Thursday, October 08, 2009

Taking the water

In his speech today to the Conservative party conference, William Hague, we are told, risked re-opening the bitter dispute over Europe today "by attacking the EU and demanding a referendum on the Lisbon treaty."

This is on the back of a week where the Tory high command has tried to keep Europe out of the headlines. And how they have tried. According to Gerald Warner each candidate had been telephoned individually and warned against voicing any subversive opinions on a Lisbon referendum.

The outcome was that these frightened rabbits were afraid to make any comment at all. Television viewers were treated to the spectacle of one parliamentary candidate after another fleeing from the cameras and refusing all comment on the most important political issue of the day and of the forthcoming general election.

But, "rather than avoid the thorny issue of Europe", says The Times, Hague "set out his case for a referendum" - "our call for a referendum", as Hague actually said.

"The ever greater centralisation of power beyond the democratic control of the people is not in keeping with the needs of the 21st century; it is against the spirit of our age," says Hague. "It diminishes our ability to pursue our own global relationships. And in its lack of accountability and legitimacy it goes against our fundamental belief that people should only be led and governed with their consent."

But, on what happens if the treaty is fully ratified by the time the Tories are elected, answer there was none. Instead, Hague roundly declared: "We seek a European Union that acts by agreement among nations rather than by placing its own president or foreign minister above any nation."

This is barking cat syndrome. Hague is calling for an intergovernmental organisation, rather than a supranational entity which is the European Union. If it acted "by agreement", then it would no longer be the European Union. It would be something completely different.

Following up was Mr Cameron, who in his speech, introduced young William as the man who was "fighting our campaign for a referendum". One might ask: fighting whom? Is he to fight the Conservatives when or if they are elected, for it is they, personified by Mr Cameron, who stand between us and a referendum.

But this is the man who then told us that, "transparency and decentralisation are key answers to problem of loss of faith in politics." This is the man who wants the UK to remain as members of one of the most centralist constructs in recent history, the European Union, a man who is so "transparent" that he will not tell us what he will do when the constitutional Lisbon treaty is ratified, and then seeks to stop anyone else in his party giving an opinion on what should happen.

Altogether, the pitch from the conference platform makes as much sense as baying for the moon. Hague wants a European Union that doesn't exist and cannot exist, is not on offer and which the Tories have no means – or intention – of securing, while "fighting" for a referendum, the only barrier to which is Mr Cameron and his own party.

Is it any wonder that we stands and gape at these men as if they were from another planet? Certainly, they do not exist in any world that even approaches reality. In truth though, this is "same old, same old". They is taking the water, the type that goes straight down the drain.