News from British and Canadian Conservatives

Saturday, February 02, 2008

Dan Hannan freed from the EPP tyranny

It seems that Dan Hannan is set to become the second Conservative MEP to sit outside the EPP-ED block. After the next European elections in 2009, he will be joined by the rest of the Conservative group. I'm certainly pleased by the move - the EPP is an uber-federalist block with policies which I consider to be along way from conservatism. Dan's imminent eviction reminds me of Sterling's forced eviction from the ERM - both were good things, although not achieved in the best way (to put in rather mildly in the case of the ERM)!

Dan's heinous crime was to object to a decision to ignore the rules of the chamber, because they didn't suit the federalists' objectives. He pointed out that doing so was equivalent to the enabling act, which was passed by the German parliament and effectively gave Hitler carte blanche. We all know where that lead. The leader of the EPP and even one soon-to-be-ex-member of the Conservative delegation criticised him for offending the speaker of the European Parliament by comparing him to Hitler. Of course, he did not actually compare him to Hitler. The parallels between the actions of the European Parliament and German parliament are clear, and it was quite right to point them out. Many may not have understood the implication of the move.

The real reason that Dan faces eviction from the EPP-ED was summed up rather well be its leader in the parliament itself. He decreed that he was prepared to tolerate Dan Hannan's calls for a Referendum on the Treaty of Lisbon in the UK, but not inside the European Parliament. Excuse me? The said referendum is Conservative Party policy. It was even in the manifesto on which all Conservative MEPs were elected that they would demand a referendum on the proposed constitution, which the Conservative Party considers the Lisbon Treaty to be. Moreover, the Conservatives and partners in the European Democrats (from Northern Ireland, Czech Republic and Italy) are supposedly free to have their own policies on constitutional matters.

Dan's move to "non-aligned" status, along with fellow Conservative Roger Helmer, who the EPP have already thrown out, is a positive one for him, for the South East England constituency and for democracy in Europe. He was previously prevented from speaking on the constitution in Parliament, even though he is on the relevant committee, because speakers are chosen by the leader of the EPP, who clearly doesn't appreciate opposition to the "European Project."

It has to be said, they've never really liked the idea of democracy in the EU. Last time I went to the European Parliament, it was a school trip for school children across Europe. The leader of the Belgian delegation informed me that I should be executed as an obstacle to the European Project - probably the greatest compliment you could pay me!

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