Saturday, August 04, 2007

Blogger round-up

Away from the foetid smugness of the self-referential "big hitters" in the so-called (British) political blogosphere, individual bloggers are beginning to stir on the EU referendum. And, as the political temperature increases, we expect that more and more bloggers will join in the fray.

Thus, we have decided to run a weekly round-up of blogs which run stories (not forgetting the pictures) on the referendum and allied issues.

Most recent is from Not a sheep from London, who declares that he is "not a sheep" and adds: "I am fed up with being treated as one". In a piece headed, "Poor Gordon, Poor us", he speculates on the possibility of an early election, noting that one of Gordon's problems is the EU Constitution Treaty becoming a newsworthy story and the increasing calls for a referendum.

Not a sheep thinks that if Gordon calls an election soon enough then maybe he can have the election before the referendum calls become even louder, or perhaps he can do a Tony and promise a referendum to reduce the Conservative vote.

A similar theme is rehearsed by Open Democracy (one of several pieces), which has Anthony Barnett of London offering a piece under the heading, "Snap election – no easy snip".

A quick election now, he writes, may have a booby-trap built in: the EU referendum issue. If Brown went to the voters this autumn before 18 October and won, he could claim a Sarkozy-like mandate to sign the treaty. But he'd have to campaign on it saying that it is a necessary continuity of our role in Europe and no great change. It's hard to say this with a straight face when no other leader in Europe agrees.

If Brown holds an election in the Spring after 18 October, when he and other EU heads of government have met to ratify the treaty, it still hands the Conservatives a great issue: "You say you are for democracy, Prime Minister, but you have gone back on your word about giving us a say over the EU". Brown badly needs a positive policy on Europe. There is no sign of this.

Encouragingly, Pajamas Media picked up our piece on the Self-amending treaty, demonstrating the multiplier-effect of the blogging network, which means our pieces have a reach far beyond that which our hit rate suggests. It is not dissimilar to viral marketing.

Curly's Corner Shop is another example of that as he too picks up one of our pieces, plus the one and only reference from the Iain Dale blog, which manages to tear itself away from self-absorption long enough to throw a few gushing paragraphs in the direction of Open Europe as the approved voice of Euroscepticism.

This reference is to the EU treaty being published in English and the Open Europe estimate that, out of 250 proposals, only ten differ from the original constitution rejected by the voters of France and the Netherlands. Thus, 96 percent of the current treaty is the same as the rejected constitution.

Curly also offers comment on the news that the Conservative Party might commit itself to holding a private referendum, which he believes "must be greeted with some welcome." The Treaty, of course, writes Curly, is nothing other than the European Constitution rejected by millions of voters earlier. "Dressing it up in different words," he adds, "will not prevent many of us from campaigning to secure the rights of our Parliament to hang on to its legislative capacity."

That is certainly what Glyn Davies is doing, writing in his blog, A view from rural Wales, "We were promised a referendum on a new EU 'constitution' by Labour. No 'ifs', no 'buts'. It was a cast iron promise - with no wriggle room."

A left of field contribution comes from Klein Verzet who, for some reason, insists on calling the treaty the "Turnip". He links to our piece on the Supreme government of Europe and adds "yet another reason why a referendum on the Turnip is crucial for those that value their freedom." In his view, we will lose even more of our freedom of expression and a big chunk of our ability to defend ourselves against those parts of the Muslim community that see Western Europe as an Islamic colony.

The Huntsman is running his own "referendum news" series and in his latest piece remarks:

As a lawyer, I have to confess great admiration for the drafting skills of those who put the various documents together. It is not merely the incomprehensible language which attracts one's attention, but the sheer skill in producing something which looks, at first blush, wholly innocuous but when you start trying to draw all the strings together, actually amounts to the wholesale take-over of your country.

Armed with such a document, which must cost all of a fiver, who needs a billion pounds worth of tanks to park on someone else's lawn, especially when you have a compliant Quisling Government to slip it past a flock of particularly ovine MPs called The Parliamentary Labour Party, aided and abetted by 63 LibDem Turkeys?
On the transatlantic front, there is the Jurist blog, produced by the School of Law at the University of Pittsburgh. It produced a piece on Hague's calls for a referendum on the treaty, one of several it has published on the theme, slightly more, in fact, than Tory Diary, for instance, which has been more than a little sparing in its coverage of the EU referendum campaign.

Other bloggers on this issue have been Purple Scorpion, who reviewed the Stelzer piece in the Telegraph and PJC Journal, which reproduced our piece on the supreme government of Europe.

An intriguing piece came from Rhod on Public Affairs, a self-confessed Labour Party activist, who thought the privately funded referendum on the EU treaty a good idea and considered it "a rare show of wisdom on the part of the UK Conservative Party."

Norfolk Blogger, a Lib-Dem activist, thought otherwise, declaring that he would not waste the shoe leather to vote, preferring to see "a full referendum, a binding one called by the government."

But Martin Curtis, in his Spin Blog, himself a Tory activist, thought it a great idea. "Not only is it something that might capture the imagination,” he wrote, "it would be a step towards David Cameron reinforcing his credentials as an EU sceptic; it might also help to shore up support from some of the disaffected grass roots."

Curtis is perhaps articulating something many of us agree with, which does make you wonder why so many Tory bloggers are silent on this issue. This is especially strange since Daily Referendum applauds the Conservatives for doing a good job pushing for a referendum and Tony Sharp, in his Waendel Journal thinks the Tory promise of a referendum if Brown calls an election will be greeted with relief by many Tory activists.

But then, the momentum is growing and, if any of our readers have picked up a blog that we have missed, let us know and we will include it in our next round-up, same time next week.

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