When it comes to the debate on Europe, one constant is the stance taken by Christopher Booker. Whatever comes out of the EU is A Very Bad Thing, is to be vigorously opposed, and is proof of whatever doom-laden prediction he made all those years ago when Sailor Heath was Prime Minister. We can, he has made no secret in telling, do fine without the EU.
Can this be the same man?
Indeed, he has told repeatedly (see HERE and HERE) how the UK can enjoy just as much influence outside the EU, his contention usually being spun around membership of the European Free Trade Area (EFTA). Thus he has given the Eurosceptics a touchstone: not for nothing does James “saviour of Western civilisation” Delingpole refer to him as “The mighty Booker”.
But now, the mighty rock that was Booker appears to be cracking, although this will, as with all extreme weather events, have nothing at all to do with climate change, honestly. The Great Man has not only begun to agree with what the EU is doing, he is also pouring scorn on the Eurosceptics’ supposedly solid case for life outside the club, comparing them unfavourably with Alex Salmond.
“I’m afraid all that hyper-ventilating about how Brussels is trying to save the planet by ‘banning’ our vacuum cleaners misses the point ... In fact, there is no ‘ban’ on powerful vacuums ... What Brussels is doing, under its Ecodesign Directive 2009/125, is to encourage manufacturers to develop appliances that require less electricity to produce a much more efficient performance” he asserted.
Yes, while the Daily Mail was encouraging its readers to buy up stocks of otherwise unwanted vacuum cleaners, Booker was supportive of the new rules. OK, he did have a get-out clause: “Brussels is following moves in the US to reduce electricity demand by switching to appliances that are much more efficient”. But he was supporting the new standards. And, as the man said, there’s more.
The Yes campaign failed to carry the Scottish referendum because they “so obviously didn’t have a plausible ‘exit plan’ to convince voters that an independent Scotland could prosper ... But we can see exactly the same fatal flaw in all those who clamour for Britain to leave the EU”. Wait, what?
He meant it: “A properly worked out case to show how Britain could indeed thrive outside the EU (and still have full access to its single market) has no more been put by the Eurosceptics than Mr Salmond could explain how Scotland might happily survive outside the UK”. The greatest Eurosceptic pundit of all says that his own side doesn’t have a plan. He even calls much of their literature “half-baked”.
Christopher Booker must be unwell – or someone has provided him with a serious dose of reality therapy. What will Del Boy think? Will he think? Probably not.