Sunday, July 27, 2008

How Cameron Can Kill the Lisbon Treaty

The Irish Sunday Post carries a long feature today on the options for Ireland in the aftermath of the Lisbon Treaty referendum. The article, by Political Editor Pat Leahy, asserts that the EU need Ireland to hold a second referendum as quickly as possible in order to avoid more trouble further down the road. And the cause of that trouble? The election of a Conservative government in Britain. The Eurocrats need the whole treaty to be ratified by every country because they know that if the process isn't complete before David Cameron becomes PM he will hold a referendum in Britain which would undoubedly result in a no vote. Leahy writes...

According to a number of senior sources in various institutions, there are three deadlines for the ratification of the treaty. Two can be let slide, but the last one can’t.

The first is the European Parliament elections next June. To meet this deadline, a second referendum would have to be held next spring. It’s the preference of many, including the French president, but few expect this deadline to be met.

The second deadline is the appointment of the new European Commission in the autumn of 2009. This is more complicated; under existing rules stipulated in the Nice Treaty, the number of commissioners must be reduced after 2009.

However, some senior sources in Brussels have suggested that this deadline could also slide if all European leaders agreed to it. But that would only happen if there was firm agreement that the third deadline would be met.

By late spring 2010, Britain will have a new government and on current trends, it will be a Conservative administration led by David Cameron.

Cameron and his shadow foreign secretary, William Hague, have been very clear - Hague said it again last week - that if the Lisbon Treaty was not in force if and when the Conservative government takes office, there would be a referendum on the treaty in Britain and the Tories would campaign for a No vote.

The No side would win and the treaty would be dead. This would almost certainly lead to a radical change in European structures. Unwilling to accommodate an increasingly Eurosceptic Britain, and with their hopes of a more unitary voice for the EU in world affairs dashed by the defeat of Lisbon, pro-integration countries would push ahead, leaving Ireland and Britain - and perhaps, sundry eastern and central European countries - in the slow lane.

Aside from being a fundamental alteration to the shape of Europe, this would leave Ireland facing a choice between two of our biggest trading partners, Britain and the EU. Many in Brussels are determined to avoid this threat. But to do so, they either need the treaty in place, or a decision to proceed without Ireland. This is the deadline that they cannot let slide.

As one senior EU official put it: ‘‘A treaty ratified by the UK is worth a lot more now. . . a British Yes is worth more than an Irish No.”

What they haven't bargained for is an election in the UK earlier than June 2010. They look on Gordon Brown's current difficulties with undisguised horror as they know what an early election would mean for the Lisbon Treaty. Death.


Anonymous said...

The problem is that the Irish have fared far better from the EU than we here in the UK. They may feel, in the cold light of day, that they would prefer to be IN the fast lane of the EU than outside with the UK.

On the other hand, of course, there is a far greater opportunity for the British Isles for a trading link with the EU AND with the North Americans.

Personally I would like to see our old friends within the Commonwealth back in the fold.

Unless there is a change of Prime Minister Brown will attempt to soldier on as long as he can.

My real fear is that he may,with his majority, put off a general election by a vote in Parliament to put it back five or more years!

Lets face it this man is desperate as are his labour lemmings.

I would not put anything past this guy!

Anonymous said...

Who would bargain on there being an UK general election before May 2010?

Even John Major, who had a tiny, and at one point no Commons majority managed to stagger on to the bitter end in May 1997, waiting for something to turn up. Why would the Labour government which is in a much better Parliamentary position do anything else?

Anonymous said...

But that's precisely why there won't be an early election, at least not while there's any chance that the Irish might vote "yes" in a second referendum.

Labour must hang on, if necessary to the bitter end - Thursday April 29th 2010 - not for the good of the country, or even for the good of the Labour party, but to block the Tories from office until the Lisbon Treaty has come into force.

Labour MPs who co-operate will be looked after by the party and by the EU if they lose their seats at the next election; those who show disloyalty and cause trouble will regret it.

Cameron could put a stop to it now, and take the heat off the Irish, simply by pledging that (unless it had already been officially declared dead) he would hold the promised referendum on the Lisbon Treaty, irrespective of what had happened in Ireland or any other EU member state.

Which is of course irrelevant - if as Hague said on July 17th:

"Gordon Brown has no democratic or moral authority to sign Britain up to the renamed EU Constitution"

then that will remain true whatever happens about ratifications in other countries, and it won't be any the less true at the time of the next general election.

Not only would that would kill the treaty, it would also relieve Labour of the burden of holding the EU fort, and allow them to hold the "suicide election" which is being mooted in Scotland on Sunday today:

"PANICKING Labour ministers are considering a 'suicide election' to give the party a fresh start under a new leader, following their humiliating defeat at the hands of the SNP in the Glasgow East by-election.

Senior figures disillusioned with Gordon Brown want a senior Cabinet minister to take over the party leadership and head immediately to the polls either this autumn or next spring, even if defeat is the likely option.

They believe such a move would be better than Brown clinging on to office until 2010 when, they fear, the party would face a wipe-out on the scale of that inflicted on the Tories by Labour in 1997. Jack Straw, the Lord Chancellor, is being touted as the ideal stop-gap leader."

Anonymous said...

In short, the EU know they need it rushed through before 2010 as Cameron isn't going to do anything about it afterwards.

If Cameron actually pledged to offer a referendum no matter what, it would actually force the EU to take that into account *now* before full ratification, but instead all we have is a meaningless plan to "renegotiate our relationship with the EU" which suits the EU fine, as it is so vague as to be meaningless.

Anonymous said...

Nobody in the labour party has anything to gain from an early election.

things can only get better.

For the country things can get a lot worse for the labour party they have got no more down to sink into they are at the bottom already.

The vote on expenses showed that all labour MPs are interested in now is staying at the trough until it is licked clean.

I think Brown will face a challenge but a fake challenge. With it made clear to all parts of the party, especially the part that counts the votes, that Brown is to win with a substantial majority. He needs to be able to claim that he has ligitamacy through election but is too much of a coward to face a real challenger let alone the real electorate.

Anonymous said...

"It’s only a year since party members, trade unions and MPs unanimously voted for Gordon to become our leader. Let me make this very clear - party members and the public will never forgive MPs and others who force Labour to go through another leadership election in less than two years.

That’s what Tory and Lib Dem MPs do. It’s not the Labour way.

So my message to Labour MPs is this – let’s take a break from feeding Westminster gossip and hostile press prattle, recharge your batteries and if you want to campaign, get out in your constituencies and start campaigning for that fourth term.

That’s what our party wants and what our country needs."

Things must be really bad if they have got John Prescott from "retirement" to defend Gordon on Labour Home - Sorry John but judging by the comments so far the comrades aren't listening to you. Oh hum Roll on September and Conference !

strapworld said...

aanonymous 2.50pm

what leadership election???

Come on now, Your boss is on his hols, leave the Number 10 Bunker and lie in the sunshine. Discover just how hated your boss is!

Anonymous said...

Hang on in Ireland - we love you.

Anonymous said...

There is no way the Irish people will acept orders to reverse their vote. The only other option is Ireland becoming an EU associate like Norway. This did Norway no harm at all, indeed they are wealthier than their neighbours.

It would also work for Britain.

The EU regulators cost this continent £405 billion a year, by their own figures. The wheels are well & truly off the bandwagon & it is coming apart.

Anonymous said...


I think you must have a touch of the Sun- those are the words of Prezza not me !

And as for "your boss" - that rather depends on your definition of course and whether he or she is actually on holiday or whether "Gordon" is actually "your Boss" even.

By the way not in "the Bunker" but the view from the "Southern Redoubt" is quite pleasant and there is a warm breeze from the sea

Alex said...

The greater problem is asking the Irish to vote again. The most diehard Europhile could be motivated to vote against ratification if they see their country being held in such contempt.

to the anonymong who said that things can only get better for Labour, don't delude yourself. The Labour Party is broke and sooner or later they have to choose between becoming a union mouth piece or struggling like the LibDems (but without the benefit of the Joseph Rowntree trust money). In opposition they have no favours to sell, so they have to go with hard-left pro-union policies or starve, at which point there may be parting of ways. No party has a permanent right to exist.

Anonymous said...

There would be no need for Ireland to hang on in, if Cameron simply announced that even if the Irish people did reverse their decision, as Prime Minister he would still allow the British people to have their say. That really would kill the treaty, and the statemanlike Cameron could take the credit for giving it a merciful release.

Anonymous said...




Anonymous said...

i know it's not on topic, but there's a really insightful post-glasgow piece here: by Gaby Hinsliff.

i don't normally read Guardian stuff, but that's probably the best piece i've read.

Anonymous said...

If the motorway isn't going to your destination, then you get off. To get off you need, at some point, to be in the slow lane.

So when Europhiles warn ominously that Britain will be "left in the slow lane", do they realise that over here it isn't seen as a threat?

hatfield girl said...

The first objective of the Lisbon Treaty is the removal of the member-state veto. There is already a two-speed Europe, and its core group of the original signatories plus Spain - the continental european land mass - is hampered by peripheral latecomers holding veto powers, often coupled with a wholly different european 'vision'.

Certainly it is a relief that Brown's 'Britain' (regarded as essentially a wrecker state) has ratified Lisbon by Executive act. But any behaviour by any United Kingdom regime has been discounted already. The European Union cannot ignore such a large country as the United Kingdom, but its influence within the European Union is much smaller than it should be because of its deep seated and widespread euroscepticism underlined by failure to join the euro and determined opposition to a european foreign policy, army, and voice. The United Kingdom is a cross the EU is accustomed to bearing.

Ireland is a wholly different matter. Here is a committed, welcome member of the Union trapped in a refusal to ratify by anomalous issues that should have been addressed in the preparation of the Lisbon Treaty; a diplomatic rather than a political failure or deep divergence of views. Sarkozy is correct when he argues that this should be put right and the Irish reassured so that they remain in the mainstream.

In any case, the brutally inept political act of using Executive power by Brown to ratify the Treaty while issues are still before the UK courts throws the UK ratification into doubt. Scotland 's government might reasonably demand to be consulted, as a government, on accession to Lisbon.

Lisbon has such severe problems the core EU may be better off deciding to act within its spirit, shed objectors, and formalise the Union when free of truly disruptive and obstructive member states.

David Boothroyd said...

The European Communities (Amendment) Act 2008 passed through both Houses and received Royal Assent. The government ratified the Lisbon Treaty. The United Kingdom is not a nation which goes back on its word.

Anonymous said...

Hum, hatfield girl, does your "core EU" include France? Has it slipped your memory that the French voted against the Lisbon Treaty in its previous incarnation? So should the "core EU" shed that disruptive and obstructive member state? And what about the Netherlands, another of the original signatories?

strapworld said...

anon 2.50pm

many apologies. I have been sitting in the sun. It is very hot. I am quite old. Yes, I apologise.

Hope you are wearing a lifejacket and carrying a whistle?

Have a nice day!!

Anonymous said...

david boothroyd.

the labour government - without any electoral mandate- did this so please do not say The United Kingdom does not go back on its word!

The traitors that signed away our democracy will never be forgotten and a cruel fate awaits them all.

ScotsToryB said...

William Hague said 'if the Treaty has not been ratified'.


I see no pledge.

Re Chad's 'In short, the EU know they need it rushed through before 2010 as Cameron isn't going to do anything

about it afterwards.

If Cameron actually pledged to offer a referendum no matter what, it would actually force the EU to take that into

account *now* before full ratification, but instead all we have is a meaningless plan to "renegotiate our

relationship with the EU" which suits the EU fine, as it is so vague as to be meaningless.'

Neither are offering a referendum; they offer a possibility on something that they perceive will not happen.

The EU are determined to overide Irish negativity and as I read it neither Hague nor Cameron have stated that they

will hold a referendum regardless.

You and I, Iain, are being conned/spinned/lied to about their intentions in office.

Should they state, categorically, that there will be a referendum within, say 18 months of them achieving office, I

will return to the fold: until then I find myself moving more and more to Libertarianism/LVT and numerous other

achieviable outcomes.

And I never thought I would have to put that in print.


Anonymous said...

"The United Kingdom is not a nation which goes back on its word."

The "nation" - as if you care a damn about the "nation" - hasn't been asked, and it hasn't given its word.

If the Labour and Liberal Democrat MPs had kept THEIR word, and we had voted in the referendum we were promised, and we had approved the treaty, then that would be a different matter.

hatfield girl said...

France was protesting the lack of protection for EU and specifically French production in the previous treaty. As we know, that has been corrected in the Lisbon treaty.

I do not think the EU is for the United Kingdom. I hope another government, should we ever get one, will renegotiate the UK's relationship with the EU. I resent bitterly the Executive ratification of the Lisbon treaty while matters are pending in the UK courts. But the core Europe likes the EU and will move forward, and we would be unwise to pretend this is not so.

Raedwald said...

David Boothroyd said:

**The European Communities (Amendment) Act 2008 passed through both Houses and received Royal Assent. The government ratified the Lisbon Treaty. The United Kingdom is not a nation which goes back on its word.**

This is a complex area and one in which the advice of a constitutional lawyer would be valuable. However, I think the legal issue was dealt with in 1973 in Blackburn v Attorney General over the first Treaty of Accession. Lord Denning who gave the leading judgment opined that treaty making powers arise from the prerogative, and pregogative powers are not justiciable. He said

"WE have all been brought up to believe that in legal theory one Parliament cannot bind another. But legal theory does not march alongside political reality ... take the Acts which have granted independence to the Dominions and territories overseas; can anyone imagine that Parliament could or would reverse those laws?..."

But since the Lisbon Treaty does not become a treaty until all European nations have signed, since the prerogative power is not used until that moment, our ratification is provisional and contingent. I presume that at any time before all the European nations sign up, we can pass another Act - a European Communities (Amendment) (Amendment) Act - reversing our provisional and theoretical commitment to sign up to the treaty.

Just a thought.

Anonymous said...

The sooner Britain is out of this corrupt and useless Eu the better and the sooner this corrupt and useless Labour Government is out of Britain will be even better....

Anonymous said...

Two questions arise which probably have easy answers:

1. What circumstances need to come about where nulabour need to go to the country early?

2. Is Cameron ready?

I think think the answers are.

1. Many
2. Yes

Anonymous said...

The big difference between Major's 'government' and this 'Shiloh Pitt' is the econmoy.

Major's was coming OUT of a deep recession - things were getting better for most.

'Shiloh Pitt', on the other hand, is staring down the barrel of a possible 1929-style DEpression - and the purveyor of all he surveys, one Gordon McBean, is right in the cross-hairs. After all, it's his wonderful years as Chancellor that have put the UK in the worst possible position.

If this gets as bad as some think (don't take any notice of mainstream media - they either don't realise or dare not tell the plebs), it could go pear shaped very, very quickly indeed - sort of fall off a cliff.

If that happens 'Shiloh' is finished well, well before Ireland gets another chance to give the right answer.

There' always a silver lining.

Anonymous said...

I do not trust Cameron and the Conservative Party on this issue.

Unless they promise to give us the referendum on this treaty ratified or not should they come to power I will not vote for them.

I live in a marginal Labour held constituancy where UKIP voters made up the Tory shortfall at he last election.

It's up to Dave. My vote goes to the party that gives us the referendum the three parties promised at the last election. No referendum, no vote.

Anonymous said...

If the treaty is not in place when the election is called I will vote Tory for the first time in my life, mainly to get the referendum.

If the treaty has been enacted I will vote for the SNP as I would rather deal with a small, locally accountable Scottish administration within the EU than a large, bloated and irrelevant Westminster within the EU.

Tapestry said...

The growth of anti-Lisbon sentiment in Ireland is going to rub off on the UK, and set the course of events there.

Ireland is not going to ratify in a referendum, so unless Ireland ratifies without a second vote, ignoring the first, merely using a Parliamentary vote, Lisbon will not be ratified before Cameron wins power. He has said he will call an immediate referendum in these circumstances.

If the EU forces an Irish ratification without a referendum being called, the result will be pandemonium in Ireland, and this would also rub off across other EU countries.

Cameron's playing his cards well enough.

Anonymous said...

Now that the supporters have Caesar have come out in support of him in his hour of need, it begs the question which particular Brutus(ina) will take on the surplus time till slaughter-at-the-polls. Only takes one to break ranks in the race for the jugular...let the bloodbath begin, so we can force a general election and get the hell out of the midden called the EU.

We couldn't do any worse out of the Eurozone, and may actually do somewhat better with the Commonwealth connections.

Roger Thornhill said...

What is this "if not in force" cop-out?

That is almost begging the EU to rush it through and avoid the Conservatives following up their stance and annoying the EU.

The only honourable stance is to hold a referendum regardless, for no future parliament can be bound by the actions of the current and, even more so, MPs have technically sworn not to hand over sovereignty.

Anonymous said...

David Boothroyd said...

"The United Kingdom is not a nation which goes back on its word."

The decisions taken by the lib/lab/cons over the last few decades last only as long as the lib/lab/cons. The time is coming when they will be gone.

Johnny Norfolk said...

Dont worry folks. The EU is bound to fail in the long run. All history tells you it will and it will be sooner and quicker than you think.

Anonymous said...

Guys, you are fogetting that eurosceptics in Ireland are not the same as in the UK, ie they tend to come from the far left and far right. Most of the No side were complaining that the Charter of Fundamental Rights did not go far enough, and the threat of a Tory government in the UK is already making soft No votes on the left nervous. Sinn Fein led the NO side. Ask them if they want to scrap the social charter??

Chris Paul said...

Cameron would not hold such a referendum. he would immediately wriggle out of any commitment he'd half made to that.

Anonymous said...

Do we know categorically that Dave will have a referendum? I'm not convinced he's got the balls and he'll just prevaricate his way out of it.

Anonymous said...

In the meantime, do what YOU can. Vote YES or NO to Free Europe Constitution at !

Anonymous said...

David Boothroyd said...

"The European Communities (Amendment) Act 2008 passed through both Houses and received Royal Assent. The government ratified the Lisbon Treaty. The United Kingdom is not a nation which goes back on its word".

The present Government (and all the rest of those Member States that had not completed ratification before the Irish people voted "NO" to ratification, were persuaded by this Government and the rest of the member States to continue ratifying a Treaty that was no longer VALID. After two Countries voted NO to the Treaty Establishing a Constitution for Europe, ratification by other Countries, including Britain ceased

I also suggest that not only was it totally wrong of Prime Minister Brown to ratify a Treaty that was no longer valid, it was very wrong indeed to implicate Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II in its (illegal) ratification, for she cannot go against a Government put into Office that has been freely elected by a majority of Her people. Government and Parliament is supposed to represent the people in this Country, they knew without doubt they were not representing them, they were ignoring the people. From the e-mails I have received from other people many cannot understand why the Queen has given Her signature or acceptance to such a Treaty. Some of the blame has been misguidedly pointed towards Her Majesty. This should never have happened.

You say "The UK in not a nation that goes back on its word". This UK government's word has indeed been broken. Perhaps I may be the only one among you that wrote a letter to the Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties to complain that 'Lisbon' was deliberately muddled, and as such was against the principles of the Convention's Articles. This, so I believed at that time was so the so called Leaders of the Member States could say there was no need for the people to have a referendum, because Lisbon was nothing like the "Treaty Establishing a Constitution for Europe" on which there had been a promised referendum for the people. That was written in February. I have not had a reply thus far. That promise made in Labour's Manifesto, has been broken, so much so that there is no point in ANY Political Party making up a MANIFESTO ever again because no one will believe any of them.

Each and every one of those that sit in parliament swear a solemn Oath of Allegiance to their Queen (Crown) and through the Crown to the people of this Country, yet they eagerly give the Governing of this Country away to foreigners whilst at the same time expect us to not only vote for them but continue to pay them to sit in Government to pretend they are the ones doing the job. Sorry, but if Lisbon comes into being they will have made themselves redundant.