Wednesday, 6 May 2009

Cameron Set to Leave Europe's Centre-Right

The European Parliament elections traditionally have a low level of interest in the UK, but David Cameron’s decision to form a new European grouping with far-right parties in Brussels may make next month’s elections a little more interesting.

The details are still being worked out, but it looks certain that Cameron will push ahead with a plan to take the Tories out of the European parliament’s centre-right grouping, the European People’s Party (EPP), and form a new eurosceptic party. The plan would unite the Tories with several far-right parties across Europe, one of which warns that homosexuality will cause the “downfall of civilisation.”

It’s a strange move considering that the Tories are not a far-right party but rather a centre-right one, and that some of the European parties they will be joining with more closely resemble philisophically the British National party (BNP) than themselves. It is even more strange considering the Tories are probably poised to take over the British government next year, and yet they are bolting from the EPP which is composed of the governments of Europe’s most important countries including the parties of Germany’s Angela Merkel and France’s Nicolas Sarkozy.

According to The Independent on Sunday, separation talks with the EPP have been completed and 20 MEPS from seven countries have signed on, giving the new grouping enough members to receive EU funding as a party. That grouping will include the Polish Law and Justice Party (PiS), the party of the infamous Kaczynski twins who until recently were president and prime minister of the country. That party has banned gay rights marches for being "sexually obscene” and a prominent member has warned that Barack Obama's victory would mean "the end of the civilisation of the white man". The grouping will also reportedly include a Latvian hardline nationalist party.

So what do all these parties have in common? Seemingly, only that they don’t think the EU should exist. The only problem is that Tory party is hardly of one mind on that subject. Cameron pledged to leave the EPP in his 2005 campaign for the Tory leadership, winning over the Conservative right wing and giving him the edge to defeat David Davis. So Cameron could be in hot water if he reneges on his promise. On the other hand many Tory MPs and MEPs are very worried about this decision to leave the EPP, fearing it will leave the Conservatives as an isolationist party outside the mainstream of Europe.

At the event launching the Conservative’s 4 June election campaign yesterday, Cameron was clearly trying to make the upcoming vote a referendum on Gordon Brown’s handling of the economic crisis. “With every Conservative vote, the message will be simple, 'Enough is enough - you're the past'," he sad at a community centre in north-east England, referring to Gordon Brown. "With every day that passes, this government is running our country into the ground. Borrowing eye-watering amounts of money, presiding over social decline, letting our politics descend into the quagmire.”

Labour would be wise to quickly educate voters about Cameron’s plans for the far-right European alliance, reminding them that though they may be dissatisfied with Labour, they may be cutting off their nose to spite their face by casting a vote that could indirectly create a new far-right block in Europe. However, considering the reticense of any British politician to talk about Europe (It was telling that Cameron’s speech today focused almost entirely on domestic issues in the local elections rather than the EP), I think it’s unlikely Labour will be able to get this message out clearly over the next month.

2 comments:

Jon said...

I can't believe Cameron is actually going to go through with this, it's absolutely insane. This is a preview of things to come for Britain, the main doesn't have any real ideas, he will be a toady to populism and go whichever way the political winds are blowing. I am truly frightened about what is in store for a Tory Britain.

markrich@mac.com said...

The Conservatives are not quite the centre right party you protrait. Some of the key aspects of their defeat in electons over the past few years has been the right wing, sometimes extreme right wing, policies sucessive leaders have provided to the electorate. Labour's single voice on Europe and the fact that they have been more competent than the Tories have added to their position. It's also wise to notice that it isn't always Labour's policies on Europe and the economy which many comentators and public have pointed to as part of Labour's bad showing in the polls and press, but the arrogance of taking the country into a war which was not desired or legal and consitent anti terrorist laws which have erroded civil liberities in the pursuit of vague aims. Right wing policies which have not been completely dismissed by the Tories in any capacity other than to score a few headlines and add to the discomfort of the government.

Cameron's misguided policy to align himself with euro sceptics, racists, bigots and homophobic politcians have already been condemned by many Tory MEPs and will show him for what he is. A man without any vision just jumping on the headline bandwagon.

Anyone asked to point to solid tory policies will be hard pressed to find them. There are none, just taunts and anti-government statements. Nationalists may wave the flag in support of them but then little islanders often do. There isn't anything constructive in his vision, just a return to the us and them policies of Thatcher that ruined the economy in three recessions.

Anyone wishing to point to the economic record under Labour whould be wise to consider that the Tories laid many of the economic laws to which the economy was functioning along. The present crisis may well have been caused and accellerated by those policies but few exepected the present situation to be so bad and it really doesn't have to if confidence and bank lending was to be restored back to previous levels.

The Tories would have been jumping up and down in rage had any changes to the economy under Labour been made during the past 10 years to apply more regulation and now then condem them for not doing enough.

Having grown up under 18 years of Tories I am very nervous about their return to power. Pulling out of the most important centre-right group in the EP shows at best incompentance and at worse a dangerous shift to the right in British politics which will harm the UK and it's standing in the rest of Europe where the centre is already moving away from the west to the centre.

I will always remember the wise words of my mother. Never trust a Tory, they are only in it for themselves, not the welfare of others.