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Tuesday, June 26, 2007 

Scum-watch: A constitution which isn't and cooking the figures.

Ignoring the highly suspicious nature of the Scum's story about the Iranian Revolutionary Guard supposedly crossing into Iraq to plant roadside bombs, no longer apparently simply supplying them to the various militias operating in Basra, today's Scum leader is typically filled with crap.

IF anyone can make a silk purse out of a sow’s ear, it’s Tony Blair.

But even his verbal brilliance cannot conceal the deceit behind the latest EU con-trick.

The document he signed in Brussels is the EU Constitution in all but name.


No it isn't. If it walks like a duck and quacks like a duck it probably is a duck, but this is quite simply not a constitution. If it was a constitution then all of its parts would be binding and applicable across the entirety of the EU - as Blair's success in defending his so-called "red lines" shows. He managed to gain an opt-out from the charter of fundamental rights, which is incidentally a fine extension to the convention of human rights, which any decent democratic country should have no problem signing up to. It's reproduced in full here, but choice parts of it include the complete prohibition of capital punishment, the prohibition of torture, the protection of personal data, the right to asylum, the prohibition of collective expulsion and protection against being deported to any country where the person is likely to be tortured or suffer inhumane or degrading treatment, which ought to explain quite why the Labour party refused to sign up to it.

Bertie Ahern might have said that it's 90% the same - but he also said that was one of the good things. It's hardly been a plot to push through the constitution by the back door, as Angela Merkel and others have long said that they wanted substantial parts of it to remain. You don't throw the baby out with the bathwater just because the baby's voted that the water is too cold; the no votes of the French and Dutch were for specific reasons, concerns over the imposition of Anglo-Saxon neo-liberalism and the eventual ascension of Turkey, amongst others. It wasn't that they wanted out of the EU altogether, which is quite clearly what both the Sun and most of the Eurosceptics want. Kenneth Clarke, long the only remaining sane Tory on Europe, pointed out that the new treaty is far less important than Maastricht, which John Major declined to offer a referendum on.

Back to the Scum:

Mr Blair promised us a referendum — in order to win the 2005 election.

He went so far as to denounce any proposal to smuggle it back in disguise.

Now he — and Gordon Brown — have the gall to deny voters a say before turning Britain into a muted voice on the sidelines of a European superstate.

Mr Blair’s flimsy “red lines” won’t save our status as an independent nation.


To suggest that promising a referendum on any EU constitution helped in any measure Labour's victory is bunkum. The only reason Blair said they'd be a referendum was because it's widely alleged that Murdoch gave him an ultimatum: either promise one or the News International titles go back to the Tories. Blair duly announced there would be one, although he probably knew quite well that either the French or Dutch were in the mood to reject it, negating the need to hold one. Rather than the British public demanding one, or it being a defining issue in the 2005 election, it was in fact only occupying the loonies who think of nothing else - like Australian-Americans who think they deserve more say in the politics of this nation than the actual electorate does.

We have signed this over to an EU President and a preposterous “High Representative” who will dictate foreign policy.

Britain will no longer be able to negotiate independent ties with other countries.

In particular, we will have to ditch our special relationship with America.


More complete and utter rot. Does the Scum really expect us to believe that not just us, but that also the countries Rumsfeld called "New Europe" that went along with the Iraq invasion will just hand over all their foreign policy concerns to a "high representative"? As Nosemonkey points out, the footnote to Annex I.ii.12 of the treaty explains just how member states will continue to be able to exercise their own individual foreign policies:

“The Conference underlines that the provisions in the Treaty on European Union covering the Common Foreign and Security Policy, including the creation of the office of High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy and the establishment of an External Action Service, do not affect the responsibilities of the Member States, as they currently exist, for the formulation and conduct of their foreign policy nor of their national representation in third countries and international organisations. The Conference also recalls that the provisions governing the Common Security and Defence Policy do not prejudice the specific character of the security and defence policy of the Member States”

The Scum again:

Those obsessed with Iraq may welcome such abject surrender.

But the time will come when we bitterly regret losing historic links with the staunch ally who saved Britain — and Europe — in two World Wars.


And such historic links, thanks to our current relationship, have destroyed our standing throughout the world and helped to massively increase terrorism, which has actually made us less safe as a result. This isn't to suggest that we abandon all links with America: that would be equally disastrous. It does however mean a reexamination of how the relationship works - one based around consistent, well-intentioned advice, dissent, and knowing when to firmly say no - not one entirely made up of uncritical sycophancy, which has resulted in us having no influence over Washington whatsoever. We could additionally argue until the cows come home about how it whether it was the Americans, the Russians or Hitler's own folly which saved us in WW2, but that's for a different debate.

The next leader is equally badly constructed and full of misinformation:

MINISTERS insist violent crime is falling.

Yet millions of muggings go unrecorded because police fiddle the figures.

They won’t count more than five acts of violence if they involve the same victim.


Firstly this is nothing whatsoever to do with the police fiddling the figures, this is based on research done by Graham Farrell, professor of criminology at Loughborough University, and Ken Pease, visiting professor at Loughborough and former acting head of the Police Research Group at the Home Office, who've discovered that British Crime Survey, not anything to do with either the police, or as we'll see, ministers, only counts repeated offences against the same person for instance, 5 times, so if they've in fact been assaulted 10 times, it still only goes down as 5. The BCS does this so as not to let extreme cases distort the overall rate (how many people do get assaulted more than 5 times in a year?) but Farrell and Pease claim that this in fact distorts its just as much, removing up to 3 million crimes from the figures.

I'm not going to question their research, and the BCS will probably look into exactly what their findings are, but the BCS is still by far the most authoritative indicator of true crime levels, and it shows crime is at a historic low. This isn't a new thing either; the BCS has been using the same method since it began in 1981, so it isn't a sudden change that's brought the figures down accordingly.

Back to the Scum one last time:


Why? Because ministers fear extreme cases “distort” the rosy picture they wish to convey.

There are lies, damned lies . . . and government statistics.


Yes, quite, it's all the fault of ministers who have absolutely nothing to do with the collection of the statistics. It's quite true that the Home Office needs to make the release of statistics on crime wholly independent, so as to prove that they are not being spun, but in this case it is completely blameless. There are lies, damned lies, and then there's the Sun.

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