A visceral, unyielding, slow-burning anger
Then looking darkly at him swift-footed Achilleus answered: ‘Hector, argue me no arguments. I cannot forgive you. As there are no trustworthy oaths between men and lions, nor wolves and lambs have spirit that can be brought to agreement but forever hold feelings of hate for each other, so there can be no love between you and me, nor shall there be oaths betweens us, but one or the other must fall before then to glut with his blood Ares the god who fights under the shields’s guard.
– Homer, Iliad
The process by which I fell out with the current Conservative Party has occurred in several stages.
First, there was the initial astonishment that David Cameron could not muster a proper election victory against a Labour Party led by Gordon Brown, of all people. Then there was the frustration of the coalition years, when it was not always entirely clear how much Nick Clegg and the Liberal Democrats might be shouting down and diluting the conservative “better angels” of the Tories. And then during the 2015 general campaign there was the incredulity bordering on rage that no, in fact the LibDems if anything had been a restraining influence on the more despicably authoritarian Tory tendencies, and that Cameron envisioned the same dismal society built on the continual feeding and worship of our public services (and sainted NHS) as Ed Miliband’s rootless Labour Party.
But until now, my beef with the Conservative Party leadership (and supportive rank and file) has been ideological, not personal. I had accused the Tories of selling out ideologically and failing to boldly make a proper conservative case to the country, but I still saw it in terms of political calculation.
No more. The EU referendum has awakened a rage against the Conservative Party within me that I do not know how I will manage to suppress when it comes to local and national elections, even (especially?) if it means handing victory to their enemies. Why? Because on the single most important political decision this country has to make in a generation, they lie and cheat and tilt the balance, and do so with such smug, smarmy condescension and aristocratic entitlement that it beggars belief. From the prime minister on down, with too few honourable exceptions, the Cabinet and parliamentary party are comprised of craven careerists who are in the process of selling out their country – and democracy itself – either out of laziness, ignorance, greed or a toxic combination of all three.
Now, in other words, my problem with the Tories is personal.
Case in point, David Cameron’s attempt to sow more fear, uncertainty and doubt in the minds of the British electorate by peddling false myths about Brexit. It now appears that the prime minister is going around the country coming up with tailored apocalypse scenarios for different voters and demographics in every region of the country.
In the South West alone, more than 60,000 are employed in agriculture and more than 28,000 in food manufacturing, with the region having received around £371million in EU Common Agricultural Policy grants in 2014 supporting those jobs.
Between 2010 and 2014, the total income from farming across the South West increased by 49 per cent, to £666million, as farmers – along with all British businesses – reaped the benefits of access to the single European market of 500million people.
If we leave the EU and our farmers have to operate under World Trade Organisation rules, things would be very different.
They could be faced with annual tariffs of up to 40 per cent and huge additional costs – for example, £240million for beef and £90million for lamb.
Protected status enjoyed across Europe by our unique products, such as Gloucestershire cider, Single Gloucester cheese and traditionally-farmed Gloucester old spot pork, will be lost.
In other words, if you so much as think warmly about Brexit and regained British independence from the EU, the commercially protected status of locally produced foods will be not only threatened, but definitively lost.
This is a lie. I’m sorry, but there is no other word for it. This blog is slow to anger and slow to impugn the motives and character of politicians, preferring to go for their ideas. But when he writes these words in a local newspaper, the prime minister is lying to us.
Richard North wearily explains over at eureferendum.com:
As usual though, the fear tactic relies on half-truths and deception – and the ignorance of the media and politicians. And not least of these deceptions is the omission of rather crucial information: the scheme also applies to third countries.
Applicants from outside the EU can register their products with their national authorities, which then pass on the details to the EU, where they are then – after due process – recognised as protected process.
The system can be seen at work here, when in May 2011 four Chinese agricultural products received protected status in the EU, bringing the total to five, with another five being processed through the system.
In a reciprocal move, the Chinese authorities set in motion the recognition process for “ten celebrated European products”. These were: Grana Padano; Prosciutto di Parma; Roquefort; Pruneaux d’Agen/Pruneaux d’Agen mi-cuits; Priego de Cordóba; Sierra Mágina; Comté; White Stilton Cheese/Blue Stilton Cheese; Scottish Farmed Salmon and West Country Farmhouse Cheddar.
Thus to represent British products being at risk when we leave the EU is a plain, outright lie. And even if the Prime Minister doesn’t know he’s lying, some of the people briefing him must know the truth. There is almost certainly calculated deceit being perpetrated here.
So the prime minister is blatantly lying. He is suggesting that protected status for foodstuffs is contingent on EU membership when this is clearly not so. And he is appealing to the basest instincts of Gloucester farmers, producers and citizens, hoping that they will unthinkingly vote for what he tells them is their personal interest without thinking for themselves.
Completely unable and unwilling to articulate a positive vision for the European Union of which he is so desperate to keep Britain a part, David Cameron is reduced to peddling outright falsehoods, deceptions and lies in local newspapers as his grubby Remain organisation trawls for votes.
North goes on to give the wider context, painting (as always) a vivid and fascinating picture of a world of global regulation and harmonisation in which the UK is constrained from fully participating by having to operate through the filter of the European Union:
Furthermore, these reciprocal arrangements are only the tip of the iceberg of what is, in fact, a vast global scheme based around the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), administering what are known as “geographical indications”.
The scheme relies on a network of treaties and agreements, starting with the Paris Convention adopted in 1883, the Madrid Agreement of 1967, the Lisbon Agreement of 1958 and the protocol to the Madrid Agreement concluded in 1989.
These tie into the 1995 WTO TRIPS Agreement (Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights), which enable the system to be extended globally. Part of the WTO Doha round, this agreement is opening the way for other trading nations to protect their own traditional products and brands, to the same level enjoyed under EU law.
Despite this, there are complaints The EU is using its coercive power and the UK outside its system could provide a vital corrective, helping other nations to develop their own systems.
All pertinent information which is lost as soon as our prime minister opens his mouth or takes out his pen and begins lying to us – and when the press fail to do their own due diligence, either parroting his scaremongering as unquestionable truth or doing the Fox News “fair and balanced” thing where they allow two deceitful idiots to yell half-baked untruths at each other for five minutes in place of objective reporting.
But exactly how much of this tawdry and manipulative behaviour are we supposed to accept from our prime minister, and still reunite as a big happy Conservative Party family afterwards, let alone as a nation?
I for one have reached my limit. I never renewed my Conservative Party membership when I returned from the United States in 2011 out of suspicion that things would go this way, but I still expended time and energy defending David Cameron and his ministers on this blog, which I now bitterly regret. And to this day I still believe that my natural home lies within the Conservative Party – albeit a more Thatcherite version, rather than David Cameron’s lame Ted Heath tribute act. So I will remain here, hanging around on the margins, waiting to see if the Tories one day rediscover their soul and become again the party which saved this country from decline and permanent irrelevance.
But this present betrayal will not be forgotten, and if I am ever in a position to cause David Cameron and his band of lying, manipulative fellow Remainers within the Conservative Party even the slightest annoyance, inconvenience or frustration I will do so with great relish and personal satisfaction.
David Cameron has made an enemy of me – but not only me, also the thousands and even millions of Conservative voters who found their prime minister fighting against them on the wrong side of this EU referendum campaign. This may not trouble Cameron now, while his opponents on the Left remain largely incoherent and disorganised. But this lack of effective and united opposition will not last forever, and at some point in the future David Cameron will be in need of allies and ideological defenders.
And on that day, the prime minister will come to realise his mistake in recklessly and brazenly encouraging open hostilities on his right flank.
Top Image: Gloucester Citizen
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