Tuesday, 11 October 2011

These people suffer from amnesia

Politicians' amnesia is a wonderful thing to behold. They say things with a straight face having, apparently, forgotten their own past history.

Take Sir John Major, for instance. He is everywhere, pronouncing on subjects to do with the European Union and all the things that are going wrong with it as well as all the problems it is causing for the UK. Yet, what is it that we mostly remember about Sir John's own premiership, when he was a plain Mr Major? The disastrous ERM, which he would not leave until this country's economy nearly collapsed and, luckily for us, we were effectively thrown out of it; and the Maastricht Treaty, which he forced through Parliament though after the first Danish referendum there was a golden opportunity to stop the whole integrating process that the treaty was speeding up.

Conservative Home quotes Sir John's "wide-ranging" interview with Andrew Marr:

He predicted that the EU had "fundamentally changed" because of member states' flouting of the Maastricht criteria and because of the movement to an "unsafe" Eurozone. We would now see, the former Prime Minister predicted, what he and Douglas Hurd had advocated in the 1990s. Europe would follow a model of "variable geometry" with different member states working at different levels. He predicted that Eurozone members would seek their own Treaty and gradually forge fiscal union characterised by tax harmonisation and budgetary control. This, he said, was an opportunity for a looser union and for the UK to repatriate control over parts of employment law, notably the Working Time Directive; financial services regulation; and control of Britain's fishing industry. EU leaders had to realise, he continued, that 27 member states could not operate in the same unified way as when there were much fewer members.

It appears that Sir John has forgotten that the Common Fisheries Policy was written into the treaties only in 1992, that is the Treaty of Maastricht, his particular treaty [as discussed here]. Nor do we remember Mr Major's government being in the forefront of the battle for the control of Britain's fishing industry. Not so, but far from it. Does he really not remember any of it?


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