In this presidency conclusion, however, the European Union – as represented by the European Council – is seeking to dictate to the member states what it shall (and shall not) include in a treaty (the text of which it has defined), effectively barring it from discussing anything else. If the member states accept this, they are effectively conceding that they are subordinate to the European Union, thereby acknowledging that the Union is the supreme power.This would represent a fundamental change in the relationship between the member states and the European Union, one not brought about by treaty, but by an informal de facto arrangement emanating from the European Council- setting an extremely dangerous precedent.Thus, Gordon Brown's first challenge on becoming prime minister is not only to address the detail of the so-called "mandate", but to re-assert his right, as leader of a sovereign, independent nation, to decide on the terms of a treaty which will cede "competences" to the Union. He and his fellow heads of state and govenment, acting on mandate from their respective peoples, alone have the power to decide this.It is wholly unacceptable, he should tell the Union, that as a treaty organisation subordinate to the member states, it should attempt to usurp the power that belongs exclusively to the member states. In short, Gordon Brown's first task is to tell the European Union
who is boss.
Ben Brogan, who has been at the summit the whole time writes...
Meanwhile it will be up to Mr Brown to persuade us why this new treaty should not be put to a referendum. Yes, it secures us against the Charter (the key amendment says "for the avoidance of doubt, nothing in the Charter creates justiciable rights applicable to the UK"), but it also creates a permanent president of the Council of Ministers, a new EU foreign minister (although we can't call him that) and - crucially - cedes sovereignty in at least 52 other areas. According to the euro-wonks among us, that's more than Nice or Maastricht.ConservativeHome reckons this outcome presents David Cameron with a unique opportunity and that he - not William Hague - should be at the forefront of a referndum campaign...
David Cameron, who has recently experienced some difficulties in his relationship with large sections of his grassroots, should seize this opportunity to reassert his leadership and regain some much-needed affection. He needs to adopt the attitude of The Sun and The Mail on this agenda. Today's Sun describes the proposed loss of British vetoes on "energy, agriculture and fisheries, transport, culture, tourism and even immigration policy" as a "shabby surrender of British power." The Mail's Ben Brogan notes that British powers are being lost in fifty-two areas. 52! This is not a time for William Hague to be (however ably) leading the Conservative attack on this
"shabby surrender". Forget Michael Portillo's advice that this issue will only encourage the Tory party's "wild-eyed" Eurosceptics. This is a great opportunity for Mr Cameron to champion the vast majority of British people who have had enough of the relentless drive towards a European superstate and the way the EU's politicians
ignore referendum results.
James Forsyth highlights a weakness in Labour's anti-referndum argument on the Spectator blog...
Margaret Beckett has been dismissing calls for a referendum by arguing that Britain is not a country that "governs by referendum" which begs the question as to why she was happy to run in 2005 on a manifesto that explicitly stated, “We will put it to the British people in a referendum”.James might have also mentioned the Welsh, Scottish and North East referendums. Once the genie is out of the bottle... And if you really need proof as to why this so-called 'treaty' is a constitution by any other name, Open Europe have done the spadework HERE.
My view, for what it is worth, is that this is a massive tranfer of power and sovereignty to Brussels and ought to be resisted at all costs. I am glad the Conservative Party is remaining staunch n the need for a referendum. But this also provides a challenge for David Cameron. I agree with ConservativeHome's analysis that he ought to put himself at the front of a campaign for a referendum, but I want to emphasise the word FOR. Too many times the Conservative Party has been AGAINST things related to Europe without explaining what the alternative would be. It has appeared self interested, ideological and narrow. Even if the country agreed with must of what it was saying, the Party was stuck in a negative rut.
While campaigning FOR a referendum David Cameron must start to articulate what sort of Europe he wants to see and what kind of relationship this country should have with it. If he manages to do that, he'll reap the political rewards.