Saturday, December 15, 2007

More weaselly than Blair

Gordon Brown is turning out even more weaselly than Tony Blair.

After promising a referendum on the European Constitution, he's decided that the virtually identical European Treaty does not need a referendum after all.

And when it was being signed in Lisbon on Thursday, Gordon Brown arranged to turn up late, so he wouldn't need to be in the group photo. It might alarm the voters, or something. Then he nipped round the back and signed it anyway.

And why is the new treaty supposed to be different from the old proposed constitution?

  • The constitution would have scrapped the previous treaties and started again. This treaty doesn't. Except that the provisions we end up with are almost identical in either case.
  • The constitution would have included a "charter of fundamental rights" . The treaty doesn't include the text as such, but still makes it binding. Clever, eh?
  • The constitution talked about the EU flag and anthem - the treaty doesn't. But since they are already there, it doesn't have to.
  • The EU "foreign minister" has been renamed "High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy" - but he'll still have more or less the same power.
  • The constitution would have removed many national vetoes. The treaty does as well. See - completely different!
  • And there are a few opt outs, that will allow a second class EU to be established, containing the UK, and perhaps Ireland and Denmark, and the "first class" version, with the extra sovereignty the federalists demand. How long do you think it will take for the calls for the UK to be "good Europeans" and remove these "anomalies"?
  • The BBC goes into more detail.
But we still don't need a referendum, according to Gordon Brown.

The federalists in the rest of the EU have realised the scepticism that exists in many countries, and are trying to avoid popular votes there.

Ireland has said they'll ask the people - but sure if the people get it wrong, they'll just ask them again, until they give the right answer.


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