Yesterday, David Cameron announced the proposed response of the Conservative Party to the ratification of the Lisbon Treaty. He made it clear that that Conservatives would work within Europe, that the party sees no need to leave the EU, but, in line with our long standing policy objectives, the Conservatives would seek derogations from some sectors of European law. Most importantly, he proposed a British Sovereignty Bill, which, when enacted, would ensure that the British people would have a say when the EU proposed to draw more competences onto itself.
So, that’s Europe. That’s one policy area in a crowded field of policy areas, each, frankly, more worthy of our time and consideration than our relationship with the European Union. Health, Justice, Home Affairs, Education, Welfare, Defence and Economic Policy are vitally important areas of our party’s future work and our appeal to the electorate.
But, of course, Labour will want us to talk about Europe. Labour would be delighted if this row on Europe trundles on for more than a week or two, because Labour fundamentally has nothing going in its favour elsewhere in the field of actual policy.
On Health, their incompetent handling of IT projects, massive overfunding of inefficient bureaucracy and target chasing at the expense of front line health services, which overburdens nurses and demoralises doctors is nothing to crow over. Andy ‘Everything I Touch Turns to Shit’ Burnham, when he’s not apparently trying to crawl into our living rooms through BBC Television cameras, issues directive after directive, and fumbled the Swine Flu pandemic threat with a massive hype exactly at the time when the risk of transmission was at its lowest, exhausting public interest as we transition into winter.
Justice and Home Affairs presents nothing too happy for Labour. People know they fiddled the knife crime and violence statistics, people know they have no intelligible plans to deal with illegal immigration, people know that the approach of the departments on Drugs offences is based, not on science, but on the prejudice of the pious Prime Minister and the results of focus group soundings. Everybody knows violent crime and knife crime have risen under Labour, while sentencing has fallen.
On Defence, if the job of the ideal Defence Secretary is to look outclassed on national television in political understanding by your average sapper, to make up excuses for the appalling standard of service personnel’s housing, to lie and then obfuscate on the state of morale in the forces, to smear the outgoing head of the armed forces staff, to fail to provide protective equipment and transport for our troops overseas, to actually appeal against compensation for injured personnel and to advance arguments against residency for Gurkhas, then I guess Bob Ainsworth is the ideal Defence Secretary. Frankly, it makes me sick to my stomach to think of that miserable cretin in charge of our nation’s defence.
Education policy is a stunning mess, with Michael Gove making all the running, and Ed Balls looking sheepish and stupid at every encounter. The government isn’t sure what sort of school system it wants, but certainly wants, for some reason apparently unknowable to mortal man, 50% of people to go to University. It then wants to charge them through the nose for doing so. Disarray would be too encouraging a word.
Then there’s economic policy. The decision to sell gold bullion in two auctions, after first alerting the market to the firesale, created some of the lowest prices for gold ever, right at the bottom of the market. known in trading circles as the ‘Brown Bottom’. What’s happening to gold prices today? An all time high. Gordon Brown, the supposed angel of fiscal and financial prudence, sold half the nation’s gold at its lowest point in 20 years, with an estimated loss to the taxpayer of £4 bn at today’s prices. Compare that to the £3.3 bn loss due to Black Wednesday. Marvellous.
In the recession, which he squarely blamed on the USA, he’s raised tax to 50% at the top, reduced VAT by 2%, pumped fiscal stimulus and quantitative easing into the economy and predicted that the UK was ‘best placed in the world’ to emerge from the crisis. In fact, the USA, Germany and France, and many others have now emerged from the recession. The loss to the VAT cut is around £2.5bn. Well done.
But actually, let’s not be afraid to attack them on Europe. David Cameron has given us a policy to believe in, to be proud of. Too bad for the loony right fringe of the party that the referendum they thought they could make inevitable is considerably less so today. We have a policy to protect British sovereignty, which Labour don’t have, but which they may try to match. We have a plan to opt out of those parts of EU law with which we don’t agree, and which would damage our national interest. Finally, we’ll be on a level playing field with other countries which simply don’t give force to the bits they don’t like, but we’ll be doing it calmly, lawfully, reasonably.
Anybody who takes a huff attack and vows to vote UKIP or BNP because we now won’t have a referendum on the already ratified Lisbon Treaty obviously doesn’t care about the thousands of good reasons to vote Conservative and force these morons out.