Monday, 29 October 2012

Tory MEP's briefing on UKIP is a dishonest rehash

An anti-UKIP briefing by Tory MEP, Dr Charles Tannock, for their London region activists has been "leaked" to Guido Fawkes blogger Harry Cole.

The briefing starts with a lie, claiming that two UKIP MEPs were sent to prison in the last parliament for fraud.  Tom Wise was elected as a UKIP MEP and had the whip withdrawn in 2007 when he was charged with fraud by the EU's anti-fraud investigators, OLAF.  Ashley Mote was elected as a UKIP MEP after failing to declare that he was awaiting trial for benefit fraud which would have disqualified him from selection and had the whip withdrawn when a newspaper made the party aware of his trial.  All this is public information but serial gong collector Dr Tannock doesn't let facts get in the way of a good lie.

Dr Tannock goes on to set out what he believes is the threat posed by UKIP.  It's the usual "split the vote and let Labour in" rubbish, reflecting the arrogant belief that any non-Labour votes rightfully belong to the Tories.

He then moves on to what he thinks voters should hear about UKIP.  They should apparently be told that UKIP has failed to act in the UK's national interest because Nigel Farage rarely turned up to meetings of the EU Parliament Economic Committee between 1999 and 2002.  He says that Godfrey Bloom failed to vote on an amendment to stop the EU financial transaction tax in the same committee recently.  The vote was 6 months ago and was passed by 30 votes to 11. He then follows with what is no doubt meant to be a criticism of UKIP totally opposing the EU Arrest Warrant which he claims would mean long delays in deporting criminals on legal aid ignoring the fact that if UKIP were in a position to withdraw from the EU Arrest Warrant they'd be running the country and the criminals either wouldn't be here or would be simply put on the first plane home when they committed a crime.

Tannock finishes off with a list of what rubbish voters should be fed about an EU referendum and some meaningless guff we've all heard so many times before about Tory euroscepticism.  He says that voters should be told that Cameron will give "an explicit manifesto guarantee for a referendum" on a new treaty that they think will probably be on the table at around the time of the next election.  Not a referendum on our membership of the EU but a referendum on a treaty that may not even exist and of course there was "an explicit manifesto guarantee for a referendum" on the Lisbon Treaty at the last election which turned out to be worthless.  An in/out referendum "right now, during the Eurozone crisis, would be utterly pointless" according to Dr Tannock.  Cameron says that there will be no in/out referendum at all because he doesn't want one which makes Dr Tannock's suggestion that there might be one in future completely dishonest.  Much like most of his briefing.

Dr Tannock's examples of Tory euro-realism are Cameron being "determined to be tough on EU issues" such as freezing the EU's 2014-2020 €1tr budget, vetoing an EU banking union unless the City of London get voting rights in it and opting out of some justice and home affairs legislation.  That's a €1tr budget when half of the EU is literally insolvent, a banking union that was conceived to socialise the financial sector and directly attacks the City of London and existing opt outs that the British government have already secured.  Yep, "tough".

This briefing is a dishonest and rather lazy rehash of tired old Tory propaganda and smoke and mirrors.  It's being billed as a "leak" but in all likelihood it was deliberately passed on to Harry Cole for the wider audience it would give them.