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They are all lining up

Posted by Helen Thursday, October 08, 2009 , , ,

Not having the Boss's stamina I did not watch the Boy-King's speech though I did hear that they had a video of Bono (pictured) congratulating the Blue-Socialists on intending to spend even more of our hard-earned money to keep bloodthirsty kleptocrats in power. Way to go, Tories.

I gather he (the Boy-King, not Bono) made all the right noises, even telling the credulous crowds that it is the Left that has fallen in love with that unaccountable body whose accounts have never been signed off. Clearly, there is a memory lapse here? Allow me to remind people of a few events: the European Communities Act 1972, the Single European Act 1987 and the Maastricht Treaty, which was probably more important, even than the Lisbon one, 1992. All passed by the Left? Hmmm. Maybe he knew whereof he spoke.

Then there were the curious references to the referendum that the Boss has already written about. They are going to fight for a referendum. And the opponent is? Who is going to stop a Conservative government from passing the necessary legislation to have a referendum?

Ah well, there is this problem: what are we to have a referendum about? The Constitutional Lisbon Treaty may well be done and dusted by then and the Conservatives, having so recently told us that they will not leave matters there, are now, one and all, saying in a very condescending fashion (for they know better than we do) that there really is no point in opening up something that has been decided. Why have elections, I wonder, when the matter has already been decided once? It’s a good thing people in the former Soviet Empire did not reason thus.

This is, of course, typical of the Conservatives. They talk the talk but when they get to the start of the walk, they decide that the road has probably been closed off and they will just sit down for a while until somebody suggests another path.

Instead, voices are being raised for a referendum on many other matters, not just the Constitutional Lisbon Treaty. The Boss has already quoted the great eurosceptic Daniel Hannan on the subject. (Whatever you may think of Mr Hannan, he is not stupid and he knows a good deal about the EU though not always as much as he thinks. He must know that it is impossible to claim back certain powers without rewriting the treaties, which can be done only in an IGC.)

This morning I received my daily dose of Open Europe media references in which there is this paragraph:

Open Europe's Lorraine Mullally appeared on BBC Radio 5 this morning to argue that the Conservatives should hold a referendum on an EU reform package.
No longer on a treaty, a relatively straightforward proposition but on some mythical reform package. Does Ms Mullally not realize that EU reform is not in our hands, as this country is only one of 27 members? And if it is not in our hands, if our government can do nothing about it, why have a referendum on something quite so complex and so unattainable? Whether we ratify a treaty, on the other hand, is something we can make a decision about.

Over on ConHome one of their silliest and most ignorant contributors proudly proclaims that Brussels should not be so cocky as the Conservatives will sort them out: they will have a referendum on "our broader relationship with the EU".

First of all, dear Sally MacNamara, we do not have a relationship with the EU, we are part of it and what we need to decide is whether we stay there. The Tories have already decided that for themselves.

Conservatives do not really want a relationship with the EU based what we have now. If Cameron's tactic is to renegotiate our relationship with the EU by repatriating key powers – defense, justice, home affairs and employment legislation for a start – then he will need to head-off Brussels' inevitable pushback with his own 'game-changer'.
There speaks a woman who has not a clue of how the system works. What does heading off Brussels mean? What sort of pushback is this silly creature expecting? So we want to repatriate various powers, some of which are still intergovernmental, some will change from one pillar to another once Lisbon is fully in place, some have been part of the core legislation for some time? How are we going to do that? Oh right, by having a referendum. Then what? Has this dumb cluck heard of IGCs and treaties? Because nothing can be repatriated without the treaties being rewritten and that cannot be done without a unanimous agreement at an IGC.

In the comments she is praised by no less a person than Roger Helmer MEP for having the right political instincts. That, I think, disposes of Roger Helmer.

In the coming weeks we shall see other front organizations lining up to support the nebulous idea of a referendum for which they need to fight but which will not be about the Constitutional Lisbon Treaty but about repatriation of powers or new relationship or whatever. None of this is attainable and there will be no need for a referendum. But the talk will be talked with the hope that the electorate will buy into it.

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