for a proper debate about where we are going and what is needed to bring that about.

I believe that there is much support across Europe for questioning the call to ever-closer union. We need a new model with stronger nation states. Recent experience has highlighted how impotent ordinary voters are from the ‘Eurocrat’ elite: we need to bring decisions closer to those affected by the consequences. The crisis which has afflicted the single currency has reinforced the need for a strengthening of ‘co-operation’ among those member states within the Euro which would be completely unacceptable to some of us who remain outside.

Why have people deserted the political mainstream in favour of those offering a ten-second soundbite in recent electoral contests across our continent? Well, a poll exploring some of these issues in Britain found that voters feel left behind, ignored. A toxic disconnect has festered between politicians and voters – with the EU and immigration cited as two major causes of their disengagement.

The Council of Europe, on whose Parliamentary Assembly I sit, does much good work – but is below the radar of most voters. It seems quite possible that a candidate completely unacceptable to the United Kingdom will assume the highest seat in the Brussels bureaucracy within a very short period of time, and that, if nothing else, might focus attention here on what the Government will do to bring about the successful negotiations that the Prime Minister has promised for after next year’s general election.

But I believe that we need to do more. Should Jean-Claude Juncker succeed in his bid to become the President of the Commission, the push for ever-closer union will not be reversed: rather, their ambitions will carry on regardless. Ignoring the expressed wish of the combined electorates can only serve to increase the attraction of those marginal political forces who depend upon reactionary commentary instead of credible argument. We need a far more convincing narrative to counter their simplistic assertions: in essence, ministers must use the period before the general election to paint the picture of what a Conservative vision of Europe would look, feel and smell like.

I believe that voters in Britain will embrace a more flexible and responsive collaboration with our European partners. We need to clarify our vision, and sell it hard at home and abroad. People across Europe will not be ignored for much longer, and we must be the champions of the alternative which has yet to gain genuine traction in Brussels. Give us the tools, Prime Minister, and we’re ready to start winning that case for our continent.


  1. Wrong again Brian, it is not the time for some straight talking about the future of Europe.


    Voters in Britain will embrace a more flexible and responsive collaboration with our European partners WHEN THEY ARE FREE TO DO SO.

    Give us our Liberty, we are reasonable but stubborn people, we will not be caged. The longer we are ignored, manipulated, controlled, the more ANTI we will become.

  2. Juncker gets the job, the direction the EU is headed won’t change. The EU is not going to renegotiate with the UK or embark on a significant reform. Its raison d’être is to create a United States of Europe and it isn't going to change that goal now.

    Junker for President of the EU Commission; means that the EU parliament has made a successful new power grab for itself which the Council of Ministers (including Merkel) didn’t anticipate even though they mistakenly agreed to include the amendment to the Treaty of Lisbon.

    26 EU countries’ leaders need the contribution that the UK hands over to the EU and yet 25 countries’ leaders recognised that Cameron is a weak negotiator, they decided to go against his wishes knowing that he is a committed Europhile. He may throw his toys about and make noises about leaving the EU but HE REALLY DOESN’T WANT TO. It suits Cameron’s purpose to APPEAR anti the EU at this stage of the game because UKIP are eating into his shrinking slice of the UK election cake.

    A majority of UK voters wish to leave the EU and yet there are a large percentage of Labour supporters who will blindly follow whatever policies Labour care to announce. Cameron needs to ‘shoot the UKIP fox’ which he has failed miserably to do so thus far (IN FACT CAMERON IS GREATLY RESPONSIBLE FOR THE INCREASED SUPPORT FOR UKIP). Cameron would have to invoke article 50 before November 2014 to gain my vote and even then I wouldn’t trust him not to go back on his actions but it would stop Miliband’s chances. TALK OF JUST BRINGING THE EU REFERENDUM CLOSER WON’T CUT IT NOW BECAUSE TOO MANY PEOPLE DON’T TRUST CAMERON.

  3. 'Why have people deserted the political mainstream in favour of those offering a ten-second soundbite in recent electoral contests across our continent?' - Brian Binley

    Voter frustration & desertion is because their elected representatives completely ignore their views – as well you know Brian! Who is to say that political parties formed recently won’t be the leading parties in future years?

    Everything Cameron & Co does is aimed at deceiving the populace and delaying any democratic vote on our membership of the EU. He is working towards exactly the same goal as Angela Merkel and anybody who believes otherwise is blind, stupid, or both. Ignore his words, ignore the spin and observe what he does and what he achieves. His political movement and that of the nation he controls is always in one direction, towards the creation of a European super state and the destruction of this nation state.

    26 countries or rather 26 political ruling classes want ever closer union, one country (the UK) has a ruling class which is currently being awkward, it’s elite has a slightly different vision of the ever closer union. The vast majority of voters in this nation and many in the other 27 countries are not fully convinced of the benefits but their views are being totally ignored by their ruling classes. However the European countries have more historical incentives to achieve an agreement of sorts.

    Cameron can fantasize about as many different scenarios of renegotiation as he likes but the eventual outcome will always be the same. What Brussels will offer in reform will never be enough.

    The UK will leave the EU eventually. The only questions left are how many referendums it will take, when it will happen and how much damage the established political classes in this country will do to themselves in resisting the will of the people they were elected to represent.

    Frustrated, I call Cameron a loser because he couldn’t even win out-right, the 2010 election following 13 wreckful years of Labour government. But Cameron is achieving pretty much what he set out to achieve. Under his leadership the UK has not loosened a single EU knot, nor repatriated a single power, not dismantled a single quango of note, nor reduced the size of the state by any great measure. Come 2015, and yes, he will go, but only because his lying and prevarication have gone on so long that even the disinterested British electorate are beginning to wake up to his real purpose but some of the gullible are still expecting an EU referendum in 2017!


  4. Continued...........

    Backbenchers appear to have no backbone or fight; there is no indication that the true Eurosceptics in the Conservative Party are going to take control, they appear to have rolled over and are lazing on their backs, so the chances are Cameron will be replaced by another "tory" with exactly the same goals and we will move on again towards the EUSSR.

    David Cameron does not share my principles, my goals, or my aspirations. I do not believe he shares my love of this country, its history and all it stands for. He talks of the Magna Carta and at the same time allows the principles contained within it to be repealed, or diluted into obsolescence. He wishes to destroy this nation state and to see the British people become subjects of the authoritarian socialist European super state.

    A privileged elite incrementally removing our freedoms and imposing statutory regulation and constraint over every aspect of our lives whilst professing it is for the good of the "vulnerable", "disadvantaged", "victims", etc. Wedded to the worst exploitations of corporate capitalism where the elected and unelected elite become "leaders" rather than representatives, and bureaucratic officials are everywhere interfering and controlling. I can discern little difference between Tory, Labour or Lib Dem, except in the blatancy by which they do it.

    The struggle is not really between right and left anymore but against what CONLIBLAB has transmogrified into post Cold War, the struggle between the liberty we once enjoyed and those who seek to take it away "for our own good". The founding principle of British liberty that anything can be done provided it is not against the rule of law has been surreptitiously replaced by the European model (resisted by Britons for centuries) where everything done must be licensed by the state. The rule of law itself has been politicised and compartmentalised so that it no longer holds impartial sway over all.

    Any true conservative or right of centre narrative is now tainted and meets a barrage of hostility and outrage, witness the fuss about UKIP before the Euro elections. Demonised as racist, fascist, far-right, etc., that is what awaits any insurgency against the new order.

    Voting Conservative, Lib-Dem or Labour will take us to exactly the same destination. The only difference is that Labour & Lib-Dem's economic incompetence will allow the EU to "install" their own unelected team rather more quickly.

  5. Talking of Eurosceptics within the Tory party, Brian Binley was once a rebellious voice but having got his feet under the Council of Europe's table and all that this honour entails he appears to have undergone a remarkable change of heart regarding the UK's future within the EU.