Calm Before the Storm
This hugely controversial treaty is the replacement for the European Constitution rejected by French and Dutch voters two years ago. Supporters say it’s a set of modest rule changes to allow the European Union to work better, now the organisation is so much bigger. Critics say it’s a further extension of power to Brussels and an erosion of the nation state. Among the main proposals:
"If we were deciding to join the euro, we would have a referendum. " Declaration by the Leader of the Labour party and Prime Minister of the United Kingdom , Wednesday 17 October 2007.
EU deal is done - will the Tories undo it?
With as little fuss as he can get away with, Gordon Brown will sign up to the EU
constitution Reform Treaty tomorrow evening in Lisbon. The deal was actually done on Monday when other countries confirmed that they will not seek to unpick Britain's "red lines". Unless Poland decides to fight WW2 again, or the Italians cut up rough, the only crunch at this summit will be the sound of our elected tribunes chewing on their summit dinner. Friday will be taken up with discussion of climate change, before a lunchtime dash for the airport.
Get it over and done with!
On the eve of the IGC summit, the "colleagues" may be on the brink of pulling off the most audacious bloodless coup in the history of Europe, if not mankind. But, they are leaving the peoples of the member states behind. According to an FT/Harris poll, an overwhelming majority of people in Britain and four other big European Union countries want a referendum on the treaty. Some 70 percent of those questioned in the UK, France, Germany, Italy and Spain want one, 20 percent do not, and 10 percent are unsure.
Review of EU Directive on Jams, Jellies and Marmalades
Stop Brussels and save our home-made jam. Eat your heart out, Nigella. Look to your laurels, Jamie. I am about to reveal exclusively to readers of this newspaper the secret of making impeccable damson jam. After two seasons of experiment, in which I have burned saucepans, smashed Moulinexes and splattered so much jam over the kitchen that it resembled a scene from Goodfellas, I have cracked the great damson stone problem. I now present my findings to the Royal Society of Telegraph Jam-Makers with the sense of exhaustion and pride that Rutherford must have felt after splitting the atom.
The Liberal Democrat leadership contest and the left
The Liberal Democrats have long been a few inches to the left of New Labour. Or to perhaps express the matter more exactly, New Labour has long been a few inches to the right of the Lib Dems. These differences are largely nuances, of course. There are no disagreements of substance sufficient to rule out a coalition government in the event of a hung parliament.
The tip of the iceberg
Britain's new claim for sovereignty in Antarctica is all about energy, but we should now expect a sharp backlash and criticism from around the world.
Is The Sun cooling towards bullying Brown?
Earlier this week Irwin Stelzer - 'Rupert Murdoch's representative on earth' - gave an interview to The Guardian in which he signalled a growing warmth of The Sun (and News of the World) to David Cameron.
A straight choice between Clegg & Huhne?
That’s what it’s looking like with the news that Steve Webb will not be entering the contest to become the next leader of the Liberal Democrats, but instead backing Nick Clegg. (Although John Hemming has also declared, currently it looks unlikely he will reach the required seven nominations by MPs.)
Place your bets, place your bets… Lib Dem leadership scandals.
At the last leadership election, anecdotal evidence suggests that most people returned their ballots as soon as they receive them - so the contest may be decided much sooner than the official timetable indicates. Of course, before the ballots were sent out in our last leadership election, things got pretty spectacular. So here are the odds for just some of the interesting things that may happen between now and the ballots going out:
I'm a fan of the BBC but ...
I have made no secret of the fact that I am a massive fan of the BBC. Many people who are perhaps happy with ITV Play or Sky One argue that the market can produce the same quality of TV that the BBC offers, although that is patently not the case from the several hundred channels on Sky Digital, and that the license fee should be abolished. Again, I disagree. However, I do think the BBC is bloated, duplicates its effort too much and needs to become much more streamlined. So it is in this context that I think the announcement of 1800 job losses is required, despite the inevitable hardship this will cause.
Where the next election will be decided
Nice map but so what? Take a good look at the map. Notice anything? That these marginal seats will decide the next election is not news. But look at the pattern the 201 marginal seats highlighted make. They don’t concentrate in Wales, Scotland, London, the major cities or the truly rural areas. They aren’t really regional. They are heavily concentrated in Medium English Towns and Their Hinterlands (METTHs from now on).