William Hague’s political schizophrenia

William Hague stated at the end of last year that he is minded to vote for Britain to remain in the European Union partly because he fears “Brexit” could lead to the breakup of the UK and partly because “Brexit” would weaken the EU. This has hardly been a case of coming off the fence. Hague’s euroscpticism has always been suspect. The general public saw through its shallowness in the 2001 General Election when they returned Labour to power and ignored the Tories’ half-hearted campaign under Hague’s leadership. His current position is much confused both intellectually and politically. He has failed to grasp that it is not possible to believe in democracy as well as EU membership.

BREXIT

William Hague may have been in the forefront of politics for many years and is much respected. However this does not confer any automatic right for his confused views on the EU to be takne seriously.  On the other hand, it is useful for those of us who support withdrawal to listen to such a Europhile ally of the PM as it will help us to sharpen our attacks on supporters of “”remain”.

In this piece, where I comment respectfully upon his words in a Daily Telegraph article dated 22nd December, I will be using the excellent rebuttal of the Europhiles’ arguments by Robert Oulds on this website, which also contains a rebuttal by CIB of 7 major Europhile issues.

SECURITY AND NON-DEMOCRACY

The security of Europe rests not with the EU; indeed the EU does much to unsettle it. Most certainly security depends not upon the forces of Luxemburg or even of the other smaller 25 EU members nor even with the might of the UK with France and Germany but upon NATO, where we work with the USA. It is NATO that provides security for Europe and the wider world. [Please see footnote A].

The EU has endangered that security with interference in the internal affairs of states from the Balkans, the Ukraine, Iraq, and North Africa as well as by its trade negotiations, as in Ghana for example. The EU provides no safety for anyone through its sclerotic involvement in foreign affairs. Yet Mr Hague says “We still need the EU to provide the safe harbour for the docking of fragile democracies, and it would be strange to champion that idea but abandon it ourselves.”

I need hardly remind Mr Hague that there is not an ounce of UK-style Democracy in the EU.  The EU “parliament” has only limited powers [Please see footnote B] and Mr Hague has acknowldged its limitations: “As to the European parliament, it does not remotely provide democratic accountability for the simple reason that most voters across Europe do not take elections to it seriously and are not usually aware of the identity of their MEPs. It is not possible to be accountable and anonymous at the same time.” He misses the point of course. It is just because the EU parliament is without a strong set of democratic teeth that no one can take it seriously. Ask the MEP’s in the UK.

Accordingly the idea of there being a democratic dock within the EU for “fragile democracies” is nonsense. The EU actually destroys national democracy. It was designed to do so and will not change its course.

EUROSCEPTICISM OF MR HAGUE

“And I am often asked whether the years I spent in EU meetings and negotiations made me less Eurosceptic than when I toured the country 15 years ago with my ‘Save the Pound’ campaign” said Mr Hague. “The answer to that is “no”, since close acquaintance with central bodies of the European Union does nothing to create enthusiasm for them. The Commission itself, generally the best-performing of the EU institutions, could benefit from the spending cuts and rigour to which most national governments have been subjected. The European Court of Justice has pushed the boundaries of treaties and is capable of imposing burdens on businesses which suggest a detachment from reality.”

“Even more worryingly, some of the most cherished projects of European unity are in deep trouble – the Schengen zone buckling under the weight of new migration, and the euro bedevilled by flaws which were obvious at the start. There is a legitimate question as to whether the EU can survive in its current form two or three decades from now.”

These statements are unquestionably true. The totalitarian Commission maintains its fundamental straight course onwards towards an united non-democratic federal auperstate, as it alwasy has done. Mr Hague knows this full well.

“It is high time for a vigorous debate to get going. So far, what I have written above would be cheered on by my old friend Liam Fox, who has advocated withdrawal, by old Cabinet colleagues tempted to campaign to leave in the forthcoming referendum, and even by Nigel Farage as he reels from the discovery that a rebel who joins you from another party simply becomes a rebel in your own.” Correct in part only!

EUROPHILIA AND FEDERALISM OF MR HAGUE AND THE IRRELEVENCY OF THE PM’S NEGOTIATIONS

“Yet here I part company with these fellow critics of the EU, distinguishing between deploring the state of an organisation and deciding it is best to leave it. I wait, first of all, for the outcome of the negotiations the Prime Minister has launched, the importance of which should not be underestimated in continental capitals.”

Mr Hague forgets that how many issues which desperately need addressing are not on the PM’s little list of four items which he is discussing. There is no reference to the ECJ and its control over the UK Supreme Court, Fisheries, the Free Movement of Peoples, the UK’s right to represent itself on global bodies (The Top Tables), the cost of our membership, the red tape suffered by the 80% of UK GDP involved only with internal UK trade, reform of the CAP and so on.

In conclusion there is no substance to the PM’s negotiations or “thin gruel” as Mr Rees Mogg called them. Their conclusion will be trumpeted as a success but in reality, the fanfare will merely be a repeat of Chamberlain’s “Heston moment” in 1938 as John Petley refers in his January 2016 Article on the CIB web site.

THE ECONOMY OF THE UK

“The arguments about what is best for our economy will rage back and forth. Those who say we have to be in the single market to shape it and benefit from it have the edge and that will be a vital edge as the public weighs the implications of their choice for their jobs and businesses” says Mr Hague.

Many businessmen and economists would disagree. We can access the Single Market from outside the EU, by joining Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein, who have plenty of say in the formation of EEA- relevant regulation, even if they do not take part in the final vote. People like Lord Bamford and Sir James Dyson may not have made detailed analyses of the best exit strategy, but thier confidnece that we can not only survive but prosper outside the EU is well founded. With only 20% of UK GDP linked to total global exports and of that only a diminishing 7% of UK GDP comprising trade with the EU, it makes little sense for that tiny dwindling tail of 7% to wag the growing dog of 93%!

CONCLUSIONS

It is clear that Mr Hague is politically and economically generalising and being economical with the actuality. There is no attempt by Mr Hague to support his line of argument with facts and reasoning. Mr Hague’s current position is much confused both intellectually and politically. It is not possible to believe in national democracy and at the same time support our bondage to the EU?

Furthermore, how can Mr Hague think that the UK has any possible useful influence inside this total disaster?

Why a tariff union, Mr Hague? It is entirely counterproductive to the UK trade outside the EU which comprises 64% of UK exports.

Why must the UK guarantee the obligations and debts of the Euro and its failed experiments to the ECB and the IMF? This weakens the UK and makes it vulnerable as it borrows ever more to do this and then borrows more to pay interest on the borrowed sums! Hence Mr Osborne imposes more and more taxes on those who can least afford it!

Why has the UK lost so many of its seats on important world bodies just to be represented by one member acting for 28 with conflicting and confused objectives? Why support our membership of a political union if all we are talking about is a free trade area, Mr Hague?

In short, Mr Hague, who seemed to show such promise when he made that memorable speech at the 1977 Conservative Party Conference when he was only sixteen years old,  has proved one of the great political disappointments of recent years.  His schizophrenia over the EU suggests that for all the hype of his early years, he possibly never was a suitable person to lead our country after all.

FOOTNOTES [FOR WHICH I AM INDEBTED TO THE CIB.]

A) NATO: Since 1999 NATO changed from being a highly successful defensive alliance into an aggressive, go anywhere- bash anyone organisation with unlimited ambitions to “humanitarian interventions” anywhere in the world which suit US/EU policy. The first such adventure was Yugoslavia (1999),an unprovoked attack, admitted to be illegal but thought, as in “1066 & All That”, to be a “Good Thing”- also completely contrary to the then existing NATO charter but Blair & Clinton just did it. And the Bundeswehr used the opportunity to cease being “citizens in uniform” and become a force able to operate overseas. As General Naumann (whose title would have been Chief of the Great General Staff in palmier days) put it “German forces will be engaged for the protection of the market and access without hindrance to the raw materials of the entire world”. NATO is up to its neck and beyond in the operations in the Ukraine and elsewhere, targeted against Russia. Victoria Nuland, US Under Secretary of State, boasted of spending 5 billion dollars destabilising Ukraine and the EU itself, plus sundry intelligence agencies (like the Bundesnachrichtendienst and state funded NGOs like the Konrad Adenauer Stiftung) are not far behind). The EU has a slightly different terminology for these operations and calls them “The Export of Stability”.

B) The Powers of the EU parliament: – Actually the parliament (so-called) has acquired some powers, like confirming or rejecting the proposed President and members of the EU Commission. Whilst its function is mainly “advise and Consent”, it can withhold consent in committee and sometimes does. The Commission with the vital and perpetual sole power of initiative then has to come back with a modified proposal. What the parliament (so-called) does not have is any democratic legitimacy, as Mr Hague rightly points out. There is not much demos but quite a lot of kratos in it. It is by no means powerless and is asserting more power and influence than ever. If the parliament’s majority opinion (taken from the large central groups that control the EU parliament) coincides with that of the Commission, it is very likely to prevail. The European Council (of prime ministers and presidents) would have difficulty in resisting determined, long-sustained, combined pressure by the Commission and Parliament singing from the same hymn sheet. The EU institutions do have a life and power of their own – just as Dr. Hallstein (see Edward Spalton’s CIB earlier paper) intended.

Photo by Foreign and Commonwealth Office

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6 comments

  1. Peter BrownReply

    I cannot believe that an organisation such as the CIB that has campaigned for freedom for the UK for so many years is considering Richard North’s Flexcit plan. I( cannot believe that after all that campaigning until what is desired is finally in sight that the CIB is ready to capitulate and recommend to the British People that instead of taking our place in World Trade again as a Free Market member, the CIB is asking us to vote to rejoin EFTA with the nebulous promise that, eventually, we will go for full independence from the EU. Why? You, Roger, have admitted to me that you do not believe that it will be easy to persuade the British People to go through yet another referendum at some unannounced time in the future let alone persuade the politicians to actually providing the opportunity for such a second referendum to leave. It has taken more than 40 years to get to this point and the CIB appears to be ready to throw it all away simply because some ‘intellectuals’ believe that they are the key to swinging the vote towards leaving the EU. They are NOT the key. Everyone who votes in the referendum will have an equal say and, by far, the ordinary person in the street are a far bigger group than the self styled intellectuals and are far more amenable to a wish for the return of sovereignty and democracy.

    Their are some benefits of rejoining EFTA but the EEA/EFTA have to comply with more than 500 parts of the EU Acquis in order to trade. That number continues to grow with each new edict and each new trade deal. Indeed, Helle Hagenau of Norway reported during her speech at the UKIP Conference that on recent deals made, they (Norway7) were required to accept conditions which were OUTSIDE of the EEA Agreement. How can the CIB countenance ever staying within the EU in any form when it does not recognise even the Agreements already made? It is inevitably going to bring us more or less back into the EU via the back door. Like it or not, the biggest concern for Britain and much of the Continent is the massive immigration problem. To enter into an EFTA/EEA agreement with the EU will still leave us vulnerable to immigration and an escalation of the problems associated with it as is happening over much of Europe.

    I cannot even understand the economic reasoning behind such a recommendation. It is known to all that the EU is a rapidly diminishing market. Our exports to the EU, even despite the obscenity of the Rotterdam/Antwerp effect are continuously reducing whilst our imports from the EU are getting bigger. Only the uninformed (or lied to) would ever consider that should we leave the EU that there will be a tariff war. How could that possibly be so when we are the EU’s single largest market? Would they even consider making their exports to Britain more expensive? Of course not. Even Vietnam has recently concluded a deal with the EU which allows a 99% tariff free trade agreement.

    Richard North has mooted that cross border road transport would be made more difficult should we leave the Customs Union. That is absolute nonsense. Most of Europe, including the EU are signatories to the Transports Internationaux Routiers (TIR) Treaty which was re-ratified as late as 1975 which allows for customs sealed loads to be delivered across Europe without inspection until it reaches its end-user destination even if the EU should be so crass as to attempt to make it more difficult for us.

    For the CIB to split the ‘Out’ vote would be a betrayal of the worst kind. Even more so than the treason of the politicians who took us in and keep us within the EU because this time, the British People have the opportunity within their grasp to rid ourselves of the EU altogether. It is the craven thoughts of those that deny that Britain can regain its standing in the World in a Free Trade agreement that allows them to even contemplate such a weak compromise that will never come to fruition simply because we are extremely unlikely to be given the same opportunity of freedom ever again.

    The EU is moribund and likely to stay that way until it goes down the inevitable path of implosion caused by its own ineptness. When it does, it will cause untold misery to any Country foolish enough to be involved in it.

    I sincerely hope that the CIB and any other group will cease from this pseudo-intellectual exercise and come out into the real World once again.

    • John Petley
      John PetleyReply

      Withdrawal is a process. It is not possible to undo over 40 years of intergration at the click of one’s fingers. Many of us who have come over to the EEA/EFTA/FleXcit way of thinking have done so reluctantly, recognising that we need to win round a majority of people just to get through the exit bolthole. If you read FleXcit right through (or else Robert Oulds’ “Everything you wanted to know about the EU but wwere too afraid to ask), you will see why the so-called Swiss or WTO options won’t work. Richrd and Robert have many years experience between them and I for one respect thier judgement. The bottom line is that we must not throw this chance to leave away by dreaming of an ideal high-speed separation that just isn’t realistic. If it means that we have to live with a few things we would rather not for a finite period after leaving, it is better than living with far more things that we would rather not and having to wait for the EU to implode before being able to discard them.

  2. Peter BrownReply

    John,
    All things are a process. What matters is whether that process achieves desirable progress. I would argue that there has been 4o years of collaboration rather than integration. Certainly in Britain, and probably a substantial part of the EU, most Citizens see themselves primarily a Citizen of the Nation State rather than as a ‘European’ Citizen.

    It is true that much of our legislation is intertwined but it is generally considered by even the most ardent of us that wish to leave that the disentanglement will take many years irrespective of whether we are in the EU or not. It is very likely that much of EU Law we would have enacted in any case as some of it is productive. Other Laws can be repealed at any time as desired by Act of Parliament as and when required. Why would we desire to rid ourselves of one undesired ‘Master’ to replace it with a lesser (for now) kind? There is no specific advantage in rejoining a moribund economy such as the EU. Especially so we would be required to comply with so much of the EU Acquis for the privilege.

    Since 2008, we have enjoyed greater trade at more profit on an average annual basis with the rest of the World and even more so of late when we have more trade for fifteen consecutive months. The EU is in terminal economic decline unless they can pull off their desire of a Federal State. You and I both know that to be the ultimate objective of the EU and with the advent of the Spinelli Group’s proposal of a ‘Fundamental Law’ to replace all existing treaties with a single document that is likely to bring that event even closer. It is unlikely to be accepted with unanimity but will be passed under QMV as the EU has continuously done with its alterations to existing treaties.

    The EU may have been conceived with an ideological purpose but has since declined into a plutocratic oligarchy controlled by Commerce. We have seen so much Law passed over the years which have been only to the benefit of large Corporations but to the detriment of competition to them. Do you honestly believe that an EEA Country could compete in such an environment? To cite just one example of the attitude, in the past few weeks; it has become illegal for a sea angler to land a single Cod fish but the Spaniards are allowed to continue to rape the seas as much as they have ever done. Please do not try to convince me that being an EEA Country will allow us to protect our own waters. That cannot be done unless we build and operate a substantially larger Fishery Protection fleet than when we had the ‘Iclelandic’ fishing wars. I know that we will have to anyway but it would be far more difficult to operate such a policy when we would still be far too close to the EU in political terms.

    If we should in anyway retain political association with the EU whether directly or in the EEA rather than as a Free Trading nation, we would still be required to pay hundreds of millions of Pounds in contributions and, although reduced, would still have to comply with far too much political cooperation with the EU. All World trade has to comply to a greater or lesser extent with others in regard to the Customs regulations in order for that trade to continue. We are already aware of those pertaining to the EU and it would be much less of a hardship to comply with them as they must with us. The EEA on the other hand is automatically faced with a Fait Accompli in that they MUST comply with so much of the EU Aquis and according to Norway’s Helle Hagenau, Norway is being forced to comply with more of the Acquis being arbitrarily applied which is outside of the EEA Agreement in order to broker new deals. How can any sane person voluntarily rejoin an organisation that routinely overrides their own Law for the sake of expediency? Especially as the majority of the EEA States are far more dependent on trade with the EU than we are. In fact, as the EU’s largest single customer, the EU may be construed as being far more dependent on retaining trade with us. Do you seriously believe that the EU plutocrats will allow the Commission to jeopardise their trade with Britain for the sake of any remaining politically idealistic reasons? There is absolutely no reason why Britain should not continue to trade with the EU but as an independent Country once again.

    You mention Robert Oulds’ “Everything you wanted to know about the EU but were too afraid to ask”. I have not read the book but I would wager that so much that I would like the answers to are not even mentioned in the book. Instead of pandering to a very small minority of the population (intellectuals), it would be far more productive to inform the vast majority of the undecided made up from the ordinary people of Britain who may not read ‘serious’ newspapers or watch the television news. I used to assist in several of the bye-elections in the North of England and was impressed that though many on the surface were concerned with class war against the Tories, so many of them were deeply patriotic. It is to them that we should be concentrating our efforts. They would be appalled at some of the more insidious legislation coming from the EU but nobody, especially politicians, will tell them because of the politicians own self-centered agenda. Although I hold no illusions to be being an author, some of the things that ought to be told to the people are contained in an ebook that I have compiled and is available on my website (theunituk.org.uk) such as the amendments to Article 2 of the Charter for Fundamental Rights which were presented to the EU Parliament for ratification with the wording contained in a footnote to another footnote. The amendments were ratified without Parliament even seeing the wording of it: The formation of the EuroGenFor of over 3000 fully equipped para-military police whose sole reason for existing is to put down riot and insurrection among the population and are equipped with tanks and military helicopters with which to accomplish it. Nor is there any mention of the Spinelli ‘Fundamental Law’ document that proposes that all European Citizens may vote and stand for Parliament in any EU Country; that all National Parliaments become ‘European’ Parliaments with no status other than Cardiff, Stormont or Holyrood enjoy within the UK and also, that the unelected Commission become the Parliament of this European State. That would complete the transformation of Europe into the plutocratic oligarchy that would completely over-shadow the excesses of the old Soviet Union.

    With the standing of your organisation, that is what you should be informing the far greater numbers of people who are undecided and even many that have already decided to vote to stay in the EU.

    Finally, though I don’t normally make personal observations on any people in my writings, since you have made the point, I shall do so in this case. I do not personally know either ‘Robert or Richard’, I have had some dealings with Richard North in various ‘blogs’ and I, as do many others, find him acerbic and intolerant of other people’s point of view if it does not agree with his own. He has a penchant for accusing dissenters as ‘Ukippers’ (irrespective of whether they are or not) and will simply not allow them to post any further comment. His acerbic language is recognised even by some that follow his ideas. Even if it was considered that his ideas were viable, his attitude would certainly put so many people off from following them. I honestly believe that such a long standing and respected organisation such as your own should not drift off on a tangent that would dilute the ‘out’ campaign and concentrate instead on collecting the far greater number of votes from the ordinary people of Britain.

    As an afterthought John, it has been mentioned before, but please have your IT Guy look at your ‘Capcha’ programme again as it requires many attempts to submit.

  3. Ken WorthyReply

    It is a fallacy to hope that we can shape the single market. The EU will be shaped by the Eurozone majority, and we will be dragged along in its wake. The Eurozone needs more centralisation of financial control, and their Five Presidents’ Report sets out how they will get it. We want none of it, but that’s what we will get if we stay.

  4. Gordon WebsterReply

    Interesting debate going on here. My own personal view is that if MCWhirter and Atkinson are right, and several our leading Jurists (Lord Judge and Lord Justice Law being two) then we are members of The European Union illegally. We were told we were joining a Common Market when Mr Heat new full well what the end result of membership was to be. I have attended more than one Negotiation Courses and had it made clear elsewhere, by an old Trade Union ma, that you negotiate from a position of strength and not submission. ‘Aim for the moon and you’ll get to the top of the tree, but aim for the top of the tree and you won’t get off the ground’ said old Jim. If their Lordships are right, then we can quickly reassert British Sovereignty by amending two laws. Then start arguing and negotiating.

  5. Peter BrownReply

    @Gordon Webster.
    The situation with Norris McWhirter and Rodney Atkinson perfectly exemplifies why Britain has to get as far away from the EU politically as we possibly can. Their attempt to have Douglas Hurd and Francis Maude indicted for Treason because they signed the Maastricht Treaty bringing Britain irrevocably into the EU (the Article 50 Route did not appear until the Lisbon Treaty) was a gross insult to our Sovereignty. Yet the Establishment including the Government and Judiciary conspired to have the suit neutered.

    Interestingly, De Gaulle vetoed Britain joining because he did not believe that Britain was suited, nor be happy in the Economic Community. Why should we be, we had established democracy, a large standing on the World stage and much cheaper food that the Economic Community. It certainly was not that ‘Britain was Europe’s basketcase’ that we joined. At the time of joining, Britain had a growth rate of 7.4%, Germany was an occupied Country and France was recovering from two major Wars; in Vietnam and Algeria. The other members were of no real consequence.

    It was the treason of McMillan and later, Heath that brought us in after De Gaulle’s death. McMillan was a close associate of Jeanne Monnet and all fervently believed in a World Government and they believed that the fledgling EU was the perfect place to start such a movement. It is widely believed that the inclusion of Article 50 in the Lisbon Treaty was to facilitate the secession of a troublesome Britain. It appears that De Gaulle was right all along. Britain is neither temperamentally nor ideologically suited to be joined with such a totally disparate group as the EU. Unfortunately for Britain, its commercial, hereditary and political elite saw the opportunity for personal advancement and have tried their very best to prevent a situation whereby the British People would have a say in our own determination. Unfortunately for McWhirter and Atkinson (and for the people), many of the British Judiciary were complicit in this treason.

    Now, at last, we have an opportunity for the People of Britain to have their say and we must not have dissent among the groups that aspire to leave the EU. There are simply too many in opposition to it. We must all come together, not with high falluting ideas that appeal to a minority but to a concerted effort to educate the People as a whole of what the EU is now and what it is likely to become. In effect, a dictatorship controlled by the Corporations exclusively for their benefit.

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