David Cameron is making a European Rod for his Eurosceptic Back

Pity the British Prime Minister – but only up to a point. In the midst of trying to come back with something he can sell to his Eurosceptic wing on the EU budget, he also embarked on his much vaunted bill to, as he sees it, protect British sovereignty.

I am quite honestly mystified at Cameron’s decision to take on Europe on two fronts in this way. Given the Tories’ vulnerability on all things EU, it strikes me as singularly daft.

No matter, Cameron is ploughing on with an increasingly sorry looking furrow. Despite promising the public that they would get to vote on any powers to be transferred from the UK to the EU, the proposed bill states that some powers will now be able to go to the EU without a referendum.

This I may add comes from the political party who relentlessly criticised Labour for not holding a referendum on the Lisbon Treaty.

That most odious of Eurosceptics Bill Cash is, of course, on the case, pointing out that the commitment in the coalition agreement to subject any future transfers of power to the EU to a “referendum lock” has gone well and truly down the plug-hole. In typical hyperbolic fashion Cash has stated, “This bill is of historic significance and is the most important constitutional bill affecting the relationship between the UK parliament and the EU since the European Communities Act 1972,” according to the BBC. Cash is certainly upping the ante, shades of more to come, I suspect.

And the Eurosceptics are in one sense quite right to get upset. The coalition is breaking its promise, just as I predicted it would on this blog before the general election. The promise to put every single transfer of power from Britain to the EU to a vote in a referendum was quite simply not credible, as David Cameron, his coalition government and the Tory Eurosceptics are now discovering.

What is more, and must be especially galling for the Eurosxeptics in the House of Commons, the new EU bill says a minister will, in some cases, be able simply to state the transfer of power is not significant enough to merit a referendum. A minister indeed, and maybe even the Europe Minister who is not even in the Cabinet.

We have already seen the first transgression from Cameron when he made clear that there will not be a referendum on the treaty changes suggested by German Chancellor Angela Merkel to establish a permanent mechanism to protect the euro.

Yet not all Liberal-Democrats, silent partners on this issue, are keeping their counsel. MEP Andrew Duff has made his views known to the BBC in no uncertain terms, as follows: “The coalition government must respect the constitutional order of the European Union and should not impede the steady democratic evolution of the Treat-based rules which bind all EU states together in a deep and lasting interdependence.”

In other words, to paraphrase the Sun when it ran its pathetic campaign against European Commission President Jacques Delors  – “up yours Cameron”.

1 Comment

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One response to “David Cameron is making a European Rod for his Eurosceptic Back

  1. Daniel Oxley

    ‘This I may add comes from the political party who relentlessly criticised Labour for not holding a referendum on the Lisbon Treaty’. Of course you may add it, you have a right to freedom of expression. I have the same right and I will add that while the Conservatives were not well placed to make the criticism, it was still valid.

    Both parties broke their promise in this matter. The two groups are practically indistinguishable in their intention even though they heap abuse on each other. When we have a general election we are not engaging in a joust of principles and values, it is more like two companies competing for the same contract. One might do it a bit more cheaply or a bit more quickly but the job is the same; the steady handing over of everything to our unelected EU commissioners in Brussels. I suppose that one party might hand things over in a different order or present their lies in a different way but the outcome is the same.

    Bill Cash might be odious but to call him a Eurosceptic is going too far in my view. He chooses to call himself a Eurosceptic but that proves very little. He still believes that Britain can be an autonomous region of the EU. This is clearly crazy, Mr. Cash has missed the whole point of the EU. It is an Empire, it is there is to extinguish independence.

    His moans about the EU do not serve the cause of EU scepticism, they advance all the malign intentions of Brussels. By making all his comments he re-assures the Tory faithful that things will not go too far with Europe, that with him around Britian will be a sovereign state and that they can continue with their tribal loyalty to the Conservative Party.

    Bill Cash is actually helping the Conservatives to continue in their Europhilia. He is helping David Cameron to give away our country.