Tuesday, February 08, 2005

The BBC and the constitution

Tomorrow morning, at 8.10, the BBC Radio 4 Today programme will be running a major feature to coincide with the second reading of the European Union Bill.

The piece will start with two speakers, one presenting the case for the EU constitution and the other against, followed by a long interview with Jack Straw.

Speaking for the constitution will be Robert Cooper, former FCO senior official, styled as Tony Blair's foreign policy guru and currently Director General for External and Politico-Military Affairs, Council of the European Union – Javier Solana’s right-hand man. There's glory for you.

Against the constitution is this Blogger, with this piece already recorded:

The case for the "no" side

This constitutional treaty is part of an ongoing process – it is just one more step in a project aimed at creating a government of Europe, devised by the political élites, without the informed assent of their peoples. Completion will mean the end of us as a self-governing country. Britain will be relegated to the status of a county council, subordinate to a central government in Brussels.

That is the danger. It we allow this treaty through, there will be another one behind, and another – as many as it takes to get to the destination. Insiders are already saying they want another treaty within a few years. The last commission even produced a detailed report on what it should contain.

We have seen this before. And each time a new treaty is agreed, this nation loses more power. We lose 63 vetoes in this treaty, bringing the total to 200 so far. How many more next time?

This referendum, therefore, is the opportunity – perhaps the last opportunity – to stop the process before it is too late. But that won’t mean we leave the EU – far from it. It will simply mean that we have stopped the express train of European integration. It will give us, the people of Europe, time to work out what we really want.

So, unless you want to be on board a runaway train, set to smash into the buffers, now is the time to pull the communication cord. That is why we must say “no” to the constitution.
We will be listening in the morning and hope to post a transcript of the relevant parts of the piece.

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