Monday, 21 January 2008

The Late Lunch Briefing

Where’s Gordon? Must an EU debate on

Today marks the first day of fifteen days of Commons’ debates on the EU Reform Treaty. But where’s Gordon? Once again he can’t be there when everyone is looking, rather like when he went missing during the signing of the Treaty in the first place. Coincidence? Maybe. Confirming a stereotype? Almost certainly.

Pro & Anti Europeans should both be outraged

It should come as no surprise that the Foreign affairs committee has confirmed what we all have been told a hundred times already. It is pretty much entirely the same as the Constitution and that the Government has not be as honest and open about this as it might have been. Forget whether the treaty is good for Britain or not for a second. What troubles me most is that our government has broken its word and is now not being truthful – in effect forcing a measure through the back door hoping we either won’t notice or won’t care. This should trouble both side of the debate, whether you are pro or anti the treaty. The Government has gone against its word and is now not telling us the truth. Anyone who cares about democracy should be appalled. Simple as that.

Damning Report from the Committee

So what did the committee say? Well, it accuses ministers of deliberately playing down the consequences of the treaty and calls on them to publicly put this right by admitting how much power it really hands to Brussels. It also concludes that there is no difference between the foreign policy provisions in the rejected European Constitution and those in the new EU Reform Treaty. Pretty damning stuff.

My fear is, however, that the governments over the years have bored the hell out of the electorate so much so that we are in submission mode. What are the chances of this really being an election issue and it come back to haunt the Government? Pretty slim I suspect – which is a massive shame and I hope I am wrong.

Lib Dems the key players. No really.

Of course, there is some hope. Expect a backbench Labour rebellion on this. The Tories too should (though not entirely) be opposed. There is a chance that there will be enough opposition in Parliament. However, it is one of those rare occasions when the Lib Dems will be the key players. While the government may not have enough of its party support to carry the treaty through – it will probably be able to rely on the Lib Dems. Now is a chance to show you metal, Clegg. Have you got what it takes to show that the Lib Dems can stand up and be counted?

Have you forgotten someone, Miliband?

David Miliband has said tried to discredit the Tories for calling for a referendum. He said that "By opposing this treaty, the Tories are yet again completely isolated in the EU. The only parties that share their extreme position in 27 member states are the Portuguese communists, Sinn Fein, the Dutch ultra-Right fringe and the Dutch animal rights party." You missed one crucial group there, David – THE BRITISH PUBLIC. But I guess you’re not interested in their opinions, are you?

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