Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Does this policy spell end of UKIP?

The Shadow Foreign Secretary has made what is possibly the most important ‘Europe’ announcement of any political party in the United Kingdom since accession to the EEC in 1973, and the ensuing referendum of 1975. William Hague said, quite clearly, and utterly unequivocally:

(T)he next Conservative Government will amend the 1972 European Communities Act so that if any future government agrees any treaty that transfers further competences from Britain to the EU, a national referendum before it could be ratified would be required by law… And so, as we campaign for the referendum the people of our country were solemnly promised, we are fighting not only for them to have their say now, but for them always to have their say.

He poured scorn upon Gordon Brown’s decision to not hold a referendum on the ‘Reform Treaty’, declaring: ‘The attempt to portray this treaty as fundamentally different from the EU constitution, when 240 of the 250 provisions are exactly the same, is one of the most bare-faced and deliberate misrepresentations in the modern annals of political deceit’.

Mr Hague is no Europhile. His instincts, loyalty and patriotism are sound. When one places these statements alongside those of Mr Cameron, who has promised that the Conservative Party will hold a referendum even if the Reform Treaty has been ratified by Parliament and the EU has its ‘Constitution’, it is clearly time for UKIP to vote Conservative.

UKIP has never sought to impose ‘independence’ on the British people; it has never sought to undermine democracy, or to arrogantly brush aside the expressed will of the British people. On the contrary, it has sought to halt the drip-drip-drip of Westminster’s powers to Brussels, and to let the people determine their own future.

The Conservative Party is now offering this. If UKIP has a mature leadership, if UKIP is composed of grown-up political animals, if UKIP activists genuinely care more about their country than their political party and insignificant posturing, they should realise that their policy of attrition has triumphed: the Conservative Party has changed, and for this they may take some of the credit. And while this is a Conservative manifesto commitment, a solemn pledge to the British people from which (after their unrelenting criticism of Prime Minister Brown) they cannot resile, UKIP cannot stand against any Conservative candidate, but must now actively support the Conservative Party and campaign for this policy to become law.

Cranmer pleads that surely to God this seismic shift in Conservative EU policy has to be worth UKIP giving them one last chance?


Anonymous Ken Stevens said...

Well, if the Tories have taken the referendum pledge, then indeed a major aspect of UKIP seems to have been overtaken.

It does likewise with the English Democrats, though their continued existence is warranted by another major policy plank, their demand for an English Parliament.

3 October 2007 at 08:31  
Anonymous Alexandrian said...

This raises two basic questions.

1) Would a Conservative government take the UK out of the EU?

2) Are UKIP a single issue party?

If the answer to both questions is "Yes" then UKIP would appear to have no real future. If the answer to either is "No", then there is every reason for UKIP to continue.

(Some might add a third question: "Do you trust David Cameron?")

3 October 2007 at 09:37  
Blogger Ian Hall said...

I think if Cranmer's want the removal of the socialists from Downing St then only a vote for the Tories can achieve that . A vote for UKIP is a de facto vote for Labour.

3 October 2007 at 10:08  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I find it always pays to listen carefully - very carefully - to promises from all three parties, but especially the party that is responsible for passing (forcing through in the case of Maastricht) all the legislation that resulted in major advances of EU governance)

The point is that there will be no more treaties - because there won't be the need for them. If I understand this latest Not-a-Constitution-but-an amending-Treaty correctly, it contains within it the power to be self-amending and therefore self-perpetuating and self-extending, without the need for any more treaties.

If this goes through the damage has already been done and it's a whole new arena.

Sadly and as so often happens, the Tory Generals are fighting the last war. There will be no more pitched battles but stealthy guerrilla raids.

3 October 2007 at 10:12  
Blogger AethelBald, King of Wessex said...

If you read the UKIP's stuff, and here's a reference to the UKIP education policy, then you get a sense that they are much more a party of liberty and thoughtfulness than the current Conservative party.

So, Alexandrian, I would argue that the UKIP is not a single issue party, in essence. However, essence is as nothing when compared to perception. The UKIP is perceived by the parts of the electorate that have heard of it as the anti-Europe party, is it not? So in this election cycle they are now toast, imo.

Long term, I like them. They appear to have principles and therefore compare very favourably with the current rash of flibbertigibbets. They may contain the real heirs to Thatcher, even if only in a Peter Hain kind of way.

3 October 2007 at 10:28  
Anonymous The recusant said...

You Grace,

On R4 this week Mr Cameron was asked directly if a future conservative Govt. would hold a referendum on this Reform Treaty irrespective of whether it is ratified by labour, he would not commit and quickly changed the subject. Such a statement would undermine any labour attempts to railroad this 'Constitution' on the British people; but Mr Cameron chose to dissemble and once again confirmed that he is not a Tory of the old stamp.

He did say if a snap electron returned a conservative Govt. he would hold a referendum on the Reform Treaty but the prerequisite naturally was that they were returned and the labour Govt had not ratified it.

As for the Tories changing at the 11th hour, it smacks to me of panic and not conviction although I respect William Hague, one swallow doesn’t make a spring and I'll need more convincing than this.

Mr Cameron is not right.

3 October 2007 at 10:41  
Anonymous The Recusant said...

electron? election

3 October 2007 at 10:42  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

From David Lonsdale

Once the Constitution has been ratified by all 27 states, any subsequent referendum would be an In/Out referendum. There can be no other way to change the treaty for one country.
I would welcome such a referendum in the hope that we would leave the EU as it is presently constituted. However, I have my doubts that Cameron would proceed with such a nuclear option.
I will need an unequivocal statement from Cameron before I withdraw my support from UKIP.

3 October 2007 at 13:39  
Blogger Cranmer said...

David Cameron has given an assurance of a retroactive referendum on the Reform Treaty.

William Hague has given an assurance of legislation which will necessitate a referendum on any further amending treaties.

His Grace is unsure as to where the eqivocation lies here. Insofar as UKIP will never form a government, this is their best opportunity since their foundation to achieve their ends. To pretend otherwise is to put party before country, but the maybe some are incapable of doing otherwise.

3 October 2007 at 13:47  
Blogger AethelBald, King of Wessex said...

Cranmer said: opportunity since their foundation to achieve their ends.

Ends?. If they only had one end then it would be impossible to disagree. But they don't.

3 October 2007 at 14:07  
Blogger Mark Wadsworth said...

I agree with Alexandrian.

UKIP have always said, they will not stand against a sitting MP who has signed up to the "Better off out" pledge. Some MPs have signed up, and UKIP will not stand in those constituencies. I would be disappointed if UKIP went any further than that.

And UKIP do have other policies, which are largely good stuff, and no, you can't trust Dave Cameron on this, and I quite simply can't stand WIlliam Hague and I wouldn't trust him as far as I could throw him. Unlike Tebbit, Davis etc

3 October 2007 at 14:39  
Blogger Elaib said...

Couple of problems, firstly as pointed out by one of your communicants, the promise was referenda on "future treaties", which with Article 33 of this one there, the 'ratchet clause' will be unecessary.
Secondly, if the Tories are serious then maybe it shouldn't be beyond them to pick up the phone to UKIP.
Next, you will be aware that with the proposed taxpayer funding of political parties, not standing in an election is a death knell to a party, funds follow votes after all. So for UKIP to swallow their pride and stand down against Tories, some of whom are on record as saying that though they support a referendum they will vote Yes when it happens, you are asking UKIP to slit its own throat with no guarantee. A big ask in my opinion.
I know that this dilemma has loomed large amongst the grand fromages of UKIP overt he last few months, and hopefully at the end of the week, at their conference you will be able to see the result of those thoughts.

3 October 2007 at 16:06  
Anonymous The recusant said...

Party before country? Harsh words indeed Your Grace. I understand by the term ‘Retrospective Referendum’ that any future Conservative Govt will hold a plebiscite on this Reform Treaty no matter its status. Unfortunately I cannot see this guarantee given by Mr Cameron, even in the link to the Independent you reference.

If the PM calls a snap election I believe he will unfortunately win, although stranger outcomes have occurred. Mr Cameron’s assurances are conditional on the premise that he wins the election and that the treaty is not ratified. His assurance on a referendum in this event may fetch back all the disillusioned Tory voters but I don’t think so.

Granted he will not be able to hold a referendum in opposition but Mr Cameron has not given the key pledge that irrespective of the treaties status a future Conservative Govt will hold a referendum thereby undermining any ratification by labour, undoubtedly by that time it will be academic anyway.

3 October 2007 at 16:28  
Anonymous Bert Rustle said...

Cranmer wrote David Cameron has given an assurance of a retroactive referendum on the Reform Treaty. ... Are you referring to his BBC Radio4 interview?

The BBC audio is The 0810 Interview: David Cameron linked from the Today page
I would suggest that when he says “it’s there” implicitly means that if the UK parliament has passed it but not all other states have. This in turn implies that if it has been passed by all states, hence Ratified, then he has not made a commitment to do anything. However due to the hectoring nature of the questions throughout the interview and his plausible yet porous replies to them I think he has wriggle room in the future in any event.

3 October 2007 at 20:57  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This was the same political party that was definitely going to leave the Common Fisheries Policy?

The same one whose members were going to depart from the EPP grouping in the European Parliament?


So why believe them this time?

4 October 2007 at 14:11  
Blogger Jeremy Jacobs said...

Action Cranmer, not words.Hague is still pro-Europe.

As a former UKIP candidate, I don't see any major shift in Conservative Party thinking.

Dream On.

(probably helped Labour to retain Finchley in 2005) Jeremycj

4 October 2007 at 21:43  
Blogger Jeremy Jacobs said...

Let see what happens at the UKIP conference this w/e?

4 October 2007 at 21:43  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think I can understand the fervent desire to get rid of the hypocritical, self-serving, lying charlatans that we have suffered from for the past 10 years.

That desire is so deeply felt that there can be superficial attraction to take anybody, anybody, in their place.

But I want to suggest that it doesn't matter who we have out of the existing two and a bit parties because already 70 plus percent of our legislation is imposed on them anyway and the new treaty will only reduce their real authority (as opposed to their self-perceived and apparent power) even more.

So what if a small band of single minded zealots contributes to no change happening. Tory to Labour, Labour to Tory , it's a distinction without a difference (with an excrescent growth called the LibDems on the side whatever way it goes)

In fact there's a case for welcoming a re-election of the present Government. They are so deeply despised and regarded as incompetent by a rapidly growing sector of the electorate that their continued existence will only hasten the point at which we have the true libertarian revolution - and yes I mean revolution - that we so desperately need to clear out the Aegean stables that the socio-political establishment of Britain has now become.

4 October 2007 at 21:44  
Blogger Jeremy Jacobs said...

and there's this from the "Devil"

5 October 2007 at 00:56  

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