Chris Bryant: Either David Cameron is incompetent or he’s ‘downright fibbing’
In a goading attempt to persuade someone, anyone, to come off the Tory fence, The Sunday Telegraph carries a story in which theologian-turned-politician Chris Bryant says the Conservative Party is ‘living in cloud cuckoo land’ by virtue of their continuing opposition to the European Constitution (aka the Lisbon Treaty).
Cranmer wishes people would stop misrepresenting Cloud Cuckoo Land. Anyone who bothers to read The Birds by Aristophanes would find this land a surprisingly rational place. While Pisthetairos may be trusting and Euelpides ever hopeful, what is life without hope or trust? And in the same play, it is observed: ‘Full of wiles, full of guile, at all times, in all ways, are the children of Men.’ It is an echo of Jeremiah’s earlier-written ‘The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked.’
And the Reverend Chris Bryant ought to know such things.
And he should examine the motives of his own heart before pontificating policy or casting aspersions on the character and integrity of the Leader of the Opposition.
Whilst it is true that it appears that the Lisbon Treaty is ‘all but ratified’, it is by no means the case that ‘the time for arguing about Lisbon (is) over’. The issues will not go away any more than the question of the UK’s entry into the EEC went away between 1973-5. The more President Blair struts his stuff on the world stage, eclipsing, dwarfing and thwarting Prime Minister Cameron at every turn, it will not be forgotten that it was the ‘Constitution for Europe’ which created him Emperor, and which gave the Union the legal authority to decree foreign policy and acquire whatever powers it requires to fulfil its unspecified objectives. It will remain a running sore in the country until the boil is lanced by a referendum of the people - a plebiscite which Mr Bryant's party promised, indeed, made a manifesto commitment to hold, and then reneged on the pledge.
And he dares to accuse David Cameron of incompetence or 'fibbing'.
While Mr Bryant says that his job is now on ‘how we can make this work for Britain’, he sets aside the inconvenient fact that the overwhelming majority of the British people do not want it to work for Britain: they do not want it at all.
And so he deflects his self-conscious awkwardness on to David Cameron. He says, “The Conservative leader's pledge ‘not to let matters rest there’ was deliberately ambiguous and misleading. The Tory position is inept. They haven't thought it through, and there is a fundamental deception at the heart of what they are saying. I think your readers will end up feeling deceived by Cameron over the question of a referendum. I would lay a very big wager that they will be very disappointed if there was a Cameron government because they wouldn't end up having a referendum."
He thereby deduces that Mr Cameron is guilty of duplicity and deceit, collusion and cover-up. And he concludes that either Mr Cameron is ‘incompetent’ or else ‘he's downright fibbing’.
Cranmer likes the word ‘fibbing’, especially when used by scurvy politicians. What is a fib if it is not a lie? And if it be a trivial or venial lie, that does not make it not a lie, though it may indeed be less of a lie. But in matters relating to something as fundamental as the governance of the country, that can hardly be a trivial, venial issue. In which case, by presenting Mr Cameron as a ‘fibber’, Mr Bryant is undoubtedly a liar.
And then he criticises the Conservative Party for forging an alliance with ‘homophobic’ Poles in the new ECR group in the European Parliament, claiming the reason why they were happy to sit down with Michal Kaminski of the Law and Justice Party was that 'they shared his views on homosexuality’.
Perhaps the good Reverend might examine David Cameron’s record of voting on civil partnerships and 'gay rights’ over recent years, and then compare it with the record of his own leader, who has always seemed to absent himself when Mr Bryant’s priority concerns for ‘equality’ were voted on.
Perhaps Gordon Brown has more in common with the alleged views of Michal Kaminski than he might dare to admit or Mr Bryant might care to examine.
The Telegraph article ends with a bizarre statement. Mr Bryant is clearly a fervent Europhile, boasting that he has ‘taken part in every major Europe debate in Parliament during his time there'. But he then assures us that he is not ‘obsessive’ about the issue, saying: "If you have got your European cagoule on you are not going to be rational."
Why is it that all the other politocos sport anoraks, but Mr Bryant talks of cagoules?
Are they the fashion in Cloud Cuckoo Land?