Sunday, February 25, 2007

Well done, Iain: just a bit late...

Iain Dale finally catches up.
The News of the World reports today that Tony Blair will sign up to Angela Merkel's replacement European Constitution without having a referendum. If this happens it really is true to say that we will have effectively become a province of the Greater Belgian Empire United States of Europe.
The News of the World can reveal the Prime Minister intends to rubber-stamp the European Constitution without consulting his likely successor Chancellor Gordon Brown — not to mention British voters. Mr Blair has PERSONALLY pushed forward plans for a permanent EU President and Foreign Minister as one of his last acts before he stands down as premier. He will travel to Berlin on March 25 to sign the 50-page agreement, Declaration on the Future of Europe. Far from a simple "declaration", this is a binding treaty which embodies "basic laws" for 490 million people in 27 countries.

Those of us who actually pay attention to these things were a little ahead of Iain here; I have summarised some of the facts in two articles at IndependenceHome.org, and I also reiterated them in this post, addressing Blair's petition response.
And what of your promise of a referendum—and I'll say it again—"regardless of how other members vote"?
Geoff Hoon, the Europe minister, has confirmed that the Government's promise of a referendum on the constitution would not apply to a "mini-treaty".
Ah, it's not going to happen, despite the fact that this is still essentially a European Constitution, you are weaselling out of it by saying that it is not the Constitution.

It seems that Iain has, belatedly, come to the same conclusion.
Blair will deny this is a replacement to the original European Constitution, but if it looks like a constitution, sounds like a constitution and smells like one, then that's exactly what it is. And the Conservatives should now lead the campaign against it.

And the chances of that are what, precisely? Let me remind you of what your Chairman, Francis Maude, said on Tory Radio.
It is not the Conservative Party's view that we should be out of the European Union; it is our view that we should work with others... partners... to reform it, to make it more appropriate, more decentralised... More appropriate for the modern networked world that we're in, rather than relating it back to the old block Europe, block world, that it was born into.
...

We'll take on UKIP, who are a fringe party... erm... I don't particularly respect what they are about, and we should be confident enough to mount the case on the approach to Europe which... er... we set out.

The Tories don't respect what UKIP are about—which is, in a nutshell, regaining the ability to rule ourselves—and they are in favour of remaining within the EU.

Yes, they have bleated on about how they are against the European Constitution, but this is just the same form of weasel words that Blair is using. I guarantee that you will find the Tories wittering on about how it's just "a tidying up exercise" and not a Constitution; either that, or they won't mention it at all—after all, they don't want constantly to "bang on about Europe", eh?—and quietly, quietly help the government to ratify it.

We're being stitched up like kippers, and I fucking hate them for it.

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