Wednesday, October 03, 2007

He jes' keeps rollin' along

Beavering away in the background – as they have been doing all summer - are those good little Eurocrats, and the civil servants from the 27 member states, preparing the final draft of their constitutional reform treaty for their masters to haggle over in just over two week's time, on 18-19 October.

Now, we are told, the "legal experts" have finalised a "provisional" draft and are all agreed on its content. However, as before, it is only available in French, this apparently being the language in which the negotiations were mostly conducted. Somehow, the thought appals. Not only are we being sold down the river, we are being sold down the river in French.

Anyhow, it is now up to the diligent translators, who are churning it out in the diverse languages of the member states (is it 22 or 23 now? – I lose track). We can expect it in English by the end of the week, when it will be up on the internet – there goes the weekend!

According to the BBC, a "Portuguese diplomat" says Britain should be satisfied with the outcome. That rather depends on what he means by "Britain", I suppose. But even then, the said diplomat has "insisted" there is no guarantee of an agreement at the Lisbon summit. There are still some "unresolved issues".

The uncertainty is put down to the unpredictable behaviour of Poland, although why that country – or, to be more precise, the politicians who will do the final negotiation - should be thought unpredictable is anyone's guess. They are all too predictable. They will make a lot of noise, cause a lot of disruption and then cave-in at the last minute, having gained absolutely nothing of substance.

Of course, another uncertainty is whether Gordon Brown will call an election and, if the UK is in the thrall of campaigning by the time Gordon goes to Lisbon, the "colleagues" will have to cook up some extra-special theatricals to make him look good.

Expect some "sacrificial lambs" that Gordo can toil into the wee small hours haggling over (or so it will be said) "new" concessions, following which he can emerge beaming, telling us all how he has "safeguarded the British interest". Maybe, the "colleagues" will come up with something more imaginative - not least to keep the hacks entertained – but the net effect will be the same.

And so the dreary theatre wends its way to its conclusion – wasting heaven knows how many hours in the process, all for something many of us wish had been still-born. But, like the song goes … he jes' keeps rollin' along.

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