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Changing Britain's relationship with Europe

Nick Robinson | 09:03 UK time, Thursday, 29 October 2009

Over dinner for two in Paris last night Angela and Nicolas plotted the future of the new Europe, chatting about whether Tony could be their candidate for president. Threatening to give them both political indigestion though was another Brit - David - the man who ought to be their natural political ally.

The chancellor of Germany and the president of France are infuriated by the behaviour of the man who their diplomats tell them looks set to be Britain's next prime minister.

David Cameron and Angela MerkelNeither Angela Merkel nor Nicola Sarkozy have met David Cameron for more than a year. Both tried and failed to persuade him to change his European policy. It is, though, about to change thanks not to them, but to events.

The Tories promise of a referendum on the Lisbon Treaty will die with their hopes that the Czechs might halt the progress of the treaty into law.

The new Conservative approach to Europe will not be to the liking of those Eurosceptics who believe that only a full-blooded battle with the EU will deliver change.

David Cameron spoke this week of a policy based on "realism not isolationism". His allies shudder at the memory of John Major's beef war with Europe. They remember it producing not victory, but messy face-saving compromises.

Their aim, one shadow cabinet minister tells me, is to avoid idle threats "to bring the whole temple crashing down". Instead, the Tories are working on a list of changes they want to see and a list of changes others want which they can block if a Cameron government doesn't get its way.

Those who are demanding a referendum to strengthen the government's hand or to ensure that they do not "sell out" to Europe look set to be disappointed too.

David Cameron's "cast-iron guarantee" to Sun readers of a Euro referendum expires, I'm told, once there is no further chance of stopping the Lisbon Treaty. In its place comes a different cast-iron guarantee of a new law to force any future government to put any future EU treaty to a popular vote.

Cameron's aides have noted with relief that both the Sun and the equally Eurosceptic Telegraph seem to have joined what they regard as the realists' camp.

Senior Tories know that if they are to have any chance of changing Britain's relationship with the EU, David will need to be able to sit down with Angela and Nicolas. They believe that success will come not through confrontation but patient, tough-minded negotiation.

Comments

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  • Comment number 1.

    You do have to feel a bit sorry for Dave. He doesn't know which way to turn. Some in his party, like Ken Clarke, are committed Europhiles, whereas a significant proportion of his grass roots support are rabidly anti-Europe and are quite likely to desert the Tories for UKIP if he does anything that looks even remotely pro-European.

    If he actually does anything that looks like being at all decisive, he's going to upset an awful lot of his party.

    BTW, Nick, don't know if you heard a news story this week about something called the Kelly report? Might make an interesting blog if you get the chance to find out what that's all about.

  • Comment number 2.

    Sometimes, Nick, I wish you'd focus more on the complicity of certain government ministers in getting us into this disgraceful situation in the first place. I'm all for Cameron being realistic and I'm all for him fighting our corner, but to me the point is that we shouldn't be in this position to start with, because we should have had the referendum we were promised under Labour during this term. With the referendum we could also have finally had the open debate about whether this would be a good thing or not, instead I think you'll find that most people's opposition to the treaty is based upon the fact that it's been thrust upon us in a dishonest and underhand manner, which makes us suspicious of it.

  • Comment number 3.

    There is another way - if we go against EU ruling in some way then they will throw us out!

    Public education, enlightenment and opinion are now needed.

    The public have been stirred up by the expenses scandal. Joe the plumber (!!) in the street is now taking an interest in politics. His interest may of course be sceptical but it needs to be sustained.

    Now is the time to engage the public, find out what it really thinks if there is not to be a repeat of the BNP support type but for a party which wants to shake us out of Europe.



  • Comment number 4.

    Sarkozy and Merkel are conservatives in terms of domestic policy and federalists in terms of European Policy. Cameron and the Conservative Party, on the other hand, are domestic conservatives but sceptics of federalism. Therefore, however much they might agree on broad domestic policy issues, it is quite irrational that they should sit alongside each other in a political grouping whose prime purpose is European policy. Hence, they don't - it's as simple as that.

    Nick writes:

    "Senior Tories know that if they are to have any chance of changing Britain's relationship with the EU, David will need to be able to sit down with Angela and Nicolas. They believe that success will come not through confrontation but patient, tough-minded negotiation."

    That is undoubtedly true. But I don't see how you can be "tough" in negotiations without having some degree of strength behind you. In diplomatic terms, "confrontation" is a strong word, but to be successful in "tough" negotiations, you have to have a position that you can credibly adopt if you don't get what you want, a position that is to your potential advantage and to the disadvantage of the people you are negotiating with, and a genuine willingness to adopt that position. That is how "tough negotiations" work.

  • Comment number 5.

    "The Tories promise of a referendum on the Lisbon Treaty will die with their hopes that the Czechs might halt the progress of the treaty into law."

    what a relief for Cameron and the Tory leadership!

    it's excellent news, both for me and the country, that a Conservative government is going to adopt a sensible approach to Europe - we're an integral part of both the continent and the project; let's keep it that way

    an interesting point here, though

    you know how people often criticise Labour for abandoning its "core vote" in pursuit of the centre ground? ... a criticism I share to some extent, as it happens ... well we have exactly the same here (don't we?) with the Cs

    while the leadership rest a whole lot easier in their beds because they can forget about the pesky referendum, so the party Rank and File (and the majority of their committed supporters) get ever more angry about the fact there won't be one - add to that a Eurorealist policy when the R'n'F are almost all Europhobes and you can see what we've got, can't you?

    total disconnect

    will be moderately fascinating to see how it all plays out

  • Comment number 6.

    An opinion piece...where's the news?

    "Threatening to give them both political indigestion though was another Brit - David - the man who ought to be their natural political ally."

    Fluff...he's a different nationality, so although they may be politically similar those politics have different effects and even sometimes different meanings in different countries, I thought you may have been aware of that.

  • Comment number 7.

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  • Comment number 8.

    He's between a rock and a hard place thats for sure. And I think he has the abyss of doom underneath him, if he says the wrong thing on europe then a sizable portion of his voters will go to UKIP or even possibly the BNP.

    I don't pity his position.

    That being said I think his appeasement of making it law to hold any future laws on a popular vote is a good idea, and one that makes a lot of sense. As long as their aren't any loopholes in it that can be easily exploited "in the nations interest" then he will have gone a long way towards pleasing some of the sceptics.

  • Comment number 9.

    It appears David Cameron has learned something from the comments made by David Milliband earlier this week regarding isolationism. What happened to 'we will not let it rest' if the Treaty is ratified? If he is adamant about not rejoining the EPP, how can he make his voice heard from the fringes. 26 countries are moving forward together in Europe, it will only be the UK which is out of step if Cameron wins the election. From his defence of his new partners on the far right at PMQs yesterday, he does not seem ready to disavow them and move back into the mainstream. He sold his soul to gain the leadership of his party and now he will have to pay the piper who in this case seems to be William Hague.

  • Comment number 10.

    Listened to you package on the "Today" programme and the follow-up interview with Hague, the Tories are still waffling about the EU and what the UK's position is going to be should Cameron be the next PM, it will be the Tories and Cameron's undoing.

    Nothing of substance is going to change between the Czechs ratifying Lisbon and the UK's next election, thus there is nothing to stop Cameron and Co. telling the electorate what their policies would be, the ONLY reason they won't is because they can't, because they don't know, and they don't know because they can't be sure hos the eurosceptic press will play the issue and the last thing that Cameron and Co. want to do before the election is annoy the eurosceptic press and thus loose their support - and to think that Cameron is accusing Brown of "Dithering"!

    The electorate might or might not be eurosceptic but they also know dither and waffle when they hear it, only two parties are going to benefit from Cameron's own dithering and neither is Tory, UKIP must love Cameron and his dithering whilst Labour is fast approaching an open Tory goal.

  • Comment number 11.

    I don't see the point of labouring why we are in this position(intended pun).

    Any negotiation needs to provide a perceived win for all parties so building up a dossier of the requirements of both sides is a good idea. Once you have this you can decide on the "value" of each and then make decisions as to where to compromise.

    If you then win the election and the Czech's have already ratified the treaty you are in position to begin.

    I can't see a more pragmatic approach.

  • Comment number 12.

    Nick - this is a truly excellent piece of journalism if I may say so. I have maintained for a long time that David Cameron unlike many in the Tory Party does not have a visceal hatred of the EU and all its works but is a strong believer that our best interests lie in remaining in the EU. At the same time he is a strong believer in the Nation State and will not go down the federal route. I remember Ken Clarke saying only a few months ago that David Cameron is a mild eurosceptic and of a very sensible sort!

    It is clear that elationships and bridges will have to be mended and bult with Merkel and Sarkozy - but never forget that if Cameron becomes PM then they will need him just as much as he needs them.Realpolitik will take over.

    I know the Cameron line will infuriate the Better Off Out Group - who whilst I disagee with them at the same time I do respect them - but as a One Nation Tory your news this morning is the most cheering I have heard for a long time on Europe .I also believe it represents where the vast majority of people in this Country are on Europe.

  • Comment number 13.

    Whether you are for the EU or against you must wonder what has happened to democracy within this body called the EU. The Czechs still have not come to a conclusion and yet everyone is acting as though they have.

    Furthermore the majority of the British public is not committed to this Federal project, therefore is it right that it should be forced on them in this manner. A vote was promised in the Labour manifesto, should they not now be made to meet this commitment. I am not at all concerned how the rest of the EU see Cameron he is merely reflecting the views of the people of this Country.

    This brings me to why Blair is totally unsuitable for the role of President, other than his other obvious failings, which make him quite wrong for this position. Britain on the whole is a eurosceptic Country and most probably after the election the Conservatives will be a eurosceptic Government, not wanting to integrate further, with regard to the single currency etc. Therefore it will be totally unsuitable for Blair as an ex Prime Minister of Britain to be both comfortable and of use in this role.
    Blair may very well see himself travelling around like the Pope, but his worth in this role will be very limited, both by his failed past and the lack of potential good he can bring to this position.

  • Comment number 14.

    Saga..whilst I applaud your valiant attempts to bring chaos to the Tories over Europe...doesn't it make perfect sense for Cameron to hope that the Czechs scupper Lisbon for him?

    So,if this happens,how can "the party Rank and File (and the majority of their committed supporters) get ever more angry about the fact there won't be one" (a referendum)?

    If I understand correctly,Lisbon has to be ratified by all Member States,so a Czech rejection would kill it.

    A referendum is thus a pointless exercise.

    Or have I missed something?

  • Comment number 15.

    Agree with 2. The Government has been disingenuous about the Lisbon Treaty and the Conservatives are having to be pragmatic. Since honesty comes at a premium with the Mandleson Government I suspect that the Conservatives won't have too much trouble carrying the broad mass of the British public with them. Europe needs Britian, Britain needs Europe.

  • Comment number 16.

    Politically speaking, the British relationship with Europe is almost over.

    In a couple of years time, Cameron may find himself Prime Minister of England only.

    We English should expect our politicians to prepare for the eventuality that England becomes reborn as a political entity in its own right.

    So the Conseratives really should not be issuing idiotic statements like 'electing Blair as President of the EU would be seen as a hostile act".

    Given the Conservative Party's current stance on the EU, it is highly unlikely that any English Europeans will be giving them their vote in the coming General Election.

  • Comment number 17.

    That's it then. We will do as we're told. Europe is supreme. Voters don't count. Opposition to the EU is verboten. How dare we think that the EU is anything but Manna from Heaven. The UK Government - indeed all European Governments -will now be slowly but inexorably made inferior to the extent that they will no longer be needed.
    Ah well, that's got that off my chest.

    BTW - What odds that the Blairs will be asking for the Palace of Versailles to be made available for their use?

  • Comment number 18.

    'David Cameron's "cast-iron guarantee" to Sun readers of a Euro referendum expires, I'm told, once there is no further chance of stopping the Lisbon Treaty. In its place comes a different cast-iron guarantee of a new law to force any future government to put any future EU treaty to a popular vote.'

    Of course this is less than truthful, as everyone knows this treaty means there will never need be another treaty. This is the conceit that David's posturing relies on. What he is now discovering is that his knee jerk Euro scepticism is totally unrealistic. He and his people know that although they have been making political capital out of seeming anti european, if he does get into power he needs to work with Europe. He has created his own hell, he is in an alliance with people he would not want to spend the time of day with. This alliance means that his would be partners are not predisposed to him - and therefore his comments on putting Blair in, in fact make it all the more likely.

    So even if he gets in with a small majority he will have his hands tied behind his back by his extreme elements, a massive deficit which if he cuts he will make worse / reinforce the nasty party tag. And any attempts to play the statesman tag will be overshaddowed by - Tony.

    Oh the irony of wee billies curtain twitching speech -which they all fell about- now we all know it will be Dave saying look look I am a real grown up politician now, as Mr Charisma sweeps in. oh the Khama of it.

    It does make you think what did he do in a previous life? and be careful what you wish for.

    Finally the real reason News International want to back the Tories because Jeremy 'Ben Swain" Hunt is making noises that he will destroy the BBC.

  • Comment number 19.

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  • Comment number 20.

    Cameron is in a difficult place. Tough. That's what leaders have to deal with.

    A referendum, after the Treaty has come into effect, would not mean anything - except probably display the levl of unhappiness that the deal had been done without involving the electorates across Europe. (OK, Ireland had to vote - it was constitutional demanded of them.)

    I still read the Lisbon Treaty as meaning that future changes can be passed by the modified executive and legislative structure with little need to create new Treaties. So legislating to insist on a referendum next time round seems futile.

    Cameron made a mistake, in my opinion, by messing about with the "alignment" of Tory MEPs within the Brussels groupings. There are some pretty dodgy characters and parties in several of the groupings. But splinters rarely last long.
    (Remember the SDP? Merged and effectively absorbed into the Liberal bunch. It's probably true that they forced the Labour party to rethink how government could work better - or at least differently. Pity that we received a New Labour party with some interesting approaches, but absolutely, criminally, bad delivery.)

    Talking about criminally bad delivery, I guess that provides a link to the Nimrod catastrophe.

  • Comment number 21.

    I think Cameron is in an intolerable position, placed there by NuLabour sicophants and greedy ministers salivating at the prospect of increased position in a federalised Europe.

    The gravy train has just taken on new carriages and is heading to brussels with the NuLabour in the comfortable seats.

    This whole episode is nothing but glory for the politicians at the expense of the british public. They spent years lining their pockets at our expense, now they can get a whole new suit with European expense income.

  • Comment number 22.

    Once Tony Blair is foist on us Britain will no longer be a democracy.

    We in the UK will rank alongside countries like Libya, jealously eyeing the free democratic peoples of the world in the US, Australia, India and elsewhere........

  • Comment number 23.

    sagamix 5

    It's interesting that you choose to portray the Conservative rank-and-file as Europhobic. Clearly there isn't a lot of hard evidence either way (about the best is probably the occasional polling over at ConHome), but probably a fairer and more accurate description of them is federalism-phobic. I think the huge majority of Conservatives see the EU as a tarriff-free market place, and view with considerable horror the political aspects of the project - the generation of a European superstate. Contrary to how you express yourself, therefore, I tend to see the Conservative rank-and-file and the Conservative leadership as quite well aligned at the moment. Of course, I understand why you would wish it to be different - and why you would maintain the hope that broadly Conservative voters would suddenly switch en masse to UKIP, but you have to accept, maybe now, maybe later, that what you wish for and what is actually going to happen aren't the same.

  • Comment number 24.

    It's not in the bag to assume the constitutional court will vote in favour of Lisbon yet though. I know the press likes to think it is and Labour seem to be of that opinion but it isn't. It is unconstitutional to sign it until the EU actually provides fully signed off audited accounts in my opinion because who knows where we are.

    President Blair gives me indigestion too though so I'm not surprised Sarkozy and Merkel were a little uncomfortable.

    Nick - if you could blog about us being a net contributor to the EU now and the fact that other countries above us in GDP are net takers then that would probably help us realise how unfair this is all for Britain!

  • Comment number 25.

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  • Comment number 26.

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  • Comment number 27.

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  • Comment number 28.

    Its a done deal anyway apparently, and Cameron will be fortunate if the Czechs ratify the agreement. I hope the Czechs get as much as they can out of the EU for their brinkmanship.

    Done deal? Well the BBC seems to think so as they reported yesterday on Radio 4 that a "European Union Warship" had sighted the pirated yacht in the Indian Ocean.

    European Union Warship??

    Being slowly dragged into the inevitable whilst sleeping. Bliss.

    We are pregnant, we should accept that and make the best of it, we are way past the termination point.

  • Comment number 29.

    Zydeco @ 17

    You ask what are the odds that the Blairs will be asking for the Palace of Versailles to be made available for their use?

    I doubt very much that EU President Blair would dream of making such a request as I believe that he personally is not that interested in money per se, given his rather posh upbringing.

    But Empress Cherie, still haunted by a poverty-stricken childhood in Liverpool, may well demand at least the Palace of Versailles as a minimum requirement - with hordes of flunkeys attending to every whim.

    In my minds eye, I can see it now as Empress Cherie decends from Blair Force One at Charles De Gaulle and is swept off in a huge motorcade to her Palace at Versailles.

    That is literally a planet away from some of Liverpool's grimmer outposts and the 'Croccy Crew'.

    They say it is better to travel than arrive, but Empress Cherie may beg to differ.

  • Comment number 30.

    Can anyone remember such an incompetent bunch of people who keep say one thing to get the cheap support and do another or are forced to do another because they simply didn't think before they spoke?

    Blair was nothing like this, neither was Thatcher.

    The worrying thing is that their 'pet' newspapers are supporting the incompetence.

    How can anyone consider voting for this bunch of clowns (yep, 'fraid so, Sagamix is spot on).

  • Comment number 31.

    This sounds like a sensible development, and one becoming a party that looks set to be governing in months. Can we expect them to switch back into the centre-right block where they belong?

    [Unsuitable/Broken URL removed by Moderator]

  • Comment number 32.

    #9 valdan 70 wrote: "If he is adamant about not rejoining the EPP, how can he make his voice heard from the fringes."
    Conservative MEPs are now the largest component in the 4th largest grouping in the European Parliament. They have also been elected to more key positions than before - to give just two examples, Conservative MEPs now chair the Internal Market Committee and the Agriculture Committee of the EP. Hardly "on the fringes" then.
    However, the whole "fringe" argument not only fails when tested against the facts, it is also based on a false premise - the premise that the UK has somehow benefited from being able to exert influence as a result of Brown, Blair, Major and Heath cosying up to other European leaders and making concession after concession on matters affecting our national interest. We have given up the budget rebate, dropped our opt-outs on the Social Chapter and Working Time Directive etc and for what?
    I'd be very interested if anyone can give a single example of the Labour government's "influence" in Europe paying off.

  • Comment number 33.

    14

    What do you mean

    Saga..whilst I applaud your valiant attempts to bring chaos to the Tories over Europe...doesn't it make perfect sense for Cameron to hope that the Czechs scupper Lisbon for him?......

    David Cameron is in a mess of his own making, he has hooked up with people who praise the SS and has said his policy will be decided by the Czech republic.

    Leadership would be if he said I do not agree with this treaty - in fact so much do I not agree that should I be elected I will give the electorate the opportunity to get out of Europe. That would be a principled position.

    The reason he does not do that is that he does not believe it. His own political opportunism which was to placate his own secptics and to garner support from potential UKIP voters has back fired. He has made a lot out of Browns vacillation (quite rightly) - but he is showing the same kind of leadership.

  • Comment number 34.

    its a well known fact that both france anerson is electedd germany have wanted the british isles under their boot for years and with both having failed militarily they seem to be using the softly softly method of political control.
    how dare they expect to change british leaders minds even before the person is even elected, he may fail and they will have wasted their time.
    the voters of this country should know whom they are voting for and what their plans are when the subject is such a large one.
    we dont need a government that says one thing then does another.
    as far as europe is concerned their leaders should concentrait on their own countries and leave this one alone.

  • Comment number 35.

    Oh dear Nick. In a week when the Government is caught, again, with its pants down, including a U turn on TA training, further MOD disgrace due to cost cutting which cost lives when Gordon was Chancellor and the plan to allow mass immigration, what do you blog on? Ah its deja vu all over again - the EU and the Tories!

    And dear old Chris Bryant says the Tories are anti-British for not wanting a Brit as the EU President. What he cannot see, just like Gordon and his yes-person accolytes, is that we all would like a Brit as EU President if we have to have one at all, just as long as it is not that congenital liar Tony Blair. This government really does have to visit Spec Savers more often.

    Labour, support them or not, broke their democratic mandate by not having the promised referendum because they thought the yes vote would lose and they had no plan B. Again short sighted because as we all know the EU plan B is always a few meaningless sops and continuing referenda until we vote yes.

    It is not the Tories fault that we are signed up to the communist block called the EU - communistic because there is no democracy involved for the peoples of Europe.

    The Europhiles are still blindly enthralled in the European dream and the rest of us are stuffed!

  • Comment number 36.

    13. At 10:17am on 29 Oct 2009, Susan-Croft wrote:
    Whether you are for the EU or against you must wonder what has happened to democracy within this body called the EU. The Czechs still have not come to a conclusion and yet everyone is acting as though they have
    *******************************

    Agree with what you say Susan, but if the Czechs were to refuse to sign the Treaty for any reason - hardly likely I know - they will eventually be forced to by pressure from the EU.
    As with Ireland, only the RIGHT answer is allowed.
    YOU HAVE THE DEMOCRATIC RIGHT TO MAKE THE DECISION WE TELL YOU TO MAKE!
    As someone else has already remarked, in future there will be no treaties that will need a vote. Lisbon allows any legislation, however drastic its effects might be, to be passed by majority voting.
    Dalek democracy becomes the norm:" Resistance is futile. Resistance is futile"

  • Comment number 37.

    #13, Susan-Croft wrote:
    "Whether you are for the EU or against you must wonder what has happened to democracy within this body called the EU. The Czechs still have not come to a conclusion and yet everyone is acting as though they have.
    ...Furthermore the majority of the British public is not committed to this Federal project, therefore is it right that it should be forced on them in this manner."

    Susan C,

    The problem is that nobody knows whether the majority of people across the EU states are committed to this "Federal project", because there have been minimal opportinities for electorates to get involved.

    If memory serves, the French rejected The Constitutional Treaty (virtually the same as Lisbon), because they feared it was too open-market orientated. The Dutch because they worried about being subsumed and there were some "leftish" bits in there. The Germans were never allowed a direct vote, as referenda are apparently not permitted by their constitution. The Italians would probably say "Let anyone be in charge except the shower of politicians who've run us for decades" - even though their GDP has forged ahead of the UK again...

    What irritates me is that Treaty is designed by politicians for a political class.

    The "President" of the Council will be a sort of UN Sec Gen - lite. Approved by the EU heads of government, but not permitted to take an independent line. How could he/she?
    A mouthpiece for the consensual view of 27 countries.
    So can't be a lead negotiator on behalf of the EU, because there is no people power to support it.
    The UN Sec Gen quite often simply says what he feels, because he/she is only there by agreement that his role is important, but influential, not executive. He/she couldn't decide to go to war.
    PROTUS, on the other hand, has a direct mandate. So he can decide to do things that have to be wangled or wheedled through the Senate and House.

    So the President (Chairman) of the EU Council would be unable to deliver anything. So what's the point of a "big-hitter"? What you need is a good bag-carrier. Not a flim-flam artist.

  • Comment number 38.

    grief @ 14

    "If I understand correctly, Lisbon has to be ratified by all Member States, so a Czech rejection would kill it."

    correct; but they're going to pass it

    "A referendum is thus a pointless exercise."

    if the Czech's reject it; but they won't, so a UK referendum would be anything but pointless ... it would give the British people (frightening thought, I know!) the ability to say "No" to the treaty and, de facto, "No" to Europe

    "So, if this happens, how can "the party Rank and File (and the majority of their committed supporters) get ever more angry about the fact there won't be one" (a referendum)?"

    because it's always more irksome when your own mother won't give you a sweetie, rather than somebody else's mother

    "Or have I missed something?"

    not really; only all of the above!

  • Comment number 39.

    If Blair and Brown suceed in turning the EU into a Dictatorship because of their own dictatorial style of leadership!

    New Labour will not be parading their rockets through every EU capital like the Chineses and North Koreans.

    But a leader from Germany and or a leader from an ols Soviet Union country or even Putin might!

    To achieve even a sham democracy in the ever expanding non elected EU monopoly would indeed require a States person with the integrity and ability of David Cameron.

    Not the dross of the ex CND "ban the bommbers", communists, Trotskietes or petty marxists or fellow travellers that always have infested the top of sham Demorcracy of New Labour Governments

  • Comment number 40.

    30 extremesense

    The fact is, the Conservatives have a policy that is fully aligned with the facts as they currently are. That is a sensible position for them.

    If the facts change, then the Conservatives will have to adapt their position to match. Equally, a sensible position for them to adopt.

  • Comment number 41.

    Why do extreme euro-sceptics seem to see Europe as a single entity which gangs up on us poor British? The fact is we are one of the most powerful voices in the EU - we help shape policy. We have one of the biggest votes and are seen by many countries in the east as a powerful counter-balance to the likes of France and Germany. It is the continued whinging of UKIP and the like that weaken us in Europe. It is nearly 40 years since we joined and it is about time we got used to it, rather than having our national interests ruined by nutters telling silly stories about banning bent bananas and prawn flavoured crisps.
    If we want the best out of Europe we should get more involved, not less - that way we can change things. In the words (sort of) of Lyndon Johnson - it is better to to inside the tent peeing out than outside the tent peeing in.
    I am not an avid pro-european, but I see the benefit of our involvement in a sensible way. If the Tories now see this - good.

  • Comment number 42.

    Having done a bit of research of Camerons new 'chums' in the european parliament, i'm more worried about them lobbying for the wearing of pink triangles by homosexuals in the euro zone and the 'monitoring' of the Roma people.

  • Comment number 43.

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  • Comment number 44.

    JR @ 23

    "I think the huge majority of Conservatives see the EU as a tarriff-free market place, and view with considerable horror the political aspects of the project."

    yes not a bad definition of a Europhobe; I'm reasonably happy with that - and you're right, a large number of Tories fit nicely in that box - leaves a fair few, however ... just a handful of millions, maybe ... who are a little more extreme, who would like us to break right away and plough a brave and lonely furrow as a kind of European version of Madagascar

    if we're going to define "Europhobe" the way you have (and as I say, I quite like it) then we need to mint a new description for these slightly more outre characters - hate leaving loose ends so I gave it a few minutes intense concentration and I came up with six possibles, all of them pretty good; given we only need the one, however, let's just go with the best and most suitable ...

    Euroclowns

  • Comment number 45.

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  • Comment number 46.

    Of course, the Conservative opposition to the EU has never been more than rhetoric, aimed at keeping the little-Englanders onside. Remember, nobody did more than Thatcher to further our integration with Europe. No government, left or right, is actually prepared to damage the UK economy by alienating our European trading partners because they know that economic success breeds political success. The rest is hot air.

  • Comment number 47.

    #21

    totally agree; very good post. Easy to see the newlabour apologists all now heading off to Brussels with their tails between their legs now they know they are going down to a crushing defeat at the general election next year.

    Lots of grandstanding about 'statesmanship' and 'leadership qualities' coming from the bleating newlabour apologists but all that really means is 'unelectable in any other forum than Europe' and they know it.

    They've all watched from afar with admiration the Kinnock gravy train rolling along picking up gongs and directorships like common colds and now they realise they haven't got a prayer's chance in the general election they've diverted their attention to that last bastion of unconstitutional fudging; the European Union. Lots of shoulder to shoulder moments standing for photo calls on the steps outside building jostling for position with people whose name you can't remember and of no consequence to the British people whatsoever. Even poor little David Miliband has had to accept the inevitable; that he will probably be leading a defeated newlabour party this time next year and his best chance of sticking his head up on the TV news will be to say he's been on the phone with his matres in Brussels and the tory government needs to listen to him; yeah, right.

    It's all a bit tragic really. This will be the last labour administration ever; the writing is on the wall. They've betrayed the middle classes they tried so desperately to court; they've betrayed their core supporters who are now voting BNP and they've performed according to labour type leaving the economy in a disasterous state. They have no-one to rely on but a few delusional proto-altruistic types cliaming to be forward thinkers and in denial about the havoc their twelve years of despotic rule have wreaked on the UK. They had such lofty dreams and it all came to nought and they know it and even admit it to each other in their more lucid, later evening moments. I've been there when the newlabour luvvies pour their hearts out over dinner about their disappointments about Iraq, Blair, education, patronage, lack of reform, the shambolic performances of Brown, the sclerotic state of the party. My heart bleeds for them. But not really.

    Now call an election.

  • Comment number 48.

    extremesense 30

    I do not usually respond to posts which use the words clown. Because it makes no point and just has the effect of making the reader consider what sort of voter is out there.

    However because Cameron is representing the people of this Country by being a a eurosceptic are you suggesting that the majority of people in this Country are clowns. The last time I looked the people of this Country wanted a referendum on the Lisbon Treaty and a no vote would be the most likely outcome, they were promised this by the Labour Government.

    Therefore it is Labour who should have thought before they acted by promising something they had no intention of delivering. The Conservatives are merely trying to make some sense of the mess Labour have made of this.

  • Comment number 49.

    balancedthought 33

    (Really, I wonder sometimes if I should refer your user name to Trading Standards!)

    "Leadership would be if he said I do not agree with this treaty - in fact so much do I not agree that should I be elected I will give the electorate the opportunity to get out of Europe. That would be a principled position."

    You are right, what you wrote is a principled position. But it isn't the only principled position available. You try to imply that it is, and you are wrong.

    A perfectly reasonable and principled view is that it is broadly to our advantage to be part of a European Common Market, but that the federalism at the core of the Lisbon Treaty is not to our advantage and therefore we want to repatriate the powers that Lisbon takes away from us. We are able to negotiate that position from strength - as nett payers for the EU and nett providers of a market for the EU. If you find something lacking in that position - do tell!

  • Comment number 50.

    Quote: In its place comes a different cast-iron guarantee of a new law to force any future government to put any future EU treaty to a popular vote.

    Sigh! Here we go again.

    Just for clarity: there...won't...be...another...EU...Treaty.

    The reason? The ratchet clause in the Lisbon Treaty (Article 48/7), which makes it self-amending. This negates the need for any further treaties - therefore it's a worthless Tory promise.

    Quote: [Tory EU policy] is, though, about to change thanks not to them, but to events.

    This comment by Nick is more prophetic than he probably realises and not in the way he means. The Tory's policy will eventually change due to events, when inevitably the undemocratic EU grabs more and more power via Lisbon, and the people begin to either express their displeasure in large numbers via the ballot box (i.e better off out) or on the streets.

    An undemocratic and unaccountable (EU) government cannot ignore its citizens forever.

  • Comment number 51.

    How ironic. Here is a man who every Wednesday (PMQs) accuses the PM of being indecisive, inconsistent and even dishonest. What about his, "we will not rest it there"and "Cast iron guarantee" to The Sun readers. Europe is one of many episodes of his poor (or lack of ) judgement-Remember "hug a hoodie", "No punch and judy politics", and the most glaring one,on the credit crunch-following Northern Rock-"this is solely a British problem created by Brown as PM and Chancellor". Trying telling that to the Icelanders, Irish, East Europeans, Spainiards and host of other victims of this global recession.
    I shudder at the thought that this country is sleep walking into handing power to a bunch of totally inexperienced guys who only seem to be in love with themselves.

  • Comment number 52.

    We English are in a very weak position to complain about the yawning democratic deficit in the EU because we have ourselves persisted for hundreds of years with a very hierarchical top-down political system e.g. we do not even directly elect the Prime Minister.

    Whereas, for example, the Americans, at their political birth, more-or-less completed inverted the process i.e. introduced a bottom-up democracy, that has been very successful by most measures.

    It is just possible that at some distant point in the future, Europeans will vote to directly elect the President of the European Union but right now, that seems a very long way off indeed.

  • Comment number 53.

    sagamix 38

    In your desperate effort to try to paint a picture of the Conservative position to the best advantage of your own views, you have become a little confused. On purpose, one suspects.

    Saying "no" to the Lisbon treaty is not the same as saying "no" to our membership of a European Common Market.

  • Comment number 54.

    29. At 10:54am on 29 Oct 2009, JohnConstable wrote:
    Zydeco @ 17

    You ask what are the odds that the Blairs will be asking for the Palace of Versailles to be made available for their use?

    ......But Empress Cherie, still haunted by a poverty-stricken childhood in Liverpool, may well demand at least the Palace of Versailles as a minimum requirement - with hordes of flunkeys attending to every whim.
    *******************

    Scary thought ain't it!. Still I understand she did a good job as the flying scenes consultant in the Harry Potter movies ;-).

    Back on topic. Why oh why , if the EU is so good, so absulutely amazingly
    good, are so many of us ordinary people of the European Nations so cynical about it?
    Why aren't we shouting from the rooftops about how wonderful it all is?
    How come someone isn't making a blockbuster musical singing its praises?
    Why isn't everyone demanding that their National flags be hauled down in favour of the EU dishcloth?
    Why am I bothering to waste bandwidth on the topic anyway? Its a preordained future from now on. The deed is done. We will soon be sinking in a sea of Europeanism. Franglais will become the 'de-rigeur' language. Leder hosen will be compulsory on ceremonial occasions.

    God! I need a bacon sandwich and a quiet corner somewhere.

  • Comment number 55.

    36. At 11:09am on 29 Oct 2009, Zydeco wrote:

    "13. At 10:17am on 29 Oct 2009, Susan-Croft wrote:
    Whether you are for the EU or against you must wonder what has happened to democracy within this body called the EU. The Czechs still have not come to a conclusion and yet everyone is acting as though they have
    *******************************

    Agree with what you say Susan,..//.."


    Both of you seem to be over looking the fact that the Czechs, democratic, parliament has come to a conclusion and ratified the Lisbon Treaty, it's only the (now) undemocratic president who is trying to filibuster (egged on, of the reports are to be believed, by Cameron and Co.), over stepping his constitutional powers, he will be lucky if he doesn't end up being impeached or worse.

  • Comment number 56.

    Saga why beat up Cameron about a referendum....Didnt your beloved Labour party promise on and then said no we know best?

    How do you square that circle?

  • Comment number 57.

    David Cameron did a deal with the europhobe wing of the Tory party in order to get their support for his bid for the leadership. He has paid off part of this deal by taking his euro MPs out of the center right coalition and into coalition with a ragbag of extreme right parties, at the cost of considerable ridicule. He must be praying that the Cheks ratify the Lisbon treaty and get him off the hook of having to have a referendum.

    If he wins the general election, Cameron can expect the same back stabbing that Major experienced, if he does not bow completely to the will of the Europhobes.

    By promising to legislate for future referendums, he is storing up more trouble for the future. This would be a meaningless gesture, because it would be easy for a future europhile government, with a commons majority, to repeal it. Any referendum designed to block development of the EU would effectively be a referendum on leaving the EU all together, and would split his party.

    Democracy implies referendums in which all EU voters vote together. It is not democratic to try to use a national referendum to block what may be the will of the majority of all EU citizens. Cameron would, quite rightly, have a very rough ride in the Council of Ministers if he did this.

  • Comment number 58.

    #17

    "What odds that the Blairs will be asking for the Palace of Versailles to be made available for their use?"

    Steve Bell in the Guardian drew Blair as the Sun King years ago - "l'Etat, c'est moi!"

  • Comment number 59.

    goldCaeser 42

    "Having done a bit of research of Camerons new 'chums' in the european parliament, i'm more worried about them lobbying for the wearing of pink triangles by homosexuals in the euro zone and the 'monitoring' of the Roma people."

    There is more to "research" than simply reading an email from labour.org. Widening the scope of your source material may help you understand the difference between fact and smear.

  • Comment number 60.

    #vstrad

    My point exactly. THE LARGEST PARTY IN THE 4TH LARGEST GROUP. Surely better to be the smallest party in the largest group. The number of Conservatives in a group means very little. It is the position of the group in the scheme of things that is important and the clout the group has. If you look at the recent past, I am sure you will agree that it was thanks to Gordon Brown there was a unified European approach to quantitative easing and supporting EEC economies. I think you will find it was Tony Blair's idea that there should be a position of President in the EEC, instead of the 6-monthly my turn approach. It's a pity that the most respected Conservative MEP, and former Leader of the Conservatives in Europe, had the whip removed because he was in favour of remaining in the mainstream where the action is. His one independent vote will probably carry more sway than those of the remainder of the Tories in the nomark group to which they are now aligned.

  • Comment number 61.

    #40 jrperry

    You could never associate the word policy with the Conservatives, they just have soundbites or ideas which they are forced to evolve when they don't stand-up to reality.

    If this was Brown, he'd be getting crucified for his political misjudgement whereas you're simply saying that Cameron's u-turn is adapting his position.

    Him and George Osborne are hopeless yet because their supporters own most of the press and command the blogosphere, they're allowed to get away with it.

    Unfortunately, when they're in power, we will suffer and suffer badly. We'll all be reminising for the good old days under Brown's Labour.

  • Comment number 62.

    I really dont see any option but to follow this line.There really is NO way we can get a referendum once this monstrosity is in force.

    This will only harden the call for the UK to pull out of the EU all together and see more voters move to fringe parties.This is not democracy at work !!!

  • Comment number 63.

    Sagamix
    Do you believe in a democratic process?

  • Comment number 64.

    #48 Susan

    Point taken, however, now is not the time to be talking about what should have happened in the past and what 'the people' were denied.

    The reality is now and we should be scrutinising those soon to take power.

    As far as I'm concerned, it doesn't look good, they don't have policies as such, the just have ideas and promises. They haven't thought about how they're going to get things done. It reminds me of Blair - he could talk the talk but was unable to implement any of his promises.

    What's more, it turned out the electorate didn't matter there were far more important forces in our 'democracy'.

  • Comment number 65.

    sagamix 44

    Well, what better could I expect from you? All you managed was a subtle misquote of part of my post, a gross misrepresentation of what I wrote and what passes for your argument being in fact a little trickiness with labelling people as "Europhobic" when they are, in fact, as I said, merely "federalism-phobic".

    I know you fantasise about a mass of Conservatives suddenly breaking ranks, voting UKIP and thus keeping Labour in power. It really is your last chance, after all. But it isn't going to happen, you know it, I know it.

  • Comment number 66.

    Let me see, this appears to be a European topic.

    How many EU members are currently in recession?
    How many additional troops are the other EU members willing and able to send to Afghanistan?
    How many other EU members have expense scandals associated with their "elected" representatives?
    How many EU member states actually WANT Bliar to be pushed out as a potential first president of the EU?
    Actually, being cycnical, probably most of them, because whoever gets the job second is bound to be better than his predecessor. Now, wasn't that sexist of me? I automatically went for the default masculine third person singular, rather than a PC third person plural, such as their.

    Let's see how far off topic I am.

  • Comment number 67.

    I am by nature anti-EU for a variety of reasons. Mainly I am concerned with the finances. When, if ever, will the accounts be signed off? We have a hugh beaurocracy, which is self-perpetuating, there are few checks and balances, apart from the almost hidden MEPS.

    Without a referendum, there is no democracy. We are being railroaded into a hugh monlith, far distant from the UK, basically unelected, again, no democracy. We are commited to paying hugh amounts of money to an unaccountasble organisation. We have enough quangos here, how many in the EU? I shudder to think of our commitment to pay more and more (partly thanks to Blair). Can anyone show a iota of benefit from joining?

  • Comment number 68.

    The ratification process of the Lisbon Treaty itself shows how much the treaty is needed. If every key decision in Europe can be vetoed by every one of the 27 member states, the process will always take long enough for some countries to change government and change their mind, and everything will forever be on hold.

    If David Cameron was indeed a realist, he would understand that Europeans can only influence global issues if they pool their resources. On its own Britain would be a small player at the table with giants like China, Russia and the US. Outside the EU I don’t think that Gordon Brown or indeed David Cameron would get much access to the global corridors of power.

    And if David Cameron was indeed a realist, he would understand that you cannot cooperate without compromising. In other words, the price to pay for influence is loss of sovereignty. But the alternative is full freedom to change nothing.

    If David Cameron was indeed a realist he would therefore understand that Britain needs the EU, and that Lisbon is badly needed to break the continuous deadlocks whereby a grumpy Czech president can determine the fate of hundreds of millions of Europeans, most of whom have not elected him.

  • Comment number 69.

    Saga @38..

    Sorry,saga, but you haven't added much to your argument..

    "If I understand correctly, Lisbon has to be ratified by all Member States, so a Czech rejection would kill it.

    correct; but they're going to pass it"

    Well,it may be unlikely,but not cast iron.

    With all your posturing,you constantly ignore the fact that Cameron is not in power and cannot call a referendum.By the time he is (maybe) in power the whole Lisbon thing could be in different circumstances...right?

    If the Czechs reject,it's dead.If they ratify, then the Tories develop a policy to take European wide ratification into account.

    I can't see the point in them announcing now a 'what if' policy.

    "if the Czech's reject it; but they won't, so a UK referendum would be anything but pointless ... it would give the British people (frightening thought, I know!) the ability to say "No" to the treaty and, de facto, "No" to Europe"

    X'cuse me..isn't it the current Government that has not honoured its manifesto promise for a referendum? Isn't it the current Government that has virtually ratified Lisbon without asking the people? Isn't it a bit late,after we have ratified, to slate the Tories for not calling a referendum,when at present they can do no such thing?

    And,no matter how many times you say it,a referendum on Lisbon would not be a 'NO' in totality to Europe

    As to your comments about Mothers and sweets..very nice but frankly a bit fairy tale.

    Don't think I missed anything actually,old son.

  • Comment number 70.

    Zydeco @ 54 et al

    I do hope bloggers realise that I'm just having a bit of fun at Empress Cherie's "Where do you go to my lovely ..." expense.

    It's a bit boring to always be straightlaced and droning on about politics all the time on this blog, so I like to lighten it up a bit occasionally if only for the sake of our long-suffering moderators.

  • Comment number 71.

    56. At 11:53am on 29 Oct 2009, Exiledscot52 wrote:

    "Saga why beat up Cameron about a referendum....Didnt your beloved Labour party promise on and then said no we know best?

    How do you square that circle?"


    Err, no he didn't, you are obviously another who doesn't actually understand the difference between the (abandoned) constitutional treaty and the current Lisbon Treaty - only Cameron has pledge referendum on that, knowing full well that it would (have) take(n) a miracle if the treaty wasn't in operation by the time he got his hands on the keys for No.10.

  • Comment number 72.

    hey Nick, you've got to put up a better smoke screen than this to help your chums in labour. QT tonight might be more indicative of what the country thinks than your contacts in the Westminster bubble.

    In keeping with a european theme, what will the Europeans make of El Gordo prompting the promotion of a man that he inherently distrusts (his own words) to the post of European president? Edifying do you think? Will they care or listen? I mean, this is the same man who stated time after time that we were better placed than other countries to weather the global financial crisis. Currently this Global financial crisis only appears to be affecting us.

  • Comment number 73.

    Bless David, he does not know which bandwagon to jump onto or off these days.
    Try what is good for the country not yourself....

    Sorry! Thats a line from someone else

  • Comment number 74.

    59. At 11:58am on 29 Oct 2009, jrperry wrote:
    goldCaeser 42

    "Having done a bit of research of Camerons new 'chums' in the european parliament, i'm more worried about them lobbying for the wearing of pink triangles by homosexuals in the euro zone and the 'monitoring' of the Roma people."

    There is more to "research" than simply reading an email from labour.org. Widening the scope of your source material may help you understand the difference between fact and smear.

    ==========

    Oh dear, another beleiver in the dumbed down-doctrine that if you are anti tory you must be pro labour. How Boring.

    I suggest you take a very close look at Camerons new european allies, partlicularly those from poland and the czech republic.

    because dismissing anyone who mentions Cameron's friendship with these far-right nationalists as a paid up labour member isn't going to make the nasty men stop talking about them. espicially since its not just the homophobia and anti-semitism. Some of their party members holds views that wouldn't get past the moderators on this site.

    David Cameron took the Conservative party out of the most respected, influential centre-right voting bloc in the EU, and has got into bed with some rather unpleasant nationalists instead.

    If all politics is about the message, what message is Cameron trying to send by doing this?

    And if he doesn't want to be publically associated with these politicians or their views, why were they invited to share a platform at party conference?

  • Comment number 75.

    extremesense 61

    It is not a u-turn to adapt your policies to changing facts - but it would be a u-turn to change the principles behind the policies. Anti-federalism is a principle, having a referendum is merely a policy.

    "Unfortunately, when they're in power, we will suffer and suffer badly. We'll all be reminising for the good old days under Brown's Labour." You may think so, but somehow, I rather doubt it. Unless, of course, your "we" refers only to yourself and a couple of your mates.

  • Comment number 76.

    @63 poprischin

    Of course he/she doesn't as a dedicated Labour sycophant democratic process is not a priority.

    Democracy to Labour is equivalent to what garlic is to vampires

  • Comment number 77.

    #61 extremesense

    You could never associate the word policy with the Conservatives, they just have soundbites or ideas which they are forced to evolve when they don't stand-up to reality.

    If this was Brown, he'd be getting crucified for his political misjudgement whereas you're simply saying that Cameron's u-turn is adapting his position.
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Wrong. The simple facts are:

    1. If the Lisbon treaty is not ratified then the Conservatives will hold a referendum.

    2. If it has been ratified then they will not be able to 'un-ratify' it retrospectively.

    Are you suggesting that a Government wastes taxpayers money by holding a referendum, that cannot change a result, simply to follow political dogma?

    In what way is this stance the same as a PM standing up in Parliament announcing a cut in the TA budget and then reversing that decision?

  • Comment number 78.

    54#

    The most pertinent comment of all so far. Totally agree with you.



    Theres far more important things going on for our erstwhile editor to be writing about than this.

    Complete waste of bandwidth.

  • Comment number 79.

    JRPerry 59

    You seem to be saying that the more extremist views of the Conservatives' new allies in Europe are just a smear invented by Labour. If that's your point, then I think it is misguided: the matter is well documented. If that isn't your point, then you don't really have one, beyond a rather lame personal attack on the original poster.

  • Comment number 80.

    Brown has tucked us up good and proper so Cameron is in a pickle.

    Browns announcment yesterday to back Bliar for President now adds up with his refusal on the referendum and his signing of the treaty.

    With Bliar as president and Mr Browns favours he's owed by his pro Euro counterparts he is guaranteed a good job in Brussels once he's sacked as PM next may.

    The EU is without doubt a clear symbol of an un-democratic system run by politicans who have no interest in anything other than themselves.

    British democracy has been killed a Labour government.

  • Comment number 81.

    Boilerplated
    '...you are obviously another who doesn't actually understand the difference between the (abandoned) constitutional treaty and the current Lisbon Treaty...'
    And the difference is (and please don't say they've got different names)?

  • Comment number 82.

    #10 boilerplated.
    Perhaps you're right about Cameron's dithering over the Lisbon Treaty. Maybe he should simply adopt Labour's approach to this issue - lie decisively then renege on your promises when in power.

    #18 balancedthought - "this treaty means there will never need be another treaty".
    Really? Is that not what has been claimed each time the EU has extended it's powers? It is utterly naive to think this will be the end of the process.

    #33 balancedthought refers to the Tories being "hooked up with people who praise the SS". In the real world all political parties have to deal with people whose views/values do not coincide with theirs in every respect - if they didn't we would not have a single ally in the middle east - and this applies just as much to Labour as the Tories. After all, Blair's biggest supporter in his appointment as EU President is Berlusconi who in 2003 described Mussolini as a benign dictator who "never killed anyone" and "who sent people on holiday to confine them". Or is it ok to hook up with a defender of fascism if he provides you with free holidays?

  • Comment number 83.

    72. At 12:23pm on 29 Oct 2009, U14147588 wrote:

    "hey Nick, you've got to put up a better smoke screen than this to help your chums in labour."

    Oh dear, there are still seems to be those who consider the BBC and their journalists biased if they don't write what they personally want to hear, the only peoples credibility they diminish are their own...

  • Comment number 84.

    Will Miliband be resigning as FS after his disgraceful comments on the Today programme about Michal Kaminski have been found to be incorrect?

  • Comment number 85.

    goldCaesar 74

    If you want to deny your afilitions and the sourcing of your "pink triangles" "research", then that's up to you. Your credibility lies in pieces on the floor.

    The whole story of Nazi and anti-semitic associations with the other parties in the Tories' euro-grouping is a Mandelson-Campbell-originated smear.

  • Comment number 86.

    Boilerplated the labour party is now singular and male?

    I recall a committment to call a referendum on progress to a united europe? Explain the difference between that and the Lisbon Treaty?

    Perhaps the problem is not the name of the treaty which was to be voted on but that a treaty to bring closer integration was ratified without recourse to the electorate. This would appear to contradict the manifesto offering. I almost typed promise......

  • Comment number 87.

    We cannot be isolationist. Any relationship depends on giving up an element of "sovreignty", marriage, work, friendship, membership of a club. Why should anyone assume that the EC is different. It is just time for the Tories to grow up and if this is the first sign of it, then good. We cannot operate as a superpower: we are not and cannot (not just because of Brown et al) ever afford to be one.

    Let's just get on in the real world and try to shape the EU/EC in the image we want while accepting it is never going to be perfect. Let's face it the UK is not perfect for everyone...

  • Comment number 88.

    Boiler @71..

    OK..you've got the argument in that Lisbon is not the 'old' EU Constitution treaty.Well that's what this Government want you to believe,so they can continue to justify breaking their manifesto promise.

    As you're such an expert,please tell us all,in brief terms,the exact differences between 'old' and Lisbon...and how Lisbon has such huge changes (constitutionally) that it justifies the broken promise.

  • Comment number 89.

    So we have the Tories who have to appear to be Eurosceptic whilst in fact working hard behind the scenes to get the best deal in Europe for the UK.

    And on the other hand we have Labour who have to appear to be Europhile whilst in fact working hard behind the scenes to get the best deal in Europe for the UK.

    If only British politics were more about conviction and policy than childish posturing over greatly exaggerated differences.

  • Comment number 90.

    goldCaesar 74

    "Some of their party members holds views that wouldn't get past the moderators on this site"

    The same could be said (perhaps with better grammar) of any grouping of reasonably intelligent adults. See 25-27 above.

  • Comment number 91.

    "We'll all be reminising for the good old days under Brown's Labour."



    Proof positive, if ever it were needed, that sniffing marker pens is bad for you.

  • Comment number 92.

    #83 Boiler
    You really ought to get out more. People are more interested in things like MPs expenses (which are still being thrust down our throats), the ineffective war in Afgahnistan, our standard of living, particularly as a result of the recession, and the abject failure of government policies, and the ongoing economic malaise that is engulfing us all.

    Any of the above would be a more appropriate topic for this blog, hence my opinion that good ole Nick is purely blowing smoke. It is a secondary issue as to whose behalf he is blowing smoke on. i have my suspicions, and I don't think it's the consrevative party. Am I wrong?

  • Comment number 93.

    Dear Nick,
    Oct 29 you coverered Cameron
    Oct 27 Cameron
    Oct 23 Griffin
    Oct 22 Cameron
    Oct 21 Griffin
    Oct 20 Griffin
    Oct 20 Cameron
    I get the feeling that if, tomorrow, the justice minister is hauled in by PC Plod for fraud, the Chancellor for embezzlement and the DPP for employing illegal immigrants, you will be left with a dilemma on what to cover in your next blog.
    Cameron? Griffin? Griffin? Cameron?

  • Comment number 94.

    UK-Silent-Majority

    Not that silent then.

    I do hope you are not claiming, by your username, to represent anybody's views but your own. That would be rather arrogant.

    And it appears you either cannot type 'Blair' or are labouring under a misapprehension about your sense of humour ...

  • Comment number 95.

    Can't be bothered to wait for your response Boiler...

    Here's a little help on Lisbon..

    1. It establishes a legally new European Union in the constitutional form of a supranational European State.
    2. It empowers this new European Union to act as a State vis-a-vis other States and its own citizens.
    3. It makes us all citizens of this new European Union.
    4. To hide the enormity of the change, the same name – European Union – will be kept while the Lisbon Treaty changes fundamentally the legal and constitutional nature of the Union.
    5. It creates a Union Parliament for the Union's new citizens.
    6. It creates a Cabinet Government of the new Union.
    7. It creates a new Union political President.
    8. It creates a civil rights code for the new Union's citizens.
    9. It makes national Parliaments subordinate to the new Union.
    10. It gives the new Union self-empowerment powers.

    Now..does that scare you? Is this NOT a Constitution?

    Has this Government lied to us?

  • Comment number 96.

    extremesense 64

    I am not very enamoured by any of the 3 main parties as I have said before. From my point view at the time of voting, I know, I will have to vote for one of the 2 main parties, because and I am in the brigade of anybody but Labour.

    However I am very much with the Conservatives over the EU. The reason is I am a democrat and believe the peoples voice has to be heard. The EU over time has been eroding our democracy pulling Britain further into a federal project that the British on the whole do not support.

    Labour promised the public a vote and as far as I can see the Conservatives as much as possible have tried to deliver that. The treaty will be ratified really without the permission of not only most people in this Country but in other EU Countries as well. It is not right in a democracy for this to happen. We do not live in a dictatorship as far as I know, but the way things are going with the public having less and less of a say on more issues, it feels like it.

    Personally I see no advantage to being a member of this club in Europe apart from perhaps the dubious one of no more wars there. It is corrupt, costs us a vast amount of money each year, which will increase this coming year, even though we are bankrupt. Furthermore the thought of Blair as president makes me sick to my stomach.

    In my opinion we should have done what Norway has done, be good neighbours but stay out of this dream of one big super state. Too much power in too few hands is a very dangerous thing.

  • Comment number 97.

    47 rockrobin 7

    shouldn't that now be 'call a referendum'

    49 JRPerry

    Your position is based on a fallacy - that if in power David Cameron will be able to effect the EU and repatriate powers. As I am sure you know this is the in or out moment. David Camerons position is based on a political calculation of what votes he will win what he will lose by being eurosceptic, that is neither a principled position nor the act of a leader.

    Just because I don't agree with you does not mean it is not a balanced opinion. Although some of David Camerons allies in Europe might think that.


    You may think that the

  • Comment number 98.

    48 Susan Croft
    #The last time I looked the people of this Country wanted a referendum on the Lisbon Treaty and a no vote would be the most likely outcome, they were promised this by the Labour Government.
    ------------------------------------
    Two points what evidence can you possibly have that the people of this country wanted a referendum, at a guess I would say that 50% of the population wouldn't have a clue what they were voting for anyway,unless they allowed themselves to be swayed by the very powerful Tory press ie the Sun,The Telegrapth and the Daily Mail, if you suggest that I am denigrating the British people, can you honestly say that you have read the Lisbon treaty chapter and verse? if you have then your one of the very few that have, and if you haven't what on earth would you or any other pro-referendum people on these blogs be voting for or against.
    being as you claim to be a stickler for the facts, Labour at no time promised a referendum on the Lisbon treaty, as agreed by Ken Baker and Gummer among others.

  • Comment number 99.

    The only reason Gordon is supporting Blair for the EU presidency, is because he is aware that it will cause problems for Cameron as PM.
    This means two things to me.
    1. Brown acknowldeges Cameron will be the next PM
    2. It is a cynical political 'dirty tricks' manoeuvre. Done out of spite, not for the benefit of either the UK or the EU. A bit like the allegations made by Neather in fact.


  • Comment number 100.

    90. At 12:46pm on 29 Oct 2009, jrperry wrote:
    goldCaesar 74

    "Some of their party members holds views that wouldn't get past the moderators on this site"

    The same could be said (perhaps with better grammar) of any grouping of reasonably intelligent adults. See 25-27 above

    ------------

    i'm sorry,

    You think most reasonably inteligent adults have positive feelings about anti-gay legislation and forced registration for the Roma people?

    Thats scary stuff.

    Oh & a word to the wise i would look very carefully at your own glass house before criticising the grammar or spelling of others..






 

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