A TORY SNAKE IN THE GRASS?
The Captain writes this with some regret, for he has hitherto been an aficionado of the writings of Dan Hannan MEP, the soi-disant Eurosceptic of the Tory delegation to the European Parliament. But every now and again there comes a moment in the affairs of men when keeping a polite silence in the face of terminological inexactitude simply won’t do any more.
Hannan has written a blog, “For the first time, the European Parliament has a Eurosceptic opposition” to greet the dawn of a new day and the first sitting of the new European ‘Parliament’ in Strasbourg. This will be Hannan’s fourth Parliament – he was first elected in 1999 – and this blog suggests that he has begun to go native.
But let us first go to that business of the terminological inexactitude. As part of the Euro fantasy that the Federasts peddle, MEPs from various countries have to form themselves into political groups in the Parliament. This brings extra resources and enhances the speaking time of individual MEPs, helps secure committee chairmanships and enables group members go off on Jollies all around the world, paid for by you, the Taxpayer. But the trick is that you have to get above the bar that the European parliament sets: To form a political group, a minimum of 25 MEPs elected from at least one-quarter of the EU’s Member States (currently seven) is required.
After the announcements of the election results on 25th. May 2014 for the Parliament which starts sitting today,all the existing political groups began the process of establishing the numbers to get over the bar. In addition Marine le Pen of France’s Front National told us she was also going to form a new group of hard-right neo-fascists as an extra group.
In the event she failed spectacularly so to do and will now sit up in the bleachers of the new Parliament.
The group of which the UK Independence Party is a member, the Europe of Freedom and Democacy (EFD) has also reformed with a new name: Europe of Freedom and Direct Democracy (EFDD). This was a process fraught with difficulty and the EFDD has only just squeezed across the line.
The Tory group – the European Conservatives and Reformists (ECR), meanwhile, set about peeling off as many existing or potential partners of the EFD as it could. The Danish People’s Party which did very well in the Danish elections, returning four members, was first to go. This was despite the Tories having refused them previously on account of the policies of the DPP and the fact that its EP delegation leader, Morten Messerschmidt was convicted in 2002 for publishing material that appeared to link a multiethnic society to rape, violence and forced marriages. That latter fact had caused the Tories in 2009 to shun the DPP but after the passage of five years, this has conveniently been swept under the carpet. Dan Hanna observed:
“Would you want to be judged on something you did in your 20s?” he said, adding: “if the Danish electorate move on and decide he is a mainstream popular politician, it seems a bit unfair that the rest of us shouldn’t make that same judgement.”
Which, of course, is the modern Tory way. We all remember how our Prime Minster ducked any questions as to whether he had ever possessed Class ‘A’ drugs by invoking the ‘we all do things we later regret’ when a simple ‘No’ would have sufficed to end the thing there and then. The absence of that simple ‘No’ told you all you need to know. Possession of Class ‘A’ drugs is a serious matter,which often attracts imprisonment. But we mustn’t let something like that or Mr. Messerschmidt’s conviction get in the way of the Tories’ ambitions, must we?
Then the Finns Party decided, at the very last minute, to make the move. The ECR then set about hoovering up every possible MEP from small delegations and also persuaded the Alternative für Deutschland party from Germany to join, reportedly in the teeth of overwhelming grassroots support to go to the EFDD group.
To achieve all this Dan Hannan has been crisscrossing Europe for the last eighteen months or so. The Tories have known for ages that they were going to get a hiding in the European Elections and sought to try and destroy the EFD group so that UKIP might be seen humiliatingly to have snatched defeat from the jaws of victory. There would have been a useful by-product. As a group co-president, Nigel Farage sits up close and personal with the President of the European Council (when he can be bothered to appear) and Jose Manoel
Herman van Rompuy, an affront to Bank Clerks everywhere
Barroso in the Plenary Chamber. The sight of these and other EU lackeys taking a lashing from Farage from short range has contributed enormously to the huge viewership of his YouTube uploads. Sitting on the back row of the Unattached members would have cut that avenue of publicity at a stroke.
We know Hannan was engaged in this process. We have evidence of the meeting he held with the Finns party over lunch in Brussels with a member of the EFD staff present. And the intent was quite clear.
Of all this Hanna observes:
Mainstream Eurosceptics are gathered into two blocs. One is Nigel Farage’s Europe of Freedom and Direct Democracy (EFDD). Some Ukippers have got it into their heads that I wanted to prevent their group from attracting enough nationalities to qualify, but they’re wrong. I never doubted for a moment that Ukip would find the numbers it needed, and I’m happy to see the EFDD up and running.
Sadly, this is just not the truth and everyone should know it. Hannan went about this with – to be fair – skill and determination. By all accounts more than one minor European politician got the invite to Number Ten, doubtless there to savour the moment of having their photograph taken with the British Prime Minister (which does not have quite the same cachet as having you photo taken with Margaret Thatcher).
But the worst of it all is that Hannan has become a pan-Europeanist. He heads up the European Political party associated with his group, the AECR, and campaigns across Europe in the Federast elections as a pan-European:
I spent part of the recent campaign criss-crossing Europe in support of free-market, Eurosceptic candidates.
He has bought into the pan-European thing big time and really rather likes poncing about the very Europe from which he says he wants to withdraw. He may say all that, but he is a voluntary participant in a Federast enterprise, a pan-European political party.
EFD DELENDA EST
It is true, he does say that he wants to withdraw. But he remains a major player in the Conservative Party, the official policy of which is to remain in the EU. He takes the Cameron shilling and the Cameron whip.
The word ‘hypocrite’ comes easily to mind.
The Captain understands UKIP’s position on such matters to be:
UKIP fundamentally disagrees with the existence of pan-European Political Parties and their being funded from taxpayers’ money. UKIP also disagrees with any move by LibLabCon to introduce such funding for UK political parties.
In both cases, however, UKIP reserves the right to form, join and operate a European Political party and its associated foundation if it considers that this is necessary in order to be able to function on a level playing field with its political opponents.