Wednesday, August 01, 2007

If it Quacks Like a Constitution...

I listened to a very good discussion on 5 Live this afternoon about the new EU Constitution (for that is what it is). Apparently the English version has been published today, and it is 96% identical to the original Constitution which was rejected by the voters of France and the Netherlands. Only 10 out of 250 proposals in the new treaty are different from the proposals in the original EU Constitution. Sadly the BBC News website carries no report of its publication that I can see.

Open Europe have an excellent analysis of the new Constitution HERE. It's shameful that the government has ruled out a referendum. This is something the Conservatives should grip, and campaign over the summer to force the government to change its mind.

Check out the excellent Open Europe blog HERE.


Laurence Boyce said...

It’s a shame the government has ruled out a referendum you mean?

CityUnslicker said...

All we can do is keep this on the agenda as much as possible. Bizarrely, maybe Murdoch is the only one who can use his power int he media to put enough pressur eon to try and get brwon to change his mind.

I saw he had Stelzer in the Telegraph this morning on firing a warngin shot on this issue.

Unknown said...

No Laurence Iain is right as always. They have ruled out calling it a constitution; it is a treaty and the UK parliament remains sovereign

Hughes Views said...

Given the Tory history on the EU (they took us in), the EEC (they took us in), the previous far-reaching amending treaties (they signed them) and their (complete lack of) referendums they best keep quiet...

Laurence Boyce said...

It’s shameful that the government has ruled out a referendum. This is something the Conservatives should grip, and campaign over the summer to force the government to change its mind.

I’m fairly eurosceptic but I can’t really agree with that. The trouble is that the European project has forged so far ahead of public feeling, that any referendum with the word “Europe” in it would be lost. So calling for a referendum is tantamount to saying: scrap the treaty, or constitution, or whatever it is.

We have two alternatives: either to put the serious brakes on Europe, or to trust the elected politicians to take the project forward. But calling for a referendum now is just a touch cynical because I can tell you the result right now: it’ll be a no.

Gavin said...

...if it quacks like a constitution, then sorry Iain but the Conservative party will make similar quacking sounds but will do absolutely nothing to stop it. Cameron's conservatives are as much in on the EU gravy-train as Labour are. We need to LEAVE the EU full stop, no messing about.

Wrinkled Weasel said...

No, the BBC does not have the story. Apart from a piece about further loss of representation in Europe - we will be losing some MEPs to make room for new member states.

This is particularly upsetting for Scottish politicians as it means a reduction from seven to six MEPs.

There is however an intriguing bit from Mark Mardell last week, when he writes:

"I don’t want to overstate the significance of this, but many senior British politicians who support the EU don’t go out of the way to give it good reviews, and give positive examples of where they think it increases Britain’s clout in the world. They think it just puts another barrier between their argument and their audience."

So Mark, best to treat us like mushrooms then? Yes, keep us in the dark and feed us shit.

As I said before I think Gordon's failure to honour the manifesto commitment is a hanging offence.

Tapestry said...

The Conservative fightback should be a door to door leaflet campaign. The media will not carry this story, and if they do, they will use it to name call us as xeophobic etc. Writing is so much more powerful. Door to door shoe leather job with petition attached. 20 million leaflets required - now.

Newmania said...

Iain did you notice the letter in the Telegraph from Hans -Gert Poettering MEP Prez of the EU saying that these statistics about the extent to which the treaty was a cut and paste job are highly misleading.
Compared to the draft Constitution the treaty contains opts outs on the Charter of fundamental rights as well as a wider exemption in Justice and Home Affairs which mean that although the text is almost identical most of it will not apply to us . Not so very difficult to understand I would have thought and given that the only translators until today are Open Europe its hard to know where we are . In fact the evidence that the treaty and the Constitution are the same is largely drawn for m the reaction of other foreign leaders announcing it as celebration but they are , supposedly in a fundamentally different position to us .

So it gets back to the legality of the opt outs and that is what we need to see We cannot trust Hans Gert Pottering but the phrase “and it is 96% identical to the original Constitution” is clearly irrelevant . We have as many genes in common with a frog but the differences are vital . The argument is more complicated than you suggest but I fear that in the end you will be proved right to go on instinct

Perhaps someone with some experience can throw some light on the solidity of the opt outs now we are allowed to read it .What language one must use in talking about our destiny. All pretence of democracy must be abandoned with such deliberate asymmetry of information between bureaucrat and voter.

HUGHES VIEWS- Don’t be so tiresome we have dealt with this time an time again .The default position of Conservatives on the EU has changed CHANGED !, . There were sound Conservative reasons for wishing to be involved in international agreements and trading associations and there was a bit of a spat about the whole thing . Perhaps you recall ? Now we know what it is and that it cannot be reformed.It is puerile today to keep referring to the past. As it is Conservatives are sceptical and New Labour are trying to sign away the country. That is what matters not a silly game of told you so.

Conservatives must not keep quiet they are right to scent blood on this

LAuRENCE- You always seem like a reasonable chap but the assumptions behind your post are contemptuous of people and democracy itself.Why should the "Project " run at all if noone wants it ?

Nemesis said...

If the Scottish master race push this through against the will of the English People you will be staring down the Barrel of the second English civil war.

Laurence Boyce said...

No I’m not contemptuous of the people, but there’s no point giving us a referendum on a treaty which half the politicians can’t even understand. When people say that they don’t want the treaty, what they really mean is that they don’t like the French, which is entirely understandable if not strictly relevant.

chatterbox said...

Iain, I think that the Conservative party would be advised to team up with a few others to campaign for a referendum rather than making it the central and dare I say usual one issue battle cry.
Just look at some of the other groups demanding one too and not all of them are opposed to the treaty. We need to highlight Labour's broken promise and the shoddy way they have dishonestly tried to dress the new treaty up as something entirely different from the Constitution when other governments are being a damn sight more honest.
We want a referendum but don't lets lose the argument before we start, Brown will use any ammunition we give him to dismiss this demand as the barking mad tories obsessed with Europe. When the fact is its a wide spread group of Europhiles and Eurosceptics demanding a bit of democracy from a government with form on breaking manifesto promises.
I hope CCHQ have a campaign strategy sorted that aims to make sure it is Brown in the smelly stuff what ever the outcome.

Wrinkled Weasel said...

Laurence, it is not that I don't like the French, it is that I don't like the fact that we pay for their rather languid rural agricultural lifestyle.

Newmania said...

You are making assumtions about the answer when you frame the questionn Mr. Boyce.

"The trouble is that the European project has forged so far ahead of public feeling,"

No it is 'behind' the entirely rationale wish of the public to get out

"or to trust the elected politicians to take the project forward"

The project to free ourselves from unelected parasites and re-claim our country is proceeding forward despite the politicians .

Europe is the past. The only thing keeping is in now is the greed of its innumerable suckling piglets .
WE do not need it for trade we certainly do not need to be ruled by foreigners and we were promised that we might , if you don`t mind , decide if we are to be a country in the future. Spending even more of our money to persuade us is neither useful or in any way mandated and the issues are simple enough even for the poor voter to be allowed a say.


Iain, I think that the Conservative party would be advised to team up with a few others to campaign

Thats a very good idea Chatterbox it would solve a lot of problems

Vienna Woods said...

Widespread market research throughout Europe has shown the public at odds with the politicians over membership of the EU. The only countries were the public support the EU are Spain and the former East European countries, who are receiving billions of Euros' more than they will ever put in. Anyone with half a brain can see that the EU Commission is a luxuirious retirement home for politicians of all colours, which is why the useless wasters support it!

Tapestry said...

Newmania. KISS.

Keep It Simple Son.

Do we want a vote on the Constitution or not?

Do we want to be party to a Constitution or not?

The time for bureaucratic muddle and soft soap has passed. In the end of the day, it has to be a YES or a NO.

hatfield girl said...

Any referendum in the UK is merely advisory; treaty ratification is a prerogative of the Labour Executive;any parliamentary discussion is just that - discussion as the Labour Executive has a large majority. The opt outs are as real and effective as the Labour executive chooses them to be, for there are no means of redress within our system of law and constitutional guarantees of citizens' rights.

All the drawbacks to membership of the European Union will continue to run: untramelled immigration by highest social wage seekers, democratic deficit (but then we suffer that anyway within the UK),the enforced regionalisation of England into irrelevant localities with layers of appointed placemen and, inter alia, the denial of an English parliament.

From all its advantages of civil liberties, rule of law and means of redress, freedom of movement, working peope's involvement in decisions about their working lives, the currency, we have been opted -out.

We are getting the very dirty end of a dirty stick.

Anonymous said...

*Cough* Where is our monarch in all of this?

Over the years, she's made it a point to stay (publicly) out of day to day politics.

However, does nobody else find it strange - in the extreme - that she's prepared to see the destruction of the nation that she is technically the head of?

She still has a great deal of constitutional power, and obviously commands enormous public support. Whether behind the scenes or not, don't you think that it's time to get your finger out, Ma'am?

Hughes Views said...

Lord Norton of Louth (Conservative) - 18th Oct 2000 House of Lords:

"I do not intend to rehearse the principled arguments about referendums. If anybody wants the best arguments on principle, they need look no further than Margaret Thatcher's first speech as Leader of the Opposition in the other place. It was an excellent exposition of the case against referendums. The arguments that she advanced then have not changed...."

Iain, you're a huge fan of the Iron Lady, can you remember what she said?

Old BE said...

but there’s no point giving us a referendum on a treaty which half the politicians can’t even understand

Perhaps they shouldn't be signing up to things they don't understand then.

John Trenchard said...

rabidbadger has a point. from my reading of it, the EU Reform Treaty will usurp the monarchy as the ultimate source of political power in this country.

Have read of this EU Referendum blogpost:
Supreme Government of Europe

Newmania said...

The time for bureaucratic muddle and soft soap has passed. In the end of the day, it has to be a YES or a NO.

No for me Tap.