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Thursday, January 30, 2014

Some rebels are more rebellious than others

We shouldn't fear a robust debate about Europe - whether in Europe as a whole, domestically or within individual political parties. It's called democracy.

This week’s Westminster news cycle has been dominated by Tory splits and rebellions (again). The Spectator’s leader column wonders whether the hardcore rebels would prefer to see their party lose the next election, and as it rightly points, out: there's a time for everything.

Today will see the Commons debate the Government’s Immigration Bill and, depending on the Speaker and time, potentially debate two ‘rebel amendments’: one is Dominic Raab’s on removing foreign criminals’ right to use the European Convention on Human Rights’ Article 8 on family life to appeal deportation. The other is the demand to reinstate rules preventing Romanians and Bulgarians working in the UK. According to the BBC's Norman Smith, Raab's amendment will be called.

However, these two amendments clearly differ significantly in spirit (it is telling that Raab's amendment has a significant degree of cross-party support). Raab's amendment, whether one agrees with it or not, is a constructive proposal to tackle a practical problem with the interpretation and use of the ECHR in the UK that he and others believe is necessary to ensure the Home Secretary's stated policy works - a clever and perfectly legitimate Parliamentary practice.

The architects of the amendment to reintroduce restrictions on Bulgarian and Romanian migrants - again, whatever we think of its merits - must know full well that their amendment is outright illegal under current EU law. Yes, the discussion about Parliament's sovereignty is legitimate and important. However, it's hard to see what this amendment, at this point in time, can or is meant to achieve.


Average Englishman said...

If Open Europe really does not understand the logic behind the amendment to restrict Bulgarian and Rumanian immigratioin to the UK then Open Europe does not understand the depth of feeling of the anti-EU lobby in the UK.

The promoters of this amendment are putting pressure on Cameron as best they can to let him know that however much he wriggles (by for example promising referendums he knows damn well he can't and won't deliver) they will not be silenced and will not go away. They care nothing for EU law only the law of the UK Parliament. They put their country and their constituents' needs first and their party second.

These people are essentially expressing their frustration at their leader's current policies and letting him know forcefully that if he doesn't change they will bring him down; they will not shut up and they will not back down.

They are trying to change Cameron or get rid of him from within the Conservative Party, whereas others gave up that approach long ago and accept that a new force in UK politics must rise to maintain UK freedom. Either way, Cameron will soon be out; the improvements to the UK's economy alone will not save him.

Anonymous said...

There will be a greater "rebel" at large come May when the UK electorate express their extreme displeasure at everything EU.

The big 3 UK political parties have let us down so badly that it is now time for a cataclysmic democratic change.


Freedom Lover said...

Thank you Average Englishman for your critical comments about Cameron. Quite music to the ears to hear you speak of bringing Cameron down & getting rid of him. Yes, beautiful words indeed. And very inspirational!

Rik said...

This is an issue with many angles.

1. Fully agree that the Tories should close ranks. Being in this messy situation does no party good. It might give individual MPs the possibility to profile themselves especially to their own voters. But it will do the overall brand as much harm at the same time. They will hardly get reelected in a party that has political power if the party is associated with infights. And their own reelection is more and more jeopardized if the poarty as a whole is weaker.
And splitting the party is a disastour in itself in a systen like the British and certainly for them. The market they want to adress is already served by Mr Farage and Co. At best they will face stiff competition.

From a more strategic pov re an EU reneg. Once you have a proper strategy (that looks realistic) yopu should only change it redically when something really important happens that forces that change. Moving from strategy a to strategy b and back before a move to strategy c is simply a road to nowhere. The other side of the table should be made ready (or kicked ready when necessary) and direct confrontation is simply something completely different structural but persistent discussion (The Cameron way). And needs an othe rpreparation.

2. From getting a proper technical set up of your legislation this is of course also complete rubbish. This are 2 seperate issues should be dealt with unconnected. This is the way to get red tape (you maximise the chance of unforseen consequences, which are the major cause of unnecessary red tape after abolishing asap things when it is rubbish).
If you wan it done do it seperately.

3. These are negative PR events. Simple as that. Some theater like this can be used to put pressure on the other side but in that case Cameron should come out everytime (unless it is convenient otherwise) as the victor.
You are dealing with only partial rational people. Thinking in solutions where everybody acts totally logical doesnot work in such situations. As if they have not been told several times that they are harming the party in general.

4. These things also happen in the full media spotlight. Imho this sort of events are reduced in considerable measure by:

a) keep in open conversation with the potential rebels. This looks clearly not done enough. Nearly eveything seems to play around the EU dossier so likely the one dealing with this on governmentside (looks like Hague at the moment, probaly moving to Osborne as it looks) should pick this up.
The group has only a limited number of 'faces' that can likely if not bind the group come pretty close to that.
So the manure can largely be kept inhouse.

b) Likely some concessions are needed to get the group silent.
That is the way it is.
This was a good occasion to do that and again it was missed.
And it should be done on a more structural level. We have this soap now roughly every month.

Anonymous said...

Had Cameron given us the referendum he promised in his cast iron guarantee manifesto then he would have been the most popular leader since Churchill and he would definitely have secured the next election. But he didn't, and all the prolems facing him and the country today are a direct result of that.
UKIP tried to tell him but he wouldn't listen. Farage even said to Cameron before the last election that he would stand UKIP down if the Tories gave the people a referendum on coming to power. But Cameron told him to bog off. The rest is history. Cameron has put the EU before hs own country and this is why he faces troubles today. Ditto for Clegg and Milliband by the way.

Anonymous said...

Tory Rebels, or are doing what they have been elected to do and that is to represent the people who elected them. It is a shame that Cameron believes that an 'Elective Dictatorship' is the norm. Voting and supporting UKIP for now on !

Blakenburg said...

Common Sense for some MP's to represent the people they been elected to serve!

Rik said...

On Immigration

I saw in the presssummary that Mr Persson again missed the opportunity to cut the immigration discussion into 2 pieces.

There is educated, mainly Western immigration. Overall this looks enormously benificial for any country. That gets in, in average is better material than the average local. Eases international trade, makes the lives of a lot of people a lot easier, travel easier etc. From an economic side these are general nett payers (taxes paid minus gov spending) plus they generate via international trade more GDP also per capita and also for the locals. Unemployment lower than locals, income higher and the state misses the youth period with educationcosts. And possibly they move back again when they get old and become on an annual basis basketcases themselves.

The other group is the 3rdish world immigration. Or with countries like Bulgaria groups that share more characteristics with 3rd world than with say Canadiens or Germans.
This is the group where the problems are and in many ways.
Look at the papers problems with or about foreigners nearly always concerns this group.
In average they pay much less tax than the average local. They are the ones that create nearly all the social unrest. Ever heard somebody complaining in a pub about all those Danes. No it is a welcome new source to make jokes about. Especially the French (aka cheese monging surender monkeys) are great in that respect.
Also long term (see the report of the Dutch WRR) this is the group that are simply said potential basket cases (and with basketcase children on top of that).
Here you should be cherry picking. There are absolutely brilliant people there. But for an immigration country they come with simply way too much bagage (social problems and simply per success several misses) to allow the whole group in as has happened. As said cherrypicking solves that.

Next to that there is an integration issue for the present immigrants in these groups.

The problem of immigration is getting under more and more pressure. If no proper logical discussion is started this might run completely out of hand. Likely by populist parties simply getting elected into power.

Therefor imho this discussion should be split and asap.
If you keep treating it as one issue, it is either All In or All Out.
Which means that if at some time an anti-immigration party gets into power it will be All Out. This means very limited Western immigration will be possible. Just look at IPs ideas. And visa versa Britishers would have huge problems abroad as there would be repurcussions.
That would be imho a disaster for the economy of about the same size as leaving the EU tomorrow by going to Barroso and middlefinger him (as some propose).
This issue should simply be better managed.

Rik said...


Hard to see that with huge limits on non Western immigration and EU excesses like Human rights protected terrorists the discussion would not be calmed down. Combined with say a letter to the Commission that any new member first can have free movement (in the curent uncertainty) when levels of standards of living have been brought to a sustainable level. Meaning that a continuous and substantial flow of people from that country to Western Europe is not longer more or less a given).
There would be a discussion but that would mainly be about the people that are already in the UK and you have given permanent residency or even worse passports. But that won't be an immigration discussion in the strictest sense. It would have become an integration discussion.
Which should also be dealt (and brought be politcs) with as a seperate issue.
Also an issue however and likely an important one the next decades. You simply have let structurally dysfunctional groups into your country. You imported underclass and in substantial numbers.
But immigration for the part where it matters would most likely be safe.
And at max the costs of not getting structural nett receivers in and kicking terrorists and other garbage out asap. And some Human right stuff of course.

Anyway it will for the UK and the rest of Europe a trigger to face the problems at the bottom of their labour market. It is simply hard to see that in the sector where skills are not really an issue. I could probably do most of that work with 1 day training combined with very high unemployment there are no structural issues. Shortages in a low skill sector with very high unemployment simply indicates that there are structural issues and big ones.
A lot of people in that part look simply not fit for purpose. And you first have to make the problem clear before it can be solved (at least partially).

On Bulgaria (and Romania, Romenia, Rumania and Rumenia or how all those countries are called).
It is clear that this group is not similar to say the wider AngloSaxon world and North and Western Europe. They simply look more like immigration from the 3rd world.
The Dutch report you referred to earlier this week. Describes it correctly. You likely end up with a lot of structural cases. A lot of the imigration is not highly educated (and there is education and education anyway) and the people that stay are probably relatively more the not properly educated ones.
They therefor recommend structural stuff for Holland.
I have a lot simpler view. If immigrants need special programms you simply donot need those immigrants.

Anyway this would have been a good one to break the ice with the Tory-Guevaras. It gives them something to ponder on.

Btw Labour via its shadow labour minister (black guy, looks very clever for a politician) is making the distiction already.

Rik said...


This is part of a large body of legislation the UK has over decades signed up for.
Partly like here plainly stupid we probably agree on that.

But it is a total illusion to think it can be solved overnight.

Problem being that via the EU all these rules including a lot of silly ones have become intertwined.
The thing should be unwound.

Furthermore you cannot completely ignore the rule of law when you think it is not convenient. That is a way more important piece of the foundation of your country, than some Bulgarian immigrants.

Cameron is imho stretching the rules to the max. And it is simply the best he can do under the circumstances. His room has been heavily reduced before basically by Blair and earlier governments.

Going on collisioncourse as these MPs do and not only with the EU and with Cameron but de facto seen the polls with a considerable majority of the country is hardly benificial (also for themselves). Simply a road to nowhere.
You are the 25% (or so seen IP in the polls plus the votes these guys got). 25% looks also in line with the polls which say 40% for an out and 60% for an in or first reneg. Minus the fact that also from that 40% a lot of people would not like eroding the rule of law. So 25 may be 30% looks a reasionable estimate.

Anyway their 25-30% is at one of the extremes. And the rest wants simpy something else. Plus the group is badly organised split between these wannabe-Guevaras and IPs (not backed up by MPs) and as said at one of the extremes 25-30% in the centre is so much better.

It took decades to create it if it can be solved in years you are very lucky and fast.

Anyway it probably the choice between one bird in the hand (the Cameron way) or a lot in the air.
Cameron's ideas imho are the max realistic achievable. That might even be a problem, but worth the try.
Wait for the outcome and vote in the referendum. If Cameron cannot deliver either by his own making or by EU stubbornness pull the plug. And you can be the judge on what deliver should mean.
If with you 50% others do as well you get your final result and pop goes the plug.

As I see it that is by far also your best realistic position.
You get a substantial reform or if not an exit as things look now.
Going on you might bring Labour in the saddle and get nothing. No reneg no referendum and definitely no Out.

Also Labour will move it is hard to see how they would want to go into an election with all sorts of political trickery, an undemocratic lable and a very weak candidate (and hardly any real policies). But there should be electoral pressure on them as well. By losing the election or by being close and needing the referendum as a tiebreaker.
Won't happen in one day though. These things however only make Labour stronger and less in need of change on this point.

Anyway as said group Cameron should communicate better with these people, fully agree on that. If they go coordinated balistic it will help his case in Europe tremendously. If it goes like this it weakens also there his position and simply reduces the chances of a referendum overall. Cameron getting reelected does the job but also before that if there is enough presure on Labour they will move or dig themselves in, in a way that spoils their chances at the ballotbox.
They simply look crap on this issue (with 80% of the people pro referendum at some time) and the public should know that via the medias, but in stead they get presented this monthly bitchfight.

Anonymous said...

Open europe has it the wrong way round, it is the europhiles that are going to cost the tories a lot more votes, they won't get re-elected, they weren't the last time it was only the power hungry lib deems that put them in power, that won't happen next time because the lib deems will be wiped out.

Anonymous said...

It's the europhiles ripping the tory party apart.

Average Englishman said...

A lot to digest there Rik!

On immigration: - You are of course correct that some UK immigrants are more welcome than others. The influx of immigrants of all types to the UK is changing the country; sometimes this is good and sometimes it is bad but the country is definitely changing and very, very few of the electorate voted for this change intentionally. It has happened as an unforeseen result (by most voters) to the continuing integration of the UK within the EU by a very slim majority of the UK's political class who have done this knowing full well what the results would be. Thgey have the same attitude to their people as the EU Commissars: - we are clever, you voting plebs are not and therefore, we know what's best for you and for Europe. If their ideas were really so wonderful they should have had the courage to explain them openly to the UK's electorate, not just operate by deceit and then throw their hands in the air at the consequences saying 'we can do nothing because of EU treaties'. That's just not good enough.

The Tory rebels are venting the anger of their constituents whilst Cameron continues with the old 'we know best so do as you're told' arrogance. It just will not do and the rebels will not go away. If they back down they will lose their seats.

As for your point that Cameron can do no more than he is at the moment; well that's just not acceptable. Of course change won't happen overnight but the Prime Minister of the UK must get stuck in to put our country on course for either very substantial EU treaty changes to take us back to the Common Market status the UK electorate voted for (including me), or a complete UK exit from the EU. And, starting the EU leaving process incorporated in the Lisbon Treaty is the only way that PM will be taken seriously. He or she must make it clear to the UK's friends in Europe that change will happen one way or another and the will of the UK people will not be denied. Cameron is not the main to do this job. He is a Nevile Chamberlain when the UK needs a Churchill.

And what if Cameron does nothing meaningful on the lines I have indicated and perhaps loses the next election to a Labour Government that also acts in the same way? Well, as a democrat, I am firmly convinced that the will of the UK people will eventually win through, whether Cameron and his type like it or not. It is just a matter of time; rather like the demise of the Euro. The die is cast, it is only a matter of time and the sooner Cameron, the rest of the Tory Party, the EU commissars and political pundits like Open Europe realise this the better; less pain and more gain all round.