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Tuesday, July 24, 2007 

EU talk bull.

With a good portion of England underwater, you'd think that the Sun would have other things on its mind than the EU reforming treaty. After a faltering campaign of sorts demanding a referendum on what it calls the constitution, set to wreak havoc on our nation with a fury which would make the deluge last Friday look like a light shower, the Scum's today asked wee Willie Hague to write a self-regarding article addressed more to Scum readers than anyone else.

IN 2005, just before the French voted on the European Constitution, Tony Blair made a pledge to Sun readers. He said, “We don’t know what is going to happen in France but we will have a referendum on the Constitution in any event — and that is a Government promise.”

Blair and Brown broke their word. The French rejected the Constitution and British voters never had the referendum they were promised.


What exactly would the point of having a referendum on a document which was dead in the water have been? It would have wasted resources, had a derisory turnout and proved absolutely nothing.

Now the Constitution is back under another name — a treaty. Last week, Brown admitted the con when he accidentally said he and the Irish leader Bertie Ahern had been discussing “the European Constitution and how that can move forward”.

Oh God - the plan has been exposed! Even if the constitution had recommended abolishing the EU altogether, it seems likely that the Tories and the Sun would have opposed it on principle. The reasons for its rejection by the French and Dutch voters were not for the reasons that the Eurosceptics loathe it; their main fear was that it in fact entrenched Anglo-Saxon neo-liberalism, destroying their own social models. Throwing the whole thing out and starting again would have been idiotic when the EU desperately needs reform. It may be 95% the same document, but it still isn't a constitution, as it isn't binding.

There would be a new EU president. There would be an EU foreign minister with his own diplomatic service. Brussels would get new powers over our criminal justice system. And the EU would have more powers over asylum and immigration. Blair and Brown claimed to have won key concessions — but these are hollow. The guarantee of Britain’s independent foreign policy would not be legally binding. And legal experts say the European Court of Justice would find ways to implement the Charter Of Fundamental Rights, which Blair and Brown promised to stop.

Hague buys, or rather pretends that the Scum's claims that we won't be able to run our own foreign policy are true, which is complete and utter nonsense. Would "new" and "old" Europe, with their vastly different agendas have really signed up if this was the case? The Charter of Fundamental Rights, which is incidentally a fine document, is legally binding, but is not "justicable" here because of Blair's objections. Blair also secured an "opt-in" on majority voting on criminal justice matters, meaning that it can only vote and get involved when it chooses too. Ironically, Brown recently pleaded with the EU for more data sharing on terrorist suspects, something presumably that Hague and the Scum would like but which is inhibited by the opt-outs and distance which they both demand.

All this is a distraction from the real issues facing Britain and Europe. Our leaders should have been concentrating on the things that matter to ordinary people, like making our economy competitive, dealing with climate change and fighting global poverty.

Not the floods then, eh? Or crime, immigration, terrorism, the public services, civil liberties? How about Iraq? It's just ever so slightly rich for the party most obsessed with Europe to suggest that the EU is somehow a distraction from everything else.

Britain should be the leader of a new Europe — more modern, flexible and outward-looking. But our Government has failed to lead the fight for reform.

Which the Tories will lead, from the err, Movement for European Reform, having decided to leave the European People's Party grouping. So far the MER has a grand total of two parties when it finally forms after the 2009 European parliament elections, the Tories themselves and the Czech Civic Democratic Party. Better start manning the barricades.

This could not be more important. So The Sun is right to campaign to let the people decide, a campaign David Cameron and I are proud to back.

Labour promised time and again that the British people would have the final say on the Constitution in a referendum. It was in their manifesto. It was in our manifesto. It was even in the Lib-Dem manifesto.

It is time to honour those promises.


Even though Kenneth Clarke, one of the more sensible Tories when it comes to the EU, said he felt it was less important than the Maastrict Treaty, which the Tories didn't offer a referendum on. I think many would be prepared to have a referendum - as long as it was what on what the treaty actually contains and not what the Scum and Tories say it does. As it is, the lies have already been coming thick and fast.

On then, to the Scum's own leader:

The new document is designed to deceive. But clouds of waffle cannot conceal the truth.

We WILL play second fiddle to an EU foreign minister at the UN.


Ignorant misinformation. How could we possibly "play second fiddle" to an EU foreign minister at the UN when we have a permanent seat on the security council and the EU most certainly doesn't? Are the French also prepared to play "second fiddle"? I somehow doubt it.

We WILL risk being outvoted on our own foreign policy.

Rubbish. As the treaty itself explains on how each state still will be able to exercise their own foreign policy:

“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”

We WILL be bound by EU human rights laws.

Seeing as the Charter of Fundamental Rights is meant to be the EU version of the ECHR, most of the laws which the Scum already objects to are enshrined in our own Human Rights Act. As previously mentioned, the charter isn't "justiceable" here, although it might be challenged in the courts.

We WILL give up our veto over employment laws, energy and transport.

Not those affected by the Charter, while it's true we probably have over energy and transport.

We WILL give unelected European judges power over our police and law courts.

Again, as above, simply not true.

Britain once warned ALL these measures were unacceptable.

Experts have yet to unravel the text, but every other EU leader admits this is the old constitution in all but name.

Ireland will hold a referendum. Holland and Denmark are certain to follow suit. Many Sun readers voted Labour in 2005 because Labour promised them a say.

They might not do so again if Gordon breaks the promise he made during his campaign for PM.


Ah yes, I can just picture the Sun readers' marching into the polling stations, at one in their belief that they were voting Labour because they knew they'd have a referendum on the EU constitution. This is a fiction on a par with Michael Jackson's insistence he'd never had plastic surgery. Brown also never said anything about giving a referendum on the constitution during his abortive campaign. All the little lies add up to one big one.

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