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Samizdata quote of the day

Seldom in the course of European negotiations has so much been surrendered for so little. It is amazing how the Government has moved miles while the French have barely yielded a centimetre.

William Hague

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34 comments to Samizdata quote of the day

  • Blair is now finished. I give him six months max before he loses control of the Labour Party.

  • PJ

    … but Brown will be a lame duck leader without a mandate, and therefore even worse at surrendering to Brussels and high-spending forces nearer home.

    Be careful what you wish for …

  • RAB

    I like Hague. Clever witty reasonably down to earth, with a mind of his own. Always a match for Bliar at the despatch box.
    What did for him was bad timing ( he was a decade too soon) and the media. Well it was hard to get past that precocious speech he made as a 15 year old. Plus the funny voice and the baldness.
    Oh and he married a Welshwoman, always a sign of good taste.(No that’s not irony, I’m married to a Welshwoman!)

  • Julian Morrison

    This Blair government looks to me very like the last Major one. Winning an election by the seat of his pants, knives out for the leader, zero momentum, mounting scandals, lack of public trust but voters uncertain of the opposition, and, early in the electoral term, a young new leader with populist ideas taking control of the opposition, after the previous leader had done a lot to disciple and organize them.

  • michael farris

    The first time I saw Hague on TV I couldn’t believe he’d been elected anything. His body language screamed “I’m out of my league! Be kind!” Maybe he’s matured now.

  • GCooper

    RAB writes:

    “I like Hague. Clever witty reasonably down to earth, with a mind of his own. Always a match for Bliar at the despatch box.

    Agreed. His PMQ sessions with Bliar were compulsory viewing: it was like watching Muhamed Ali take on an overweight brickie outisde a pub. Clearly, Hague is a very bright bulb.

    “What did for him was bad timing ( he was a decade too soon) and the media. Well it was hard to get past that precocious speech he made as a 15 year old. Plus the funny voice and the baldness.”

    That and the relentless abuse of him by the Leftist media. Unable to take on his politics, they showed their true colours by ridiculing his appearance.

  • John East

    Maybe it’s just Hague’s style, but my impression is that his reasonable, laid back utterances in the media today lacked conviction. In fact, I heard him on radio yesterday, calmly mouthing the obvious criticism of Blair’s surrender, but adding that it was right that we should contribute towards infrastructural development and investment in the former Eastern block EU countries. Why did he add this extra comment, which pointlessly diminished his argument?
    This “reasoned” Conservative approach is even more puzzling when one considers that the wet, pro-EU, faction of the Tory party has been defeated and thoroughly purged over the last 5 years. So why has the victorious anti-EU faction of the Tory party been so reasonable over the last week?
    Lots of questions, no answers. We’ll have to wait and see what the Libdem faction (Cameron) position is, but at this point it all feels very conspiritorial to me.

  • Verity

    John East – Excellent point. Why did he add the rider that diminished his argument? Because commanded to do so by TB Mark II. Cameron is pro-EU. He just wants Conservatived MEPs to join a different group. That’s the end of his gripe with the EU.

    Cameron is going to be a disaster for the Tories. And rightly so. He has absolutely nothing to offer, he has no connection with ordinary people’s lives and he’s a bit of a sleaze. He’s got around two years to prove how incompetent he is. What a choice! Gordon Brown or David Cameron. Dear god!

  • Brian

    I’m obliged to report that I don’t agree with Mr Hague at this point.

    Blair’s nauseating treason is disgusting, abominable, appalling and a stench in the nostrils of decent people.

    But please don’t pretened any of this is a suprise. The scum sold the peopleof Northern Ireland into the hands of murderers and thugs for the sake of a photo opportunity.

    He has abolished anything resembling civil liberties in Britain for the sake of a few headlines in the Mail.

    Why should he not sell his country down the river for the sake of a little pleasantness in a Euro-summit?

    I suggest readers stock up on rope before the Labour party steal the remaining change in your pockets.

  • RAB

    Look folks, lets not be too hard on Mr Hague.
    He smells blood!
    He has given up a large chunk of money to be shadow foreign secretary. He could still be out there on the speech tour circuit if money was all he wanted.
    He also knows in his heart that Cameron is a man for all seasons and if he plays his cards right he will succeed where Cameron “Just” fails.
    He is in a word a “Politician”.
    How the hell this benefits the rest of us is anyones guess.
    Except that I trust his integral honesty and hope that he doesnt embarrass me by being found in bed with an audit of EU inspectors ( that’s like a flight of unicorns or even mochins to the rest of you ).
    To summarise- he doesn’t need the money and he smells blood. Time to tip toe to the big prize.

  • Verity

    RAB – V. interesting comment.

  • You have to remember people that Tony is giving away our money..it the case of Jacques it was his money.

  • Tomahawk

    This “reasoned” Conservative approach is even more puzzling when one considers that the wet, pro-EU, faction of the Tory party has been defeated and thoroughly purged over the last 5 years. So why has the victorious anti-EU faction of the Tory party been so reasonable over the last week?

    There’s nothing puzzling about it at all. Cameron is very obviously a Eurosceptic but he’s also clever enough to realise that one of his party’s main problems over the last 15 years has been its obsession with the EU. Even if voters broadly agree with the party – which they do – they’re turned off by the endless obsessing on the subject. The Tories made the single currency the centrepiece of their 2001 election campaign and look where it got them. If you look at voters’ priorities, the EU is near the bottom of the list.

    The last thing Cameron wanted to do now was to start banging the anti-EU drum again, especially as he’s still on his media honeymoon. The Tories’ main problem has been that voters’ perceived them as being stuck in the past, backward looking, and not interested in the things that interest voters. Launching into yet another tirade on Europe would undo Cameron’s good work so far.

    But the Tory party has a long way to go before it has changed. The most noticeable thing from the “Question Time” debate on the BBC between Cameron and Davis was how the Tory members of the audience, who at one stage had looked like the living dead, suddenly sprang into life when the EU was discussed. Cameron will have to be careful that the obsessive moonbats in his own party don’t start going all rabid about the EU and reminding voters why they have not elected a Conservative government since 1992.

  • Verity

    Tomahawk – I personally love your logic, which I am sure will be appreciated by other Samizdatas when they get up in the morning and have a giggle with their cup of tea. It’s some time since we’ve had some knock-about comedy around here.

    Petit fisk: Cameron is very obviously a Eurosceptic but he’s also clever enough to realise that one of his party’s main problems over the last 15 years has been its obsession with the EU.

    Hey, wait a minute! Cameron’s clever enough to dismiss the concerns over the last 15 years of his core voters? This is clever?

    but he’s also clever enough to realise that one of his party’s main problems over the last 15 years has been its obsession with the EU. Even if voters broadly agree with the party – which they do – they’re turned off by the endless obsessing on the subject

    Hey, wait a minute! They’ve been obsessing, and ignored, for 15 years, and losing ballast for 15 years and it is bizarre to address their strongly held gut feelings? You just said above that the Conservatives are obsessed with the dominance by a Europe they never got to vote on. Perhaps that means the steamroller meant to iron out Tories who would magically become europhiles when flattened, didn’t work? And they still care about their country?

    The last thing Cameron wanted to do now was to start banging the anti-EU drum again But, gasp, you just said Conservative voters had been obsessing about this for 15 years. Why did Cameron judge it wise not to address the worries, which have had legs for 30 years, not 15, of natural Conservative voters?

    Tomahawk continues: The Tories’ main problem has been that voters’ [sic] perceived them as being stuck in the past, backward looking, and not interested in the things that interest voters. But not the voters who have stayed away from the polls because of concerns about the dead man’s march into the EUSSR, surely? Which is it?

    Launching into yet another tirade on Europe would undo Cameron’s good work so far. And that would be ……………….. what? What “good work” has Cameron done so far?

    What?

    What?

    What “good work”?

    The most noticeable thing from the “Question Time” debate on the BBC between Cameron and Davis was how the Tory members of the audience, who at one stage had looked like the living dead, suddenly sprang into life when the EU was discussed

    This is what we in the clue-bat trade call a clue-bat.

    Tomahawk – You’ll have to be a whole lot cleverer if you want people on Samizdata to be other than amused by your pewling.

  • The Last Toryboy

    I am a raging Europhobe, and recall, with glee, many moons ago Perry describing the EU as an “abomination”. I wholeheartedly agree.

    But alas I see sense in Tomahawks ramblings. The EU issue does not sell with voters. I think they do worry about it, but they worry about other things more.

    The europhobe and Tory in me hopes that the latest round of eurohumiliation meted out on us by the useless politicians who currently rule us would wake the dozy electorate up to this issue, which in my mind is one of the most important of political issues facing this country. But the pessimist doubts.

    So the Tories do have to bite their lip a bit on the subject.

    Where I disagree is that the Tory europhiles have been purged. They will be purged when Ken Clarke and Euro-Hezza have passed beyond this mortal coil, thank god. At least Heath already has done. They may have nil influence in the Tory party but whenever one of these dinosaurs talks the media listens and the Tories fume.

  • The Last Toryboy

    …and incidentally this internet monicker of mine I took in 1997 when it looked like all was lost, and I really was the last Toryboy in England.

    Thank god it looks like the worm has finally turned.

  • The obvious temptation for the Tories would be to keep quiet over the rebate giveaway so that Cameron can avoid the charge of being obsessed with Europe. I think that would be a mistake. The problem with the Euro-obsession as the public see it is that the Tories appeared to have a bee in their bonnets about an obscure, boring political arrangement to the exclusion of other issues that the public care about. Blair was talking about ‘schoolsnhospitals’ – or ‘kids’ and the elderly while the Tories were banging on about ‘Yerp’. No wonder they seemed out of touch.

    They just need to be careful about the rhetoric. Rather than portraying Blair as being weak and giving in to Europe (which people get anyway) they should focus on the money aspect and start demanding of Gordon Brown answers as to what he is going to cut in order to pay for Blair’s generosity to other countries.
    Will it be the schools or the hospitals? Or what else?
    My guess is that Brown’s friends will start planting stories blaming Blair when the going gets tough.

  • What should be addressed,by socialists is why Blair,as leader of the Labour Party feels his job is to look after the interests of the East European working class rather than his own.

  • Tomahawk

    Verity, you’re a nut.

    Cameron’s clever enough to dismiss the concerns over the last 15 years of his core voters? This is clever?

    Er, yes, actually – in case you haven’t noticed, the core-vote strategy has led to three consecutive election defeats in which the party has won fewer than 200 seats on less than a third of the popular vote on each occasion. You may think that’s a good performance – in which case, you remind me of Tony Benn at Labour’s nadir in 1983 when he said that dreadful election result for the party was really a success because “8 million people voted for socialism”. What you and Wedgie don’t realise is that to win elections in the UK you need to win floating centrist voters, not just the obsessive loons. Blair knows it and so does Cameron. If the latter is to succeed, he must resolutely ignore moonbats like you. Your obsessions are not shared by voters – here is MORI’s list of the most salient issues just before the election this year (respondents listed their top issue and could mention any other as being important):

    Crime 40
    NHS 36
    Race/immigration 27
    Education 26
    Pensions 14
    Defence 14
    Economy 11
    Morality 10
    Europe 9

    In short, Verity, if Cameron listens to people like you, Gordon Brown will romp home in 2009/10.

  • Verity

    Toryboy says: “The EU issue does not sell with voters.” How do they know? They’ve never tried it. It seems to sell OK with UKIP, which is a single issue party. The Tories are multiple issue, yet they ignore the elephant in the living room. Wolfie has a point when he notes that the Tories can address the Europe question in different ways, slyly. Or as Ron Brick says, accuse him of caring more about the working people of East Europe than British working people.

  • Tomahawk

    Toryboy says: “The EU issue does not sell with voters.” How do they know? They’ve never tried it.

    RFLOL! So, is my memory playing tricks on me when I think back to the 2001 general election when the Tories campaigned on nothing but the EU? “Ten days to save the pound!” The voters’ response? Yawn, goodbye baldy!

  • GCooper

    Tomahawk writes:

    ” Even if voters broadly agree with the party – which they do – they’re turned off by the endless obsessing on the subject. ”

    Thank you for that dollop of received wisdom.

    Time and again we have heard this assertion that the Conservative ‘obsession’ with the EU ‘puts people off’. But how do we know this? Are you, in fact, simply repeating the claptrap we’ve been told by a succession of Tories In Name Only, who have tried to silence debate on the subject? And are these not, these Heseltines, Clarkes and Pattens, the very people who sold us into the EU in the first place and whose only regret is that we are not now suffering from having adopted the Euro?

    Or is it the BBC’s opinion? It’s certainly what the rabid Europhiles at the BBC say – and for precisely the same reasons.

    And yet isn’t it true that the biggest selling daily newspaper in Britain is even more ‘rabid’ about the EU? It doesn’t seem to deter its white van man readership, does it? In fact, as lines go, it plays rather well.

    And on it rolls:

    “Cameron will have to be careful that the obsessive moonbats in his own party don’t start going all rabid about the EU and reminding voters why they have not elected a Conservative government since 1992.”

    Really? Is that so? And there I was labouring under the misapprehension that the reason we had a Labour government had a much more complicated causation to do with the ‘Tory sleaze’ campaign, the desire of any electorate to vote for change for change’s sale, the economy, the rigged electoral system and a thousand and one other factors. And all along, it was simply because the silly old Tories went on about Europe too much!

    One more thought. I hesitate to say this in case I evoke his shade, but didn’t we once have a commenter on this blog called Euan Gray, who adopted a remarkably similar line and was one of those forever assuring us that the loss of the last election would not have happened had many Conservatives not voted UKIP? .

    So alienating even more Conservative core supporters (I’m sorry: “obessive moonbats”), as you are advocating, will achieve what do you suppose?

  • Tomahawk

    GCooper

    The Tories now have a firmly Eurosceptic platform, so there’s no need for them to alienate their core members by keeping quieter about the EU.

    Europe wasn’t the only (or even the main) reason why the Tories have been losing, but their obsessive focus on it gives voters the impression that the party does not care about the things they care about. The polls are very clear about this – check out the websites of MORI and YouGov.

    BTW – Sun readers split 45-33 for Labour over the Tories in this year’s general election.

    But hey, if you lot want to keep banging on about the EU, who am I to stop you? Just don’t expect Cameron to listen to you – he’s more interested in winning elections than winning the debased applause of rabid Euro-obsessives.

  • GCooper

    Tomahawk writes:

    “The polls are very clear about this – check out the websites of MORI and YouGov.”

    The polls are a prime source of claptrap – excellent devices for misleading the foolhardy.

    The fact that people (allegedly) don’t put the EU at the top of their list of concerns does not mean they are unsympathetic to those who are opposed to it.

    Nor can it possibly be claimed (other than by those with an agenda) that the Tories only campaigned on the EU in the last two elections.

    If you believe that the reason the Conservatives aren’t in power today is because of their attitude to the EU, you are mistaken.

    And expect Cameron to listen? Why would he when he has surrounded himself with such shining spirits of Conservatism as John Gummer and Zac Goldsmith!

  • Tomahawk

    GCooper

    Re-read the second paragraph of my 2.03pm post – the EU was NOT the only/main reason for the Tories’ poor performance.

    The polls are a prime source of claptrap – excellent devices for misleading the foolhardy.

    Yes, I remember the Labour Left used to say exactly the same thing in the 1970s and 1980s.

    The fact that people (allegedly) don’t put the EU at the top of their list of concerns does not mean they are unsympathetic to those who are opposed to it.

    There’s nothing “alleged” about it – it’s clear in all the polls. Europe *could* have become a salient issue in British politics, but Blair snuffed it out by promising referendums on the single currency and the constitution. Voters then thought, “Oh well, we’ll worry about Europe when the referendums come”. Of course, they were left waiting for Godot and other issues became more important. Even IDS and Howard recognised this.

  • RAB

    The tories couldnt have won in 2001 whatever they campaigned on. The country had turned their face away from them and were still in thrall to the con trick of Zanulab. They could have offered a year free of income tax to every voter and still have been on a hiding to nothing.
    There are millions of Eurosceptics out there and they aint all Tory voters. Let me tell you a quick anecdote.
    I grew up in Heath in Cardiff, where my mother still lives. She’s 80, so we go over from Bristol at least once a month to visit and do stuff for her.
    Not long after Labours victory in 1997 I was walking our dog along King George V Drive when I came accross George Thomas (Viscount Tonopandy) sat on the wall outside his little bungalow enjoying the sun and the view of Heath park.
    I have known George since I was a little boy.
    “Hello mr Thomas” said I
    “Hello boy, how are you?”
    So I sat on the wall with him for a while and had a chat.
    I said that he must be pleased to see Labour back in power after all these years.
    “I didn’t vote for them boy! It almost broke my heart. This isnt a Labour Goverment, it’s a tory one in disguise.The biggest threat to this country is the European Union. I voted UKIP”.
    Now if an ex Cabinet member and Labour Peer of the realm could see the truth way back then there must be millions more by now.
    We should Fisk every absurd aspect (i.e. all of it) Of the European Union long and loud at every oppertunity!

  • Verity

    The institutionally biased BBC and all the shrieking lefty moonbats in the socialist media have perpetrated yet another con on the gullible British public. They have persuaded them in programmes like “Question Time” and others of the ilk, that Europe isn’t an issue. So each individual to whom Europe is indeed an issue feels isolated.

    The British lefties are like rabid dogs. Completely without a clear train of thought.

    I repeat: we don’t know whether the Brits would vote Tory if they concentrated on getting the hell out of the European cesspit because it has never been tried. Many are wary of voting UKIP because they think they may be ruining the chances of the Tories getting in. They should completely jettison the Tories and concentrate on securing seats for UKIP. David Cameron is centre left and has publicly admitted to being “green” – the moron. He is yet another disaster for the Tories. British Tory voters will have two or three years to observe him operate and come the election, they will, once again, stay firmly at home.

  • The Last Toryboy

    The thing about Europe is all other issues flow from it. Defence, crime – all this stuff is tied firmly into the EU supranational government we’ve saddled ourselves with.

    Political junkies and presumably politicians know this, but the bovine public do not. This is a shame.

    I think Hague et al unfortunately had too high an opinion of the GBP when campaigning mostly on the Europe issue. I am certain the issue is the true burning issue facing this country, but most people can only see an inch in front of their political nose. All politics is local and all that, even if the reason for their woes lies in the far off land of Brussels more often than not.

    And yes, I agree with Verity, that the unbelievably skewed state of the media in this country does not help at all on the European issue. A lot of the damage Europe has done is simply brushed under the carpet. They report on the bad things going on (sometimes) but dont explain why half the time.

    …and I do have misgivings about Cameron, I had dearly hoped David Davis would get in. Maybe later if Cameron screws up. He looks like a suit with a smile, another Blair.

    But better him than Blair!

  • Verity

    Toryboy – The people who are natural Tory voters are going to have at least two years to observe Cameron and the development of BluLabour. Hopefully, they won’t like what they see. But would the Tories have the nerve to depose one more Tory leader?

    There is a sense of movement in the Tories just now. I do not think it will come to anything under Boy Cameron. Not to lose the momentum, the Tories will need to get hold of someone who can actually win an election. Presumably, the public will be fed up to the back teeth with the Bliar and Cameron clones and will hunger for someone who differentiates himself. Sadly, I think David Cameron’s moment has passed (although I am keeping my fingers crossed that it hasn’t), but William Hague is also on the scene and after two years of the Tone ‘n’ Dave act, even ZaNuLabourites will be ready to vote for someone who is not Bliar or Cameron.

  • Verity

    Error – I meant to write sadly, I think David Davis’s moment …

  • The Last Toryboy

    Theres no chance of a leader other than Cameron fighting the Tory corner at the next election. IDS is the only Tory leader for over a century I think to never get the chance of fighting a general election, I dont think Cameron’s position is anywhere near as weak as that of IDS.

    I heard Cameron tried to put the knife into Davis after he won the leadership, but backed off in the end. Not sure how true that is, but if he did thats not a good sign. DD isn’t very ‘sound on Europe’ but he’s got the right mindset when it comes to civil liberties.

    But… theres hope yet. The Tories are the party of the likes of William Hague and Davis still. The likes of Clarke and Euro-Hezza need to bugger off, for good, and then hopefully even if Cameron does turn out to be Blair Mk2 his party will be an improvement over the unrepentant reds on the other side.

  • Verity

    So Cameron seriously contemplated putting the knife into David Davis, eh? Most gracious, I’m sure, after winning the election. This tells me he is as ambitious and cold as T Bliar – both of them touchy-feely poseurs. I don’t mind ruthless, calculating people, but I don’t like the hypocrisy of posing as “caring”.

    Yes, Toryboy, some of the Tory cabinet may be able to control Cameron if they get in. OTOH, they may be as frightened of rocking the boat after being out of office so long they regard him as a saviour and a good luck charm, as Labour regarded Tone, and never gainsay him. Like the vegetables in the current cabinet.

    We need a kung-foo prime minister.

  • RAB

    Like I said before.
    Will e nor have a dram of the Hague!
    The Cameron is tasting a little sour! and it’s only been decanted 5 days.

  • Sarah

    FYI – Hague will speak for the Tories at PMQs when Cameron is away and he will serve as leader when Cameron takes paternity leave (child is due in a few months).