Coffee House

Mitch’s pitch on Europe

20 February 2013

5:52 PM

20 February 2013

5:52 PM

Andrew Mitchell’s piece in the FT today marks his return to normal politics post-Plebgate. Up to now, Mitchell has confined his post-resignation comments either to his old stomping ground of development or to the sequence of events that led to his premature departure from government. By contrast, today’s piece sees Mitchell getting involved in a frontline political issue, Britain’s relationship with Europe.

The article is full of suggestions, joint-sittings of the UK-Polish parliament and meetings of the UK-Dutch Cabinets. But Mitchell is clearly determined to work within the framework set out by Cameron’s Europe speech. No one could say that the articles rocks the boat.


But what makes it significant to my mind are two things. That Mitchell chose to make his first big intervention on Europe indicates that he’s not averse to the idea of becoming Britain’s next European Commissioner. This job comes up in 2014 and Mitchell’s name is rumoured to be in the frame. Certainly, there are those in Downing Street who feel that they owe Mitchell one after the nature of his departure from Cabinet.

Second, that Mitchell is calling for a diplomatic push to follow the Prime Minister’s speech reveals a certain concern among allies of the PM that the speech is not being capitalised on at home or abroad. There has been less follow-through than one might have expected. There’s a good case to be made that the former chief whip is the man the Prime Minister needs walking the corridors of Brussels and touring the chancelleries of Europe for him.

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
  • Tom Tom

    How is The Crown served by Ministers meeting in a foreign parliament ? Can’t they all appear on Big Brother or have Wife-Swapping Parties if they want to bond ? An academic was arrested in Krakow for planning to blow up the Sejm – did he have an inkling of Mitchell’s fatuous suggestion ?

  • Boudicca_Icenii

    Michell has been mentioned as one of two candidates for the next EU Kommissar post – compensation for his dismissal from the Government.
    This article is his application.
    Do the British people want THEIR Government sitting jointly with the Polish or Dutch one ….. matters not a jot to the British Establishment. WE’RE not important …..there only concern is maintaining the Grande Project with the UK in it.

    • Tom Tom

      I thought he would be better as a Police Commissioner overseeing the Met

  • the viceroy’s gin

    What is this “speech” you bubble denizens keep referencing? Nobody but you types seems to understand, whatever it is you’re jabbering on about there. It can’t be much, if the annoying dollop in that photograph is attached to it in any way.

  • Smithersjones2013

    Another Europhiliac comes out of the closet huh? Well its about time these lying Tories started to show the enormity of their dishonesty.

    Once again it only proves the 2nd rule of politics:

    You Can’t Trust The Tories Over Europe (in fact you can’t trust them over anything much at all)

    As for Mitchell what do you expect from the poster boy for throwing our money (away) at foreign interests?

    • David Lindsay


    • Chris lancashire

      What exactly has Cameron lied about over Europe?

      • HooksLaw

        Nothing. The only lies come from UKIP. And their hysterical supporters.

  • Robert_Eve

    The man who dished out the dreaded 0.7% GDP to other countries with a huge smile on his face. We’re well shot of him and Huhne from the cabinet.

    • HooksLaw

      There is nothing dreaded about foreign aid.

  • David Lindsay

    Contrast these extraordinary calls, from the Conservative Right, for joint British-Polish parliamentary sessions and for joint British-Dutch Cabinet meetings with Gisela Stuart’s article in the last edition of Prospect.

    Her only fault is in repeating the suggestion that the thing was ever any sort of bulwark against Thatcherism. Really? Which privatisation did the EU prevent? Which dock, factory, shipyard, steelworks or mine did it save? Well, there you are, then.

    No wonder that Thatcher signed the Single European Act, so great an act of political integration that it could never be equalled. And no wonder that Andrew Mitchell remains so enthusiastic but the whole carry on.

    I sometimes release my inner Trotskyist where that entity is concerned. As Trots would push the existing economic order to breaking point precisely so that it will break, so, from time to time, I feel the same way about the EU. The more federalism the better, because that would both guarantee and hasten the collapse of the entire project.

    Commissioner Mitchell, over to you.

    • Wessex Man

      I can’t believe this is you David Lindsay, it is you isn’t it?

      • David Lindsay

        Indeed it is.

        Think about it. Imagine if British and Polish voters were to witness this joint session. Imagine if British and Dutch voters were at least to be aware that that joint meeting were taking place, doubtless conducted in English, which should go down a storm in the Netherlands as the language of the Dutch Cabinet.

        I quite frequently entertain these schemes, which true-believing federalists
        would and do take entirely seriously if presented with them accompanied by a
        straight face, about making the EU unconscionable to public opinion from the
        Arctic to within sight of Africa, and from the coast of Galway to the shores of

        For example, why not a second chamber, a European Senate, with one member from each member-state nominated by each Europarty, including a British Holocaust-denier and a British gulag-denier, both categories that certainly do exist? Together with one representative elected by the citizens of each member-state resident in each other member-state: the Poles in Britain, the Britons in Spain, and so on. At present, that would give a not only enormous, but also rather poignant, 1066.

        Then again, each member-state might also have the right to designate further
        states whose citizens resident in the EU would each elect a Senator on an
        EU-wide basis: the Commonwealth, the Francophonie, Indonesia, Moldova, the erstwhile outposts of Lusotropicalism, Equatorial Guinea, the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

        And then any remaining country in the world whose citizens were at least as
        numerous within the EU’s borders as those of any such, or even those of any
        member-state including Luxembourg or Malta, might also have the right for those citizens to elect one European Senator: the United States if nowhere had designated her, Russia, China, Saudi Arabia, North Korea. Why not even let those countries’ governments nominate those representatives to legislate for us? Why not let the governments of the Commonwealth, the Francophonie, Indonesia, Moldova, the erstwhile outposts of Lusotropicalism, Equatorial Guinea, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo?

        Nothing requiring a Qualified Majority could proceed to the Council of Ministers without the prior approval of a simple majority. Nothing requiring unanimity could proceed without the prior approval of a two-thirds majority. Nothing requiring a Treaty change could proceed to the European Council without the approval of a three-quarters majority. No ruling of the European Court of Justice could have effect, nor could any ruling of the European Court of Human Rights have effect within the EU, unless ratified by a simple majority.

        With no suggestion of using electronic communication, costs would be anything but minimal. Why, the European Senate could even meet in whichever of Brussels and Strasbourg was not playing host to the European Parliament at the time.

        • Wessex Man

          ah, back to normal service David.

    • HooksLaw

      The Single European Act was a free trade agreement. Don’t get too excited. Even if out of the EU we would still sign up top it.

      • David Lindsay

        It was no such thing. Nor was the Treaty of Rome before it. Nor was the Maastricht Treaty after it. But the SEA was the big one. So big that it could never be equalled.

        • HooksLaw

          Not often you are right but you are wrong again.

          • David Lindsay

            No, I am not. And you know that I am not.

            Note that even UKIP wants to stay in the Single Market, since anything else would involve blaspheming the Blessed Margaret. For real opposition to the EU, you need the Left parties and the Labour Left, plus what remains of the Old Labour Right, which is almost completely unorganised, but which is still there if you know where to look for it.

          • Tom Tom

            He is right

      • Tom Tom

        There is no free trade in the EU and the Single European Act is the core of the EU Commission interference in social policy. The SEA is the pass that Margaret Thatcher sold on Europe and reacted like a scalded cat when she realised she had been duped

      • Tom Tom

        I suggest you do some revision before failing this exam…….………..”By creating new Community competencies and reforming the institutions
        the SEA opened the way to political integration and economic and
        monetary union to be enshrined in the Treaty of Maastricht on the
        European Union.”

  • In2minds

    Ah Europe, although I think you mean the EU. The place where the big
    beasts, like Kinnock and Mandelson go when it’s all over. Put out to
    pasture as opposed to being sent to the knackers yard.

    • Andy

      It is where they go to rip off the taxpayers and enrich themselves.

      • telemachus

        The real rip off to taxpayers was revealed this morning in the reports that Cameron was contemplating diverting the aid so assiduously protected by Mitchell to Cameron’s taste for foreign military adventures
        Forget Europe
        Bring him back to overseas aid and development
        That is far more in our countries strategic interest

      • The Red Bladder

        Indeed they do. Do you know one MEP claimed some £2million in expenses in less than two years and then boasted about it! Disgraceful

  • telemachus

    Heartened by this
    May not like the concept of Rugby Thrasher but he was an extremely caring committed International Development Secretary
    He was one of the few in the Cameron Cabinet who batted eexcusively and effectively in Britain’s interest while helping and taking an interest in many of the poor unfortunates in the countries receiving aid
    If he does half as well as European Commissioner he will go a little way to redress the damage done by the current bellicose anti-Europeanism

    • Boudicca_Icenii

      He squandered £billions on countries which don’t NEED aid – they prefer to spend their own money on armaments.
      He threw money at 3rd world despots.
      He didn’t act in OUR interests. We’re paying for his generosity.

      • telemachus

        Many round the world see Britain in a better light because of him

    • Tom Tom

      Yes of course he will Gollum… turn over to sleep and stop slobbering over his portrait on the wall

      • telemachus

        Detest the man but he did us good abroad