Tax Payers’ Alliance founder, NO2AV campaign director, and once-upon-a-time boss of mine Matthew Elliott has attempted to ride like a white knight to Mayor of London Boris Johnson’s aid following his comments that Britain “can’t leave Europe”.
Following Breitbart London’s coverage of Boris’s interview with Der Speigel this week, we’re told by Elliott, writing in the Telegraph, that we’ve all terribly misunderstood, and that Boris was only talking about Britain physically removing itself from the landmass of Europe.
Elliott writes: “We cannot leave the continent of Europe no more than Kenya could separate itself from Africa.”
Er… yeah… except not really.
We’re constantly reminded of what a “sharp mind” Boris has. And that’s true. He’ll know exactly what he was doing when he said the words he did. But he was in front of a different audience, and as we know, he is used to saying one thing, and doing another. He’s also used to telling different audiences what they want to hear.
Nonetheless, his motivations aside, we only have to look at what he was hinting at, in his own words, to see that white knighting Boris is basically impossible. The fact that Elliott even wants to get involved and embroiled in this debate perhaps proves that he’s more interested in defending the Conservative Party and its torchbearers than he is running a truly Eurosceptic campaign, as he is trying to do with the ‘Business/Conservatives/Labour for Britain‘ groups.
But even if that’s not true. Even if Elliott is genuinely just trying to set the record straight for a pal of his – and if I’m a horrendous cynic for suggesting his motivations are anything but that – he’s wrong. And Boris himself said so. He continued, in his Speigel spiel: “We’re always going to be a part of Europe psychologically.”
Ah. So we’re not talking about geographical constraints after all. We’re talking about a mentality. A mind set. A shared destiny. The sort that the most ardent of Europhiles and EU propagandists speak of. There’s no clumsiness in Boris’s language. His intent is in fact all too painfully clear, especially to someone who helped him campaign for the Mayoralty of London (although I didn’t actually end up voting for him).
But Elliott, for all the good he may do in highlighting EU failings, is one of those people who wants to sit back and twiddle their thumbs while they wait for David Cameron to return from Brussels with his tail between his legs.
And I don’t know why these people don’t get it. You’re not getting “major reform”. You’re not getting back control of Britain’s borders. You’re not even going to get the straw man you tried to set up: revoking immediate migrant access to welfare. The only reason I can think of to support Cameron’s campaign is if you’re really into licking the Prime Minister’s boots. Who knows, maybe it’ll get you a peerage.
In the meantime, there are some campaign groups rolling up their sleeves and campaigning to get Britain out of the European Union regardless of the outcome of the “reform” negotiations. And those campaigns deserve our full throated, and full walleted support: most noteworthy are the Get Britain Out group, and TheKnow.eu.
And no, I’m not just picking a fight on the right for the sake of it. I’m well aware that Eurosceptics need to pull together. So here’s the invitation: if Boris and Elliott want to distance themselves from the idea of a “psychologically” united UK and Europe, and campaign for ‘Out’ regardless of a reform, then they’ll have my utmost support.