The faux Fresh Start

Fresh Start is a research project whose sole objective is to build a better relationship for Britain within the EU. It is not focused on leaving the EU, nor is it focused on reforming the EU, it is only concerned with reforming Britain’s role within the EU. The founders of this project are Andrea Leadsom, George Eustice and Christopher Heaton-Harris, respectively the Conservative Members of Parliament for South Norhamtonshire; Camborne & Redruth; and Daventry -with Heaton-Harris, prior to his election in 2010, served as a Member of the European Parliament from 1999 until 2009.

A wider campaign exists  for a new relationship with the EU and takes the form of the All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) for European Reform – it has quite a “Priti” membership list – which is open to all MPs, and which was set up in order to ensure that pro-reform voices from across the parties could be heard, in order that a consensus on changing our position in Europe might stand a better chance of being achieved.

For those three MPs – and any other MP – who believe that powers can be repatriated from the European Union, Christopher Booker’s column in tomorrow’s Sunday Telegraph is required reading; and from which:

“The project’s core doctrine has always been the acquis communautaire: the rule that once powers are handed over to Brussels they can never be given back. That is why it is futile to talk of Britain negotiating a “new relationship” with Brussels involving repatriation of powers. It cannot happen, because it would be in breach of the project’s most sacred principle.”

Booker continues:

“There is only one way in which we could force the other EU states into negotiating a new relationship for Britain. If our politicians, led by Mr Cameron, were actually to read the treaty, they would find this power under Article 50, inserted at Lisbon: such a negotiation can only be triggered if we notify the EU that we wish to leave it. Then, and only then, would our EU colleagues be compelled (rather than “persuaded”) to enter into the negotiations necessary to establish our “future relationship with the Union”.”

While it is incredible that Leadsom and Eustice obviously have not read the Lisbon Treaty – otherwise they would not be suggesting that which they are – what is even more incredible is that Heaton-Harris, he who spent 10 years as an MEP and who one would assume is conversant with the Lisbon Treaty “inside out”, most certainly cannot have read it either.

 It is not even as if Leadsom, Eustice and Heaton-Harris could devise a new name for their project.

On such ignorance are careers built, ones aided and abetted by an equally ignorant (on purpose) MSM.

Update: Just after posting this article I notice that Richard North, EUReferendum, has also written on the same topic – and so much better. 

9 Responses

  1. Edward Spalton says:

    I have certainly said this before but can’t remember whether it was on this distinguished blog. Please excuse the senior moment.

    I met Heaton Harris during the 1999 EU parliament election campaign, when I was standing for UKIP. He took me on one side and berated me for standing because “it could cost us a seat”. I said that was the idea but that I would willingly withdraw my candidacy and campaign for him, if he said it was his objective to leave the EU. He could not agree to that.

    More recently he was the MP who torpedoed the motion by Mark Reckless MP which would have stopped the first bail out of the euro. So Heaton Harris is about as eurosceptic in practice as Kenneth Clarke.Apparently though he wants to have a reputation with his constituents as eurosceptic.

    I think that MPs of this hypocritical sort have been more essential to the EU project over the years than out and out federalists (who are actually quite few in number). Conservative party members in general are infinitely hopeful and gullible, grateful for any small crumbs of eurosceptic sentiment from their MPs and candidates.

    The possibility of promotion will trump principle with such people on any day of the week – but they can make rip-roaring patriotic speeches!

    • david says:

      Distinguished? You are being too kind…….

      Rip-roaring speeches? Shucks, he can’t even read them out loud very well!

      Go along with your view about how successful they have beenthough.

  2. john in cheshire says:

    WfW, I think, being kind, that the problem is inertia. I think, I, as a person of a conservative bent, am prone to inertia. It’s like leaving your money in the bank that you’ve used for decades even though they are ripping you off. It’s easier to just do nothing while the bills are still being paid. I don’t think we (or rather I) can blame people for their natural behaviour. The challenge is to describe a situation to us whereby it is easy for people to change their behaviour to their advantage.

    • david says:

      Richard North recently stated that if the people wanted more power they would take it. I countered that if the people are unaware they can take power, how can they take it.

      What is needed is an education process about Direct Democracy. Once that is done and should the people still wish to sit back and be led then I’ll give up and get in my box.

  3. Of course Fresh Start are somewhat naive (or worse) but when I addressed the genuine democrats of the Commons and Lords Better Off Out group recently I said that Fresh Start’s proposals, just becasue they are so “reasonable” would provide, on total rejection by the EU, a platform for radical politcs.

    Of course all this would have been unnecessary had the money bags and press supported the very powerful British Declaration of Independence (now in hibernation) for that would have got to the heart of the problem – changing the kind of people in our parliament.

    • david says:

      Agreed, but first I believe a ‘re-education’ is required of the electorate about democracy and the forms thereof. Until the people can understand that it is possible to constrain their government and at the same time control their government in respect of unwanted laws, I think we are all banging our heads against the proverbial brick wall. Personally, as I think you are aware, I favour a form of direct democracy – and the sooner the better.

      See comment response below to Edward Spalton.

  4. Edward Spalton says:


    I have not heard Heaton Harris’s oratory but was thinking back over a number of rousing speeches which I have heard, cheered to the echo by enthusiastic eurosceptic audiences. . Yet the speakers later went meekly through the lobby for the next EEC/EU treaty at the command of the whips and insistence of their own ambitions for promotion.

    • david says:

      I have, watching Parliament tv and his delivery is awful to say the least.

      I believe it was you who wrote in RN’s comments section:

      ” I would favour a couple of “Henry VIII” Acts of Parliament,
      essentially an Act of Supremacy, removing EU jurisdiction from the internal affairs of the realm and an Act in Restraint of Appeals, preventing people from running to the European courts. Then the negotiations proceed on a more or less ex gratia basis – perhaps under the Vienna Convention or perhaps under the appearance of the Lisbon treaty but with the initiative firmly in our hands and not that of the EU authorities.”

      Now there’s an idea, assuming of course we can get the right people in Parliament. One point though, once the EU has signed up to the ECHR you latter required Act would be unnecessary as the former would hae killed access to any European court stone dead?

  5. cosmic says:

    “The founders of this project are Andrea Leadsom, George Eustice and Christopher Heaton-Harris,”

    Round up the usual suspects.

Hosted By PDPS Internet Hosting

© Witterings from Witney 2012