Saturday, March 07, 2009

Letter To A Tory

I was inspired to write an open letter on this topic by this blog.


Dear David Cameron

I am writing this open letter to you for clarification on a point you have raised in the past. During your campaign for the party leadership you pledged to withdraw British Conservative MEPs from the EPP-ED, at the time I believe the pledge was to do so in "months, not years."

In 2006 I recall that this pledge was put back until 2009. This was because you struck a deal with Mirek Topolanek, the now President of the EU to form a new group, but the Czech Leader had asked or the additional time to make the required political changes at home.

We are now into March of 2009 and there are EU elections this year. May I boldly suggest that the time is now to re-visit this dialogue with your party's potential voters.

The Parliament does not have an official opposition, and the voice calling for less integration within the EU is small. There is a fundamental need in any democracy for opposition voices to be heard. Without opposition, there is no democracy. The majority of people in the UK would favour drastically reduced influence from the EU, yet that voice is not proportionately represented.

The opposition parties in the UK have made claims that Conservative influence within the EU will diminish as a result of leaving the EPP-ED. The decision to leave the EPP was one of courage, this same courage is lacking in the delivery. With a coalition in the EU Parliament proposing a reversal on integrationalist policies, you will only see membership numbers grow over time. It would place the Conservatives in a position of leadership in Europe, and allow your party to better represent your constituents on basic Conservative principles.

At the moment, potential Conservative voters could be forgiven for not knowing what they might be voting for.

It was you who said "I want to apply the modernising approach that I am bringing to the Conservative Party to our approach to Europe. I want us to be the champions of change, optimism and hope in Europe as well as Britain. It is time for a Europe not of deals but of ideals. So we say to the moderate mainstream, who are not satisfied with the EU as it is today: come and join us - we have a future to fight for."

You have done good work in making the Conservative seem electable again at home; you are no longer viewed as the nasty party. This change of image must go further in Europe. Your party cannot be aligned with those people who would disrespectfully Jeer the President of a sovereign nation who dares to ask for accountability to, and dialogue with European people. Your party cannot be aligned to those people who prescribe their indoctrinated policies rather than implementing those which the people of the EU have asked for. Forced co-operation and integration will not lead to peace in our time, but just the opposite. The people of the Europe need representative who can and will stand up to this leviathan and declare "Enough!" and have that voice heard.

If we are to believe that you can help our nation onto the road to recovery and if we are to trust you at the helm; we need to know you will fulfil your stated pledges... and on this particular pledge, I for one would like to know when.



subrosa said...

Super idea Daniel. I do hope you're going to email it and also try and get it on ConservativeHome etc.

Anonymous said...

I too am waiting for a sign the conservatives will actually ask the electorate to vote on this issue.It will not go away so face it,give us democracy not east german rule.

Tim Roll-Pickering said...

One of the points of confusion that continues to reign on this matter is exactly what the entirety of David Cameron's pledge was. My recollection is that he pledged to move the Conservatives from the EPP-ED to a new group of Eurosceptic Conservative parties. I don't recall him saying "if we cannot find enough partners to form a group we will sit as Non-Inscrits [i.e. outside any recognised grouping]".

Contrary to the claims certain MEPs have been making for years, there are not that many British-style Conservative, as opposed to Christian Democrat, parties in Europe (the Czech ODS, who explicitly modelled themselves on us, are a very rare exception). And furthermore most of the groupings in the European Parliament are very broad alliances of convenience rather than ideologically consistent groups. National parties join these groups to increase their influence not only in the Parliament itself but also in other spheres. One of the reasons why the Irish Fianna Fail has been trying to join the "Group of the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe" is not because Fianna Fáil has suddenly decided it has a guiding ideology (I could stop right there...) of liberalism but because it wants access to influence and its leaders want a real chance of some of the key Euro jobs. (Fianna Fáil really needs to be in the EPP both for such ambitions to be best realised and to be in its most natural position, but Fine Gael got there first and blocks entry.)

Now I don't care much about senior Conservatives' prospects of big European jobs, but it does concern the decision makers in many potential partners. Too many Conservative activists have taken a very ideological approach to a distinctly unideological problem. The result is that we are scratching around for potential partners, some of whom will be embarrassing to defend here in the UK (as Fianna Fáil has found in Ireland with some of the exact same parties) and we don't really have anything to offer beyond mere tight ideology.

So even if & when there are sufficient of such parties are they going to automatically prioritise ideology and take a walk in the dark with us, rather than instead seeking influence from within one of the biggest blocks in the European Parliament, with all the benefits they offer? And if there are such parties, why haven't we heard more about them?

I'll also add that I have never once encountered a voter who actually cares about the party groupings in the European Parliament, and I don't recall anything being made of it in the last European elections.

scunnert said...

Good post Daniel, please send it.

Daniel1979 said...

I wrote the letter for the blog; but as per the suggesions I emailed it today.

If I get a reply, I will put it on the blog too.