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Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Rating Cameron in Bavaria

Ben Brogan has picked up on Cameron's trip to Bavaria, where he's speaking at the CSU conference.
“There is a positive agenda for the EU which I describe as the 3 P’s: people, planet and poverty. De-regulation and economic reform would give people in Europe a better chance of prosperity...
Kind of cheesy - but basically good.
...Co-operation on the environment and the Emissions Trading System to reduce carbon emissions would help improve the environment of the planet...
Er... yeah, "cooperation on the environment" might be good if it was going to be a good way to reduce carbon emissions. Unfortunately the EU's ETS delivers increased pollution at incredible cost.
"...And pushing for a WTO deal to reduce tariffs will help reduce poverty in the developing world."
Uh huh. The tories need to get stuck in more on this. But it needs a bit more edge than, "lets all have a WTO deal" though - everyone is in favour of that.
“But a negative agenda for the EU would be the inward looking ambition of bringing back the EU Constitution which has already been rejected. The Constitution has been both distracting and disruptive and it represents the wrong direction for the EU. The Conservative Party will not support a Constitution that is about transferring more power to the EU. Any such Constitution would have to be put to a referendum in Britain and we would vigorously campaign for a no vote.”

"I absolutely agree with Edmund Stoiber when he says irrespective of the differences about the EPP issue, there should be a close co-operation of a formal nature between the CDU/ CSU Parties and the Conservative Party.”

That's fairly carefully worded - but at least they are thinking about calling for a referendum, which is a good start.

Overall they are doing quite well in terms of repositioning the way they handle Europe: basically out goes the naff digital pound clock, in come (better) arguments about the EU's appalling trade policy vis-a-vis developing countries. Still, it needs a lot more "bite" and to be made into a "campaign." There is far too much cackhanded "triangulation" - the determination to balance every criticism of the EU with a pledge to be in favour of something else. (e.g. as one tory researcher told us re the ETS: "we want to be in favour of this"). Having a positive agenda is right. Translating that into support for various doomed EU projects isn't.


Anonymous said...

Having lost a quite considerable number of members plus yesterday two peers to UKIP. Do I detect a touch of panic?

Anonymous said...

At a time when the Conservative Party seems to have little to say about Europe, we have to be thankful for small mercies. It's good that Cameron is reiterating our opposition to the EU Constitution. But he says that any constitution giving more powers to the EU would have to be subject to a referendum. If only! They may avoid the word Constitution, and they will certainly seek to avoid new referenda, but they are determined to have most of the substance of the failed constitution in place by 2009, and it's not clear at this stage what we can do to stop them

Anonymous said...

Roger Helmer is right. The EU Constitution is not dead and an attempt will be made to get it in here without a referendum. Geoff Hoon has already started preparing us for that. That could be why Cameron felt safe in talking up that the CP will be working for a NO vote. Good for Cornerstone consumption.I am sure the rest of what he said will be treated as irrelevant guff. All he needs to know about the EU is that it is a continental club in which our opinions count for little and we are therefore better off out of it.