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Closing down the debate

Posted by Richard Monday, September 24, 2007 ,

Playing it firmly "on message", MEPs' leader, Gary Titley told the Labour Party conference today that the debate on the EU treaty "must be resolved" – i.e., ended. Yet, is this really the same Gary Titley who, at the end of August called on Brown to hold a referendum on the treaty, because it had breached Britain's key "red lines"?

Clearly, unless something really dreadful has happened and there are two Gary Titleys, the man has undergone a wondrous conversion and is now so content with the new treaty that he wants to move on.

Gordon Brown would ensure the treaty agreed in December "is one that represents the best deal for Britain", he purred, adding what is now emerging as "the line". Globalisation had brought with it the challenges of climate change, people trafficking, terrorism and the need to regulate corporations, if Britain was to have any chance of tackling these "21st century challenges" then the treaty was essential.

"The 21st century challenges are tough and if the EU is to face them, then we have to get away from debates about treaties, institutions and processes," he told the delegates. "That is why we need to ratify the reform treaty and move on."

Tony Blair, don't you know, had "ripped the constitutional heart out of the treaty," and the result shows, "once and for all that the European Union is not a state, it is a political process. A process which allows us to work together to meet global challenges more effectively and to protect ourselves from shared vulnerabilities."

People who oppose the treaty, "do so because they oppose the EU" and do not want environmental regulations or working directives "getting in the way" of free markets. "The truth is this: the battle over the reform treaty is a battle being fought against the neo-conservatives on the right," he said.

That much, of course, is debatable – but the one thing the Europhiles do not want is a debate. It really is fascinating, therefore to see how the likes of Titley are now tasked with closing it down.

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