Thursday, July 05, 2007

A solitary voice

Checking with our friend Mr Google confirms that, of all the MSM, it is only The Daily Telegraph that is consistently "banging on" about a referendum on the EU treaty-to-be.

Today is no different as, despite the competition from other stories, the paper is running another story on the issue, this one headed: "Unions urge EU treaty referendum".

It records, as the headline would suggest, the GMB general union, which has 590,000 members and is affiliated to Labour, has joined the fray, declaring that the treaty-to-be is "substantially the same as the European Constitutional Treaty" and is demanding that the government should "honour" its commitment made before the last general election to put the new treaty to the British people.

Paul Kenny, GMB general secretary, is cited, saying that the Labour Party's promise at the last election to hold a vote should not be abandoned. "The pledge was right at the time of the general election and it is right now."

On top of that, The Telegraph reports that Unison, the public service union, has declared that it will campaign for a "no" vote if a referendum is held. Opposition to the treaty from the heart of the Labour movement, says the paper, means Mr Brown now faces demands from both the Left and Right for a referendum.

Laying down an important marker for the IGC, we also learn that Jim Murphy, the new Europe minister, has "denied authoritative reports" that Brown is bound by the European Council agreements. Murphy says "he was unaware" that Blair had signed any document committing his successor as prime minister to the "precise details" of what was agreed.

Note the weasel words, "precise details". The narrative will be that the heads of agreement have to stand, but there can be argument about the detail. It is a small start, but nevertheless it is a start towards unravelling the stitch-up.

* * *

The No. 10 Downing Street petition has now topped 9,000 and, although the Telegraph is running its own petition, this is the one to get behind. The numbers are beginning to look respectable.


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