Sunday, 29 August 2010
Last week I was in Brussels to take part in a 'Summer School' of training events for MEPs’ assistants. I attended the training with fellow parliamentary assistant Eddy Butler. Three local volunteers also joined us on the trip.
I always try and attend any educational and training events that I get invited to as these can often turn out to be very useful, though this is rarely obvious in advance. This one was good as it included a very in depth look at the Lisbon Treaty and the effects it has had on the functioning of the European Union.
One interesting section in particular in this part of the course was a discussion of the differences between the Lisbon Treaty and the Constitutional Treaty that preceeded it (the one that was killed off by the voters of the Netherlands and France). Here once more it was clearly demonstrated that the differences between these two treaties are relatively minor ones, e.g. the Union Minister for Foreign Affairs being renamed the High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy and suchlike, and the basic thrust of the Constitutional Treaty remained intact. This was also apparent in the speed with which the Lisbon Treaty was created following the rejection of the Constitutional Treaty. A genuinely different treaty would have taken far longer to create from scratch.
Why is this even important? Well firstly it is an interesting example of the way in which EU enthusiasts are quite open about the fact that these two treaties are basically the same, and this view has obviously filtered right down to the European Parliament’s training unit.
But it is also important insofar as it once again exposes the duplicity of the former Labour government of the UK, who claimed that it was not necessary to hold a referendum on the Lisbon Treaty as it was in no way related to the Constitutional Treaty.
If people want to see more powers being passed to the EU then they are entitled to that view. It is not a view that I share, but I respect the right of others to hold such a view and argue in favour of it.
I have no respect whatsoever for snivelling Labour or Tory politicians who try and claim one thing about the European Union (e.g. Labour’s claim that the Lisbon Treaty did not merit a referendum, or the Tory nonsense about wanting to repatriate powers from Brussels) when the opposite is demonstrably the case.
Thursday, 5 August 2010
Germany’s two strongest patriotic political parties, the NPD (National Democratic Party of Germany) and DVU (German People’s Union) are set to join forces and merge into a new party.
Members of both parties have voted overwhelmingly in favour of this move in principle, and discussions are currently being held to plan the details of exactly how a merger is to be effected.
The agreement is a potentially very significant development for the nationalist movement in Germany. For years the different patriotic forces stood against one another in elections, making electoral success at anything above district level (where only a relatively tiny percentage is required by UK standards) extremely difficult.
The ‘Deutschland pact’ agreed by the NPD and DVU back in January 2005 was an attempt to address this and resulted in a degree of success. The deal involved both parties agreeing not to stand against one another in elections, which, for example, gave the NPD a free run at the subsequent general election, and left the DVU unchallenged in the 2009 European Elections. (Incidentally, the formation of the Deutschlandpakt was announced at the NPD party conference at which I gave a speech on behalf of the BNP. This was the first time I had ever given such a speech in a language other than English, and it is not an experience I will forget anytime soon!)
The extremely poor results achieved by the DVU in the 2009 Euro Elections (0.4%) brought various underlying pressures to a head, and the collapse of the pact was heralded by the NPD’s declaration that they would stand against the DVU in the upcoming elections to the state parliament of Brandenburg, where the DVU had seats.
Inevitably enough, neither party passed the 5% hurdle in the subsequent election, highlighting once again the difficulty of winning when the patriotic vote is split.
In light of this, it came as a surprise to me when I heard of the current merger plans being discussed so soon after the collapse of this previous arrangement, but the surprise was certainly a pleasant one. The NPD are the most successful nationalist party in Germany at the present time and have been so for some years now, but the DVU are firmly in second place, so from an organisational point of view this merger could be extremely advantageous to both parties and the cause of German nationalism as a whole.
There remain other smaller nationalist and pseudo-patriotic groups in Germany but all are eclipsed by the ‘big two’, and the gulf between them could well become even more pronounced following the planned merger.
Germany is arguable the most difficult European state for nationalists to operate in and anything that can be done to unite its patriotic forces and results in tangible electoral advances is most welcome.
I wish our friends in the NPD and DVU the very best of luck with their merger and hope that it results in the creation of a stronger and more successful nationalist party, and one that joins us in the European Parliament in 2014!