Today is the day when the relatively new George Eustice group meets in the Commons to discuss how we can reverse the constant movement to ever closer union. Contrary to the press adverts for it, it will not just be a meeting of Eurosceptics elected for the first time in 2010. All are invited, to pool our votes and voices in a common cause.
The government is aware of the growing disquiet about the steady drift towards more EU power. Some of us have voted No or abstained as the government has gone along with various new EU initiaitives, opted in to various Criminal Justice measures, contributed to some of the Euroland bailouts and supported a European budget higher again this year than last. Other Conservative MPs have complained in private to their whips that they did not want to be voting the way the government recommended, and are looking for some good news on the EU front to offset the votes they wished they hadn’t cast.
Over the last seven days we have had a flurry of Eurosceptic grandstanding from the government. They tabled a debate on a criminal justice measure where they did use the opt out, to try to highlight a good decision that did not really need Parliamentary approval. They licensed William Hague to remind us that in an ideal world they want powers back, but of course this is not an ideal world as it is a Coalition. They remind us constantly that they will not be joining Euroland members when it comes to taking more economic powers to the centre, though they do not show us the small print of the measures.
The truth is such words are not enough. In the same week the government yet again categorically rules out any kind of referendum on European matters, and repeated that it is not going to demand powers back anytime soon. Mr Hague has spent most of the last year declining to talk about the EU, and facilitating further moves towards an EU foreign policy. Today’s meeting needs to set out clearly that the EU is in crisis and is about to embark on another major step towards closer union as part of the Euro fix. This is the perfect time for the UK to allow them to do so in return for lossening our ties to this failing economic bloc.