Tuesday, November 03, 2009

So who can you trust?

I suppose it depends on your viewpoint that decides how you would react to the fairly predictable news that the Tories are going to abandon plans to offer a referendum on the Lisbon Treaty.

There are people like me who were always sceptical of Cameron's pledge and never believed for one minute that he or his party planned to honour it - but then I think Cameron is a lying, manipulative populist who will say whatever those he is talking to at the time want to hear while meaning absolutely none of it.

Then there are those who still support the Tories and will accept the excuse that, once the treaty is ratified by all 27 countries there is nothing we can do about it. That same argument applied in 1975 when we last had a vote on our relationship with the EU, but somehow the promised referendum managed to be held.

But there are many who will see this as the final stab in the back. Once upon a time - quite a long time ago now, but still in my lifetime - a manifesto pledge was exactly that. If a party made a promise in its manifesto, then the leaders of that party felt honour bound to abide by that promise.

But honour means nothing to today's breed of politician. We're talking about people - like Peter Mandelson, Chris Patten and Tony Blair - who swear an oath that "no foreign prince, person, prelate, state or potentate hath or ought to have any jurisdiction, power, superiority, pre-eminence or authority, ecclesiastical or spiritual, within this realm" which they then ignore and, worse still, they then go and work for that organisation which they swore an oath to defend this country from!

So who can you trust? UKIP or the BNP? Not really. Both those parties claim they want to take us out of the EU, but they then stand for and win seats in the EU parliament. I'd have more respect for their position on the EU if they refused to have anything to do with it - but they take their place on the gravy train like all the others. If they were genuine then why do they feel the need to stand for the EU parliament?

I really don't think there is a single political party in existence today that I feel I can trust. Does anyone disagree?

Isn't that the most damning indictment of modern politics possible?


IAlbion said...

Quite right Stan,my Granny used to say "You can't trust the arse you sit on" never a truer word!

Larry said...

In fairness to Nick Griffin et al., they have certainly stood up for what they believe in. It would have been far easier for Griffin and Brons to get involved with mainstream parties if they were just in it for the beer.

Also, at least we have someone - in Griffin - who is willing to speak for the silent majority. For example, his diatribe in Strasbourg, which was directed at the global warming alarmists, was quite simply brilliant.

Richard said...

The political classes benefit massively from the EU. Why would any political organisation vote against it? I certainly don't believe the 'big three' would ever take us out of the EU.

On UKIP / BNP: it does seem like something of a contradiction for them to sit in a parliament that they do not want to be a part of, however the Euro elections do create opportunities for the fringe parties to make themselves heard - for what it's worth being an MEP.

Stan said...

Thanks for all your comments.

IAlbion - an odd phrase to me, but thanks anyway!

Larry - I don't know Brons or Griffin's motivation so I'll have to take your word for it, but I see little benefit for their stated aims in being part of the EU Parliament.

Same point to Richard - what do UKIP and BNP gain (apart from finance) by taking the money of the organisation they are supposed to be committed to taking Britain out of?

I know the common excuse is that they gain media coverage and therefore public exposure, but they are then open to accusations of hypocrisy.

Nobody - no matter what party they represent - is going to successfully argue for Britain's withdrawal from the EU while sitting in the EU Parliament. That parliament won't listen and little of what is debated there reaches the mainstream British voter.

Their cause would be far better served by diverting all resources into winning a seat at Westminster. That is the only place where a withdrawal can be decided and that is where they would need to be.

I find UKIP especially frustrating in this because they are the party I would most naturally be inclined to support - but they are completely lacking a coherent strategy. They spend resources indiscriminately as if they are the Tory party in waiting. They are not. They need to get a seat in parliament and they need a strategy to achieve this. I don't believe they have one.

Richard said...

Because of proportional representation it is much easier to gain a seat as an MEP. Granted, the European parliament is nothing more than a glorified debating society; it's the European Commission that makes the laws.

That said, if having a couple of MEPs improves the finances and raises the profile of a fringe party (appearances on QT for example) then there is a benefit to that fringe party. I don't see UKIP/BNP having MEPs as a hypocritical move. I'd say its pragmatic.

Stan said...

"I don't see UKIP/BNP having MEPs as a hypocritical move. I'd say its pragmatic."

That is how they sell the move to the unsuspecting public, but isn't one of the main reasons the electors are losing faith in politicians is because all too often they are seen as abandoning their principles for what is considered politically expedient?

The same argument can be made for the Tories abandoning conservative principles and moving to the left - it's pragmatic if they want to get elected (they say) - but it means they are no longer conservative!

Likewise an EU sceptic party that fully immerses itself into the EU can no longer be considered EU sceptic. It's like claiming to be opposed to factory farming while working for a factory farm or opposing abortion while working for an abortion clinic.

Richard said...

Admittedy this is a tricky one, but if being an MEP gives you the right to have a voice on the BBC - then there is an arguable case for being an MEP, even though (I will concede) it would represent a sacrifice of some of one's princilples.

Just bumping the thread slightly. I notice that the term 'Eurosceptic' is used frequently by the media to describe persons/entities who are anti EU. I never hear the media use the word 'Anti-EU'.

I think that this is a deliberate use of language to promote the EU. In other words, there is nobody who is 'Anti' the EU, just a bunch of 'sceptical' people who have yet to be convinced how marvellous it all is...

Stan said...

Good point - although, personally, I prefer the term pro-Britain rather than Anti-EU.