Is there anyone out there who just happens to support deeper European integration? Without being paid to say so, I mean?
I ask the question perfectly seriously. When he introduced the Bill to ratify the Lisbon Treaty, the Foreign Secretary, David Miliband, made a song and dance about the fact that it wasn’t just Labour politicians who backed the wretched thing. A whole range of NGOs, he told MPs, had also come out in favour.
“The NSPCC pledged its support, as have One World Action, Action Aid and Oxfam,” he said, looking typically pleased with himself. “Environmental organisations support the treaty provisions on sustainable development and even the commission of bishops supports the treaty. This is a coalition, not of ideology, but integrity”.
Integrity, eh? Within a few hours, Eurosceptic blogs were pointing out that every single organisation he had cited received money from the EU (hat-tip EUReferendum.blogspot.com).
He linked to this old Conservative Home post from his latest blog, which considers how unfit the Lib Dems are to claim the legacy of classical liberals:
The Lib Dems, we read, want to be like Oxfam. I'd have thought they're more than half way there already. I've blogged before about the way in which Oxfam seems more interested in lobbying against free trade than in distributing medicines or building schools. Nothing wrong with advocacy work, of course; on the contrary, it's heartening to see people taking up causes in which they believe. I wonder, though, how many grannies chipping in their tenners know that Oxfam gets more than £30 million a year from the EU? And that it then uses some of its resources to lobby for closer European integration? Oxfam, like the Lib Dems, has generous and public-spirited supporters but corporatist and worldly chiefs.The whole article is well worth reading.