Tuesday, March 06, 2007
Dave's big Euro tent - or European Rubbish collection
Well I went along to the Movement for European Reform's conference this morning, in order that I could furnish you, dear readers, with an accurate report of their doings, and specifically how Dave could possibly justify his position. After all, it is simply a restatement of what British government's have said ever since the country was railroaded into the EEC more than thirty years ago. We will be at the heart of Europe, In Europe not Run by Europe, effecting change from the inside and so on. The problem with this comfortable approach to the EU is that it has failed.
As Dr Johnson said about second marriages, "a triumph of hope over experience".
So what can I report?
Not a lot. The venue is in a semi-derelict industrial estate. (See pic 1) When I arrived it appeared that delegates were being delivered by the local city council. (See pic 2)
Despite having registered in advance, one of Dave's praetorian guard, and EPP-ED official, a certain James Temple Smithson decided I was surplus to requirements, and I was ejected. I cannot pretend I protested too much. After all, being English I am not the sort to make a scene. I will just note that a journalist I came with who had not registered was waved in.
What I can say is that there were about 150 tickets on the table. Mostly Eastern European names. Hague was there early having boasted about the import of the event this morning on the Today programme. 15 countries represented he said. I am sure he was telling the truth, but just because a German businessman turns up does not mean that they have any political allies in Germany, far from it.
There were a number of think tankers around, Neil O'Brien from Open Europe, Alex Singleton from the Globalisation Institute, Jonny Munkhammar from Sweden's Timbro were amongst those I saw, along with David Wilkinson from UKVE in Estonia. The others all seemed to be either MEPs from the ODS, the Tories, one or two Poles and their staffers.
The biggest coup they managed, to be fair to them, is the appearance, this afternoon, just before Dave's own speech is Dona Esperanza Aguirre, President of the Madrid Autonomous Region. She is a serious bigwig in the Spanish PP, and is thought by many to be the next Centre Right Prime minister of Spain. Funnily enough the Partido Popular people in the European Parliament were not aware of her appearance before yesterday and are, how should I put this, rather less than happy.
One last thought. They might have the Greenpeace girl along, but they just don't get this environmental stuff at all. Here are their directions to the conference,
No public transport possibilities Dave? Well put it this way the 34 bus and the tram pass directly in front of the industrial estate.
As soon as I have the speech from our Dave I will of course report on what he has to say.