Sunday, 20 July 2008

LIbertas on the war path... but to where?

The Sunday Telegraph today revealed plans by Declan Ganley, the man behind Libertas and the Irish No Vote to launch a Europe wide party to fight the Lisbon Treaty.

On first impressions, this should be an exciting prospect for Eurosceptics. With the demise of UKIP and the Tories saying one thing in the EU and another in Britain, eurosceptics have been left without a credible, electible party to vote for. Combine that with promises of "£75 million" and it starts to look promising.

However, there are many, many questions here. First of all, Ganley isn;t a real eurosceptic. He is just against the Lisbon Treaty. What's more, he wants his new party to represent this extremely narrow political position; "We will tell people that Libertas is the box you put your X in if you want to vote 'No' to the Lisbon Treaty. It's clear, it's simple".

But will people really vote for this? It's a no vote to the Lisbon Treaty, but what does that really achieve? EU officials are fond of telling us that the treaty is necessary because the EU isn't working in its enlarged state. Eurosceptics will tell us that the EU just isn't working. So what's the solution? Ganley doesn't appear to have an answer. This is hardly an inspiring platform from which to fight an election.

The next issue is that of money. Closer inspection reveals that he is hoping to "raise £75 million from online donations". Well I am hoping to raise that much too, but it doesn't mean that I am going to get it. If he was putting £75 million in himself, then fair enough, but this is just a number he has plucked out of the air. He's not going to stop at £75 million is he ever gets that high, and more than likely he will never reach it... so what is the point of the number, other than for PR purposes?

And how far will £75 million go anyway? With 400 candidates promised, that is £187500 per candidate. Assuming that he fills all 78 potential slots in Britain (and there is no reason not to once the £6k deposit per region has been paid) hat would roughly translate to £14.6 million spent in Britain on the election. That's a lot of cash, if he can raise it. To put it in perspective, at the last EU elections, the Tories spent £3,130,265.00, Labour spent 1,707,224.00 and UKIP's impressive result cost £2,361,754.00. so the answer to the question is... a very long way.

More analysis on the EU Referendum blog.

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