Richard North, 12/07/2012  

barroso 725-odl.jpg

I don't think the eurosceptic "community" has fully woken up to the implications of Open Europe having joined the other side, indistinguishable from the European Movement in pursuit of continued membership of the European Union.

This is brought into clear focus by piece in The New Statesman, where David Miliband interviews Barroso on (inter alia "whether Britain is better off in or out of the EU".

As an aside, one cannot think of a more fatuous issue to discuss with the president of the EU commission, but it is nonetheless revealing to have him pontificate on the subject.

Barroso finds it "a little bit ironic" that some people are suggesting for Britain a role comparable to that of say Norway or Switzerland, arguing that "Britain is expecting a bigger role in the world than small countries". He continues:
The fact that some are suggesting for Britain a role that is smaller than the one Britain already has today seems to me a little bit curious. When the prime minister of Britain meets the president of the United States, or the president of China, he has much stronger status and much stronger leverage because everybody knows that Britain is a country that is very influential in the shaping of European policy. The biggest integrated market in the world, the first economy in the world, the biggest donor of development assistance in the world …
Miliband then puts to Barroso, "that the leaders in China have an enhanced relationship with Britain because they're in the European Union", a rather odd statement because, as far as I am aware, the leaders in China are not in the EU.

Barroso, however, gets the drift of the question and tells us "frankly" that "Britain has more influence in China than Norway or Switzerland … one of the reasons being that everyone in China knows that Britain is a decisive voice in the European policy and that its influence and its leverage, it is much bigger because of that".

Now cut to the ghastly Uncle Tom Mats Perrson in the Failygraph yesterday and we find him imploring us not to "ape" Norway, telling us that Britain "lends clout and reach to the EU in world affairs". If it makes the effort, Perrson says, "it will most certainly achieve a better deal for both itself and for Europe as a whole".

Perrson and Barroso are singing from the same hymnsheet: Britain has more "influence" within the EU than out, and the EU has more influence with Britain as a part of it.

The worst of this is that our "enemy within" is highly influential within the Conservative Party, and is still treated with respect within UKIP. You have to admit, therefore, that the "colleagues" have been devilishly cunning in subverting a supposedly eurosceptic organisation, using it to transmit their own propaganda.


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