•It was a couple of days ago that the Telegraph reported on observations made by Ed Davey in the New Statesman (a sort of left-wing avatar of the Specky). And it confirms (if confirmation were required) that the Lib-Dems are still out there on Fantasy Island.
It’s a pity, really. I had high hopes that Ed Davey might show a little more common sense and gumption than his predecessor Chris Huhne. There are rumours that, perhaps under pressure from the Treasury, he may be tip-toeing away from the more lunatic plans of the Huhne. And to be fair, he said one thing that is undoubtedly true: he said that this (Coalition) government may come to be seen as “more pro-EU than its Labour predecessor”.
Ed is confirming a point which I have been making in speeches for months: that this Tory-led government is giving away powers to Brussels faster than Blair and Brown did before them. The European Investigation Order (rubber stamped without a second thought be Theresa May); Brussels regulation of financial markets in the City of London; the EU’s diplomatic service, so ably managed by Baroness Ashton, and for which we Tory MEPs (as I was at the time) were whipped to vote, despite a manifesto commitment to oppose it.
But then Ed goes off on a flight of fancy. He applauds the European Arrest Warrant, despite the widespread and damaging injustices it has wreaked on British citizens. Perhaps Mr. Davey has had no such cases in his constituency (in which case I’d like to tell him about some of my cases from the East Midlands). More likely he’s just blinded by his pro-Brussels ideology.
But his prize comment was that it would be “reckless and unwise” to rule out Britain’s joining the €uro - though even he had the good grace to admit it was unlikely to happen before 2020.
The mind boggles. Fifteen years ago we had serious and heavy weight folk like Lord Lawson pointing out the reasons why the €uro could not be sustained in the long term, and why it would do a great deal more harm than good. We now have those predictions coming true before our eyes, like a slow-motion train crash. The dire predictions are proven before our eyes. They are nightly on our TV screens like some malign and dreadful soap opera. Yet still the true believers have faith.
OK, OK. There’s a recession, which is hitting all of us. But surely even a Lib-Dem can see that the particular disasters in Greece, Ireland, Portugal and Spain are on a different level, and caused primarily by having the wrong exchange rates, the wrong interest rates, the wrong currency. Does he know that youth unemployment in Greece and Spain now exceed 50%? It is appalling that someone who cannot grasp such a plain and simple truth should have a responsible position in government -- though perhaps Davey’s blindness on the €uro is of a piece with his blindness on energy and climate, the area for which he is supposed to be responsible -- and will no doubt be held responsible in due course.
There is no sensible way to reach out and reach any kind of consensus or accommodation with folly on this scale. Mostly in politics one can, at a pinch, understand and respect an opponent’s views, even as one disagrees. But the Lib-Dems’ obsessive commitment to discredited ideas, their refusal to face reality, surely make the Ed Daveys of this world unfit for public office -- or, indeed, for anything much at all.