Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Lies, damn lies and David Miliband

We lost – wholly predictable, but that does not make it any easier. The Tory amendment lost by 311 to 248 votes (majority 63) while the Labour amendment, which gave the government an option of calling for an "in-out" vote, lost by 311 to 247 (majority 64).

Meanwhile, despite horrendous problems with the internet (remaining connected for no more than a couple of minutes at a time), I have managed to complete the transcript of the Milband – Hague "debate". It is posted on EU Referendum 2.

When it comes to defending his beloved treaty, foreign secretary David Miliband is a liar. Not once, but many times offering a naked, unreconstructed, obvious lie. And the worst of it is that is opposition counterpart, William did not pick him up on it, thus letting him get away with it without a serious (or any) challenge.

The particular lie is familiar to use all, uttered on the Today programme this morning, when Milband told listeners, again and again that, the "constitutional treaty has been abandoned". This, he claimed, Angela Merkel had claimed, along "with every other European head of government".

Thus does the whole of the foreign secretary's case for opposing a referendum stand, building on his careful omission of the term "constitutional concept" which was actually what Angela Merkel and her fellow heads of state said.

Thus is Miliband's case built. It is rather appropriate that, like the construct he so loves, he has to rely on a diet of lies and deception. Read the transcript, and note the comments from Nick Robinson. None of the political parties come well out of this and, as for Hague … beyond contempt.

I'll post an analysis of the debate as soon as I can, internet connection permitting.

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