Kenneth Clarke has supported or joined: the ERM, the Euro, the European Constitution, the Conservative Party, the House of Commons and Tony Blair’s Britain in Europe Campaign. All are either defunct, dead or dying – he seems to have that effect on the institutions he “supports”. But one of them, the Conservative Party seriously considered him as party leader. His disloyalty to his own party is legendary – having in a recent analysis rebelled on 22% of votes. Only one other MP has rebelled on more than 3% of votes.
THE BBC AND KENNETH CLARKE
As is the habit of the BBC, Kenneth Clarke, the Conservative MP whose ideas the vast majority of Conservatives reject, is chosen as a regular representative of Conservatism on the air waves. On a recent occasion on Radio Four Clarke sneered at eurosceptics (90% of the Party) as effectively as his friend and political ally Tony Blair might have done. He sneered at the “Murdoch press” as convincingly as any Guardian journalist. He sneered at the “Daily Telegraph” as any self-respecting socialist would. What a prize for the BBC – but is Clarke fit to be a Conservative MP, or even a member of the Party, never mind a party leader?
KENNETH CLARKE AND THE BILDERBERG GROUP
Kenneth Clarke is one of those MPs who believes explicitly in the abolition of the pound, the Bank of England, the Treasury and the Chancellor of the Exchequer (i.e. he believes in the Euro). Clarke supported the catastrophic ERM in 1990 which led to 3 million unemployed and he supported the Euro which has led to 20 million unemployed in the Euro-zone. He supported the European Constitution which was so obnoxious that even the French rejected it and he supported the Maastricht Treaty, the greatest ever destruction of British democratic nationhood. Clarke, as a member of Blair’s Britain in Europe Campaign was a close ally of the Labour Prime Minister and he has been an avid attendee at meetings of the euro-federalist Bilderberg Group. (Bilderberg was founded by two men – a committed Nazi and former SS Intelligence Officer and a virulent opponent of nation states who was expelled from both France and Britain during the First World War).
When I and others wrote to Clarke as Chancellor of the Exchequer in the early 1990s about his attendance at Bilderberg meetings and his support for the abolition of the Pound he wrote back: “I can assure you that I am totally unaware of anyone considering the abolition of national currencies. I do not believe there was anybody there who could have contemplated such an agreement or that it would have had the slightest effect.” Given that 12 European currencies were shortly afterwards abolished and Clarke’s subsequent support for the abolition of the Pound this denial was either an expression of abysmal ignorance of the true meaning of the Euro or of his extreme mendacity.
But such a grotesque political volte face is typical of Clarke. In 2002 he said “The reality of the Euro has exposed the absurdity of many anti-European scares….…..people can now see the success of the new currency”. But in his overweening ambition to be leader of the Conservative Party in 2005 he said: “There has never been a time when the British could have joined the Euro with complete security and confidence”. If Clarke is a danger in Opposition his activities in Government were even more bizarre:
The Times of 3rd December 1996 reported that the then Chancellor of the Exchequer (Kenneth Clarke) had won from the European Union “copper bottomed assurances which answered the groundless fears of the Conservative Eurosceptics”. If the fears were groundless then why obtain copper bottomed guarantees? But EU ‘assurances’ between politicians mean nothing at all. For instance under Article 108, on the European Central bank, the EU confirms that ‘recommendations and opinions shall have no binding force’. In another context the EU’s Court has said of agreements between national politicians “…their decisions were of an eminently political nature and therefore not binding on community institutions”. So much then for Clark’s – or any other Minister’s – ‘EU assurances’!
NOT DECLARING BILDERBERG EPENSES
On 22nd July 1997 the House of Commons Committee on Standards and Privileges published its report on the “Complaint against Mr Kenneth Clarke”. Lynn Riley and I had made that complaint. He was found guilty of not declaring his expenses (luxury hotel accommodation) for attending a Bilderberg Group meeting in Greece.
INVITING OSWALD MOSLEY
This enthusiasm for a corporatist supranational secretive organisation, founded by a Nazi, is entirely consistent with his behaviour as a student in the 1950s. When at Cambridge Kenneth Clarke invited the former leader of the British Union of Fascists (and publisher of The European) Oswald Mosley to address the Student Conservative Association – his fellow student Michael Howard, to his great credit, resigned in protest! Needless to say Mosley agreed wholeheartedly with Clarke’s views on the creation of a European State built on the bones of democratic nations. Howard’s tolerance of Clarke today is all the more incredible.
Another student at Cambridge at the time was Norman Lamont, the former Chancellor of the Exchequer who in an article in The Times wrote: “I was worried about the direction Europe was going. I remember Ken’s words to this day – the sooner the House of Commons becomes a county council the better, he said”. Lamont also revealed that, while he himself was opposed to remaining in the European Exchange Rate mechanism it was Kenneth Clarke who in Cabinet pushed for the raising of interest rates to 15% in 1992 in order to defend the Pound so it could stay in the ERM. Three million unemployed was the result. In the run up to the 1997 election (worst Tory election disaster since 1906!) Clarke refused to commit to not joining the Euro in the next Parliament and refused to countenance a referendum on the Euro.
Clarke opposed the legitimate war against Iraq (based on Iraq’s invasion of Kuwait, the use of chemical weapons to kill thousands, the ignoring of 17 UN Resolutions, the subsequent end to the cease-fire and the removal of the evil dictator in Saddam Hussein). But he supported the illegal war which destroyed our historic ally against Fascism, Yugoslavia (and in support of the former fascist statelets of Bosnia and Croatia) – a war for which no UN resolution was even sought never mind granted.
AN ECONOMIC JOKE
On a visit to the North East in 1991, 12 years after the great steel works at Consett had closed Clarke praised its continuing success! When corrected in Parliament for his gaffe he then praised another “Consett company success”. Unfortunately that company had also closed down. Other Clarke blunders over recent years have included statements like “The ERM had no effect on British business”, “A Single European Currency (ie the abolition of the Pound) would not be a major constitutional issue” and, on failing to enforce Sunday Trading laws as Home Secretary he said “I felt it was not appropriate to apply the law”. He did of course feel it appropriate to introduce two new taxes – the Air Passenger Duty and the insurance premium tax, thius catching both those who sought to leave and those forced to stay!
A DISASTROUS MINISTERIAL CAREER
Clarke became a Director of BAT, a company which is active in the euro-federalist cause and which was found, after an investigation by Channel Four, to have deliberately targeted supplies at the cigarette smuggling market. Clarke earned over £100,000 a year from this tobacco monster – as a former Secretary of State for Health. And it was in the latter capacity that he single handedly destroyed the NHS dental system. As reported on 14th October 1990 by the Sunday Express, a spokesman for Health Secretary Kenneth Clarke said “We are aware of some dentists reducing their commitment (to the NHS), but we see it as a South East problem. Mr Clarke is convinced the new contract will be to the long-term good of the profession and patients”. It has been a disaster with such a shortage of NHS dentists that we have tried to import them from abroad – many proving to be incompetent, some wanted for misdemeanours in their home countries! As one dentist comments today: “This is the point in history when the NHS dental service finally moved into catastrophic and irreversible decline as more and more dentists moved into private practice.”
It is claimed as his great virtue that Clarke has an unrivalled experience of senior Government posts. That is true – and he managed to make enemies in virtually all of them – policemen, dentists, doctors, teachers, nurses, small businessmen etc. Clarke was also largely responsible for the corporatist, bureaucratic mess which is our present day “Health” Service.
When Clarke was Secretary of State for Education a letter was sent out from his Ministry to Chief Education Officers up and down the land directing them “not to urge religious beliefs on pupils”. This was against the law. All that was legally prohibited was the urging of denominational beliefs on pupils. Clarke claimed he “had no recollection” of such a matter. Once again his actions were either grossly incompetent or deliberately destructive of Conservative principles. The same prohibition was wrongly inserted into Government Circular 1/1994 and the result of Clarke’s incompetence is the mish mash of “multi faith education” which relativises Christianity in schools.
As motorists today suffer 70% tax rates on petrol we recall that it was Clarke who introduced the “fuel tax escalator” which – like most of the Major/Clarke policies was gleefully carried on by Blair and Brown.
Indeed Clarke would undoubtedly have been more at home with Brown and Blair, particularly in social legislation as his stance on non married “partners” being able to adopt children demonstrated. Clarke voted (along with other 7 other Tory MPs like David Curry and John Bercow) against the Tory Whip and for such adoptions.
Kenneth Clarke’s continued membership of the Conservative and Parliamentary party contrasts with the disgraceful treatment of decent Conservatives like Lord Deramore in the Lords and the Eurosceptic MPs in the Commons. They all – at Clarke’s behest – had the Conservative Whip withdrawn by John Major for doing no more than defending the democratic sovereignty of the British people and expressing the views of most Conservatives. To say that Kenneth Clarke had no support within the party and that he was therefore no threat was a dangerous approach to a very serious problem for the Party’s credibility and cohesion – as Clarke’s repeated appearances on BBC radio and television regularly demonstrate. The fact that he became in 2005 a serious candidate for the party leadership shows what a fatal error such thinking was.
Clarke’s continuing presence in Parliament and in the Conservative Party, never mind his potential leadership, alienates the party membership and certainly any potential Conservative returnees or new recruits. His anti-Conservative sniping gave Blair and Brown in their time and Corbyn today a valuable ally within Conservative ranks in their fight against the “forces of Conservatism”. Clarke makes a mockery of the vital Tory Party stance against both the Euro and the European Constitution.
It is often said that Clarke appeals to the non Tory vote. That is not surprising – he is a non Tory. His prominent and debilitating presence will certainly encourage other anti-Conservative infiltrators to pursue a career in the Conservative Party. Had he become leader – or if any new leader were to appoint him to a senior post – (as many in all other parties not surprisingly wish) the Conservative Party would be no more.