Richard North, 06/10/2013  

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It is hardly necessary to add to the superb analysis from Autonomous Mind on the Adam Afriyie "initiative" that made the front page of the Mail on Sunday today, with Afriyie reinforcing his message in a comment piece, telling is how he is going to "force" the prime minister into holding a referendum on Europe "NOW".

When we see the likes of this and this, where europhiles are advocating an early referendum, that alone should give pause for thought. AM thus likens Afriyie's call to the Charge of the Light Brigade, observing - as we all do - that the most certain way of losing an EU referendum is to have one in the near future. 

However, AM also sees party political motivation, in that a referendum before the general election is seen as the best way of neutralising UKIP. What we certainly don't get from Afriyie's exposition in the Mail is any indication that he is looking at the bigger picture, or has any understanding of EU processes, much less any appreciation of what is going on elsewhere.

Instead, Mr Afriyie believes that it an early referendum "will kick-start the renegotiation process today". He then says that it "will strengthen the Prime Minister's hand in those negotiations", adding that "EU officials are stalling that process and waiting for the result of the 2015 Election".

No one with any appreciation of the current situation could possibly believe this piece of "little Englandary", but so detached is Afriyie that we wonder whether he has crossed the line from ignorance into wilful stupidity.

Not least, a serving member of parliament should know that there is no way a British prime minister can "kick-start" negotiations on the EU treaties, as this rests primarily with the President of the Council and, in even the context of Mr Cameron's ideas will require a convention.

The trouble with both ignorance and stupidity, though, is that it is so utterly tedious. One has to go round and round, reiterating the same points

But, with a new treaty proposal on offer, with the nickname "Bozar Treaty", how apt it is to quote from H L Mencken's essay on the "The Sahara of the Bozart": "Obviously, it is impossible for intelligence to flourish in such an atmosphere", he writes. "Free inquiry is blocked by the idiotic certainties of ignorant men".

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