Tag Archives: William Hague

Life on Hannan World (Part 3) or the EU obsession and wilful ignorance

“In Europe but not run by Europe”. Those were the words of William Hague when he was the unsuccessful leader of the Tory Party. But what does it mean? Nothing.  The Europhobes would dearly like it to mean “We are being controlled by an outside force”. What they don’t say is how Eurosceptic (I hate using that word) MEPs try to sabotage the European Parliament while continuing to take a salary (over £86,000 + expenses) from the very institution they are pledged to abolish. The worst of these offenders is Daniel Hannan, whose obsession with all things EU makes him something of a self-parody.

On Tuesday he said,

It’s hard to imagine a larger question in British politics than whether we should be in the EU. Depending on how you measure it, between 50 and 84 per cent of our laws come from Brussels. The curtailment of our democracy was at first seen as the price for being part of a prosperous and growing market; but it now seems clear that the EU is sinking, dragging us with it like so many chained galley-slaves.

Hyperbole and nonsense. The key sentence is ” Depending on how you measure it, between 50 and 84 per cent of our laws come from Brussels”, Naturally, he doesn’t tell us which ones. I guess he must be referring to the one about the shape of bananas or other similar tales spouted by the Tory-controlled press.

He whines,

How will the palaeo-reporters of the MSM cover the story? I have a sinking feeling that it will be framed in the paltriest and most irrelevant way as ‘EU causes headache for Conservatives’.

But it’s true and the Tory Party, who were riven with splits over the EU during John Major’s premiership are likely to be split again. Hannan would like us to believe that his beloved party is united over Europe and that the ‘evil’ BBC is trying to split them up. Nothing could be further from the truth.

On Thursday, he was beside himself with joy. The Commons will vote on Monday to offer a referendum to the British electorate as to whether the country stays in the European Union. I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again, we’ve already had the referendum. It took place in 1975 and the British people voted in favour. Of course, the Europhobes will tell us that we didn’t vote for a European Parliament but a trade agreement. But this is what the  EEC morphed into and Britain was happy to go along with the project.

He urges people to sign the so-called “People’s Pledge”. I had a look at the link he provided and was led to this site.

Their ‘case’ is as follows:

There are 5 key reasons why we must have a referendum on Britain and the EU:

  • No one under the age of 54 has had the chance to vote on our relationship with Brussels
  • The EU now makes a majority of the laws we must obey
  • The UK has less than 10% of the votes in the Council of Ministers and the European Parliament
  • The EU is costing Britain more and more money
  • The EU wants to give itself new powers of ‘economic governance’

With regards to the first point, I’ve never had a say on a variety of things that have been enacted by reactionary Tory governments: the carving up of the NHS; the sale of council homes and the cuts in public spending. Yet, these obsessives think that a referendum on the EU is more important than any of those things.

On the second point, I’d like to know which laws they are referring to. But they seem reluctant to tell us. I can only guess. As for the third point, that’s down to Britain’s constant undermining of the EU by the Tories.  The fourth point, is moot and the last point presumably relates to the Euro. It’s in Britain’s interests to participate fully in the EU and its institutions instead of behaving like a reluctant bridegroom at a shotgun wedding. The EU is only as good as it member states and moaning about this aspect or that aspect of the EU is pointless and unproductive. If you don’t like something, then work to change it.

There is a small Britisher mentality to all of this. Some Europhobes clearly lament the demise of the British Empire and long for its return but there no chance of that happening.  As I’ve indicated elsewhere, many of those Tory Europhobes want to scrap human rights and workplace legislation because they believe that it has a deleterious impact on the economy. What they don’t say is that they want license to exploit others for financial gain.

Looking at the faces of those who support the People’s Pledge I can see that the former Labour shadow cabinet minster, Bryan Gould is a signatory. But what the people behind this ‘pledge’ haven’t told us is that Gould lives in New Zealand and has lived there since 1994. The SNP’s Jim Sillars is also included and is listed as “Deputy Leader of the SNP”, a role that he left in 1992 after he’d fallen out with Alex Salmond. There are other “former” Labour MPs and a former “finance director” of the party, which makes me think there’s something rather suspicious about the People’s Pledge. The choice of name is also rather interesting and suggests that there is a consensus but this a presumed consensus, possibly even a manufactured consensus.

It’s not clear exactly how many people are encamped next to St Paul’s Cathedral. Most estimates put the number at between 200 and 400, depending on precisely what time of day you do the headcount.

He doesn’t actually know what he’s talking about and I doubt that he’s bothered to visit the occupation.  His is a position of wilful ignorance.

Here, he plays fast and loose with the facts,
What is clear is that there are presently many more people in Westminster demanding a referendum on EU membership than in the City complaining about capitalism.
A couple of things: first he says the protesters are “complaining about capitalism”, this is the sort of ignorant statement that got Louise Mensch in hot water on Have I Got New For You.

Second, he claims that “many more people  in Westminster are demanding a referendum” but he doesn’t tell us how many and, at any rate, the point that he tries to make is irrelevant. There are many more people around the country, who are not taking part in the occupations who agree that the system needs to change. Furthermore the protests aren’t confined to Britain; they are taking place all over the world. Yet, Hannan dishonestly claims that there is a greater consensus for a referendum on the EU.

It will be interesting to compare the amount of coverage generated by the two protests. Will the People’s Pledge get ten times as much attention as the anti-capitalist sit-in, on the basis of the number of people at Westminster? Or perhaps 500 times more, on the basis of the number who signed the petition? Or will the MSM continue to cover the referendum wholly as a ‘Tory splits’ story? I think we all know the answer.

This is both a smear on the #Occupy movement and an attack on the BBC. He’s obsessed with the EU (have a look at all his blog posts for the Torygraph and you’ll see that at least 90% of them are about the EU). But there is something else: like his fellow right wingers, he paints the protesters as some kind of ‘enemy within’ and claims that they don’t have an argument.  This is wilful ignorance. He is a committed neoliberal and like his fellow travellers, he wants more of the same. This is why people are occupying public spaces in financial districts around the world. Then he tries to paint the BBC as the villain by suggesting that only the Beeb is responsible for opening up deep rifts in the Tory party. Hannan is suffering from selective memory syndrome and, as anyone will tell you, the splits over the EU have been around for over 20 years and almost brought the Major government to its knees.

I find Europhobes to be small-minded and obsessive. I would even go so far as to suggest that their obsession with the EU is pathological. Whatever happens, the vote in the Commons tomorrow is likely to deepen the splits in the Tory party with some of their MPs threatening to defy a three-line whip on the vote. Cameron’s position looks precarious. However, if Cameron is weakened, will we see a leadership challenge from Hannan? Well, he needs to find a safe seat first before he can do that. He can’t become leader while he’s in Strasbourg and this must piss him off.

Good. Long may he be pissed off.

If there is a referendum, I will vote to stay in the EU but I want to see the EU reformed so that it works for the benefit of all its people not just the few, like the bankers and other parasites.

This country will be a much worse place to live than it is now if we left Europe while the Tories are power. That isn’t hyperbole. It’s the truth.

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Filed under Europe, Government & politics, Media, propaganda, Tory press

Hague – there won’t be any boots on the ground…

…except for the ones that are being worn by the ‘military advisors’.  The dispatching of ‘advisors’ is often a prelude to a full-scale war. In the late 1950’s, the US sent advisors to what was then Saigon before the escalation of the Vietnam War in 1965. Truth be told, the US provided more than just “advisors”, there was a sizeable military presence in Vietnam before 1965. Indeed my father was stationed at Tan Son Nhut Air Base in 1963.  So when people tell me that the Vietnam War started in 1965, I know better.

This conflict began with so-called “no fly zones”, which are also precursors to a full-blown war. I do find it odd, that within this “no fly zone”,  Libyan ground forces are being attacked.  I mean, when was the last time you saw a flying tank or a flying howitzer?

We were told that “regime change” was not part of plan in Libya but it seems as though this has been the intention all along. The UN Security Council resolution that authorized the “no fly zones” did not call for regime change but you can bet your bottom dollar that that’s the plan. Scameron wants it.  Sokrazy wants it. Even Obomba wants it.  Although the public has been told that this “isn’t about oil”, the fact of the matter is that it is about oil. The last time anyone said “this isn’t about oil” was in the run up to the Iraq invasion and guess what? It was about oil. Blair and Bush lied.

So when William Hague tells us that there aren’t any boots on the ground. He’s a liar. There are  boots on the ground and there will be more of them.

UPDATE: 2/2/12 @1942

Well, it seems that there were special forces boots on Libya soil as well as those of the very special advisors. I wonder, could there have been more of them? Boots, I mean. Possibly. Anything’s possible.

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Filed under Africa, Libya, World

Can we have some of what the Egyptians and Tunisians are having, please?

We need some of this here

First Tunisia and now Egypt, the old corrupt and repressive regimes are under threat. Ben Ali of Tunisia went into exile last week and Hosni Mubarak is clinging on. But these protests tell us something: ordinary people have put up with neoliberalism, corruption and attacks on them for long enough. There is only so much people can take before they snap.

Yesterday,  David Cameron said

“I think what we need is reform in Egypt. We support reform and progress in the greater strengthening of their democracy and civil rights and the rule of law.

“Clearly there are grievances that people have and they need to be met and matched.

“I don’t think it’s in anyone’s interest that people are being killed on the streets of Egypt as we speak, and so I hope the violence will cease.

“But clearly, when you have people who have grievances and problems that want them responded to, it’s in all our interests that these countries have stronger rule of law, stronger rights, stronger democracy.”

Foreign Secretary, Fizzy Willy Hague chipped in with

“I think it is important to recognise that the people involved have legitimate grievances – economic grievances and political grievances – and it is very important for the authorities to respond positively to that, and to be able to hold out the hope and prospect of reform in the future.

“That is the answer to this situation, rather than repression. It does not help to suppress people’s right to freedom of expression.”

Cameron  also said to the delegates at the World Economic Forum in Davos that Europe had to

‘incentivise the same kind of risk-taking investment culture’

What Cameron can’t wrap his head around is the fact that British people have plenty of  grievances and problems  but his government ignore them and are intent on creating more problems by pursuing their ill-conceived and poorly-formulated social experiments.

Yesterday, one of Cameron’s model councils, Westminster, announced that it has plans to give social housing priority to those people who are employed.   Westminster was infamous in the early 1990’s for the Homes for Votes scandal. The then leader, Dame Shirley Porter, gerrymandered marginal wards to favour the ruling party (her party).

Under the council’s plans, working households will be defined as those where the main applicant or their partner are in work, have a permanent or temporary contract or are self-employed.

People who would be prioritised must have been working for a minimum of two years.

As if to emphasize their intellectually feeble and philosophically bankrupt policies, Hon Gid  and Cameron were spreading the Thatcherite message. Their message files in the face of recently published economic figures which say that Britain’s economy has shrunk while the US economy has grown. The US has spent money to achieve growth, while the British government makes deep cuts to public services and raises the rate of VAT, thus choking off consumer confidence. A PPE degree clearly doesn’t make for a wise politician.

While the likes of Cameron and Hague call for reform in Egypt, they trample over our democratic rights and pursue ideologically-driven policies that will make people poorer and destroy public services. Not only are these people intellectually feeble (it was the snow that caused our economy to shrink) and philosophically bankrupt (social housing is responsible for worklessness), their minds are firmly closed to today’s realities.

This is 2011, not 1981.

But the Great Lord of Darkness is still living in the past.

After nearly a quarter of a century of good industrial relations, the cloth-cap colonels of the TUC are talking about using the strike weapon to overrule a democratically elected Parliament. I can understand their anger and frustration.

I doubt he can understand the anger and frustration. His take on history is faulty too. What does he mean by “a quarter of a century of good industrial relations”? He’s not even honest enough to admit that it was his government passed a series of anti-trade union laws and spent a lot of its time smashing those unions while, ironically, supporting Solidarinosc in Poland.

I won’t bother to quote the rest of his blog. It’s really depressing.

There are demonstrations against the cuts to education in London and Manchester today and there are more planned for the future. There should be daily protests and if a few things are damaged in the process, then so be it. This government has shown that it isn’t interested in what ordinary people think and it is only through the tactics of shock that we can get them to change anything. Though, expecting this shower of shite to leave office and go into exile to Chile is clearly my fantasy and mine alone.

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Filed under Comprehensive Spending Review, ConDem Budget 2010, Conservative Party, Cuts, Egypt, Government & politics, Public spending

A word about that Orange Book

In 2004, a group of Liberal Democrats published a book they titled The Orange Book: Reclaiming Liberalism. The purpose behind the book was to try and take the Lib Dems towards the centre-right; to make them appear more Tory than the Tories. The book, edited by David Laws and Paul Marshall was distributed widely among the membership. It is worth mentioning that those Lib Dem faces who have been summoned to the cabinet table by Cameron are all members of the Orange Book Club. It is also worth remembering that the Lib Dems are formed from two parties: the old Liberal Party and the Social Democratic Party who split from Labour in 1981.

The Orange Book stresses their desire to see the free market take more of a role in society. If any of this sounds familiar, it should.  These are roughly the same ideas that float around in the minds of free-market Tory types like Alan Duncan and William Hague. These ideas were current in Thatcher’s thinking and were often framed in terms  of  ‘freedom’. In other words, there can be no freedom unless it it through the Conservative Party. Now the Tories have able allies in the Lib Dem Orange Book Club, so we can expect more rubbish about notions of ‘freedom’.

The best that we can hope for is for the more SDP-minded members of the Lib Dems to defect to Labour. A few deaths should cause a few by-elections. This coalition cannot last.

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Filed under General Election 2010, Government & politics, Liberal Democrats