I watched Hague’s speech, and clearly he was assuming that most of the audience would be sufficiently ill-informed (or forgetful) about the EU that if he made some rousing quasi-patriotic noises he could pull the wool over their eyes:
“we will give up no more of the powers and rights of this country” – It’s happening every day through the existing EU treaties as well as outside those treaties.
“no person in their right mind advocating British membership of the euro” – True, for the moment none of the europhiles are openly advocating that.
“The British people believe that political integration has gone far enough, and so do we. So we renew this pledge: that under a Conservative Government there would be no Treaty changes that transfer more competences to the EU without a referendum of the British people.” – Pity he didn’t think of that before, when he was the Tory leader and he supported the Amsterdam and Nice Treaties. And what about the activation of the existing passerelle clauses, which technically doesn’t count as “Treaty change”?
“And there must be no introduction of the EU Constitution through the back door” – Already too late for that, it’s started.
“nor any yielding of our veto over justice and home affairs” – At least that’s a clear pledge about opposing something which has not yet actually happened.
“There are some who still hold to the fifty year old dream of ever closer union.” – Which is enshrined in the treaties he supported.
“I am as convinced as ever that our place is to be in Europe but not run by Europe.” – But the fact is that we are even more run by Europe now than eight years ago when he started using that slogan, partly thanks to the Amsterdam and Nice Treaties which he supported.
“building a Europe of co-operating nations rather than of ever-closer union” – He needs a completely new treaty, then.
Hattip Denis Cooper. On Conservative Home.