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Tory Europhobia cripples Britain’s attitude to the Ukrainian crisis

24 February 2014

Colin Freeman, the Telegraph’s fine chief foreign correspondent, made a remarkable claim the other day that merits wider attention. What, he asked, was Britain’s view on the crisis in Ukraine? The answer was revealing for many reasons, not the least of which being the extent to which eurosceptic myopia has, according to Freeman, caused Britain to misjudge the dramatic events unfolding in Kiev and elsewhere. According to Freeman:

The depth of Euro-scepticism in Britain meant it cared little either way when Ukraine was gearing up last year to sign an EU trade agreement that would have brought it out of the Russian orbit. In Downing Street, the view was that Europe’s outer borders were already quite extended enough. So when Ukraine failed to sign the deal, following pressure from Mr Putin, No 10 deemed it a blow only to empire-builders in Brussels.

If true – and there is little reason to doubt Freeman’s sources – this is, as I say, both remarkable and revealing. Wrong and stupid, too.

It suggests that Downing Street believed – perhaps still believes – that the battle for the Ukraine is a zero sum game between the European Union and Vladimir Putin. A kind of Iran-Iraq War on the Dnieper in which Downing Street and the FCO hoped both sides might lose. At the very least better a stalemate than a clear victory for either side.

Perhaps this should not surprise us. There are, after all, plenty of Conservatives (and Kippers, of course) happy to talk about something called the EUSSR. In one of many such examples, Janet Daley once suggested that with regard to Europe ‘our hope can only be that the peoples of the EU will one day walk out from under their oppressors, just as the people of the Warsaw Pact walked out from under theirs.’

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I suppose it is too much to expect that she, or anyone else minded to witter on about the EUSSR might reconsider the comparison given the slaughter of recent days. I suspect it is because Europhobia – Euroscepticism is much too mild a term – knows no bounds.

Of course the situation in the Ukraine is complicated. The country is divided and no-one thinks Victor Yanukovych lacked support when he came to power. Nor does anyone fail to forget that the opposition are not without blemishes of their own. There are good reasons for a cautious approach.

But if Downing Street really drew some comfort from the breakdown of the EU’s trade talks with Kiev – a satisfying rebuke to the little empire-builders in Brussels – then this is both small-minded and depressing. Even, perhaps, humiliating.

I am not surprised that the likes of Peter Hitchens don’t care about the Ukraine or its people but you might hope the British government could take a bigger, broader, deeper view.

If it is not quite so simple as endorsing (almost) anyone who happens to make life difficult for Vladimir Putin, it is nearly that simple. Europe offers the Ukraine a better future than Russia does. As Charles Crawford, formerly our man in Warsaw, writes in the Telegraph today:

The wise way forward now is to look again at some of those bold ideas that emerged when the Cold War ended, and open discussions on a new historical deal between the EU, Ukraine and Russia complementing the Transatlantic Free Trade Area discussions now proceeding between Brussels and Washington.

Security guarantees might be included, ruling out further enlargement of Nato and other confidence-building gestures. The core of this process would be a shared understanding that both the EU and Russia need to modernise their attitudes, with the European Union also committing to changing its structures to create flexible membership-lite options for countries such as Ukraine and Turkey and maybe, in due course, Russia itself. Who knows, maybe this process could also help the UK itself define a different relationship.

Such a project would be fiendishly complicated to set up. It would drag on for years. But it would have significant strategic advantages. After centuries of war and misery, all Europeans at long last would be sitting around a table to work out where and what Europe actually is. And all European governments would have a say in deciding the outcome, rather than letting violent events on the streets of Ukraine – and perhaps later in western or central Europe and up into Russia if this one is badly mishandled – take their course.

Fiendishly complicated understates the matter, of course, but there we have it. Any such process will be a challenge for the EU too and many of the arguments will be difficult and even the best-case solutions flawed. That is the way of such things.

Nevertheless, the prize is a great one and one that you’d think the British government would want to pursue. But it cannot play a part in this game if its view is determined by short-sighted Euroscepticism. Opting-out is an option but it is one that comes at some cost. To the Ukraine, to Europe and, in the end, to the United Kingdom too.

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Show comments
  • Peter Hitchens

    Mr Massie says I ‘don’t care’ about the people of Ukraine. What he means is that I don’t agree with him about what is best for them, a wholly different thing. As it happens, I suspect I have been to Ukraine rather more than he has, and may possibly be more familiar with that country’s real nature and history than he is. This, I should have thought, qualifies me to ‘care’ about the matter more than those who lack this experience, but that’s only an opinion, you understand. It is of course perfectly possible that noisy enthusiasm counts for more than either knowledge or understanding.

    When were the rules of civilised, intelligent debate abolished? Or, if they have not been abolished, will Mr Massie please abide by them in future?

    • dmitri the impostor

      With or without rules of civilised debate, there will always be pharisees whose pleasure it is to stand up in the temple and thank the Lord very loudly that they are not as other men.

      Apart from the preposterous Alex Massie, avatars include the Bloomsberries and Leo Tolstoy, who ‘put the sanctity of his conscience above the public good.’ (A. N. Wilson)

    • Noa

      My reply to such an ill-judge ad hominen would have been more pungent.
      Still, being abused by Mr Massie should always be considered a compliment and an indication that one’s judgement is sound.

    • the viceroy’s gin

      Your first mistake was reading down to the part where your name was broached. This guy’s writing isn’t worth the time. You second mistake was feeding this troll, and that’s what he appears to be .

  • ArchiePonsonby

    Judging by the colossal balls-up the EU make of everything, I believe that we have every right to be sceptical, especially – as you rightly say – of incredibly complex situations like that in Syria and the Ukraine at present, and do you honestly think that “Baroness” Ashton is remotely competent to handle these complexities? I rest my face!

  • shaft120

    Why do you frame the argument as being a choice between being part of Russia or part of the EU. It could quite easily skip the step of swapping one oppressive paternal regime with another, Enlightened, less oppressive, paternal, regime and go straight to self determined nation statehood. The best move for the Ukraine would be for them to underpin their faoling democracy with an independent judiciary and parliament that is bound with a Ukrainian constitution. The idea thst the only way to get away from Russia’s grvitatiomal pull is to fall into orbit with the EU is a pathetically patronising, outdated, idea that EU apologists use to justify the removal of individual freedom and democracy. It is especially hypocritical of Alex to use this approach in his argument when he writes so eloquently about the scottish independence debate and of winning the emotional argument with voters. People scared to exercise their own individuality, should not be allowed to curtail the rights of others to exercise theirs. Especially when they do not even share a demos.

  • black11hawk

    The thing is that the UK and most Western European nations already had democratic institutions, the rule of law and respect for human rights before joining the EU. The Eastern Bloc nations did not, therefore the process of joining the EU helped to improve their institutions by setting goals and creating hoops through which they had to jump. In many instances the opposite could be said for Western Europe, where the expansion of EU power has marked a regression of democracy. The conundrum is that without Western Europe the EU would be meaningless and therefore Ukraine and the rest of Eastern Europe would most likely not bother to jump through those hoops.

  • Mynydd

    There are 28 countries in the EU, for once Mr Cameron/Hague should stand back and let one of the other countries have a go at saving the world.

  • global city

    List of high profile Eurotraitors amongst the British political and commercial elite

  • Makroon

    One of Massie’s stupider and more fact-free blog-posts (and that’s saying something).

  • global city

    Nothing more disgusting than a fully signed up europhile. Talk about being blinded by dogma?

    It is clear that the Foreign Office has not been central or active because the EU has decided to run this as an EU campaign, member states having to keep shtum. To give an opinion or press for a certain strategy would be to undermine the leadership that the EU has rushed to undertake…and c*ck up….as it looks.

  • Fergus Pickering

    Half of the people living in Ukraine are Russian. They speak Russian. They would probably be happy to be part of Russia. The other half can be bribed with our money to join the EU.

  • DrCoxon

    If I disagree with Mr Massie, does that make me a swivel-eyed Massiephobe?

  • DrCoxon

    What was your advice in the summer of 2013 about Britain and Syria?

    • the viceroy’s gin

      …to go bombs away, like all the other authoritarian socialists.

  • colliemum

    This is now descending into a EU farce.
    We now have the French Foreign Secretary, Mr Fabius, telling Mr Putin he should help the Ukraine with money … while Madame Ashton lays flowers for the fallen of the Maidan.
    One of the Greek ministers now tells Brussels to think hard about the viability of the Ukraine – yeah: more money for the Ukraine = less for Greece, oh the solidarity!

    Meanwhile, one hack tells another he doesn’t seem ‘to care’ about the Ukraine! Aww, that’s harsh, innit!

    It is especially ironic that there’s still this glorification of the EU, with “the Ukraine would be better off with the EU than with Russia”. It hasn’t occurred to the hacks to check out that the Ukraine and Russia are in a customs union, so when the Russian finance minister says an Ukrainian association wit the Eu would mean an end to that union (check out the NZZ – not exactly a Putin propaganda organ) it would mean what to the Ukraine for whom Russia is the msot important trade partner?

    Some people are so enamoured of the EU that they apparently cannot do simple check, enver mind using their calculators …

    • global city

      Perhaps the arguments the europhiles will use to justify the Ukraine breaking it’s treaty obligations of the customs union will be used against them by UKIP?

      Hopefully they will.

      Hopefully Farage will point this out in the EU parliament.

  • BarkingAtTreehuggers

    There can be no doubt about it – this could turn out to be a clear win for ‘people power’, what’s not to like?
    Russia expend $30bn on games to attract the eyes of the world, the UK and various pressure groups talk up a gay rights smokescreen whilst key players in the EU facilitate kick off in the streets of Kiev. No goal line technology needed, that’s how you win the match.

    • colliemum

      … or lose it: matches usually have two halves.

      • BarkingAtTreehuggers

        Gary Lineker quotes anyone?

        • colliemum

          The ball is round?

          (Lineker not = rugby …)

    • Fergus Pickering

      I don’t like the look of those people who are the people. They look remarkably like the IRA to me.

    • the viceroy’s gin

      …still impenetrable gibberish, lad, under any of your multiple nicknames.

  • Denis_Cooper

    Let me make my own position clear:

    a) I do not want Ukraine to be allowed to join the EU; and

    b) I would want to be able to vote against Ukraine being allowed to join the EU in a referendum, notwithstanding Section 4(4)(c) of Hague’s so-called “referendum lock” law, the European Union Act 2011.

    Which he invoked in February 2012 to block a referendum on whether we wanted Croatia to be allowed to join the EU:

    That being the same Hague who in July 2011 had told readers of the Sunday Telegraph:

    “Now you have power to veto EU changes in referendum”

    “This is a historic development for the British people and for our Parliament. This law hands back democratic control of the way the EU is developing to the British

    • BarkingAtTreehuggers

      Ukraine is a huge market for goods from neighbouring Poland, Slovakia and Germany. No way could a nation of that size be ignored even medium term.

  • CharlietheChump

    Ukraine is broke, more so than even Greece perhaps. How will joining the EU, with the necessity that they would also join the Euro, help in any way?
    Fantastic nonsense, clutching at straws which surprises me coming from the impressive Charles Crawford and repeated by this muppet.

  • anyfool

    Its not that people like Farage or Hitchens and others do not care about the people of Ukraine, it is about witless fools who like the writer of this column, think that we should be the conscience of the world, Blair and his fellow socialists played this game, do you need reminding what that brought about, people who were oppressed, ended up dead or even more oppressed.
    The EU and others should not be initiating the actions, that end up with the likes of Blair and the bleeding heart brigade make infinitely worse, just to salve their self hating conscience.
    Hopefully the Ukraine can come out of this action without you and your kind opening a Pandora`s box of swirling ethnic hatreds, just to salve your “conscience “

    • global city

      it was the fear of being boxed in by ever shifting alliances that could leave you out foxed and surrounded that cause the paranoia that led to WW!.

      Perhaps this is a reminder (the anniversary of WWI). that these continental alliances have always led to massive conflict.

      Why should Ukraine be forced into one camp or the other, rather than have maximum benefits from relations formed with both?

    • outraged

      Only mighty God knows what Farge really cares about … he is a politician and the populist one too!

  • Agrippina

    I hope that Ukraine, thinks of its citizens and seeks working relationships with whomsoever benefits them most. Bearing in mind gas comes via Russia, I wouldn’t throw my lot in with the corrupt, undemocratic EU.

    They should squeeze out as much as they can from everywhere, they have great mineral resources, hang on to them.

    • global city

      Perhaps Russia could do us all a favour and blow the lid on exactly what the EU is?

  • In2minds

    The EU/Ukraine deal was lopsided. Good for the EU but bad for the Ukraine, no wonder it was rejected

  • Smithersjones2013

    Why does the Spectator tolerate this mindless hand-wringing Europhiliac drivel. I suppose Massie will not be content until the death toll in Ukraine rises above that of Libya or Egypt or Syria? Wasn’t Iraq and Afghanistan enough to sate such blood lust?

    Putting aside that the Ukraine seems pretty much equally split as to its allegiances one thing has become very clear in recent years and that is that the UK (and EU) foreign policy is about as potent as a eunuch’s todger. The idea that it could out manouevre Russia on its own doorstep is risible (especially with the deplorable Ashton leading the inevitable debacle) and Hague has not been nicknamed ‘Wet Willy Eunuch’ for nothing!

    After all, they can’t even offer them a free democratic one off referendum because we just know if the wrong result occurs Brussels will only demand another one and another until they get the answer they want!

    Idiots like Massie should not unrealistically and irresponsibly raise people’s expectations. There is only one winner in a stand off between the EU and Russia and it ain’t the Brussels peaceniks or the Westminster waifs and strays…

    PS Only cruel sadists would wish the EU on anyone!

    • global city

      I think the whole issue also exposes the extremely unhealthy land based imperial notions of the EU. The mindest of the continental elites has not changed in a century… they have learned no lessons. They still think of adding up land as diplomacy… the more the better.

      It is just the same as Putin’s. Ukraine should have a position that ideally the UK should have, that is facing and working with both ‘blocs’, not aligned to one or the other.

      If Britain is to fully become part of the EU superstructure then it will have to drop all other networks and alliences, as the EU will not allow independent contacts that they have not sanctioned as their own.

      It is all really dangerous stuff in the long term.

      • ArchiePonsonby

        Exactly so, g c, and nothing shows the rank historical ignorance of the traitor Heath and his pathetic successors who have fettered us to a ramshackle alliance of land-obsessed Continental Powers, who have little concept of a centuries-old maritime global trading tradition!

  • HookesLaw

    The nutjob comments prove Mr Massey right.
    What is Important is that Ukraine have free elections and a corruption free govt and make up their own minds what to do democratically.
    A Ukraine in the EU and gaining prosperity offers markets and profits to the UK. Nutjobs just see immigrarants and moan about being called racists.
    Why would Ukraine want to be shackled to decrepit Russia?

    • Alexandrovich

      “Why would Ukraine want to be shackled to decrepit Russia?”
      Been to Russia many times have you? Because it strikes me that you’ve as much idea about Russia as you have about conservatism.

    • Fergus Pickering

      They want a corruption-free government so they will naturally join the EU.

      • Noa


    • Makroon

      They had “free elections”, that’s how Yanukovich came to be there.
      As for a “corruption free government”, no chance in the foreseeable future.
      How about a modestly corrupt government with an EU appointed gauleiter, and Goldman-Sachs brought in to fiddle the figures, would that suit ?

    • global city

      No. They usually see the development of a supranational state where only the pan-European elite have any input as the terrible problem.

      You are a patsy of the first magnitude. You keep on describing the EU in economic terms when that was never the intention.

  • Eyesee

    I never quite get it, do people like Massie just not understand or are they actually mere propagandist puppets, the useful idiots who willingly repeat any old tosh, if it supports Marxism? The EU is trying to tie together a group of culturally distinct countries and relabel them ‘regions’ of a new empire called ‘The European Union’. Why do you suppose, now they are close to putting the capstone on political hegemony, that they so openly and often refer to the United States of Europe? Because the USA is a model people would generally vote for, not be afraid of. But the EU has no intention, nor ever has, of being the USE. It has a vast bureaucracy that runs the empire, it has rules and regulations for everything, it has no democracy and is boastful about it. Its leaders are well remunerated, have access to special discounted shops, build themselves ever more palaces of administration and ignore the most blatant law breaking by the elite. Remember when someone had the audacity to mention publicly that the accounts can never be verified and corruption and fraud are endemic? Kinnock was wheeled out to deal with corruption, with an iron fist. His actions? Nothing regarding corruption and sack the whistleblower. A major reason for the USSR falling apart was that the people of the vast empire were so different from each other and the EU is replicating that. The truth lies hidden, that is why the Common Market that it could be said we voted for in 1975, became the EEC, the EC and then the EU. We know we were lied to by Heath, but do we not concern ourselves about the continuing deception? According to Massie (and probably the KGB in its day) we should not.

  • trixiethecat

    How exactly does Peter Hitchens not care about the people of Ukraine if he warns against armchair diplomats who know nothing of the country(like yourself) interfering in it?

    Look what happened to Yugoslavia. Utopian numpties like you don’t really have a great record here Mr Massie.

    • Ben Kelly

      He actually talks about Russia being a “lite” member of the EU… bizarre. Peter Hitchens writes wisely on the subject and has been warning of the danger of stoking the fire and causing civil war, messing arbitrarily with historic tensions, loyalties and conflict, not sure how that equates to not caring.

  • ItinerantView


    I have no fear of Europe or the Euro,more of a EU-realism than anything.

    It is either lazy journalism or a pro-EU propaganda,so much easier to demonise opponents of the EU as anti-European and tainted by xenophobia.
    The EU is not Europe anymore than Poland or East Germany were the Communist party.

    “Europe offers the Ukraine a better future than Russia does.”

    While Putin’s Russia is hardly a bastion of light and freedom,an EU future looks increasingly corporate driven,corrupt and anti-democratic,the Ukrainians would do well to have a government that looks after Ukraine’s interests first.

    • Noa

      Mr Massie proposes ex diplomant Mr Crawford’s solution, a round table love-in to equal the Treaty of Versailles

      “Such a project would be fiendishly complicated to set up.
      It would drag on for years…”

      Now, why UKIP supporters particularly merit Mr Massie’s passing sneer for their lack of Massianic vision I do not know. As apparantly none of the leaders of his beloved EU or its member states or indeed even Russia, Turkey or Ukraine thought of this inspired dipllomatic gem. Such FCO pearls of wisdom have resulted in a foreign policy which has dragged us into a disasterous series of baroque post-colonial wars, our encasement into an expansionist EU and a fatuous flagship foreign policy to promote world sodomy through the use of taxpayers money.
      Still, it’s from Alex, the master of impracticality, so why should we expect any sense or sensibility from the man who would put a mosque in the twin towers or fill England, but not Scotland, with the third world’s migrants?

  • Wessex Man

    So when our forces are sent in to keep the peace etc etc and the Russians get in a strop and invade are you going to get your boots on and volunteer to fight them?

    Do grow up, the United Kingdom with it’s smallest armed forces since the 1820s can’t even keep the forces of nature at bay.

    • HookesLaw

      You need to grow up. No one is sending in any forces ‘to keep the peace’
      I can imagine Putin invading … something though which would send even Obama spare.
      And BTW America is making large defence cuts.

      • the viceroy’s gin

        …no they are not. That’s just media gibberish for you socialists to jabber about.

  • gerontius

    I have a polish wife, french and german friends and spend as much time in France Germany and Krakow as my income permits, but because I would like the UK to be governed by goons elected to a UK Parliament (goons we can sack) rather than by unelected goon in Brussells (goons we cannot sack) I suffer from a phobia.
    As for the Ukraine, I expect the prime Minister to adopt a position that is appropriate for a civilised independant democracy. Is that ok with you Mr Massie?

    • BarkingAtTreehuggers

      You ‘can sack’ them? That remains to be proven.
      Balls/Cameron or Gidiot/Milipede coalition in 2015 anyone?
      You can ‘sack’ nobody, ever, and incidentally you have never ‘sacked’ anybody, ever.

      • the viceroy’s gin

        …well, we shamed you into swapping out nicknames. Does that count, ya’ socialist nutter?

    • Conway

      I, too, spend a lot of time abroad and have friends all over Europe. Apparently, I’m also suffering from an irrational fear through objecting to being ruled by people I have no control over and who have no accountability. I don’t expect everything to be perfect when we leave the EU, but our mistakes will be our own mistakes and we’ll be able to adopt solutions to fix problems that will be in our own interests rather than in the interests of 27 other disparate member states.

      • global city

        It is a central tenet of Marxist ‘discourse’ to accuse political opponents of suffering a moral/mental deficiency.

        Alex Massie is a nasty old troll who has more hate in his little finger than most of us display in a lifetime.

  • Dirk Hazell

    Mr Massie’s comment may be more euro-balanced than The Spectator’s standard fare (oh, how one is so often tempted to cancel the subscription!) and the former ambassador as quoted makes a respectable argument. However, there is another aspect.

    No 10 may be flirting like crazy ahead of Chancellor Merkel’s visit, but the cold reality is that, even more dangerously than Labour 30 years ago with Militant (Labour was never going to be elected in that condition during the Cold War), the Tories ARE in the hands of dogma which is undermining the national interest.

    So dogmatic are the Tories today that – rather than be in alliance with respectable, mainstream democratic parties such as Germany’s CDU – they instead prefer alliance with Putin, Yanukovych, Erdogan and similar others:

    This national humiliation and betrayal of our national – and the Tories’ own – proud record in defending those who seek freedom is grossly under-reported within the UK.

    In short, the Tories are now so fanatically dogmatic that they prefer to side with those who like statues of Lenin rather than to make common cause with our real friends in free Europe. The Tories’ political ally in the Ukraine is precisely the then governing party which murdered people asking for freedom. What conceivable good does that do for Britain?

    Dirk Hazell
    Chairman, British Committee, European People’s Party

    • gerontius

      ” So dogmatic are the Tories today that – rather than be in alliance with
      respectable, mainstream democratic parties such as Germany’s CDU – they
      instead prefer alliance with Putin, Yanukovych, Erdogan and similar

      I am not a Tory, indeed I have never voted Tory in my life, but this post is simply hysterical claptrap.

      • Dirk Hazell

        Oh really?

        So in the 1930s would you have thought it ok for the Tories to be in a human rights alliance with Ad and Ben followed, once they were despatched, with a human rights alliance with Uncle Jo and his Soviet successors?

        Why, in your mind, is it “hysterical claptrap” strongly to object to a human rights alliance with KGB officers in Russia, with a Ukrainian regime treating statues of Lenin better that their own gunned down citizens, with a Turkish regime sending journalists off to life sentences and – within the EU – an alliance with a ragbag of Waffen SS commemorators, misogynists, homophobes, climate-change deniers, anti-Semites, anti-Muslims …? What is there NOT to be angry about with this?

        While your various entries do not obviously suggest your former graduation from the Rank School of Charm, let me have a guess at your political provenance: Marxist left during Cold War, UKIP now?

        • Wessex Man

          what sanctimonious claptrap, we now have the EU President, an ex communist making a power claim for a country that will now probably enter a civil war that is none of our business, let’s just say out of this one!

          • Dirk Hazell

            I see that like gerontius, you go in for genteel under-statement (not).

            Rompuy a former Communist? First I’ve ever heard of it!

            I don’t see free Europe making a power play or anyone trying to provoke Russia. However, trying to help to a decent life brave people whose parents and grandparents were treated so badly by Stalin and Hitler and who have since been subjected to kleptocracy is supposed to be part of who we are. Ukraine has accepted responsibilities under the European Convention on Human Rights: it is not some entity from another planet and nobody could wish a civil war on anyone.

            • Pootles

              I don’t think anyone denies that Yanukovych is/was a kleptocrat, but the prior Orange Revolution lot also appeared to have their hands in the till. And if you were more familiar with the dreadful history of the Second World War in Ukraine, you would know that under the pressures of that time, hundreds of thousands of Ukrainians, largely from the Catholic West Ukraine, volunteered to fight for the Germans (including more for the Waffen SS than the Germans could absorb), while the Orthodox background Eastern Ukraine provided many thousands for the Soviets. Among the most active, and violent, demonstrators in Kiev, there appear to be rather a lot of people from the Right Project – who do not wish to be under Russian or EU influence an control. And, of course, there are many who look on their Waffen SS forbears with pride – just as there are in Latvia and Estonia. Al this says is that the situaton is far from being as simple as you apear to think.

            • HookesLaw

              Again you are making the mistake of relying on reality truth and rationality in arguing with nutjobs. They are going into a foaming mental overload at the thought of people fighting and dying to join the EU.

              • Makroon

                Ha-ha, Hooky, you are priceless !
                Your Mr Hazell seems to be under the misapprehension that Turkey, Ukraine and Russia, elect representatives to the European parliament.
                BTW, you do realise Hazell was launching a “stinging attack” against Tory policy, don’t you ?
                Tory high command won’t be amused.

            • gerontius

              It is intriguing that Ukraine may be splitting down historic fault lines.Western Ukraine was, I believe, within the Polish/Lithuanian sphere for some centuries. Might have to read up on it again.
              Be careful what you get involved in.

        • gerontius

          Like I said: Hysterical
          Working class Labour as it happens

          • Dirk Hazell

            Ah, so you’ve not yet quite made the jump to Kipperdom and I suspect your description is euphemistic anyway for very hard left.

            Marxists of left and right hate “bourgeois” freedom: so, yes, by marxist lights my concerns would indeed be hysterical irrelevance. Come back Spectator, all (well, not quite) is forgiven.

            • HookesLaw

              The Spectator has gone… like the Telegraph. Its a load of old bunkum relying on cr@p headed loons to fill its comments with their loony toon extremist right mickey mouse gibberish.

              Thank you and good night the Barclay Bros

              • global city

                If you remove the retrospective overplay and just look at his actual actions, you are a direct comparison to Quisling and his like.

            • gerontius

              No euphemism – most working class labour voters were socially conservative (couldn’t afford not to be)and rather unimpressed with marxists of any persuasion.
              I will certainly vote UKIP in preference to the three main parties as they currently stand.

              • Dirk Hazell

                Your first point opens up interesting discussion (perhaps not really for this blog although you are only responding to my question) on divisions between metropolitan New Labour and traditional patriotic socially conservative Labour voters … some of whom may perhaps be tempted by Kipperdom although the core UKIP story, in which my side of the debate also features, is fragmentation of the British centre-right – 1840s, 1900s and now.

                • the viceroy’s gin

                  …so apparently you’re terrified of UKIP, then.

                • Dirk Hazell

                  Of course not: far too much faith in the British people!

                • the viceroy’s gin

                  …it doesn’t seem that way, with all your hysterical shrieking in this discussion, lad.

                • Dirk Hazell

                  What is alarming is that the Tories – the party that saw off Napoléon and Hitler and under Thatcher helped to free Central Europe – are now in bed with such nasties and that this tends to be so under-reported.

                  UKIP is still at the Teflon stage of development but that is starting to pass.

                  The great British public is entitled to know – and to be fair to the Speccie, they did report this in January 2008 -that a Cameroon party cooing liberal-sounding sweet nothings at home is in cahoots with the totally opposite end of the spectrum outside the UK. And there is absolutely no national gain for the UK in the process. It matters a very great deal that Britain’s main centre-right party is not in Europe’s main centre-right family.

                • the viceroy’s gin

                  My, but you’re a confused young lad.

                  No offense, but piecing together your disjointed post, you seem to be pretty much looney tunes, and at the extremes of political thought. Good luck to you.

                • Kitty MLB

                  Whom have no faith in the cloned, egotistical
                  Political pygmies we have today.
                  Some politician said, the winds of change will blow
                  across England ( forgot his name) watch this space,
                  and wait for May 2015.

                • global city

                  You are the one who is so glib about ceding our democratic control and national sovereignty to a continental project that is mired in utterly obsolete ideology.


                  Are the three most appalling political curses the ‘European political intellect’ has inflicted on Europe. The one you have latched onto is as dangerous as the Marxian one you pretend to dislike.

                  Your approach to crafting posts also makes you come across as creepy and oily, a bit like that other europhile Roland Rudd (this is not meant to be a compliment)

                  For a while there I could not remember Rudd’s name, so googled and came up with this list of eurofreaks in the British establishment…. well worth a look!


                • Dirk Hazell

                  Concentrating on the substance, I in fact vehemently want the British people to have more genuine democratic control.

                  The core question is how most effectively to secure it in a globalised world a quarter of which is no longer tinted pink and much of which is governed by people who have both become much stronger and do not share our values.

                  Of course Europe needs reform – as indeed we urgently do within the UK – but it is a miracle that from the ruins of WW2 and with the Red Army so far west, we have together been able to create the World’s largest economy in a bastion of democracy and decency.

                • global city

                  We do not need a single country called Europe in order to achieve any of the things you raise.

                  I do find it rather odd that europhiles seem to be fixated on the idea that anyone who does not share their orgasmic enthusiasm for continental rule somehow do so from a longing for old Imperial days… where does that lunacy come from?

                  I have never heard any Eurosceptic construct an argument that involved any aspect of ‘former glories, when a quarter of the world was pink on the map’.

                  The only conclusion that I can come to is that it is the projection of your own imperial mindset, seeing the EU as a mighty empire which you are desperate to live under.

                  Europhiles work under some terrible assumptions, usually based on deluded notions of their own superiority and progressive instincts… all utterly wrong.

                • Dirk Hazell

                  Actually, that “lunacy” comes from an opinion poll of UKIP supporters: when asked what was most admired about Britain, the answer was “the past”.

                  The point really was that when the British Empire was extant, British prestige was a larger part of global realpolitik which others had to take into account.

                  Together in Europe we are the 3rd largest Member State and an important asset to the world’s largest economy. Out of Europe, we are in more difficulty: but that is for another day.

                  Did I say “single country”? Have I uttered one word that undermines the Member State as the basic building block? And as for “imperial mindset”, one of Europe’s more attractive external features is our SOFT power: really improving the lives of millions elsewhere.

                  If I might say so, perhaps a binary division of (British) humanity into philes and sceps is less accurate than a more graduated scale.

                • the viceroy’s gin

                  …madder than a box of frogs.

                • global city

                  You support our ongoing membership of the union, so you have to support it’s continuing acceptance of the core goal of the project.

                  Yiou assert that outside we would be in ‘more difficulty’? What do you mean by this? What about every other country that is neither in the EU or the Russian ‘customs union’? Are they ALL in difficulty? No other area of the globe or group of countries are forging a political path of integration.

                  The old mantra that the national entity is unsustainable is broken by the reality. There are now three times more countries at the UN than there were when the EU project was first set on the road to fulfillment.

                  It is funny how the politically obsessed view every aspect of the world through that prism. The final point is how you describe the EU as ‘ours’. It is nothing of the sort. It is not of the people, it is ‘theirs’… entirely the construct of Europe’s political elite, a very strange campaign for a democrat to support.

                  If you believe in a European destiny then go and campaign for it amongst the people, and take each step to integration in response to the popular will of the people. Until europhiles turn the project into one that progresses in that order you have no legitimate claim to my birthright.

                  Oh, and that survey? Probably as fictitious as all those ones that try to make out that Americans are stupid, have been abducted my aliens or believe that Donald Duck is real.

                • Makroon

                  … and he attacks the Tories, and doesn’t like Labour. He’s a Cleggite.

    • Hello

      You’re getting a little bit excited aren’t you?

    • Fergus Pickering

      Seek Freedom? Seek money more like. Our money.

      • Makroon

        Now you are getting warmer.

    • global city

      All your post reveals is your own utter selling out to the continental dream, based on continental notions of governance and elitism.

      You are a shameful betrayal of everything that the British had built up but is now being squandered as it subsumes itself into an obsolete, ideologically mired elite’s project.

      You are the very danger you perceive at work inside the Tory party

    • Noa

      Missing the taxpayer funded EU gravy train are you, Mr Hazell?

      • Dirk Hazell

        Your 2645 comments on this blog are both locked and concealed behind a veil of anonymity.

        Unlike some who hoover up taxpayers’ money while declaiming their disdain for the EU, my pro-EU colleagues and I have for years been self-funded.

        When do you allege I have benefitted from taxpayers’ money and on what altruistic causes have you yourself dedicated years of your time and own money?

        • Noa

          Perhaps you have simply overlooked the EU 7.26 million the EEP received from the public purse, just for last year from the EU taxpayers, Mr Hazell?
          Clearly there is a financial benefit to the politicians and parties who support Monnet’s monster.

          And all political parties should, like UKIP, fund themselves rather than feed on the taxpayer. Like you I dovote both my time and money to something in which I believe. It is to the preservation of the liberty of the individual and the resoration of the nation state, not to its subjugation. and so I will continue,as I have every right to do, to maintain my privacy in the face of irrelevant intrusion.

          • Dirk Hazell

            UKIP’s membership and alliances are volatile, complicating reliably comprehensive monitoring of how much we are all paying to keep their MEPs in the style to which they have become accustomed.

            While two businessmen alone – Paul Sykes and
            Stuart Wheeler – seem to have given UKIP about £2 million or so, UKIP does benefit from public money. Nor does UKIP appear to be a stranger to controversy in this regard:


            As regards your broader point, of course each
            generation must defend liberty against the relentless tide of encroachment. Where you and I disagree is on the practicality of how best to preserve the British way of life in a globalised world: I believe our best chance is within the EU.

            • Noa

              A weak reply, dissembling, obfusticatory and based on false equivalences Mr Hazell,

              Like their Conservative and other counterparts UKIP’s MEPs are perfectly entiltled to claim personal expenses.

              However, unlike the EPP, UKIP as a party is not funded by the EU.
              And why is it that when you use your own money to support your party it is a virtue, but when Mr Sykes or Mr Wheeler do it is somehow wrong? Do you consider that donating their own money is somehow public money?

              You may sincerely believe that the EPP is working in the best interests of Britain and the preservation of the British way of life by seeking to ensure we remain in the EU.

              The public, aware that Monnet’s creation is paying it handsomely to do so, will be most likely to consider its message self-serving and hypocritical.

              • Dirk Hazell

                I haven’t suggested Messrs’ Sykes’/Wheeler’s money is public money but I have by implication left dangling the question of whether it is less bad for parties to be publicly funded or funded by immensely wealthy individuals whose interests may or may not in all respects be aligned with those of the wider public.

                I could reasonably have said more than I have about UKIP’s funding but no useful purpose here in lowering the tone.

                I believe the British people – when faced with the clarity of choices available – will ultimately prefer co-leadership within the EU to what is involved in going it alone. It strikes me as less hypocritical to be pro-EU and to try to make it work than to take EU money while trying to pull it down.

                • Noa

                  I’m not surprised you are fast becoming loath to criticise UKIP’s funding. Whilst quick to criticise two individuals you signally fail to comment on the pro-EU interests heaviy funding the Conservative party-and using taxpayer facilities to facilitate them. The sums donated to or received by UKIP are piffling in comparison:-

                  -Fifty City donors paid over £50,000 in the 12-month period covered
                  by our study – which would gain them a face-to-face meeting with David
                  Cameron as possible members of the Conservative party’s Leader’s Group.
                  -The hedge fund industry, the largest contributor across all business sectors, donated £1.38m (11.4%) to Central Office.
                  -Financiers were the second-biggest group of Conservative Party donors from all business sectors, accounting for £1.3m.
                  -Outside the City, the sector that donated the most to the
                  Conservatives was industry, including manufacturing and defence. This
                  sector contributed £913,411 (7.5%).



                  And what about private donations?
                  Nearly £4m from the Bamfords of JCB fame. As the Guardian noted:-

                  “…One family: nearly £4m. Wilks-Heeg and Crone found that 15 of these
                  families or “donor groups” account for almost a third of all Tory
                  funding. They enjoy trips to Chequers, dinners in Downing Street and a
                  friendly prime ministerial ear. Lord Irvine Laidlaw stuffed over £6m
                  into Conservative pockets over a decade and, one of his former staffers
                  told the Mail, liked to boast about his influence over party leaders: “William’s [Hague] in my pocket”.


                  From such largesse and influences, its not hard to see why Conservative party euroscepticism is nothing more than a sham. And attempts to denigrate UKIP are merely a diversion, to hide the massive mote in David Cameron’s eye.

                  Quite simply, the leadership and core of the Conservative party is now the political wing of the European Commission in Britain. it is bought and paid for, both with taxpayer’s money and those of vested business interests..

                  Your profession that ‘co-leadership’ is possible within the acquis communitaire will be viewed with wry amusement even by the neutrally inclined, and incredulious disbelief by the informed.

                • Dirk Hazell

                  Don’t think the leadership of the Tories can be equated to the political wing of the European Commission! What does come out of your text is, that for all the reform needed of the EU, we in the UK might do well also to remove the mote of constitutional infelicity from our own eye.

                • Noa

                  The fundamental philosophical and constitutional contradictions, anomalies and disparities between Britain’s unsurpassed constituitional heritage of individualism and the EU’s all-encroaching supervision will never be compatible. Either we will be free men and women or slaves in Monnet’s Dystopia.

  • D Whiggery

    It’s wrong to characterize these events as an upswell of Ukranians desperate to join the EU, it isn’t. Most want to be able to freely trade with both Russia and the EU and are angry that Russia should force them to choose. That does not mean that the other half of the country would be pleased if Ukraine eventually became a full EU member. Many reporters seem to be reading way too much into this.

    Most Ukrainians want political and economic freedom and an EU trade accord gives them part of that, but full EU membership would also restrict both. This isn’t over yet an there are many in Ukraine who don’t agree with these events.

  • HY

    “I suppose it is too much to expect that she, or anyone else minded to witter on about the EUSSR might reconsider the comparison given the slaughter of recent days. I suspect it is because Europhobia – Euroscepticism is much too mild a term – knows no bounds”

    A “witter” about “Kippers” then, Alex? Froth ye not, Alex, for David Cameron’s every transient thought on European affairs comes at least second hand from Daniel Korski, Baroness Ashton’s man within Number 10. The sage wisdom of your illustrious and acclaimed former “blog bro” is sorely missed by his many fans.

    • global city

      Yes. The establishment have absolutely no intention of loosening the ties that bind us to the EU.

      The project is way ahead of anything that we know, or may like to imagine in our worst nightmares.

      The only way out is to break the political establishment and think anew.

  • Frank

    I think that you are seeing euro-scepticism where there is none. That 10 Downing Street failed to react (to the failure to sign an EU-Ukraine pact) is more an indication of its habitual mind-in-neutral status. It may also have reflected a sane FCO / MOD assessment that if Putin was going to send in tanks in retaliation for such a pact, the EU was hardly likely to launch a salvo of cruise missiles.
    Charles Crawford does make interesting suggestions, but it is hard to see the leaders of the EU as having the vision to take it in – any more than you can see any of our great politicians endorsing it and explaining it to our EU chums.

  • Cyril Sneer

    A phobia tends to indicate an irrational fear of something.

    Europhobia is not irrational, the fear is real.
    Islamophobia is not irrational, the fear is real although the word is made up.

    • Kitty MLB

      Very well said Sir.
      Its a word to used manipulate, make one feel they are being illogical
      and should just be quiet.
      Using made up words to describe something real is quite sly and devious,
      and the way for others to control some agenda,
      Europe is a threat to our democracy, and some who hide behind
      Islam are a threat to our very existence and we have a right to feel
      real fear without being ridiculed.

      • global city

        It appears that Massie is a euronecrophile…. as he seems to be after fu*k*ng something that is long dead.

  • zanzamander

    Thinking a little ahead, so eventually if Ukraine does join the EU (I know it is only trade agreement for now), are we prepared to accept immigrants from there or will we kick up the same fuss as we’ve done for immigrants from Poland, Romania etc.

    In any case, EU imperialism knows no bounds and if the Tory party is (on the whole) against EU imperialism, why must it encourage its expansion by plotting for Ukraine (or God forbid, Turkey) to join?

    Also this pervasive anti-Russian rhetoric and Puntinophobia in the West is beginning to look a little, were it not for its serious consequences, comical.

    • Conway

      ” … if the Tory party is (on the whole) against EU imperialism … ” I’m afraid that’s where your premise falls down. The Tory party is not on the whole (or even truly in part) against EU imperialism. It makes a few EUsceptic noises to try to fool the voters, but you only have to look at its actions to see how deeply wedded it is to the whole EU/USE idea.

  • fubarroso

    In Downing Street, the view was that Europe’s outer borders were already quite extended enough

    Erm, wasn’t it Cameron that said he would like to see the EU extend from the Urals to the Atlantic?

    • zanzamander

      He is also quiet keen for Turkey to join, the little hypocrite.

      • global city

        Massie has had to twist the truth to fit the narrative he has created.

        They are not making great noises about Ukraine because they have been pushed aside as ‘the EU sorts this one out by taking the lead on it’s own’

  • Jez


  • Kitty MLB

    I utterly agree with Pootles very wise words. I shall also, if pardoned include the letters
    ‘ist’ as in racist and sexist. Its just away to box people in, belittle them, manipulate and bully.
    The EU are stamping around within a situation that they should treat with caution.
    We should also, we are not the worlds police.
    What happens when another similar country implodes,
    This is a very precarious situation with the consequences not known,
    unlike the consequences of us stampeding into Iraq, we know those, and hopefully
    have learned some lessons.

    • global city

      The EU has no soldiers to pay with their lives should the EU elite blunder to incompetently…. so the soldiers that pay the price will be ours.

  • Pootles

    Firstly, it might be a good idea in general if journalists, editors and commentators stopped tagging ‘phobia’ onto everything – it is merely a way of denigrating views that one does not agree with. Then, does it occur to Mr Massie that No: 10’s response might well be a practical and sane one? On Saturday, the highly regarded Anne Appelbaum gave her take on the Ukrainian crisis in the Telegraph, yet it seemed to me that even such a historian as Appelbaum only had part of the meaure of what is an extremely complicated situation. Why interfere in a developing, dangerous mess when one does not fully understand causes or outcomes, especially in an age when the UK’s interfering has done so much damage without bringing much beneficial change? Finally, why would Russia ever wish to allow itself to be run, in part, from Brussels? Trade ? Yes. But control, why?

    • Jez

      They’ve seen the Londistan demographics both present and future and thought; Oo yes, sign us up!

      • outraged

        Lol! Precisely the one thing that kept me from applying for UK citizenship!

    • Tom Tom

      Anne Applebaum is married to the Polish Foreign Minister

      • outraged

        So? And fyi, she is Polish too!

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