Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Will Brown Roll Over Again?

Let's introduce some rationality into the debate about Macavity Brown's reluctance to go to Lisbon to sign the EU Reform Treaty. For a Prime Minister to stake his political reputation on the Treaty, you might think he'd stand by those wonderful red lines he's supposedly negotiated and trumpet his great achievement. But no, this is Gordon Brown we're talking about. According to the BBC he refuses to rearrange a long standing appearance before the House of Commons Liaison Committee, despite the Committee saying they would be quite happy for him to do so. That says it all really.

Brown's supporters, of course, point to the fact that it is quite normal for other Ministers to sign Treaties on the government's behalf, and of course they do have a bit of a point. It was Francis Maude who drew the short straw of signing the Maastricht Treaty, I seem to remember.

Today's newspapers report that the Germans are trying to insert a new clause at the last minute. It relates to the anthem, flag and Europe Day - all things Gordon Brown assured us he had had taken out. Will he now concede these points at the last minute and hope we won't really mind? That would be a great misjudgement.


Anonymous said...

I hope he does give in on the flag , Europe day, anthem etc. It will bring it home to the people what this constitution means.
I will be pointedly seated every time the anthem is played.

Anonymous said...

"And when the Foreign Office find a Treaty's gone astray,
Or the MoD lose some plans and drawings by the way,
There may be a scrap of paper in the hall or on the stair -
But it's useless to investigate - Mcavity Broons not there!
And when the loss has been disclosed, then MI5 will always say:
`It must have been Macavity!' - but he's a mile away.
You'll be sure to find him resting, or a-licking of his thumbs,
Or engaged in doing complicated long-division sums...

Or suddenly in Afghanistan
a-beating of the drums..."

[With apologies to T.S. ELLIOT]

Anonymous said...

Er... he IS going.

Anonymous said...

He will concede. It's in his nature. Moral Compass = Due Self Interest.

Stand by for "symbols aren't important" guff from the Nosers he surrounds himself with.

Anonymous said...

Maybe he want's to sign it in a railway carriage?

Anonymous said...

Rumour is rife that Gordon will sign the treaty "in a private ceremony"
And of course there won't be any incriminating photos

Anonymous said...

anon - the point is, he won't be there for the group signing photo. He must have taken a political gamble that the McCavity jibes will be less politically harmful than a large colour picture of him signing up to something he had pledged a referendum on. Especially if those pesky French and Germans add back in at the last minute those few areas that Brown relied on to say it was a wholly different beast....nothing like a Constitution. Oh no...

But I suggets that in the best traditions of Labour politicians, we just photoshop him in later instead of Miliband. Works for me.

strapworld said...

Just what else will be 'added' and we are in the dark about?

The flag exists, the anthem exists, the president exists. We are all being treated as idiots.

The coward is not going because he is aware that his red lines are vanishing. He can then blame it on the Foreign Office.

When you think of the giants that have held the position he holds. Just what have we the English, Welsh,Scottish and Irish deserved to have this coward as our ''leader''

Bring back Major.

Anonymous said...

Are we beginning to see a pattern emerge here. First a no show at the EU-Africa Summit last week end and now the Treaty Signing.Perhaps it's getting toooooo cold for Beanie Brown to venture out.

Newmania said...

Isn`t this old news Iain ?

Anonymous said...

Did John Major sign the Maastricht Treaty Iain?

No, Francis Maude and Douglas Hurd signed it on his behalf.

Tory hypocrites.

Anonymous said...

Latest news is that G. Bottle-Brown will go to Lisbon but will fight shy of the official signing ceremony.

What an inspiration to the nation.

Anonymous said...

so you equate this treaty the massive changes that took place with the Treaty of the European Union (they renamed it because it was so awful)?

Good to see that you concede these points, now maybe we can have a referendum.

Anonymous said...

Can I suggest, anonymous (1:08 p.m.), that you actually read Iain's piece before giving us all the benefit of your 'wisdom'.

Edward said...

Remember back in the days when the voices of Sinn Fein politicans were banned and they were voiced by actors, could we not get a gordon brown look alike to pose with a pen?

Anonymous said...

Who cares about the flag and the anthem? It's the details that count. The fact that there's no flag or anthem doesn't alter any of the legal powers the new treaty confers. It's an irrelevance, a huge red herring. Why are people so hung up on trivialities?

Anonymous said...

anonymous said...
Did John Major sign the Maastricht Treaty Iain?

No, Francis Maude and Douglas Hurd signed it on his behalf.

Tory hypocrites

Is that hypocrite as in promising a referendum and then doing double somersaults to explain why the constitution is not a constitution type of hypocrisy?

Yak40 said...

What will it take for the UK to roar ENOUGH?

For how much longer must we endure this third world corrupt incompetent sick joke of a government?

Woops, they got voted in three times so far ... lost cause?

Red Tamarin said...

I think this has got to be one of the most ridiculous bits of media nonsense I've seen in ages. The idea that Gordon could somehow "avoid" being tied to the EU Reform Treaty simply by missing the photo op at the signing is ridiculous!

If he had chosen to blow off the Liaison Committee, everyone would be complaining that he didn't take Parliamentary accountability seriously instead.

I believe he's now going to try and do both, but it's still a silly story.

The Liaison Committee on Thursday should be very interesting though - can Gordon get anywhere near to emulating Tony's emollient charm and wide-ranging knowledge for the full two hours of questioning across a multitude of policy areas? Current form is not encouraging.

Julian the Wonderhorse said...

Will Gordon just lose the anthem, like he did with the discs?

Anonymous said...

Sniper said:

"Moral compass = due self interest"

Finally, the key to resolving the apparent conflict between claims and behaviour.

Thank you!

Be fair to Gordon Brown. He's not the first prime minister to lie openly about the european project.

That famous tory Mr. Heath admitted as much in 1990 when interviewed by Peter Sissons.

The sad truth is that in politics, the politicians often conclude that something is for the people's benefit that the people themselves don't want.

A real democrat would rise to the challenge of making the argument and winning the popular vote on the matter.

Gordon Brown's credentials as a democrat are, well, let's say, thin.

Roger Thornhill said...

He will roll over - as de facto Town Clerk of Britain.

Helen said...

Why should Brown sign the treaty? Major did not sign Maastricht - it was Douglas Hurd. Treaties are signed by the nominated representatives on behalf of the Head of State, not that the Queen was asked. Usually it is the Foreign Ministers. This is sooooooooo unimportant.

Anonymous said...

dont fall for the muppet europhile propaganda. the germans are not going to put this stuff in at the end.....gordo the coward just wants to look strong in that he opposed it.

welcome to the corrupt deception that is the EU

Anonymous said...

On a completely different tangent -And just when Brown thought it couldn't get any worse - the BBC is reporting that uncrypted and password unprotected data disks sent from DVLNI to DVLA via Royal Mail have gone missing - they contain details of 6,000 drivers, vehicles,addressses,VIN plates;chassis no's vehicles make, model, colour and year of manufacture - the disks were tracked to Parcel Force's International Hub at Coventry and have apparently thereafter "vanished into thin air".

However according to "a spokesperson" -the good news is there are no financial details included although no doubt if any of the 6,000 discover their vehicles have been cloned over the forthcoming months they won't be too happy as the unpaid parking tickets;congestion charges start arriving and the court bailiffs start knocking on their door.

As the saying goes "it never rains but it pours"

Chris Paul said...

What does this devastating clause actually say Iain? Does it amount to a hill of beans?

And did you in fact change the post without signalling an update after anon 1:08 commented? Or are they indeed remedial reading wise??

Yak40 said...

Germans are going to try again.

hatfield girl said...

The Leader is out of the loop; no-one wants to talk to him as he has nothing to offer except moaning; they are drawing straws even as we write on who must shake his bogey-covered hand. Why on earth doesn't he renogotiate the UK's relationship with the European Union? It might recover him a bit of face.

Anonymous said...

"Let's introduce some rationality into the debate"

Rationality? On whose terms?

Anonymous said...

Everyone says that Brown is a political genius, yet time and again it is the politics he screws up on. When you have been accused of lacking bottle, why play into your enemies' hands?

Anonymous said...

The thought of Brown rolling over leaves me cold, if not chilled.

Richard said...

Iain, if you rely on primary sources, rather than the newspapers, you will find that there is no attempt by the Germans or anyone else to insert a new clause (although I think you mean Article) in the treaty.

What has happened is that 16 member states - including Germany but not France - have attached a (non-binding) declaration to the treaty, pledging allegiance to the flag, etc. See here.

Anonymous said...

Either way I shall ignore the eu at every opportunity I will deface the flag fart over the anthem and ignore as many rules as I can get away with.

Vol Abroad said...

we won't even get europe day off it seems like it's in early May when we get the first May bank holiday.

If we had it off in July or August, I'd feel slightly better about it

Yak40 said...

Remember too that the new treaty is self-amending i.e. no further treaties will be required from now on, they've effectively got a free hand.

Gauleiter Braun, has a certain ring, dunnit ?

Anonymous said...

It really really does anger me that Brown has been bumbling around about this... 'should I go or should i stay?'...and the excuse that he needs to speak to the commons committee...which is laughable...doesn't he realise how big an issue this is for the UK public? and yet what he is doing is quite funny really... as by doing this...for what can only be PR reasons, he is committing a MAJOR PR bungle...I hope the papers all publish the photos of all of Europe’s leaders signing the 'Treaty' which will really show Gordo's pathetic fear of being photographed signing it... does he really think the British public will just forget he is intimately involved with this just because there isn't a snap of him? It's just like the 'I'm not going to drink champagne because I might look like I am too happy in this company' at the previous EU summit...

He is embarrassment to this country...and I for one will never forget, and I hope the people of Britain never do either!

Hazel Bridges said...


Hi Iain

I wrote a post on this very topic on Sunday, I'm sure many people out there are thinking along the same lines.

Anonymous said...

The Foreign Office, Labour, the Press and the Conservative Central Office.

The Great Conspiracy by Labour, the Conservatives, the Civil Service and the Press to deceive the British
and shoehorn us into the EU. Devolution is to promote DISUNITY. ( Divide and Conquer ! )
BBC Scotland
Daily Mirror
Against Powell

More at :-


Anytime about now would be good General Dannat.

Anonymous said...

The worst thing about it is that the Eurofascists are murdering 'Ode to Joy' for their rotten cause.

Beethoven would burn his composition if he knew what it's being abused for.

"Beethoven was attracted to the ideals of the Enlightenment and by the growing Romanticism in Europe. He initially dedicated his third symphony, the Eroica (Italian for "heroic"), to Napoleon, believing that the general intended to sustain the democratic and republican ideals of the French Revolution. But in 1804, when Napoleon's imperial ambitions became clear, Beethoven took hold of the title-page and scratched the name Bonaparte out so violently that he created a hole in the paper."

See Wikipedia entry.

K S Rees said...

Do we at least get a referendum on the anthem? Would it just be Eurovision all over again?!

A Swansea Blog

Anonymous said...

Yes Iain - misjudgement is something that comes naturally to Gordon Brown.

He's doomed either way - he'll go down as one of the worst PMs ever.

We were told we'd have a referendum - we haven't.

Cox says said...

"Will he now concede these points at the last minute and hope we won't really mind? That would be a great misjudgement."

Really? What evidence do you have the people of Britain will oppose such a measure? The UK is too apathetic and so accustomed the inevitability and treachery of the EU they have stopped giving a damn. It will be pushed through like everything else. Sigh.

Anonymous said...

On Channel 4 news tonight their reporter Kathy Newman revealed two Labour ex-cabinet ministers told her Brown was "pathetic" in attempting to sign without being photographed. It seems senior Labour figures fear he is making them a laughing stock.

Dave Cole said...

Iain -

Sorry if I'm being dense, but I thought that the EU already had Europe Day (5 May, celebrated since 1949), an anthem (Prelude to Beethoven's 9th, arr. Karajan, aka Ode to Joy) and a flag (azure, twelve mullets or pointed proper circled).

I was also under the impression that, as the treaty/constitution was designed to replace a lot of the various treaties that existed before, that a lot of the text and effects of previous treaties, such as the Maastricht Treaty of 1992, signed by Francis Maude and Douglas Hurd. You can check the signatories here: http://europa.eu/eur-lex/en/treaties/dat/EU_treaty.html

Ralph Hancock said...

Dave Cole: nice heraldry. Though maybe the actual fish, rotten, proper, rather than the star, might be a better device.

Anonymous said...

Public sightings of Hain, Alexander and Harman are almost as rare as rocking horse droppings. Non appearances are becoming endemic in this governmemnt.

Brown turns up for the unveiling of the latest target for the output of crossed 't's and dotted 'i's by the under fives.

Where was Brown when the Tax Credit scheme was criticisd in Parliament? When did Brown attend MOD briefings on Iraq?

Holding power is about taking responsibility for your decisions. If Brown is such a towering intellect why does he have the moral courage of a PORG (person of restricted growth)?

Anonymous said...

Brown will be a short-lived PM but will David Cameron actually allow a referendum should he become PM?

A plague on both parties.

Anonymous said...

On the other hand if Brown is less than enthusiastic about the Constitution it increases the chances that he will not fight a referendum. Irrespective of the ethics of the matter this should be good news for eurosceptics.

Anonymous said...

A bit of a point! A bit of a point!

Since when has Francis Maude, the man who turned the Tory Party around become a mere bit of a point?

You have been turned around from being a Party that was anhillated the first time, to one that was devastated the second time and then to party that is now crushed.
(Then you changed).

You are now a party that believes in itself, when no one else does (thank you Rudyard)and you have victory within your sights.(Three blind mice, Dave, George and oh, go on then, Boris).

Francis Maude gave away this Country, like all good Tories before him.

Arise Sir Francis!

Remember these wise words, Iain. Francis is no mug, so no downgrading of Tory guilt, please.