Coffee House

Conservative conference: William Hague doesn’t want a minimalist Europe

7 October 2012

5:18 PM

7 October 2012

5:18 PM

When it came to the passage in his speech on Europe, William Hague was clearly building up to a crescendo. He thundered out the lines ‘which will require the fresh consent of the British people’, and then paused for what he expected to be a rapturous round of applause from a Tory audience thrilled to have received more red meat on Europe. The applause certainly came, but it wasn’t exactly full of enthusiasm; more a perfunctory round of clapping.

The first thing holding back the cheers was that everyone in the hall had already heard this line. The promise had been that there would be more details at autumn conference about how the Conservative leadership wants to shape Britain’s relationship with Europe. Instead delegates heard a line that the Prime Minister used as far back as July.

[Alt-Text]


The second was that Hague didn’t exactly bring the roof down with his raging eurosceptic views in his speech. When talking about his vision for a relationship with Europe which will advance the British national interest, he said:

‘Unlike some of the federalists, I have never believed that judgements about Europe have to be a matter of everything or nothing. We should aim for what we have always wanted: being part of the Single Market that has done so much for our prosperity, using the collective weight of European nations to advance our common interests, in free trade, open markets and co-operation on climate change and other great issues facing us.’

It is striking that the Foreign Secretary included climate change in his list of areas where he still wants European involvement. This isn’t stripping Europe back to its bare necessities by any means. There will be many in his party who feel that his view no longer represents the sort of euroscepticism found on the backbenches and among the grassroots.

Subscribe to The Spectator today for a quality of argument not found in any other publication. Get more Spectator for less – just £12 for 12 issues.


Show comments
  • Matthew Whitehouse

    They are failing us! Europe is now an issue where we can have our voice heard – by voting Tory at the next election and “Wait n See” what they achieve. Theyve just handed UKIP a few MILLION votes! They are not representative of core tory voters anymore. What’s the point of having the best backbenchers for decades when the government dont listen to them. William Hague has just let down a hell of a lot of people! Cannot believe it!

  • William Blakes Ghost

    Hague is just another apologist for the parasites these days. ANother one we need to get rid of…..The Euors are going to be a disaster for the Tories and primarily it will be Hague and Cameron’s fault!

  • james102

    The Grass Roots does not trust the leadership on the EU.It
    would not matter much what they said the applause would be muted because Cameron
    destroyed their credit with his cast iron guarantee.

  • Daniel Maris

    Is Hague a Eurosceptic – or has he been infected with the Euroseptic virus?

  • Daniel Maris

    Are the Norwegians and Swiss noticably the poorer for not being part of the EU? Or the Russians for that matter – they have been growing at a stupendous rate.

    *ttp://www.forbes.com/sites/markadomanis/2012/07/26/russias-economic-growth-in-comparison-with-the-g7/

    Let’s at least admit that there is no real correlation between being in the EU and doing well economically – as the Greeks have discovered.

    It seems unlikely that we gain a huge amount from being in the EU. For one thing we are net payers-in. For another being an island off NW Europe we can never be really close to the heart of Europe in an economic sense – German, French, Italians, Dutch are always going to be closer to the main markets.

    Really, we joined the EU because our political elite panicked and wanted to maintain the delusion of “Great” Britain as in Big Britain – a continuing world power after the demise of our ill-gotten Empire. The French saw the EU in this way, but obviously it made a lot more sense for them, thinking with some justice in the 50s and 60s they would be in the driving seat.

    I think we should rediscover our role as a world trading and manufacturing nation. We still have huge human resources in this area. We also have huge natural energy resources in wind, wave and hydro – in addition to gas and coal. We have the high tech industries that can increase labour power and deliver wealth.

    • Boudicca_Icenii

      Absolutely. We are in the EU for political reasons. There is no economic justification for our membership: we pay massively for the privilege of having our laws dictated to us and we run a large trade deficit with the EU.
      The EU was always to be justified to the peoples’ of Europe on economic grounds because the original designers of the road to the United States of Europe always knew that if the peoples of Europe understood that this was a political union that would strip them of their Democracies and their Sovereignty, they would rebel.
      Cameron/Hague are trying the same deceipt again. This is the TRUE picture of what EU membership costs the UK – produced by Professor of Economics, Tim Congdon http://www.ukipmeps.org/uploads/file/Cost_of_the_EU_25_5_11.pdf

    • HooksLaw

      Norway is a small country with loads of oil. This does not stop it producing psychopathic lunatics of course.

      And one red rag for the psycopaths is Norwiegien immigration. Norway is part of Schengen and we are not. It is in the EEA and so signs up to EU rules and pays into the EU.
      The number of immigrants in Norway is approximately 550,000. The total “immigrant population”, which includes Norwegian-born children to immigrant parents, is 655,170, corresponding to 13.1 percent of the total population (2011).[1] The five largest immigrant groups in Norway are in turn Polish, Swedish, Pakistani, Somali and Iraqi.[2]
      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Immigration_to_Norway

      Due to Norway’s membership in the European Economic Area, migrants from the European Union as well as Iceland and Liechtenstein do not require any residency permits.

      We would do the same if we ‘left’ the EU (in order to access the single market)

  • hexton

    “… building up to a crescendo”

    Arghh. Why do so many people get this wrong? Crescendo is an increasing volume, not the loudest point: you can’t build ‘up to’ it, only – somewhat tautologically – ‘with’ it. I imagine you meant ‘building up to a climax’.

  • anyfool

    Hague has not served any time in the EU “yet”, and already he has gone native, another one bites the dust.

  • anyfool

    Hague has not served any time in the EU “yet”, and already he has gone native, another one bites the dust.

  • anyfool

    Hague has not served any time in the EU “yet”, and already he has gone native, another one bites the dust.

  • anyfool

    Hague has not served any time in the EU “yet”, and already he has gone native, another one bites the dust.

    • telemachus

      Correct
      Hague has been and gone

      • http://www.coffeehousewall.co.uk/ Coffeehousewall

        No-one asked for your opinion. Are you paid by the word or the comment by the Labour Party?

        • telemachus

          I have in fact been a Tory member since I lapsed membership of the SDP

          • http://www.coffeehousewall.co.uk/ Coffeehousewall

            You are a pathetic worm who finds it amusing that young girls are abused. Who cares what organisation you belong to or pretend to belong to.

            • telemachus

              I am sorry?
              I try to keep posts wholesome
              I regret you

              • anti-telemachus league

                We all regret you.

                • telemachus

                  Only those like you, divisions of the EDL

            • telemachus

              I am sorry?
              I try to keep posts wholesome
              I regret you

            • toni

              Utterly pathetic that when the likes of you and the old codger are out-flanked you both fall back to making sick assertions that the majority of decent people would never even think of.

              • http://www.coffeehousewall.co.uk/ Coffeehousewall

                Are you another alias of telemachus? How would we know?

                I think you are new round here. You obviously haven’t been following telemachus’ view that being concerned about female genital mutilation is a joke.

                • toni

                  No, not new around here, and except for a short spell last year when I was banned for robustly responding to Nicholas, I was here well before you flounced off.

          • http://www.coffeehousewall.co.uk/ Coffeehousewall

            You are a pathetic worm who finds it amusing that young girls are abused. Who cares what organisation you belong to or pretend to belong to.

          • Archimedes

            A trojan horse strategy? Good luck with that…

            • telemachus

              No-that was the Iliad

              • james102

                That was good!

          • telemachus monitor

            Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha! Too funny. That will be why every stupid comment you post here is pro-Labour.

      • http://www.coffeehousewall.co.uk/ Coffeehousewall

        No-one asked for your opinion. Are you paid by the word or the comment by the Labour Party?

  • Boudicca_Icenii

    The CONs are being entirely deceiptful in announcing that they want ‘the fresh consent of the British people’ to EU membership
    We never gave our consent to be in the EU in the first place, as they are very well aware.
    We voted to remain in the EEC, following a campaign of lies, mis-information and deceipt. Since then we have been denied any say as our Quisling Political Elite morphed the Common Market into the EU.
    Any Referendum that doesn’t include the option ‘OUT’ has not obtained our consent. It will be as valid as elections in the Soviet Union – where there was only one choice on the ballot paper.
    If Cameron continues to deny us our basic right to self-determination, the CONservative Party will deserve all that they have coming in 2014 and 2015.
    Support UKIP. Keep up the pressure on Cameron and get our country back.

  • Boudicca_Icenii

    The CONs are being entirely deceiptful in announcing that they want ‘the fresh consent of the British people’ to EU membership
    We never gave our consent to be in the EU in the first place, as they are very well aware.
    We voted to remain in the EEC, following a campaign of lies, mis-information and deceipt. Since then we have been denied any say as our Quisling Political Elite morphed the Common Market into the EU.
    Any Referendum that doesn’t include the option ‘OUT’ has not obtained our consent. It will be as valid as elections in the Soviet Union – where there was only one choice on the ballot paper.
    If Cameron continues to deny us our basic right to self-determination, the CONservative Party will deserve all that they have coming in 2014 and 2015.
    Support UKIP. Keep up the pressure on Cameron and get our country back.

  • http://www.coffeehousewall.co.uk/ Coffeehousewall

    The Conservative Party are not to be trusted with our future. Their ambitions are entirely within the EU. If we want to restore democracy to England then we must demand it and take it from the hands of those who wish us ill.

  • http://www.coffeehousewall.co.uk/ Coffeehousewall

    The Conservative Party are not to be trusted with our future. Their ambitions are entirely within the EU. If we want to restore democracy to England then we must demand it and take it from the hands of those who wish us ill.

    • telemachus

      I think I might trust them a little more than the worms you advocate
      If you had your way the country would be run by private armies marshalled in fox hunting groups and sobering up every now and again
      Long enough so shout seig heil

      • http://www.coffeehousewall.co.uk/ Coffeehousewall

        You really are pathetic. You can’t even write anything original. Which worms are you talking about? The worm on this site is YOU! You can’t even put together a coherent message. The spelling deficient member of the telemachus team is on duty!

        • telemachus

          My dear orthodox apologist
          I believe in people and their wellbeing
          These disadvantaged people will hear nothing of interest in Birmingham

      • HooksLaw

        Bringing up nazis definitely means you loose the argument

      • ehup

        ‘National’sozialistische Arbeiter-Partei .. and the most suitable metaphorical translation of a totalitarian ‘National’ is One nation. Well said Ed

    • telemachus

      I think I might trust them a little more than the worms you advocate
      If you had your way the country would be run by private armies marshalled in fox hunting groups and sobering up every now and again
      Long enough so shout seig heil

  • In2minds

    Hague – “our prosperity” AND “climate change”? The man is mad. The latter will ruin the former.

    • telemachus

      Remember Hague’s “common sense revolution” with its virulent
      nationalism, and warnings about the dangers of a European superstate.

      He called for regular orgies of national pride and anti-foreigner
      witch-hunts.

      This Hague is a shadow

      • Hexhamgeezer

        Tit

    • telemachus

      Remember Hague’s “common sense revolution” with its virulent
      nationalism, and warnings about the dangers of a European superstate.

      He called for regular orgies of national pride and anti-foreigner
      witch-hunts.

      This Hague is a shadow

    • telemachus

      Remember Hague’s “common sense revolution” with its virulent
      nationalism, and warnings about the dangers of a European superstate.

      He called for regular orgies of national pride and anti-foreigner
      witch-hunts.

      This Hague is a shadow

  • timinsingapore

    ‘There will be many in his party who feel that his view no longer represents the sort of euroscepticism found on the backbenches and among the grassroots’ – which should be a relief to anyone with a realistic understanding of Britain’s best long-term interests.

Close