In yesterday’s adjournment debate on the EU constitution, David Heathcoat-Amory, Conservative MP for Wells – and a member of the constitutional convention – was less than impressed with the antics of Denis McShame, and his attempts to sell the constitution to the British public. Noted Heathcote-Amory:
Someone less restrained that Mr Heathcoat-Amory might have been more robust in his language but, from someone who is so restrained, this is a stern rebuke. One would hope that McShame does have the decency to be ashamed, but somehow I doubt it.
I am afraid that the Government are resorting to cruder techniques with the public. I was disappointed to read during the recess that the Europe Minister, who is sitting on the Treasury Bench, was suggesting that those who criticised the constitution and the European Union were motivated by xenophobia and even racism.
This is the same Europe Minister who called the President of Venezuela, Senor Chavez, "a ranting populist demagogue". The President has been reconfirmed in his position in a recent referendum.
The new Foreign Office doctrine seems to be that it can be personally abusive and rude about the elected leaders of non-European countries, while at the same time criticising Members of Parliament who criticise the European Union and its institutions. If this is how they are to conduct the debate about the constitution, we have been warned.