Douglas Carswell

20 DEC 2011

Changing our relationship with Europe must begin with change at home

One of the reasons Britain gets such a duff deal from Europe is that we've such appalling deal makers. 

Britain’s top diplomats don’t seem to see their role as pressing Britain's case.  At best, they appear to regard their job as splitting the difference between what British ministers want and what the Eurosystem will allow. 

At worst, these top mandarins seem to be supporters of ever more EU integration.

You think I overstate my case?

Well read what Sir Humphrey says when he is retired and able to speak freely.

Today, two of the UK's most senior former EU negotiators demand we support the Euro. In a letter to the Telegraph, they insist that it is in the national interest that we "remain at the top table".

It does not seem to occur to them that diplomats seating arrangements might not be the most important consideration for the rest of the country. Faced with a choice between being part of Europe’s mutual suicide pact or staying outside the room, being outside might actually be the smart place to be.     

Today’s letter in the Telegraph helps us understand how we ended up committing billions of pounds supporting a currency we chose not to join.  And why we're part of a fisheries policy that doles out our dwindling fish stocks.  And why we are subject to financial regulations that stuff the City and red tape that strangles small businesses.

There is only one remedy.  Those who speak for Britain in the corridors of Europe must be made to answer to the country for what they say, rather than to other Whitehall grandees. That means public, televised Parliamentary confirmation hearings for our senior diplomats before they get the job.

Let us start with Sir Jon Cunliffe, the new head of UKREP.  I am sure that he is a very nice chap.  But the current administration’s decision to install Gordon Brown’s chief EU advisor as “their man in Brussels” does not mean that he speaks for either Parliament or for the people. 

Some try to assure me that Cunliffe helped keep us out of fiscal union. “Tough as teak ... one of us .... blah blah”.  Others see him is the hopeless architect of the deal done two years ago which dragged Britain into the bailout fund and a system of pan-EU economic governance.

So let him come before the people's tribunes so that we might find out. 

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