As a headline that comes under the same heading as "Dog bites man" or "Gardener digs soil". Nevertheless, it is always good fun as well as instructive to read Christopher Booker's take on developments among the so-called "eurosceptics" in the Conservative Party.
We have already noted one group of these benighted MPs and wondered whether they would ever get to grips with important details of the European project. There is now, as Booker points out, another group, clearly worried that if they do not polish up their eurosceptic credentials they might lose a few thousand votes in the next election.
Some 120 “Eurosceptic” Tory MPs, we are told, are calling for a “redrawing of our relationship with Europe”. We must “repatriate powers”. William Hague says “Britain could benefit from loosening its ties with Europe”.
This is, as we have pointed out in previous postings, a ridiculous stand: Britain cannot loosen its ties with Europe because Britain is a member of the European Union and the only way of loosening those ties is by coming out, not of Europe, which is a ridiculous idea, but of a specific political construct. Then we can renegotiate our various trade and other agreements with individual states and, if that survives, the European Union.
Meanwhile, as Christopher Booker so rightly says about one of the instances of mea culpa, in this case that of the high and mighty Sir Max Hastings,
Sir Max has never grasped the real nature of this mighty project or the vision behind it, which is finally colliding with reality.
For 50 years, building itself up step by step into a form of supra-national government, the “European project” has only ever had one aim – to take away ever more powers of member states to govern their own affairs. It has had no more sacred principle than the acquis commmunautaire, which lays down that once powers have been handed to the centre they can never be given back.
No sentence in Hastings’s piece was more poignant than his observation that “in its early decades the Common Market was a benign institution, set up to liberalise trade”. He still cannot grasp that the Common Market was only ever intended as a first step towards the ultimate goal, the embryo of everything the EU has since become, – a vast overblown system of government reaching into almost every area of our lives, and symbolised above all by its hubristic desire for its own single currency.
That being so,
the response of President Hermann Van Rompuy –possessed by precisely the same hubris that has built up the EU into all it is today - is to say that the only remedy is that we must have “more Europe”.
From our point of view, the matter is clear. The Common Fisheries Policy was one of the first experiments (and what a disaster it has been!) in the process of integration and creation of a supranational government.
Many people who are aware of the general wrongness of the CFP from social, economic and environmental points of view seem unable to grasp this. They call for reforms here and there while the EU maintains, rightly from their point of view, that the only answer to the problems is the tightening up of the policy, which should kick in with all its real consequences, centrally, and an ever less likelihood of national control being restored.