Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Ramping up the Campaign for an EU Treaty Referendum

It's good to see David Cameron keeping up the pressure on Gordon Brown for a referndum on the EU Constitution Treaty. The Telegraph reports that 120 Labour MPs are belling on this and Cameron has a well argued article in The Sun this morning. However, the campaign launched by the Tories today for a referendum is less than snappy.


If a slogan is to work people have to 'get it' instantly. I'm afraid I didn't. I read it three times and thought to myself 'what's it got to do with letting the EU down'? It took about ten seconds for it to click. Too long. It may be that it's Monday morning [It's just been pointed out to me that it is Tuesday - it just feels like Monday!] or that I am not the sharpest pencil in the pencil case.

On the Today programme this morning, Foreign Secretary David Miliband said this...
"I think that as Parliament gets to grips with the reform treaty that comes out,
as they look line by line, they will see first that it is good for Britain, second that it is very different from the constitution in absolute essence, and third that the red lines, the key national interests in foreign policy and other areas of the UK have been protected."

Does he think we are stupid? It has been proven that the new Treaty is 96% the same as the old Constitution. European politicians - on the left and right - have queued up to tell us so, including Bertie Aherne and several of the people who drafted the old constitution. And it's for this reason that we need a referendum. Labour promised one and they now need to deliver on it. And it's good to see that a third of their MPs think so too.

110 comments:

Londoner said...

Yes, Iain, I think you are a bit asleep today - it's Tuesday actually. And is "belling" a new slang which, unlike "having a giraffe" I haven't heard used before? Now back to my gentle giraffing.

David Boothroyd said...

Can anyone make the case for a referendum based on the actual provisions of the Reform Treaty? Because I've yet to hear it.

Surely the much-touted percentages are the wrong way round: the relevant figure is the percentage of the Constitutional Treaty which is present in the Reform Treaty, not vice-versa.

But the key problem for the people who campaign for a referendum is this: the reason a referendum was pledged on the Constitutional Treaty was that it was a Constitutional Treaty, and therefore in a class of its own as an important agreement regardless of content. The Reform Treaty is not a Constitutional Treaty and so isn't so distinguished; because its provisions are so banal, why bother with a referendum?

And if we did have a referendum, there are some who would oppose simply because they are opposed to British membership of the EU. There's a case for saying that any referendum should be confined only to those who support continued membership.

Man in a shed said...

You have to wonder what is in it for Miliband personally that he is willing to call black white and trash his reputation with such clearly false statements.

It clear that Gordon Brown's Labour government is trying to deceive us all and sell us out - but why ? Surely its not just for a few more years as prime minister. Is he that compromised by his ego ?

Just what is it that the EU holds over these men ?

GS said...

David Boothroyd said "And if we did have a referendum, there are some who would oppose simply because they are opposed to British membership of the EU. There's a case for saying that any referendum should be confined only to those who support continued membership."

Sorry David. That's as bonkers a comment as I've read in a long long time.

Hughes Views said...

Once again the Tories home in on a "big issue" that almost no one (apart from people who go to Tory association meetings or who read Tory blogs) really gives a fig about...

Iain Dale said...

David, keep on spinning... old habits are hard to give up aren;t they? Do you deny the treaty is 96% the same as the old referendum? Your second paragraph is patently ridiculous. You know that the only two things which are missing are the fact that it is not called a constitution and there is no EU Foreign Minister - well not by that name, anyway.

Your suggesttion that only people who agree with EU membership should get a vote is clearly bonkers.

Hughes Views, you believe that if you want to. I just love this Labour complacency. Nothing has changed since Blair has it?

Ed said...

The Reform Treaty is not a Constitutional Treaty

ALL the European treaties are constitutional, because all of them create a power which has the power to override national parliaments (albeit in certain policy areas only). We should have had referenda on all of them.

The difference with this one is that it creates a legal personality for the EU which will be able to sign up to international treaties itself without any reference to national parliaments. That is enough in my view to require not only a referendum but a proper debate about the future of this country. If creating a European state which is bound only by the provisions of the treaty isn't a constitution I don't know what is!

It is the pro-Europeans who need to make the case for further change. The status quo should remain so unless the case is made for change. This treaty brings in so many changes (and every EU leader apart from Brown has acknowledged it) that we need a debate and each voter must be given their say.

It will be very interesting to see whether these 120 Labour MPs have the balls to amend the ratification Bill to include a requirement for a referendum or whether they will be cowed by the whips.

Newmania said...

How much of the 96% actually applies to us though? The defence against the fraud perpetrated on the British is that not all of it does because of short sections exempting us . It is said that these are not watertight and are in fact ignorable.

That’s the key are they ?

David you do talk some baloney the point is the transfer of power not the name. Essentially you are saying that because the country has been sold out before and nooone noticed that should continue. They hoped by calling the next stage a Constitution , to tie in the electorates . Now they have reverted to stealth but the cat is out of the bag. I think your argument would make sense if there had been a consistent honesty about what the end of the Britain in the EU was but that is a laughable fiction.

I must echo man in a shed , I constantly wonder why so many people , like David , should so despise this country and its people that they should be energetically lying to it and quietly trying to dismantle it . I think it’s the appeal of playing ona big stage and the bribery...I see Prescott is the latest to accept out taxes from the EU.


What have you got against us David ? I `m really curious

Anonymous said...

I agree there should be a referendum, but this 96% argument is not the best way to make the case.

The sentences “Faceless European bureacrats will be allowed to create a European superstate and control every aspect of British life.” and “Faceless European bureacrats will not be allowed to create a European superstate and control every aspect of British life.” are about 96% identical and mean entirely different things.

Better to put the detail about what powers we are giving up and make the case that way. I’ve yet to hear anyone make that case clearly - and I’d like to.

Hughes Views said...

I bet you don't love Labour complacency as much as I love Tory obsessiveness...

David Boothroyd said...

"Do you deny the treaty is 96% the same as the old referendum?" Oops, Iain, bit of a Freudian one slipping in there. As I say I would like to know not the percentage of the Reform Treaty which was in the Constitutional Treaty, but the percentage of the Constitutional Treaty which is in the Reform Treaty.

However, I don't consider that to be relevant. Here are two sentences that are 95% the same text:

1) "Because of your heinous actions, and the total wickedness with which you carried them out, you will now be killed".

2) "Because of your heinous actions, and the total wickedness with which you carried them out, you will now be tickled".

Did you know that in a death penalty case in the USA, you can only be on the jury if you believe in the death penalty? In a similar way, if you're opposed to the EU, you're going to vote against the Reform Treaty regardless of its provisions. Even though rejecting it will not reject British membership of the EU.

Anonymous said...

I'm still not sure I get the slogan.

Is it meant to sound like "Don't let Brown let YOU down"?
If so, that is pretty poor.

If not, then I'm clearly stupid.

Iain Dale said...

David, the weakness of your arguments are plain for all to see. Keep on making them!
I suspect the real reason you don't want a referendum is that you know precisely what the result would be.

David Boothroyd said...

Utter rubbish, Newmania, for you to write in such terms. I want the Reform Treaty ratified because it's in Britain's best interests to reform the EU. I want Britain to be part of the EU because it's best for Britain.

Lots of international bodies have legal personality; the idea that this creates a new country is laughable. Is the International Rice Research Institute a country? It has legal personality!

strapworld said...

David Boothroyd..your bed awaits! The men in white coats are arriving shortly.What arrant nonsense.

He states "Can anyone make the case for a referendum based on the actual provisions of the Reform Treaty? Because I've yet to hear it."

I take it from this that he has read it line by line as boy foreign secretary says!

BUT he also says "But the key problem for the people who campaign for a referendum ***(forgetting the point Mr Boothroyd that the LABOUR PARTY campaigned in their manifesto for a referendum!)
he continues "is this: the reason a referendum was pledged on the Constitutional Treaty was that it was a Constitutional Treaty, and therefore in a class of its own as an important agreement regardless of content. The Reform Treaty is not a Constitutional Treaty and so isn't so distinguished; because its provisions are so banal, why bother with a referendum?

And thus the morals of the modern day Labour Party are hung out to dry!
With everyone, apart from the labour party, saying that the Treaty is the Constitution in all but name..Mr Boothroyd is trying to fool, con,create a fraud upon the British people.

In a wartime situation Mr Boothroyd you would be placed in prison as a traitor!

God help this country with such people around.

David Boothroyd said...

The fact that no-one has actually tackled my arguments at all shows their fundamental strength.

We only have referendums in Britain on fundamental constitutional changes. The Reform Treaty isn't; also I think doubts that people would in fact base their vote on the contents of the Reform Treaty is a very good reason for opposing a referendum on it. I know you haven't read it, and almost nobody else has read it.

Malcolm Dunn said...

Does he think we are stupid? Yes.

David Boothroyd said...

One of the joys of debating Europe is the very moderate tone in which some of those opposed put their arguments, cf strapworld.

Who also can't make any case for a referendum based on what the Reform Treaty actually says because he hasn't read it either.

Mountjoy said...

Londoner, give Iain a brake as he's bene proofraeding all weakend :-)

On a more serious note, if the Government really believes in the European Union and in this Constitution, then it should offer a referendum in order to strengthen the legitimacy of the European Project. But we all know that it won’t do that because of the dirty trick played by Blair upon Brown at Blair’s final European Summit, which leaves Brown with no room for manoeuvre. Now it's David Cameron, not Brown, who is looking statesmanlike. So much for the Brown Bounce.

Iain Dale said...

David, you have neatly avoided addressing the fact that the architects of the original constitution say it is more or less identical, as do severalc urrent European leaders including Bertie Aherne. Are they lying? Do you know more about it than they do?

Ed said...

So we shouldn't have a vote just because we haven't read the treaty? Even more reason to have a vote - so we can have a wide-ranging debate.

This Treaty is not a technical tidy-up to merge several treaties into one - it creates a wide range of new powers for the centre and abolishes huge numbers of national vetoes. This idea that Blair secured serious opt-outs is nonsense. He got notes added which are not part of the text of the treaty and will not be taken into account when interpreted by the ECJ.

Just because mistakes have been made by governments on previous treaties doesn't mean that we should yet again be denied the opportunity to decide on this one.

Hughes Views said...

PS And why shouldn't Labour be a wee bit complacent? It's in power, ahead in the polls, in tune with the 21st century and has seen off five Tory leaders in a decade...

David Boothroyd said...

It was the concept of a Constitutional Treaty which was rejected, not the individual provisions. This was the reason why a referendum was pledged: not because of what the Constitutional Treaty changed, but because of its status as a Constitutional Treaty which placed it in a class of its own.

The Reform Treaty does not have that status. It is not surprising that it contains much that was agreed by the EU member governments and which was also put into the Constitutional Treaty; the governments having agreed to it, they naturally need to adopt the changes. They were being piggybacked on the Constitutional Treaty but they stand on their own as well, so it was inevitable they would form part of a new treaty at some point. I notice you haven't outlined them or even said if you oppose them.

You still have not told us what proportion of the Constitutional Treaty is reflected in the Reform Treaty.

David Boothroyd said...

ed: Can you list the vetoes please. Why are you so keen on preserving the Estonian veto?

Iain Dale said...

David, neatly dodged yet again. Please do try hardder. It is a perfectly simple question. Are you saying that Giscard, De Haehne and Aherne (among many others) are wrong to say that it's pratcically the same as the old constitution? Yes or no.

Chuck Unsworth said...

Please can we have no more of these crass and pointless slogans. This approach completely trivialises the gravity of the situation and matter.

Whoever advised that this was a good idea should be fired immediately. They are obviously out of touch with the seriousness of the issues, with the thinking of the general public and - in all probability - with any form of reality.

Why do these buffoons constantly underestimate their target audiences? It's one of the worst things you can do when making a case. This is politics by numbers. Kindergarten stuff.

If the Conservatives are halfway serious about this business they could put up a superb case for a referendum (and for withdrawal if needs be). Yet what we get is 'Dont let Gordon....'. Marks out of ten? I don't think so.

Anoneumouse said...

I have reproduced below the full quote from the June Summit below:

1. The IGC is asked to draw up a Treaty (hereinafter called "Reform Treaty") amending the existing Treaties with a view to enhancing the efficiency and democratic legitimacy of the enlarged Union, as well as the coherence of its external action. The constitutional concept, which consisted in repealing all existing Treaties and replacing them by a single text called "Constitution", is abandoned. The Reform Treaty will introduce into the existing Treaties, which remain in force, the innovations resulting from the 2004 IGC, as set out below in a detailed fashion.

Now come on David Boothroyd, we are all bright enough to extract from the June summit text, that the outcome is that the innovations resulting from the 2004 IGC is the CONSTITUTION.

Instead of one single document incorporating all the text of the other treaties, it is now a text which keeps the other treaties but binds them all together.
.

Prague said...

Maybe David can explain what this 2000 page treaty is for and why the Labour MP involved with drafting the original constitution believes it to be substantially the same.

There's a different between an argument and a smokescreen. You are attempting to put up a smokescreen.

more vulgar than a vulcans vulva said...

"David" you sound like a prize idiot.

You say;

"If you're opposed to the EU, you're going to vote against the Reform Treaty regardless of its provisions. Even though rejecting it will not reject British membership of the EU."

Oh dear David.. I could say;

"If you're in favour of the EU, you're going to vote for the Reform Treaty regardless of its provisions. Even though voting for it will not enhance British membership of the EU."

That's *exactly* what you and your fellow europhiles believe.

But since when THE F**K has the *reason* people cast a vote a particular way been a reason to discount it??

What are you going to do? Interview people on their 'motives' before allowing them a vote? Do away with the secret ballot? Put those who don't vote the right way in a straight-jacket and an asylum? Disenfranchise those who don't hold your "views".

I find people like you repugnant.

You have no interest in democracy, or giving anyone a say, unless it delivers the "right" answer. You have CONTEMPT for ordinary people.

And, guess what?

I have contempt for you.

David Boothroyd said...

As I have explained the percentage is an irrelevance.

Bertie Ahern, who chaired negotiation on the Constitutional Treaty in 2004 and brokered agreement, was speaking at 4 AM and was happy that his agreements on the substance had largely been preserved and that other member states had not gone back on them. There were areas in which they had; but there he felt the changes were for the worse.

What Bertie Ahern did not say was that the Reform Treaty was a Constitutional Treaty. It isn't. As I have said again and again and you don't seem to be able to read, it is the status of the Constitutional Treaty as a Constitutional Treaty which led to a referendum, not its content.

Andy said...

Well on the one hand, humans are 96% the same as chimps, if you look at the DNA. It depends entirely what the other 4% represents.

On the other hand, we're not ever going to get a referendum on this, because it is a certainty that the government would lose, and probably by a country mile, and then Brown would have to resign.

Having waited 10 years to get the job, he'd be mad (or madder than we think he is) to throw it all away now.

Newmania said...

) "Because of your heinous actions, and the total wickedness with which you carried them out, you will now be tickled".


David to be fair I made the very same point and in doing so I was quoting some EU worthy or other who claims that we are exempted from most of the text. Others , in fact most , claim this is not the case .I agree the proportion of words might be misleading and I do not know myself how valid these exemptions are .It is noticeable how silent the pro Constitution side are on this nitty gritty. The ball is in their court why are they so scared to explain the strength of their position...?

I would say that Britain was the country who should decide what was in its best interests both now and in the future , not Europe .Personally I feel confident our interests would be best served outside the EU but even if that were not the case the stewards of this country are there to run it , not to give it away.The EU has proceeded by stealth and spent vast amounts of our money persuading us . To the best of my knowledge the International rice research ...thingy, will not be usurping our ability ot decide our own foreign Policy. Will not be deciding our regional Policy and encouraging the break up of our country. It will not be taking £5000 form every household in the land on so Milliband can talk about the climate in Brussels.
It will not be making 70% of a our laws and it will not be hollowing our institutions like the FSA and mis-selling new EU law as old UK law .

I think you are right that those who do not like the EU will not cooperate in its advancement. Its their country too. It was sold as a trading group it has turned out to be a political project heading towards federal regions of a new country. To what extent we might disagree but as a cross party issue it is high time the people of this country were asked if they feel the loss of sovereignty is worth it .As we all know the answer to that we all know the real reason for the efforts not to consult the electorate . I agree we do not have a rolling plebiscite but in this case as it is not Party Political .Without direct voting there will be an endless ratchets in which stealth turns the notch up and loud pseudo legalistic bunkum prevents the notch going back. That is excatly why Gordon Brown holds his nose and refers to Parliament . because he can control it (just about )

I cannot believe that you do not see that perpetrating such a fraud on the people is against the spirit of any country used to independence and accountability from its elected Politicians.

PS I am not widly anti Euro by the way , it is only over the last two years or so I have finally begun to see what it really is . Prior to that I would have approved of it from small c Conservative reasons . I think many many peoplem have made this jouney and that is why we need a referendum.

more vulgar than a vulcans vulva said...

Another little gem the Europhiles try and use as an argument on me is that there's no point citing clauses from the EU Constitution as reasons to vote against it, because many of these already apply to us under Maastrict and Nice.

Yes, AND?!!

They seem to think I'll suddenly say to myself "hmmm.. well, I'll vote in favour of this document because this stuff already applies, and its nothing new, so I should just learn to love it and tell the EU how grateful I am for the opportunity to tell them how wonderful they are"

Err.. wrong.

None of us got a vote on Maastrict. None of us got a vote on Nice. I didn't want them then, I don't want them now. I don't want it in the future. It's our chance to pass a verdict on it all. The first for over 30 years. Whether it applies already, or not, it's OUR turn to speak.

I don't want the EU to have primacy over British law or to aim for "ever closer union". I reject it wholeheartedly. I want my chance to say so.

Besides, if people did vote "yes", we know what the europhiles would take it as.

A comprehensive endorsement of Maastrict, Nice, Amsterdam, the constitution, the whole bloody lot just proving how popular the whole EU and all its works is.

I won't let them carry on down this road. Its time for the chickens to come home to roost. EU integration will be stopped HERE - this point, no further.

And I have a message for all you europhiles out there:

YOU WILL BE DEFEATED - IT IS INEVITABLE

(last few words I borrowed from your manuscript. Hope you appreciate the irony)

judith said...

Yes, D Boothroyd, I have read about this new Treaty and have heard from one of my local MEPs about it, and I don't have the time to repeat the arguments here.

Extensive new powers have been given, particularly in the matter of a new European Council, which render this a Constitutional Treaty, even if you prefer to call a Reform Treaty or Fred & Ginger.

The Labour Party promised a referendum in its manifesto 2 yrs ago on this issue, and quite frankly what you choose to name it is neither here nor there - either Merkel, Aherne etc are liars about 96% of the document being as it was before, or Bliar/Brown/Millipede are.

And (despite the fact that I am a Conservative) if someone as decent and straight at Gwyneth Dunwoody MP is demanding a referendum, then we should have a referendum on it.

I am fed up with being lied to, whether by Ted Heath, John Major, Tony Blair or Gordon Brown, about Europe.

Anonymous said...

c'mon ian, bit faster with approving comments please. Its choking the pace of the debate!

Chris Paul said...

"Proven 96% the same" is a bit strong for what has actually occurred Iain.

Disaggregate it and let's have 200 directives or treaty amendments instead is that what people want.

I can see why people like the idea of referenda politically and philosopically. I also note how seldom people of this ilk offer referenda when they are in charge.

I don't object to the EU unlike eu and certainly wouldn't want the whole lot grinding to a halt over some hold outs who cannot get used to the real politick which is that we are in Europe and by and large it does us good.

Ed said...

Why are you so keen on preserving the Estonian veto?

Why shouldn't the Estonians be able to stop things coming in that they don't like? We are supposed to be "in Europe" willingly, not to have the "right" policies imposed on us without discussion. People who think that the EU must introduce policies against the citzens' will are not democrats.

I do not believe, as Heath and Mandelson did/do, that the English are too stupid to govern themselves.

The Estonians should be allowed a veto because everyone should be allowed a veto. I believe in intergovernmentalism not supranationalism. What say you Mr Boothroyd?

Yak40 said...

http://www.open-europe.org.uk/
has it all.

(and http://www.eureferendum.blogspot.com/ for commentary).

If it's so wonderful for the UK why does HMG try and weasel out of a vote ?
Why would any sane person want to surrender even more sovereignty to an undemocratic machine in Brussels that, with the new treaty passed, can henceforth make any changes it likes ?

John said...

To David Boothroyd: The case for a referendum is twofold:

(i) Legitimate power in democracies belongs to the people. The people elect a Government to exercise their power for a 4-5 year period. Government should not be able to use their time in office to permanently give away to Brussels the powers they have been loaned without the consent of the people who are its true owners. John Locke argued in his ‘2nd Treatise of Government’ that “The Legislative cannot transfer the power of making laws to any other hands. For it being but a delegated power from the people, they who have it cannot pass it to others”.
(ii) The present government was elected on a mandate to hold a referendum. Indeed all three main parties made this a manifesto commitment in the 2005 election. For the government to renege on the program they were elected on would mark a fresh low in the history of our democracy.

There have been 9 UK referendums in the past, all of them on similar constitutional issues. There have been 5 in the last decade on devolution in Scotland & Wales, the establishment of the Greater London Council, the arrangements in Northern Ireland and a regional assembly for the North East (which was not passed). The referendum is the established means in this country (and others) of settling such constitutional arrangements and can only be decided by the people (all of them of voting age) who must live under the resulting regime. The EU will have no legitimacy in this country without a referendum.

John said...

To David Boothroyd: The case for a referendum is twofold:

(i) Legitimate power in democracies belongs to the people. The people elect a Government to exercise their power for a 4-5 year period. Government should not be able to use their time in office to permanently give away to Brussels the powers they have been loaned without the consent of the people who are its true owners. John Locke argued in his ‘2nd Treatise of Government’ that “The Legislative cannot transfer the power of making laws to any other hands. For it being but a delegated power from the people, they who have it cannot pass it to others”.
(ii) The present government was elected on a mandate to hold a referendum. Indeed all three main parties made this a manifesto commitment in the 2005 election. For the government to renege on the program they were elected on would mark a fresh low in the history of our democracy.

There have been 9 UK referendums in the past, all of them on similar constitutional issues. There have been 5 in the last decade on devolution in Scotland & Wales, the establishment of the Greater London Council, the arrangements in Northern Ireland and a regional assembly for the North East (which was not passed). The referendum is the established means in this country (and others) of settling such constitutional arrangements and can only be decided by the people (all of them of voting age) who must live under the resulting regime. The EU will have no legitimacy in this country without a referendum.

Time will Tell said...

Brown has been given huge credibility by giving independence to the Bank of England in 1997.Put simply,that was the biggest spin yet perpetrated by this government. Under the Maastricht Treaty, central banks were to become independent as a pre-condition for joining the euro - that is still an obligation under the new constitution unless there is an opt-out. The story that he and Ed Balls on the back of an envelope made a list of the five conditions which had to be met before the UK joined the euro is probably accurate. But Brown is a long term player and he wanted the credit for taking us into the currency.
Such is the disillusionment with the euro in northern Europe and Italy and the general antipathy of the English to to the EU, he obviously does not dare to have a referendum.
So we must not fall into the trap of the Bank of England independence yarn - the new constitution will give EU ministers power over the ECB so that becomes a political catspaw for the first time.

Ed said...

Disaggregate it and let's have 200 directives or treaty amendments instead is that what people want.

Let's do that. Why? Because it gives the appropriate decision-makers time to look over each proposal individually and decide on the merits. The Big Bang approach is wrong, because it won't be possible to scrutinise every provision despite Miliband and Brown's assertions.

Paul Linford said...

On the slogan, it took me two takes as well.

David Boothroyd said...

OK, I have a compromise. We will have a referendum on ratification of the Treaty, but it will be an honest one where the options are spelt out plainly. The question will be:

Place an X by your preferred choice

[ ] The United Kingdom shall be a member of the European Union as a signatory to the Treaty of Rome as amended by the Maastricht Treaty, the Amsterdam Treaty, the Nice Treaty and other similar treaties.

[ ] The United Kingdom shall be a member of the European Union as a signatory to the Treaty of Rome as amended by the Maastricht Treaty, the Amsterdam Treaty, the Nice Treaty and other similar treaties including the Reform Treaty.

And that any spoiled ballots be thrown away and not counted.

Who could object to that?

John said...

To David Boothroyd: The case for a referendum is twofold:

(i) Legitimate power in democracies belongs to the people. The people elect a Government to exercise their power for a 4-5 year period. Government should not be able to use their time in office to permanently give away to Brussels the powers they have been loaned without the consent of the people who are its true owners. John Locke argued in his ‘2nd Treatise of Government’ that “The Legislative cannot transfer the power of making laws to any other hands. For it being but a delegated power from the people, they who have it cannot pass it to others”.
(ii) The present government was elected on a mandate to hold a referendum. Indeed all three main parties made this a manifesto commitment in the 2005 election. For the government to renege on the program they were elected on would mark a fresh low in the history of our democracy.

There have been 9 UK referendums in the past, all of them on similar constitutional issues. There have been 5 in the last decade on devolution in Scotland & Wales, the establishment of the Greater London Council, the arrangements in Northern Ireland and a regional assembly for the North East (which was not passed). The referendum is the established means in this country (and others) of settling such constitutional arrangements. All of the people of voting age who must live under the resulting regime must be allowed to participate in the referendum if the decisions taken by the EU government are to be regarded as being legitimate. EU governance can have no legitimacy in this country without a referendum.

David Boothroyd said...

John, I'm afraid your case falls down on both its points. Firstly, Locke is offering his own opinion not a statement of the actual UK constitution. UK governments can and have ratified treaties without referendums that cede powers: signing up to the World Trade Organisation has the biggest impact, and no-one has suggested a referendum on that. There's no constitutional need for even Parliamentary approval of EU treaties, save that every government since Heath has chosen to do so. (The Royal Prerogative allows ratification by the Sovereign on the advice of Ministers)

On your second point your case is even weaker. The manifesto promised a referendum on the Constitutional Treaty. Even if we broaden that to 'any Constitutional Treaty', what we have is not a Constitutional Treaty but an ordinary one.

verity said...

I've read it four or five times and still don't understand the slogan.

Could Iain tell us who thought it up, because that person should be sedated - or,on second thoughts, probably already is - and who approved it?

Also, explain it,please. What the hell does it mean?

brian silvester said...

if 110 labour MPs want a referendum why don't the conservative opposition put down a motion calling for a referendum? It should get passed and would put the labour government on the spot.

Trumpeter Lanfried said...

The slogan is abysmal. I could have done better myself given five minutes and the back of an envelope.

Johnny Norfolk said...

Another Labour lie.

They promised us a referendum, They cannot sign up to this without one. We need to sort out this once and for all. This EU thing has been running for years since Heath was PM. We voted for free trade and movement, not this.

The whole thing is based on lies to the British people.

Sir James Robison said...

Sigh. It's a pathetic slogan. When will the Tories get a leader? DD.

Johnny Norfolk said...

Iain

Dont bother asking these people for a straight answer as you wont get one from these snakes.

They are the lowest of the low trying to sell our country down the drain. They are nothing more than stalinest dictators. They do no understand the meaning of truth as you can see by their patetic answers.
All they want to do is feather their own nest led by that weasel Mandleson however you spell it

Wrinkled Weasel said...

Does the Conservative Party have its slogans written by Joe "rabies" Scrote of No2, The Underpass, Urineville? Did he, in a fit of regular foetid drunkenness, call it out to some Tory media advisor, who was on his way from a particularly liquid-and-white-powdery lunch? The slogan is meaningless twaddle and it is not even written in English.


Here was a chance to come up with a real hard-hitting slogan, a chance to shine.

Some paper-clip collector is being paid pot loads to come up with this dreck.

Do Conservative want to be in power again?

Roger Thornhill said...

The slogan is pants.

How about (with the image linked)
"I have in my hand an act of treason"

or

"Gordon Brown, betrays a people of whom he knows nothing"

Anonymous said...

David Milliband seemed to get a pretty easy ride on this on Today.

Hannibal said...

Better slogan:

Trust the people, Gordon, you said you would

Explained here:

http://ybfblog.wordpress.com/2007/08/28/trust-the-people-gordon-you-said-you-would/

english democrat said...

David Boothroyd and Hughes views, are you part of the new NULAB blog monitoring unit that we've been hearing about?
I see that your style is typical NULAB commisar double speak with a side order of arrogance!
If its part of your job to trawl the blogosphere and flog the party line then why not be open about it?
As I read your posts through they strike me as a bit TOO sharp and a bit TOO slick to be an ordinary voter trying to put their view across!
It would be very educational to know what your IP address is as I have the sneaky feeeling that you are part of the NULAB propaganda machine!

David Boothroyd said...

Ah, english democrat, the voice of undoubted sanity. As for myself I'll never be ordinary so long as I live, but no-one's telling me what to post.

Do you support my proposed referendum question:

Place an X by your preferred choice

[ ] The United Kingdom shall be a member of the European Union as a signatory to the Treaty of Rome as amended by the Maastricht Treaty, the Amsterdam Treaty, the Nice Treaty and other similar treaties.

[ ] The United Kingdom shall be a member of the European Union as a signatory to the Treaty of Rome as amended by the Maastricht Treaty, the Amsterdam Treaty, the Nice Treaty and other similar treaties including the Reform Treaty.

Serge Kantonovovic said...

Is this David Boothrooyd for real? And he wonders why people are cynical when it comes to Labour politicians.

Windsor Tripehound said...

It's a waste of time responding to "david boothroyd" because he's clearly an anonymous noolabor troll.

I was amused to read a claim by a noolabor hack on another blog that the Conservative party is divided over Europe. On this issue the party is united. I reckon the boot's now firmly on the other foot.

120 labour antis already?

David Lindsay said...

A referendum on the EU Constitreaty would deliver a Yes vote.

In 1975, the federalists managed to convince two thirds of the electorate that they were merely voting for “a free trade area” called “the Common Market”, even though the first clause of the European Communities Act was, and is, a textbook definition of a federal state.

This was achieved by persistently putting up Tony Benn and Enoch Powell to state the case for a No vote. Most people voted instead for the position espoused by politicians with whom they felt more comfortable.

The same thing would happen again. Powell’s place would be filled by that nasty fringe which holds his economic views untempered by his romantic Toryism. Such would be the sole No campaigners on at least two out of every three, and quite possibly three out of every four, programmes. The rest of the time, Benn would be back.

No Frank Field. No Kate Hoey. No Nick Harvey. Just Wedgie occasionally, and the Genghis Khan Institute the rest of the time.

Even fewer people would identify with Benn now than in 1975. And do even tribal Tories, never mind anybody else, believe in unrestricted immigration to feed unbridled capitalism? Or the total deregulation of alcohol, gambling and pornography? Or the legalisation of drugs and prostitution? Or the wholesale privatisation of health, education and pensions? Or the abolition of farm subsidies?

“Well, then,” the federalists would say, “what makes you think that you agree with these people about this, and this alone? Their position is coherent. It all fits together. And your views don’t fit into it at all. Vote Yes, if only because they want you to Vote No.” And people would.

Instead, Parliament should do its duty by throwing out the Constitreaty without any need for a referendum.

Not least, the unions should be refusing to fund any MP who does not vote in Parliament both against the Constitreaty and in favour of securing workers’ rights (among other things) through the Parliament of the United Kingdom, and should instead be undertaking to fund alternative parliamentary candidates who will do both of these things.

For we don't need the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights, we need a proper party like Labour of old, dedicated to just that: securing workers’ rights (among other things) through the Parliament of the United Kingdom.

David Boothroyd said...

Windsor tripehound won't respond because there is no response open to him. Having the advantage over him of confidence to put my real name to what I write, the issue is what is wrong with the question I have proposed?

Travis Bickle said...

Just like the 1975 referendum the politicians and media will be hugely weighed to the "yes" camp. And that referendum shows us that those who thought they were voting yes to a closer trading community were in reality voting for something completely different.

So avoid the huge waste of money, (they'll only keep repeating them until they get the answer they want), what we really need is a government that will instruct its bureacrats to work within the EU like other countries, i.e. completely ignore any EU diktat that doesn't benefit your own country and embrace anything that is of benefit, not that we seem to have got the hang of taking grants whilst thumbing our noses. (we could always send a few MPs on a jolly to Valencia, Madrid or Paris to watch and learn)

John said...

To David Boothroyd,

The case for a referendum as outlined in my earlier post is 100% watertight. Yours on the other hand is the weakest I ever heard. If this were a boxing match your corner would not let you into the ring. You essentially argue that because powers have sometimes been transferred away from the people’s legitimate representatives in the past it is OK to do so again and again in future. In a democracy all legitimate power must be derived from the people. The case you make is the case for tyranny.

You should contemplate that the EU could never have become the mess it is if each stage of its construction (Maastricht, Nice, Amsterdam, etc.) had been legitimized by plebiscite. You would not now have such fear that the people may reject this latest step towards the super-state if confidence in the project had not been so eroded by the undemocratic “integration by stealth” methods that you advocate be used again.

Also do not make comparisons between the EU and other supranational organizations like the WTO. The EU is unique in that it alone it has the power to create supranational law with primacy over national law and impose it (via QMV) on countries against the wish of their people and elected government. It is simply unacceptable that its “community method” be applied in ever more policy areas because that approach can have only one end result, namely gradual extinguishing of parliamentary democracy itself whose traditions you pretend to support. Every policy area would slowly ossify as agriculture has with discredited policies lasting for decades but impervious to reform because they have been moved beyond the influence of our votes.

Daily Referendum said...

Iain, here's a slogan for you:

David Boothroyd take note:

If a Beefburger only contains 96% Beef, it is still a bloody Beefburger.

Newmania said...

David Boothroyd and Hughes views, are you part of the new NULAB blog monitoring unit that we've been hearing about?
I see that your style is typical NULAB commisar double speak with a side order of arrogance!
If its part of your job to trawl the blogosphere and flog the party line then why not be open about it?


David isn`t that slick !!I think Chris Paul is paid for by the Labour Party .... Livingstone monitors blogs obsessively

tapestry said...

Stop Brown Bashing Britain.

Newmania said...

what we have is not a Constitutional Treaty but an ordinary one.

Except we don`t do we! Your inability to see the problem with this is becoming perverse. I see you have ignore my comments about the ratchet effect but you are demonstrating exactly the sort of quasi legalistic judo that is employed disingenuously after an ill understood event with weak piddles of formal authority treated selectively as enduring springs of legitimacy.

Your proposed referendum is trying to paint everyone onto a corner when in fact what is required is a fresh mandate on the whole project.
Perhaps you will clear this up then.

For how long do you think it will be acceptable for the country to be sold off in bits to the EU when it isn the settled wish of the People that it is not thats simpel enough isn1t it . If not now then when ?. I.Are you suggesting that the people of this country should never have a say in the extent to which the country is ruled from abroad ?


There is a staggering arrogance about this and you can spin it as much as you like.Brown has lied and is lying . No suprise to us of course but the general public briefly gave him a chance

the lead down this weekend .If he doesn`t stop lying soon he could be in serious trouble very quickly indeed.

David Boothroyd said...

Newmania: No.

Daily Referendum (and Iain): Suppose you had two pieces of text, one of which consisted of the entirety of "War and Peace", and the second of which consisted of just chapter 14 of book 5 of "War and Peace".

If so, the second piece of text would come 100% from War and Peace. However, it would not be anything like the whole of War and Peace.

Now suppose you have the Constitutional Treaty and the Reform Treaty. You tell me that almost all of the Reform Treaty came from the Constitutional Treaty. My question is this: what proportion of the Constitutional Treaty is to be found in the Reform Treaty?

Anonymous said...

Would the argument be taken more seriously if the exit pledge on EPP had been honoured?

english democrat said...

Dear David Boothroyd,

GOTCHA!!!

You ARE a NULAB monitor and you fell for my trick, hook line & sinker! My question to you is are you proud to be a part in the sleazy Brown propaganda machine? How much are you being paid to peddle your masters lies?
Your mistake was to reply so quickly with a pre prepared and overly contrived response! We will be keeping a sharp eye out for you in the future because even if you change your handle you will always make the mistake of sticking to the party line of the moment!

PS
What you are doing is wrong and I dont expect for a second that you will see it BUT think about this while you doing your masters bidding, people like you are destroying the democratic ethos of the blogsphere! We post to make our voices heard BUT you post for a living?

Daily Referendum said...

David Boothroyd, a few quotes:

"The fundamentals of the Constitution have been maintained," says Angela Merkel.

"The great part of the European Constitution is in the new treaty," agrees José Luis Zapatero.

"Thankfully they haven’t changed the substance; 90 per cent of it is still there," echoes Bertie Ahern.

Do you want more, or are you just going to spout more rubbish about war and peace?

David Lindsay said...

Anonymous 5:29 PM, the Turkish AKP, which from today provides both the Prime Minister and the President of that countrty (so that the Caliphate is effectively restored), is also affiliated to the EPP.

The AKP's members are in no sense "former Islamists", and would not have been elected if they were. At least unless there is a military coup, look out for polygamy, shrouded women, limb amputations, the lot in Turkey from now on.

All inside NATO, putatively inside the EU, and under a government drawn from the Tories's sister-party (not to mention that of several parties of ostensible "Christian Democrats" on the Continent).

But then, those same Tories are planning to make Eid a public holiday wherever the mosque committee shouts loudly enough for it and agrees to deliver the votes for the Bullingdon Boys. That and what else into this bargain?

jafo said...

We all know that if the Government thought it could win a referendum on the EU Treaty it would have one tomorrow. They won't have a referendum (despite having in their manifesto that they would) because they know they'll lose.

It's got nothing to do with any rubbishy doubletalk from David Boothroyd and other NuLab toadies - it's got everything to do with winning or losing. They'd lose - so no referendum.

Incidentally, David, you seem to fail to grasp the principles of democracy - we have one vote each, and we use it as we see fit, not as you think we should.

David Boothroyd said...

In what distorted and perverted sense of the word have you 'got' me? Because you can't answer the points I've been making doesn't mean you've proved your case. It means precisely the opposite.

And how, pray tell, is me giving my own opinion, which happens to disagree with yours, in some way damaging the blogosphere?

David Boothroyd said...

Daily Referendum: I think my point was quite plain and you should be able to answer it. What proportion of the Constitutional Treaty is in the Reform Treaty?

Jafo: This is your referendum:

Place an X by your preferred choice

[ ] The United Kingdom shall be a member of the European Union as a signatory to the Treaty of Rome as amended by the Maastricht Treaty, the Amsterdam Treaty, the Nice Treaty and other similar treaties.

[ ] The United Kingdom shall be a member of the European Union as a signatory to the Treaty of Rome as amended by the Maastricht Treaty, the Amsterdam Treaty, the Nice Treaty and other similar treaties including the Reform Treaty.

Where is your vote?

John said...

Your “points” have been more than answered David. If you still believe that a people used to democracy should be denied a say on the form of government they live under, or that only those people favouring one outcome in an election should be allowed to vote, or that a question other than the matter at hand (ratification of the reform treaty) be put to the people, or that the meaning of a international treaty is of no importance compared to the form of its wording then there is not much that can be done for you.

I would however be truly amazed if, upon reflection, you actually believe what you have written here.

english democrat said...

David Boothroyd,

You have been sussed out! I can almost see you in your little cubicle with a sheet of pre prepared answers and a list of blogs to go through? Perhaps you dream of the day when you can climb the greasy pole of the commisar gravytrain? Perhaps you need the work and couldnt give a toss what you say as long as the salary goes in the bank? The point you made about me not giving you an answer is a good one! I cant be bothered talking to an ex telesales jerkoff!

PS

You are the weakest link! Godbye.

Anonymous said...

Just google 'David Boothroyd' and it becomes fairly obvious not only who he is, but also the political leanings of his paymasters.

Windsor Tripehound said...

Windsor tripehound won't respond because there is no response open to him

Other than to wonder what you know that virtually every significant European politician outside of the UK doesn't?

Anoneumouse said...

Ok David Boothroyd what part of

"The Reform Treaty will introduce into the existing Treaties, which remain in force, the (100%) innovations resulting from the 2004 IGC". (my emphasis)

do you not understand?

In fact it should read a 101%, as Article 9 now introduces an addition innovation, which wasn't included in the original IGC of 2004.

Article 9 now make the 'heads of state' (European Council) a formal institution ot the European Union.

i.e. the supreme government of the Europe Union.

The government now argues that while the Reform Treaty is indeed the same for other member states, it is different for the UK because of its various opt-outs and safeguards

But the various safeguards the Government is basing this argument on were also in the original version of the constitution - on which the government promised to hold a referendum.
.

Daily Referendum said...

David Boothroyd,

In a leaked letter penned by German Chancellor, Angela Merkel, she outlines the methods to be used to deceive the people. Merkel wants to push through a Treaty which will in essence be a Constitution. To achieve this Merkel tells her fellow EU heads of government that they will have to: "use different terminology without changing the legal substance". There can be no doubt that the proposed Treaty is the same Constitution we were not given a Referendum on. Merkel makes this crystal clear when she wishes to preserve intact the content of the constitution, making only "the necessary presentational changes."

I tire of this. From the above statement and the leaked letter from Merkel, I think we can assume that at least 90%, and possibly as much as 96% (as quoted) of the Constitutional Treaty is in the Reform Treaty.

David Boothroyd said...

Here are the questions I have posed to Eurosceptics which have not been answered:

1) Justify by reference to the contents of the Reform Treaty, how it represents a substantial change in the way the United Kingdom is governed.

2) What proportion of the Constitutional Treaty is contained in the Reform Treaty?

3) Explain why the Reform Treaty is in any meaningful sense more important than the Maastricht Treaty, the Nice Treaty and the Amsterdam Treaty, on none of which was a referendum held.

4) Given that rejection of the Reform Treaty would not result in the UK leaving the EU, would you accept a question as proposed:

"Place an X by your preferred choice.

[ ] The United Kingdom shall be a member of the European Union as a signatory to the Treaty of Rome as amended by the Maastricht Treaty, the Amsterdam Treaty, the Nice Treaty and other similar treaties.

[ ] The United Kingdom shall be a member of the European Union as a signatory to the Treaty of Rome as amended by the Maastricht Treaty, the Amsterdam Treaty, the Nice Treaty and other similar treaties including the Reform Treaty."

5) How, on an referendum as above, would you vote?

Trumpeter Lanfried said...

David Boothroyd [9.08 PM]

The answer to your first three points is that all three are an attempt to re-open, unilaterally, a decision which has already been taken. This Government's election manifesto included a commitment to a referendum on the constitution. You may not like it, but that was the commitment they made, and that was the basis on which they were returned to power.

The treaty, as its authors have consistently emphasised, is essentially the same creature as the constitution, and the changes, such as they are, are purely cosmetic.

As to your fourth point, the wording you suggest (for the referendum you oppose) is verbose, obscure, tendentious and misleading, does not direct the voter's mind to the question at issue and would not fulfil the government's commitment.

David Boothroyd said...

Trumpeter Lanfried, this isn't a constitution. The pledge to have a referendum was on something which provided a new constitutional treaty for the European Union. It was its status, not its provisions, which led to the decision to have a referendum.

The Reform Treaty is not a constitutional treaty but an ordinary one. It does not and can never have that elevated status. No-one has argued that the provisions in themselves are so big as to require a referendum, a silence which is highly significant. The provisions of the Reform Treaty are so banal as to render a referendum quite pointless.

If however there were to be a referendum it would not be on the issue of withdrawing from the EU. It would be the EU as it is now, vs. the EU as it would be with the Reform Treaty. My wording brings that home to voters directly and the very last thing it is, is misleading.

Newmania said...

David you are talking balls . Any referendum would be on the whole EU as you well know .Thats why you don`t want it and you defend the position with reference to the previous mistakes made , to be fair , before the nature of the beast was fully known.

You are convinced that such is the loathing for this foreign rule that

1 Any referendum would be on the whole project and ...
2 The EU would lose


Now what does that tell you about the silly little corner you have painted yourself into with what you obviously think is an argument of serpentine subtlety. That incidentally is why no politician will ever stand up and say anything so entirely and nonsensically incriminating . You take weak piddles of formulaic authority and confuse it with a spring of legitimacy. You wish to build more lies on past lies and in general you entirely miss the wood for the trees . A rejection of this Constitution would signal an entirely new relationship with Europe which would be on our terms not theirs or they can stick it .

WE ARE NOT EUROPEANS

WE ARE BRITISH


As long as that remains the caser we will decide what we want to do with our country without reference to any foreign powers . Do you understand this …or do you really think that we are occupied by an invading paper power which can prevail against our will …don1t be ridiculous . International law is only there as long as we acknowledge it . France just ignores it .

The issue here is the honesty of the government and the whole EU project. So there is something in what you say …but you have not followed you own logic to its self defeating conclusions

Anonymous said...

How do you lobby an MEP?

John said...

The legal status of this treaty is equivalent to a constitution David. All international treaties have a staus in the legal hierarchy above that of national laws and are equivalent to national constitutions. As the constitution of the United States says "This Constitution, and the laws of the United States which shall be made in pursuance thereof; and all treaties made, or which shall be made, under the authority of the United States, shall be the supreme law of the land". It does not say the US Constitution alone is the supreme law of the land - it says the constitution and treaties. The status of international treaties is the same throughout the world so the same applies in the UK.

Article 10 of the Irish constitution is clear as to its relation to EU treaties when it states "No provision of this (Irish) Constitution invalidates laws enacted, acts done or measures adopted by the State which are necessitated by the obligations of membership of the European Union or of the Communities, or prevents laws enacted, acts done or measures adopted by the European Union or by the Communities or by institutions thereof, or by bodies competent under the Treaties establishing the Communities, from having the force of law in the (Irish) State." That is why the Irish have national referendums on changes to EU treaties and why we should too. The Irish have after all signed the same EU treaties that we have. You cannot argue that EU treaties do not have constitutional significance when they clearly allow law superior to national law to be created that are binding on the UK.

David Boothroyd's psychiatric nurse said...

David dear, stop being naughty and come in for your treatment. I'm afraid I am going to have to use the electrodes again.

David Boothroyd said...

John, you're not making an argument for a specific referendum on the Reform Treaty there. You're making an argument for a referendum on any and every treaty in the European Union. I happen to disagree with that stance but it's an interesting argument. You do realise that if your approach was followed, there would have to have a referendum if it was proposed in an EU treaty to change the colours on the European flag from blue and yellow to green and white?

Still, as the UK has never had a referendum on an EU treaty at any stage, it can hardly be said that you have precedent on your side; it is quite solidly against you. Also against you is the expressed desire of many people to increase the role of Parliament: government by referendum is a very good way of diminishing Parliamentary sovereignty.

verity said...

Daft David Boothroyd, shut up. We've tolerated you long enough. Now go elsewhere.

Chaps and chapesses, there will not be a referendum. You (and me too, although I live overseas -- it is still the citizenship of my country) will be sold down the river by slithy self-serving manipulators. You will not win, because they are embedded and woven into the fabric too deep, after 40 years of being unopposed except by people who they could swat away by calling them "little Englanders".

The communists - the USSR manqué wearing a swanky new 'socially responsible' and 'man made global warming so we have to control industry' mantle - will triumph.

There is no way out. You're buggered. And that's why four million of us have flit.

I strongly believe, Newmania and Trumpeter and other wonderful people, your best bet now is to depend on the Americans - one more time! - to come and help you -meaning, there should be a movement to - if we are to be part of a federal republic -please God! - let it be AMERICAN!

With their wonderful, wonderful Constitution.

Get out of the wickedness, corruption, stench and serpentine, sub-human nomenklatura under a brand new name and turn your faces to the light of N America. Freedom!

Our ancestors have been looking West for over three hundred years and their instincts were right! They were optimists - not subjects! They prospered.

Forget the EU "Constitution" or whatever they're calling the subjugation of 400m people this week, and turn your faces West to the sun!

Who will be the first to approach the US and ask for acceptance as a state of the United States of America?

It's one or the other. You cannot go it alone against the malignant might of the EUSSR.

Who will be brave enough to ask for inclusion in the freest, richest, yet non-imperial, country in human history?

tapestry said...

I prefer a more generalised campaign format than has been used so far - bringing in more issues.


STOP BROWN BASHING BRITAIN

* Immigration out of control
* Taxes through the roof
* Education Standards through floor
* Hospital closures
* Gangs controlling streets
* Soldiers in wars ill-equipped
* Promised Referendum abandonned.

How much more bashing do you need?
Sign here to make Brown hold the promised referendum on Britain's future..................

Trumpeter Lanfried said...

David, You draw a distinction between a treaty and a constitution. But the people
putting forward this document, notably Valerie Giscard d'Estaing, the father of the new constitution, draw no such distinction.

Nor does English law, which always looks to the substance of a document for its true interpretation, regardless of how the parties choose to label it.

You see, the problem of how to deal with a document which has been given a misleading label is one which English lawyers resolved about two hundred years ago. You look to the substance, not the form.

Verity: Yes, twice in my father's lifetime we had to be rescued by the USA. And what thanks do they get for it? Nothing! The USA is held in contempt by a large section of the chattering classes who, but for Roosevelt would be now be living under the Third Reich.

I still hang my head in shame when I recall the treatment the US Ambassador received at the hands of the BBC (on question time) in the days following 9/11.

John said...

I am not arguing for referendum on all issues David, only those of a constitutional significance (i.e. those laws that define the mechanism by which governance itself operates), of which this treaty is clearly one. All 9 UK referendums have been on such constitutional issues, including one on EEC membership. There have been more (5) referendums in the UK in the last 10 years than there have been general elections so the precedent that changes to constitutional arrangemnents be decided by the people is firmly established in the UK.

All changes to EU treaties that alter the system of governance we live under should be approved by the people. The colour of the EU flag is not a matter of constitutional significance. It is however one of the main differences between the rejected Constitution and the proposed ‘Reform’ treaty. You have until now based your claim that the referendum promised in your 2005 manifesto is no longer needed because of such differences. Are you now saying that this flag issue is of no real importance?

more vulgar than a vulcans vulva said...

"meaning, there should be a movement to - if we are to be part of a federal republic -please God! - let it be AMERICAN!

With their wonderful, wonderful Constitution.

Get out of the wickedness, corruption, stench and serpentine, sub-human nomenklatura under a brand new name and turn your faces to the light of N America. Freedom!"

No thanks Verity. Plenty to dislike about the US. I don't want to EVER be an American.

All I want is an independent Britain.

Is that so hard?

jafo said...

David Boothroyd - I realise that you NuLab types version of democracy is to ask 2 questions which are exactly the same, and to make the entire thing so complicated you hope the populace won't realise they are being conned - but that won't wash any more, because no one believes a word the Government say about anything. The last attempt to muddy the political waters didn't work too well in the local elections in Scotland, did it?

A referendum poses one question, and the voter ticks Yes or No - see, not difficult at all, anyone can do it.

By the way, you haven't answered a previous poster's excellent question - what do you know that all these European politicians who said this Treaty is virtually the same as the old one, don't?

troymolloy said...

Mr Boothroyd has patently has read less of the new 'treaty' than anyone else here - ignorance is bliss eh? Why don't you read it for yourself David; those tiresome questions about %ages are easy to answer if you read the darned thing.

As for what percentage of the Constitution makes it through to the 'treaty', that's dealt with in para 4 - all of it unless otherwise mentioned

David Boothroyd said...

Giscard d'Estaing chaired the convention that drew up the Constitutional Treaty, but was not involved in the Reform Treaty. John, your claim that there is precedent is patently ludicrous: all the referendums bar one were about setting up a new level of government, not changes to an existing level, and we have had far more profound changes to our relationship with the European Union ratified without referendums. That is clearly the more appropriate precedent.

Jafo, you clearly haven't understood that the UK has ratified Maastricht, Amsterdam, Nice and the Treaty of Rome so even if the Reform Treaty is rejected we will still be members of the EU. It is worth reminding voters of that lest they are misled.

Still no-one has made an objective case based on the provisions of the Reform Treaty for why it marks such a significant change as demands a referendum. Such a case can't be made.

Trumpeter Lanfried said...

I have done my best with David Boothroyd and I think we have all been very patient. But I am now driven to say, 'Dispute not with him, for he is lunatick.'

John said...

How many times do you need to be debunked David? The fact that you are too boneheaded to admit you are wrong done not alter the obvious fact that you do not have a leg to stand on. You should be hanging your head in shame at what you have written here because it is deeply undemocratic nonsense. In a democracy power belongs to the people. Governments are elected by that people to temporarily exercise their power but the power is not the property of that government to give away. It has merely been lent by the people for the duration of one parliament. John Locke, a man who Thomas Jefferson called ‘one of the three greatest men ever to live’ (which is not something anyone will ever say of you) summed it up as follows: “The Legislative cannot transfer the power of making laws to any other hands. For it being but a delegated power from the people, they who have it cannot pass it to others”. You would sell our hard-fought for democratic birthright down the river and for what? What motivates you David? Please tell me because I cannot understand anyone who will put an EU super-state before democracy itself.

Nor can the EU succeed when it is built in opposition to the people. The treaties on European Union should all have been put to referendum. The crisis of legitimacy that is slowly engulfing the EU stems directly from decisions to avoid putting the treaties of Maastricht, Amsterdam and Nice to the people. You would merely repeat the mistakes of old and make that crisis of legitimacy worse.

verity said...

You are wasting time trying to pick nits with this Boothroyd as he is arguing from the point of view of forwarding an agenda. He is not open to argument or discussion. Engaging with him is making this thread boring and predictable.

More Vulgar (ain't that the truth) TAVV - How much time have you spent in the United States, as a matter of interest?

I find it mind-boggling that you would prefer to be a "citizen" (which you're really not, because you have no say) of a filthy, lawless, yob-ridden, murder-ridden, over-taxed hellhole of a subject nation (to Eurograd) to being a free man in a country where democracy is revered, where the police are effective, where people are, by and large,confident enough in themselves and their circumstances to be courteous almost all the time and a country which is endlessly inventive.

Still, if the negative people stay out, that's more space for the life-affirming.

What is it specifically about the American Constitution you don't approve of?

Anonymous said...

trumpeter lanfried do not worry. boothroyd has plainlylost his senses! He plainly feels that he is the only person correct on this issue.In my day in the police when confronted with people, in need of sectioning,we humoured them!

Just ignore him. He and his ilk will go away soon when their leader Brown calls them down to his bunker!

Wrinkled Weasel said...

Ignore Mavis Chancroid. He is a troll who is clearly off his perch.

verity said...

WW - Trolls have perches? I didn't know that!

verity said...

Wheeeeeeeeeeeeee!!! I love it!

http://chicagoboyz.net/archives/5173.html

It's just been announced that in the US, there are 90 guns for every hundred Americans. This makes the United States the most heavily armed country in the world.

Hopefully, this statement will cause a lot of nervous disorders among British Trots. What's not to love?

Adrian Yalland said...

crap slogan!

Yak40 said...

Christopher Booker has a good point in that the electorate needs to understand just how much of what p*sses everyone off today originated in the EU directives so do we really want even more ?
http://tinyurl.com/yonu3t

I say no, never !

verity said...

Yak 40 - but the public is never going to understand, because the facts will always be obscured by people whose interest is in those facts not coming into the light.

These people have carefully and with forethought made themselves more powerful than the voice of a single citizen. (And besides ... citizen of what ...? a non country, an artificial construct like,say the USSR ...)

Anonymous said...

Be prepared. The referendum will come soon. Test your ability to vote at www.FreeEurope.info. Vote YES to Free Europe Constitution!

tapestry said...

Mark 3 version.

STOP BROWN BETRAYING BRITAIN

* Immigration out of control
* Taxes through the roof
* Education Standards through floor
* Hospitals closing
* Gangs on streets
* Soldiers ill-equipped at war
* £170 billion wasted on quangos

Enough is enough.
Brown promised you a say in Britain's future
Back Cameron's Campaign For The Referendum on The EU Constitution