Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Is he saying what I think he's saying?

David Cameron, the current leader of the Conservative Party, was on the Today programme this morning, interviewed in anticipation of his "big speech" at the conference tomorrow.

Covering a wide range of issues, he was nevertheless tasked with his attitude over the EU "reform" treaty, 12 minutes 32 seconds into the 14 minute slot. And it is perhaps a sign of old age, when all coppers start to look incredibly young and all Today interviewers begin to sound the same. For the life of me, I cannot make out who was asking the questions, and neither did Cameron help out by naming his inquisitor (perhaps he didn't know either).

Anyhow, the Boy was asked whether, if the election didn't happen in two or three week's time, and there was a European treaty in place when he came into power, would he "tear it up?" Cameron was direct in his reply: "We will hold a referendum on it and put it to the people."

"But," says his interviewer, "it'll be in. I mean, if it is there, if its been ratified, if its in place, what will you do?" So it continues:

Cameron: If it's been, if its been through … we will fight it through the House of Commons, we will put down amendments saying there should be a referendum and as long as that treaty is being debated and discussed …

Interviewer: What if it's there?

Cameron: If it's there, it won't have been accepted by every other European country and we will hold a referendum. We think that this is just so wrong. Look, we put into our manifesto at the last election, we would hold a referendum. The government put into their manifesto they'd hold a referendum. They have broken trust with the British people. It's one of the most flagrant breaches of trust I can remember in British politics. And we promise a referendum. And that promise is good whenever Gordon Brown decides to hold this election.
It is difficult not to be a little confused by this answer. If the treaty is in place, it will "have been accepted by every other European country". By definition, it will have been ratified by all 27 member states.

That aside, Cameron seems to be saying that, whenever Gordon Brown decides to hold this election (in 2010), he will pledge to hold a referendum.

Is that what he actually said?

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