Just when I thought Ministers were learning of the compromises and commonsense government needs to progress, I am alarmed by some recent developments.
Our carefully crafted compromise over the EU designed to keep the Coalition together is in danger of being broken by the Prime Minister’s latest speech. Many of us are deeply unhappy about his new language. The UK does not need a new relationship with the EU. There is nothing to put to the British people in a referendum, as there is no new Treaty in the making that the Uk is going to sign. Some of us think it a pity we did not join the Fiscal and Banking unions, but understand the political sensitivites at the current time. We think ti will be very difficult to maintain our position at the European table with all this ultra sceptic rhetoric flying around.
The Foreign Office has rightly been saying under this government that it is in the British national interest to be a full member of the EU and to stay engaged. It has been long standing policy of all three main parties that the Uk needs to be a member of the single market. We need to explain this more to some of our current Ministers. They seem to think it is or should be a free market or even a free for all market. That was never the idea. It brings duties and responsibilities. The European single market is about regulation to combat climate change, regulation to ensure high labour standards, regulation to ensure it is a social market, regulation to promote more environmentally friendly methods of travel, and regulation to ensure high standards of health, safety and cleanliness.
We need to explain to the Environment Secretary that the agricultural and fishing policies are to do with solidarity and sharing around the whole European space. These were not entered into lightly, and cannot suddenly be renounced by the UK. We need to tell the Welfare Secretary that the UK does have obligations to people coming to the UK from other member states. We cannot have a welfare state for poeple already here, but deny it people arriving from elsewhere in our Union.
I do hope the Home Secretary’s wish to pull out of many of the Justice measures so carefully compiled in recent years will be tempered by the need to re-enter many of these agreements. We need to co-operate fully on justice matters with our partners, and need to grasp the requirement to share intelligence and enforcement with our partners now most of the border controls have been dismantled within the Union.
I will pass over our major worries with the Education Secretary, who seems to think he needs an alternative civil service to carry out his duties. I would be grateful to hear from you what we can do to prevent the march of unreason over EU matters.
I would also be grateful for guidance on how much we have to accept from the new arrivals in the form of senior Ministerial advisers from outside the service. We must avoid traffic accidents and misunderstandings , which become more likely if Ministers do not trust and confide in us, their faithful servants. The last government wrestled away control of media and communications from us, which was just about tolerable. It is not possible to govern well if they wish to take away control over policy as well.