Watch what they do, not what they say. Actions speak louder than words. All mouth and trousers. These and many other sayings, not all repeatable in a family-friendly publication like UKIP Daily, ran through my mind this week as our Tory and Labour MEPs showed the kind of shameless hypocrisy that would make u-turner-in-chief Nick Clegg gasp with admiration and applaud warmly.
You may have assumed that the currency a country chooses to drop into its piggy banks and hand over when buying its daily bread would be a decision for that country alone. You would be wrong. The European parliament voted this week on, amongst hundreds of other rules and regulations, whether to allow the people of Lithuania a referendum on ditching the Litas and Centas they have been using since throwing off the yoke of Russian oppression 20 years ago, in favour of the Euro.
The Euro is an unqualified economic disaster, scattering unemployment and human suffering wherever it goes. Like the UK, Lithuania had sensibly managed to duck out of this…. to date. But, like sitting in the front row at a stand up comedy gig, it’s only a matter of time before you’re picked on and humiliated. As we all know, when you say “no” to the EU, they hear “no, for now”.
For purely political reasons, in the face of the economic evidence, the EU is hell bent on rolling out the Euro to more and more countries. All countries within the EU are expected to adopt the Euro by 2020. Where Lithuania goes, the UK will be told to follow.
A recent poll in Lithuania showed 55% against this madness, just 41% in favour. Perhaps this is why the EU parliament voted against allowing them a referendum on the issue; like the Irish and Dutch, they couldn’t be trusted to give the “right” answer. Can the Lithuanian economy be expected to fare better shackled to the Euro than the (utter basket case) Greek, or (25% unemployment) Spanish? No doubt adoption of the Euro will wreak untold havoc on the Lithuanian economy and people, as it has done for every country that has adopted it, bar Germany.
But, I hear you cry, this is all par for the course with the EU, why the hubub? Well, I’ve rarely seen such a clear cut case of shameless, self-serving rank hypocrisy from our Labour and Tory MEPs. Despite all their grand talk in support of referenda, democracy and reforming the EU project, the UK Conservative MEPs voted against Lithuania having a referendum. Our Labour MEPs joined them, once again demonstrating that there is no real difference between the two established parties on the substantial issues of our age. (You can see how the vote went here, filter by ‘Member state’ and be amazed.) UKIP MEPs voted in favour of a referendum, as you might expect from the largest party in the Europe of Freedom and Direct Democracy group.
Most disappointingly, Dan Hannan MEP, loquacious champion of liberty, the nation state and democracy also voted against this referendum. I have always admired Mr Hannan, a poster boy of the EU-sceptic movement for many years, I would recommend his book “How we invented freedom” to anyone. However I have long been baffled by his loyalty to a party that is clearly pro-EU, if not always in word then certainly in deed. Dan seemed to miss the hint when his leader called anyone wanting to leave the EU an “extremist”, as he did in April when launching the Tories’ election campaign. I can only, with no little sadness, draw the conclusion that Mr Hannan does not follow his fine words with action. Campaigning with huge energy to lure erstwhile UKIP partners into the ECR grouping, possibly leaving UKIP without a group at all, is perhaps forgiveable. One must expect him to do the best for his party, even if by doing so he is undermining the only true EU-sceptic party in UK politics. However voting against allowing the Lithuanian people a voice on adoption of the Euro is unforgivable.
As has been borne in upon me since the elections in May, there is no such thing as a Eurosceptic Conservative. They may talk the talk, but they never, ever, walk the walk. They either go native once elected or they enable their staunchly pro-EU leadership to further entrench us in the EU mire.
On the same day as they opposed a referendum, the Tories in Europe also voted against treaty reform, against the motion “The euro is inherently flawed”, and in favour of jolly holidays for MEPs. Two-faced doesn’t even begin to cover it. As with Cameron’s pantomime farce of opposing Juncker, the Tories act Eurosceptic to the punters back home, then quietly continue to take us further into the EU. Doesn’t bode well for their sham offer of renegotiating our relationship with the EU.
The general election campaign for May 2015 is starting to flicker into life, hence the recent cabinet reshuffle which was more about the Tories fighting an election than running the country. (Government by Islington focus group – appoint more women, get rid of toxic Gove and people who would never, ever consider voting Tory will suddenly come over to you in droves…honest.) Between now and next May, join me in listening to what the Tories and Labour have to say, then compare their words with their actions (or, increasingly, the lack thereof). I promise it will be a very amusing 10 months.
Photo by Images_of_Money