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Er… Blunkett is right?

Posted by Richard Monday, October 25, 2004

Right at the beginning, when we started this Blog, we decided that we would never delete anything, and pretend it never happened (unlike the Commission with its own web site). If we (and by that, in this case, I mean "I") are wrong (Szamuely is never wrong, of course), we simply admit our mistakes and offer a correction.

I am thus grateful to Kenneth MacArthur, in his comment on my earlier Blog, who points out that the UK does indeed have an opt-out. This is embodied in Art. 69 which refers to the Protocol on the position of the United Kingdom and Ireland, which states that "the United Kingdom… shall not take part in the adoption by the Council of proposed measures pursuant to Title IV of the Treaty…".

It does look, therefore, as if Blunkett is right, in that the UK – notwithstanding that any new measures will be decided by QMV, the UK can still decide whether or not it wants to take part in any measure.

This is rather an odd position, in that if the UK (and/or Ireland) decide to opt-out, a measures will be decided by the qualified majority of the rest of the member states, the UK having no vote on the matter, although the UK does have the vote in making the issues – in general – subject to QMV.

On this basis, it looks like my Blog of yesterday on this subject was nearer that mark (although not without error) in that this is by no means the Armageddon situation painted by the Mail on Sunday. There are indeed other more important and pressing issues to hand.

Speaking of which – while I am in the mood for admitting my errors – I said yesterday that The Business did not publish its copy electronically. Of course, it does. The satellite story can be found here and the leader here.

Dominic Cummings, in his Blog notes that: "Rather amazingly, this story has, so far as we can see, not been picked up by any other media in the UK, though it has in Pakistan, India, Australia and elsewhere". Neither, might I add, has it been picked up in any significant way by the Eurosceptic movement – which is still absorbed in the Kilroy-Silk leadership bid.

And the BBC at lunch-time? Its lead was on the casino issue. One really does wonder sometimes about peoples’ priorities and values. Or perhaps we’ve got it wrong… again?