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EU politics: muddying the waters – part I

Richard North, 04/12/2012  


Open 870-ell.jpg
MPs "should ensure that they have a real understanding in how the EU works and what it does", says Tobias Ellwood, in a new propaganda pamphlet published by your friendly neighbourhood europhiles in Open Europe.

I wasn't going to bother fisking the pamphlet. With a name like, "Upgrading UK influence in the European Union", this is typical of Open Europe. Generally, it is part of their ongoing attempt to pretend that we can somehow improve matters between ourselves and the rest of the EU by embarking institutional and other changes. Anything short of quitting the EU they will try on.

Interestingly, Witterings from Witney has done a respectable job taking Ellwood apart and, with a degree of hyperbole, I could also dismiss him, using terms like "idiot" and "fool". But this is an MP I haven't met, and I know little of him, although, in the past, he has been occasionally sound. Therefore, I do not know him to be a fool. What I can say of him, though, and which needs to be said, is that he completely misinformed in his appreciation of how the EU works and what it does.

The clue that Ellwood offers as to his status comes early in his propaganda script where, in a classic display of ignorance the like of which pervades the Tory tribe, Ellwood tells us that "two of the signal achievements of the European Union (the single market and enlargement) were British led initiatives".

One could get a tad irritated with this, and especially with the "single market myth". Before that, there was the "Common Market", the two being essentially the same - the idea of single market being sold to Thatcher by Arthur (later Lord) Cockfield, to trick her into agreeing to further integration. It was no more "British-led" than Mickey Mouse.

So embedded is this myth in the psyche of the Conservative Party that it is virtually impossible to root out. But when Ellwood trots out this tired nonsense, he writes himself out of the script. But then, I suppose, anybody who writes propaganda for Open Europe can hardly be considered a serious player.

The problem is, though, that Ellwood then defines "euroscepticism" as complaints about "the lack of EU transparency and accountability", and "the transfer of powers and competence from Westminster". Crucially, he then asserts that, "despite all this 'euroscepticism' there is recognition by all three main political parties that Britain must remain a member of the club".

By such means, therefore, have the europhiles pulled off a masterful coup, redefining themselves as eurosceptics - a trick readily adopted by David Cameron himself, who also parades as a eurosceptic. The devils have cast themselves as the angels, completely muddying the waters. Any casual reader will be completely at sea as to what the term "eurosceptic" actually means. 

to be continued ... 

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