Comments for en-gb 30 Tue 04 Aug 2015 00:48:46 GMT+1 A feed of user comments from the page found at unclegiblets #6 ChrisArta said "What planet are you from? There is no uniformity nor conformity anywhere in the EU! "No, not at "people" level. Look at governments though, what do you see? Mon 26 Oct 2009 00:18:24 GMT+1 alan smith We all know the Tories will go back on their word to give the british people a vote on the Lisbon Treaty. Labour did. none of the three main parties really care about democracy. Sun 25 Oct 2009 17:22:53 GMT+1 dennisjunior1 Gavin Hewitt:At that moment the Tory leadership will have to answer the difficult question "what next?" Yes, that is the important question that needs to be answered....NB: I am not advocating a general election in the United Kingdom...=Dennis Junior= Wed 21 Oct 2009 02:32:53 GMT+1 Go Away Gordon Brown I think you only have to read the HYS forums to see the amount of disgust at the fact that we are made to join europe.Many EU countries gain something from the EU, but we mosts definately lose, having migrants sapping welfare, taking jobs and using up housing stock.We are a tiny Island. We have done very well for 1000s of years on our own.I hope it stays that way Fri 09 Oct 2009 12:09:57 GMT+1 ikamaskeip Jorge21 and #121.Re, "...Choose B. Why? Very simply.. the British, and particularly the English... are terrified of change.."Hmm, you being the expert inside the psyche of the Britons/English it is terribly hard to find fault with anything you have written!So, as you know the choices they will make why don't we just leave it to you?Let's face it, you have got the inside track and know whereof you speak, so, we needn't bother?In fact, it is humbling to read such a consumate account of the British Isles' Population - - leads me to wonder - - where were you when we needed you?I mean "...95%.." of Brits have never heard of Schengen and you know this, so, it has got be right, and I just wish you could have spoken up sooner for the 57,000,000 of the 60million who didn't know about it!?It is when I read and see Comments by 'pro-EU-lobbyist' such as yourself I realise all over again why exactly the European Union is such a dangerous, undemocratic, unaccountable and wholly unedifying conglomeration of the worst possible of all futures for the British/English Citizens.I.e. An EU that does not need to concede anything as it knows best in all circumstances. Thank you so much for again revealing the true voice/face of the EU. Thu 08 Oct 2009 16:24:55 GMT+1 Jukka Rohila To Seraphim85 (124):Yes, true, but when the ECB has given its blessing for a country to join the Eurozone, there are months between the blessing and the beginning of a currency union, in essence time to do the deed.However, if we go back to printing money, the Bank of England has used Quantitative Easing, in essence printing money but loaning it to the government via commercial banks. The money has already been printed and the inflation connected to it will come sooner or later. If the BoE would print new money and give it straight to the government to pay the old new money back, it wouldn't cause inflation, just final admission that QE was all about printing money.This by the way is a quite interesting question regarding Britain joining the Eurozone as to my knowledge, which is in this case is very thin, countries in the Eurozone hadn't used Quantitative Easing, but had printed money directly to the coffers thus there is no precedent on this would be handled. At least from my perspective it would be pretty stupid to join the Euro in a situation where the UK government has debt to BoE via commercial banks and has to use real hard cash to pay it back.Of course this goes long way off topic, but hey what doesn't in this blog. Thu 08 Oct 2009 07:47:58 GMT+1 Seraphim Thank you oldnat for the elaboration on my question.Jukka if I am not completely wrong then the exchange rate between the current currency and the euro has to be within a very narrow area for a country to join eurozone. So if Britain decided to massively print new pounds it will only incinerate money that is parked in retirement funds etc. by the then forseeable inflation. This mechanism is so far used by Sweden not to join the Eurozone though it technically doesn't have an opt out granted. Thu 08 Oct 2009 07:09:10 GMT+1 Mathiasen Before the message disappears in speculations: Chancellor Merkel has already tuned down the connections between herself and her party with David Cameron, as a telegram told the other day. The message is that Germany intends to be a major player of the union and that the integration will continue on the European mainland. Also Mr. Cameron is losing influence, and he starts to see the contour of a process that leads to increasing loss of influence. I don’t expect him to continue along that path. Thu 08 Oct 2009 07:03:16 GMT+1 Aasvogel There will be a referendum on the European Constitution next year, but the new terminology will need to be explained. The Constitution will be known as the “Lisbon Treaty” and the referendum will be called the “General Election”. Those who wish to vote no, must vote “UKIP”. Those who wish to vote yes may vote for “any other party”. Thu 08 Oct 2009 01:49:54 GMT+1 JorgeG @ 108. ikamaskeip"Should the 4 Nations of the United Kingdom - - England - Scotland - Wales - Northern Ireland - - remain as fully functioning Members of the European Union?"I fully agree with you on the referendum but totally disagree on the question. Your piece about 'fully functioning members' reminds me of NuLab propaganda. As pointed out by no. 7 and others, including me, the question should be a bit less misleading, i.e.. giving three options:'Should the 4 nations, etc.A. Join the EU as *fully functioning members*, i.e. renounce all opt-outs (Euro and Schengen anyone?)B. Remain as semi-detached members, with opt-outs from the Euro, Schengen, charter of rights, social chapter [this one to be introduced by the Tories]...[long list of opt-outs continued here]C. Leave the EU altogether.It seems obvious, as JR rightly points out at 7. above, that British/English voters would be most likely to choose option B. Why? Very simple, the British, and particularly the English, are terrified of change. That is why they are so dead against the euro (luckily there was no referendum on decimalisation, otherwise we would still be struggling with shillings and halfpennies), and of course would also be dead against Schengen (the prevailing anti-immigration paranoia is self-evident proof of that) were it not for the small fact that 95%+ of English people have never heard of it. Unfortunately Option B would just perpetuate the current status quo. The advantage would obviously be that the Europhobes would have to shut up (for a few months at least…), but in practical terms I am not sure if this option would resolve much. It would be far better for the UK to become an EFTA member rather than continue the current farcical pretence of a semi-detached membership dressed as full Monty while the rest of the EU continues to integrate (even without the need for further treaties, just within the Eurogroup, the Schengen 'reinforced cooperation' frameworks, etc.)My personal preference is for what used to be called in Blairite circles as 'The Nuclear Option', i.e. remove option B. No chance, methinks of the Oxbridge clique (sorry threnodio!) growing up and going for it. Wed 07 Oct 2009 22:31:17 GMT+1 oldnat 112. Seraphim85"you all seem to consider it as a serious possibility."Indeed it is. The Scottish National Party is the largest in the Scottish Parliament, and forms a minority government. Additional parties supporting independence are the Scottish Socialists and the Scottish Greens.Support for independence varies according to urrent issues of course, and there is not (yet) a majority opinion in favour of it. Very roughly, 40% may well be in favour, 40% may well be against, and 20% don't care. I say "may well be" because opinion polls vary according to the question being asked. Latest polls suggest that 20-30% of the anti independence votes may be soft. Probably because many Labour voters will easily switch if the Conservatives are elected next year. Wed 07 Oct 2009 22:28:59 GMT+1 oldnat 118. GunotaOh none of us have any doubt that the Westminster Government will continue to try everything both in and out of the book to prevent Scotland getting Independence!Interesting times ahead. Wed 07 Oct 2009 22:20:51 GMT+1 I am not a number #106. oldnatWhile I do believe that, in theory, Scotland will have an accelerated accession considering that nearly all EU laws are already in place (with the exception of the British opt-outs) On the other hand the cynic in me is saying that Britain (or England) will block Scotland accession in order to put pressure on Scotland during whatever break-up talks there is or worse to try and force Scotland to make concessions on, for example, North Sea oil. Wed 07 Oct 2009 21:50:20 GMT+1 Jukka Rohila To MikeE-BCN (116):Could it be enough that a day before joining the Euro, Bank of England would just print as much money as the UK government has debt nominated in British Pounds? This way the inflation normally occurred during printing money would be spread for all the Eurozone and all holders of the Euro currency. I'm cool with this.Other option would of course just be to have lottery, everyone who says Yes for joining the Euro and Schengen gets a free ticket for, lets say 1 billion Euro lottery. If Jordan and David Beckham would be the celebrity endorses of this, the deal would be done! Excellent... Wed 07 Oct 2009 21:22:23 GMT+1 Mike Dixon Londoner in Spain To JorgeG 42 aboveHow to get the British to sign up to the Euro and Schengen.Simple - Money. In my opinion money will win over sovereignty every time. But then I am an old cynic. Wed 07 Oct 2009 20:55:01 GMT+1 Mike Dixon Londoner in Spain To Old Nat.If Scotland becomes an independent sovereign state I believe that under the Treaty of Rome it will have to apply for membership of the European Union in its own right.Correct me if I am wrong, but I understand that Scots law is akin to French and therefore European Law. Likewise education is similar to European models. I believe Scotland would be welcomed. Just a thought - If the husband of Mary Queen of Scots had not died on her, she would have become Queen of France and not had her head cut of by her loving cousin Elizabeth. Wed 07 Oct 2009 20:47:34 GMT+1 Mathiasen It is the first time I hear about the principle "once the cell door slams shut, so does the ballot box." It is certainly not a general principle for all European countries, so interested would have to check the whole circle round in order to get the full picture - and be prepaired for a couple of hidden consequences of the constitutions and of the laws. Wed 07 Oct 2009 20:40:21 GMT+1 threnodio The more I read comments on this thread and elsewhere, the more I am persuaded that my initial reaction some months ago when we debated this before was correct. I wholeheartedly agree with those who argue that a referendum on Lisbon is an exercise in futility and what is really needed is a once and for all decision about membership - full stop. There is one major difference between the referendum in Ireland and a possible one in the UK. In Ireland, not even Sinn Fein or Veritas were suggesting that Ireland withdraw. In the UK, this would seem to be a very real option. If a Lisbon vote were lost, how long would it be before the sceptics were crying foul and claiming that what this was really about was membership.So let us get it over and done with once and for all. The agnosticism of the major parties fools nobody and the uncertainty helps nobody. Wed 07 Oct 2009 20:21:04 GMT+1 Seraphim Just that I get something right being not British - Is there really a discussion going on for Scotland splitting separating from the UK? When it was first posted here it was a very fictional story to me but you all seem to consider it as a serious possibility. Wed 07 Oct 2009 20:19:23 GMT+1 Jukka Rohila To oldnat (95):Why do you think that it would be unacceptable that the Scottish parliament would declare independence without referendum? Almost all countries that have gained independence that way, USA, Finland, etc.. just a bunch of guys declare indepence, grab guns, and those who don't like it can get out or die. If that was good for our forefathers, then it must be good for us!To threnodio (97):Actually there is a natural elite in every nation. For example if you put all the people in line and measure their intelligence, what you get is a Gauss curve. Those people that lie in the right side of the Gauss curve, who are blessed with intelligence, have the obligation to use their gift for not only theirs benefit but for the benefit of all. In essence, those people who do understand very complex interactions, who gather all the facts, who have a situation awareness, have duty to explain how things are to the rest of the population. It sounds very elitist, but then again why not, people want the best doctors to make decisions regarding their health, so why shouldn't the best and the brightest educate and guide the rest of the nation?Of course this is all semantics, educate and guide vs. persuade and convince, I much more prefer educate and guide as the I do believe that all people do have the capacity to make a right decision, if they are given a line of thought that they can reprehend. Again however, semantics.In your note about the parties, I do agree with you, the only question mark is on how to get out of that lack of leadership trap that has been in Britain. Maybe a referendum, while being an extreme measure of in or out, would solve that, then the parties could concentrate on policies that matter from social policies to economics. Wed 07 Oct 2009 20:15:47 GMT+1 threnodio #101 - oldnatWell if you really want to be picky, I think you will find that prisoners on remand are not actually 'in prison' at all. They can just as lawfully be detained in police custody or, where facilities exist, remand centres. (Prisoners on judge's remand, i.e. awaiting sentence have no rights not given to convicted criminals). But that really is a bit too picky. Sorry.As to what happens elsewhere in Europe, I cannot say but I am told that, here in Hungary, once the cell door slams shut, so does the ballot box.I am sure you are also right about there being as many opinions about where an independent Scotland stands as there are experts. Having said that, it also seems to me that all the binding treaties that have been made between the United Kingdom and other nations would remain in force in respect of those remaining bits which could be identified as the rump UK. In other words, if Scotland were to leave the Union, it would probably need to seek and would receive some kind of fast track back in. On the other hand, if the Union were to fold altogether and two or more nations were to (con)federate with the monarch as head of state, then it could claim to be the rump UK. In practice, this would almost certainly be England and Wales, bound as they are by a common legal system.I guess the fun would really start if Scotland decided on Schengen and the single currency. I can already see the English Navy waiting at Customs and Immigration to pick up their share of Trident from Holy Loch and sitting for months waiting for a export licence. Wed 07 Oct 2009 20:06:56 GMT+1 rayatcov You will never get a referendum from soneone with these thoughts:-“The Single Market is a great achievement, which the Conservative Party has always strongly supported. We want an EU that looks out to the world, not in on itself. . . We will be strong defenders of the Single Market within Europe, and free trade with the rest of the world … We want to keep the doors of the EU open to new members like the Balkan states and, in due course, Turkey. — David Cameron writing in the Conservative Party’s ‘European Manifesto,’ 2009. Wed 07 Oct 2009 19:35:16 GMT+1 ikamaskeip Mathiasen and #102.As a friend and admirer of Europe and even more as an advocate of Democracy and Free choice for the Citizen one can only hope that your 2 quotes are the outcome for the British and especially the English Electorate.It is time this G.B./England relationship to the EU was once and for all thrashed out by Debate and the Ballot Box.Perhaps October-November 2010 would be the ideal moment for this issue to be resolved: Afterall, with Maastricht, Nice and Lisbon all in place plus the Euro-zone no one in Britain could argue that they do not understand what they are being asked to decide. Should the 4 Nations of the United Kingdom - - England - Scotland - Wales - Northern Ireland - - remain as fully functioning Members of the European Union?Each Nation's Electorate to make a choice for their own Nation alone.Oh happy, bright day for Democracy and Citizens' Individual Responsibility when the voice of Britons is finally allowed to be heard: I will firmly support England leaving the EU, but, I will also abide by the decision of the Citizens and when all the arguments have been heard I am far from certain my position will be upheld in the Referendum. Wed 07 Oct 2009 17:38:17 GMT+1 ikamaskeip Yes, the 'business community' would prefer to stay in.Yes, the 'City' much prefers stability.Yes, a 'massive row' with the EU would 'hoover up energy'.Yes, it might distract from mending 'broken Britain'.Yes, it might be 'ludicrous timing in the midst of a global recession'.Yes, Lisbon is merely streamlining so no big deal.Yes, the 27 signatories to Lisbon would be annoyed.And so it goes on....Apparently, the only People that actually matter are not to be consulted!The unknown wishes of 60,000,000 Britons, inc. 49,000,000 English can just continue to be ignored, as it has been since Thatcher betrayed Britons by not holding a Referendum and signed Maastricht, and Major-Blair-Brown followed suit and almost certainly that sham leader-in-waiting Cameron with his rent-a-policy will be next: The process of a Federal United States of Europe irrevocably marches on to domination over a People who through almost 1,000 years of struggle gradually threw off oppression, fought for Democratic values and were proud of their Independence and Free-Will. Now all they can expect is because 27 other Nations (and our present craven NuLab Government) have bent the knee to Brussels the next Prime Minister (shouldn't that title be changed to Prime Mincer) will just let all pass by and abandon the Right and Responsibility of every eligible Briton to have a say in their future. Wed 07 Oct 2009 17:11:15 GMT+1 oldnat 105. Gunota"Algeria"Yes, I'd forgotten that! But as you say, the EU is a lot more complicated. At the end of the day, it would be a political decision. It would seem odd if the EU were keen to accelerate Iceland's entry and throw the Scots out.Accelerated entry would be the logical assumption. Wed 07 Oct 2009 16:59:42 GMT+1 I am not a number #98. Actually the entire situation isn't entirely unprecedented, Algeria, being part of metropolitan France (a bit like French Guyana at the moment), used to be a full member of the EC but after it gained independence it lost its member status. Of course the EC is a lot simpler then the EU. Wed 07 Oct 2009 16:31:10 GMT+1 KJurgens In a nutshell: ever after the Treaty of Maastricht had been ratified it was a more or less logic development that the federalist circles disguised under 'promoting a more democratic Europe' started to prepare for their endgame: not only one currency, not only one common border but one super-state on top of that including anthem, flag and of course a president. I wonder sometimes why previous British governments regardless of political leaning did not understand this danger; 'danger' in the sense of the United Kingdom losing most of her sovereignty.Options for a new government? Stay in or opt out? What about a third way: asking Brussels for opt-out clauses which then hopefully will become a role model for other countries which are in principle Euro-sceptic, Denmark as case in point. Could this lead to a renegotiation of Lisbon? Difficult to say.Most important: whichever party is in power the British electorate demands a clear stance and not a 'maybe' attitude. Uncertainty in periods of economic crisis is the least we can tolerate.I liked one of the comments made by a fellow blogger: he or she wrote in the sense of if only we would have sent/could send senior/serious politicians to Brussels... that is of course another option, perhaps the forth one: try to break up the Franco-German axis and re-build Europe; not forgetting that a very liberal, emerging economic powerhouse is 'ante portas' and destined to become Britain's closest ally once a full EU member state: the Republic of Turkey! Wed 07 Oct 2009 16:11:30 GMT+1 oldnat 99. benagyerekI'm in general agreement with that analysis. However, independence doesn't depend on the UK Parliament agreeing, but on whether Scotland is then recognised by other countries. Remember that the UK never passed an Act of Parliament granting Ireland permission to move to Independence from the Free State. Wed 07 Oct 2009 15:58:24 GMT+1 Mathiasen A couple of clips from the European public:Professor Simon Hix from London School of Economics has explained to the European press that a referendum on the LT will in reality be a referendum on the British membership of the EU, and a spokeswoman from the present Swedish presidency of the union said in her comment on BBC Radio 4 that Great Britain should not count on a renegotiation of the LT. Instead GB would have to vote on its membership, she also said. Wed 07 Oct 2009 15:56:23 GMT+1 oldnat 97. threnodio"if you are old enough, are not criminally insane and not in prison"Nit picking I know, but only convicted prisoners lack the suffrage, not those on remand. As to these, that may change too. The 2nd consultation on giving the vote to convicted prisoners has just closed - though my bet is that Labour will do nothing in their last year, and the Tories won't touch the issue until they are found to be in contravention of the ECHR (if that is the case).What happens in other European countries? Wed 07 Oct 2009 15:55:18 GMT+1 oldnat 98. kalicokat"If Scotland becomes independent are they automatically a member of the EU?"There are as many answers to that as there are lawyers and politicians! As there are to the question of whether the UK rump would automatically continue. The answer is that the issue has never been tested, so we'll have to wait and see. Which is why I wish the Flemings and Walloons would hurry up and separate, so that someone else is the first to find out! Wed 07 Oct 2009 15:50:05 GMT+1 bena gyerek @ 98 kalicokatat the risk of preempting oldnat, i am very sure scotland would have to apply for membership. however, even if the scots vote for independence, that of itself has no legal force. instead it would provide the scottish government with a moral (but not legal) mandate to negotiate an amicable divorce from the uk. i believe scotland can only legally gain independence via an act of the uk parliament, however even the tories have said that if the scots vote for independence, they will respect their decision. any such negotiated divorce would take a long time to agree, and i am sure the scots would simultaneously negotiate their membership of the eu to dovetail exactly with the divorce date. alex salmond has made it very clear he only wants independence in the context of remaining in the eu (and joining the euro for that matter). so in effect i doubt scotland would actually (even temporarily) drop out of the eu as a result of gaining independence. Wed 07 Oct 2009 15:41:07 GMT+1 kalicokat #95 oldnatThanks........Another question. If Scotland becomes independent are they automatically a member of the EU? Wed 07 Oct 2009 14:41:59 GMT+1 threnodio 88 - Jukka_RohilaAgain, I agree with most of what you say but the idea that there should be 'guidance and education' implies that there is some kind of cultural elite which knows best and somehow has the right to steer public opinion in whatever direction they think right. It may be a desirable option but it is not consistent with the democratic process. Like it or not, if you are old enough, are not criminally insane and not in prison, you can vote. It matters not whether you are a genius or an idiot. So it is not about 'guidance and education', it is about persuasion and conviction.So here is the problem with lack of leadership. It is a problem that neither major English political party will come right out and say that they are either eurosceptic or enthusiastic. The Tories are far more interested in winning the election than furthering the national interest, Labour will adopt a pro-EU stance just as long as it does not involve talking about the single currency or open borders and the Lib Dems don't stand a snowball's hope in hades. How can you lead if you don't have a policy?So I agree with:#90 - EuroSiderYes, it is all hot air because an LT referendum resolves nothing. If it is a done deal by next summer, Cameron can only use the LT provisions to pull the UK out or accept the situation as it actually is. To stay or go is really the only remaining question. And with #94 - benagyerekCameron is looking for an overall majority so if he whips Labour but has his party spoiled by defections from the right to UKIP, he may find his agnosticism on the substantive question is to blame.But please do not ignore OldNats words of wisdom from north of the border. Cameron's insistance that he leads a unionist party does not stand up to scrutiny. If it transpires that the English want out but the celtic nations want to stay, his unionist credentials are blown clear out of the water. Wed 07 Oct 2009 14:31:28 GMT+1 Mathiasen It has for a couple of days not been possible for Bruxelles to get in contact with Klaus, but particularly in this blog it is certainly worth making a reference to the telegram from the Czech republic now published in many countries that says that the LT will be signed by the president before 2010.I will leave the headache to Cameron. Wed 07 Oct 2009 13:52:25 GMT+1 oldnat 84. kalicokatI'm actually back home now. My son lives there permanently. He doesn't register to vote here, as he thinks it immoral to vote in a country where you are personally unaffected by the decisions that result from that vote.Just a wee word about "devolving". The UK has never been a unitary state, and Scotland has always had administrative devolution. All that happened in 2000 was that we got a Parliament to legislate on those issues, and to choose a Government to run them. Previously the ruling party in Westminster made the laws, and appointed a Secretary of State to run devolved issues - even if the UK Governing party had little support in Scotland.The referendum is about independence. Becoming a country as autonomous from the UK as Ireland is. My son and I actually agree about that! It's entirely a matter for the Scottish people whether we take back the powers over foreign affairs etc that we gave up in 1707. Neither of us would approve of a Scottish Government gaining a majority and simply taking us to Independence. That is solely a matter for the people in a referendum.(Sorry, that answer was probably longer than you expected!) Wed 07 Oct 2009 13:22:35 GMT+1 bena gyerek jukka @ 88, eurosider @ 90the main driver for cameron is the ukip. very few voters care about europe, but unfortunately a small minority of voters do care very passionately, and would swing between ukip and the tories on this one issue. so cameron naturally tries to sound anti-european in order to capture the small but critical ukip vote, knowing all the while that most other voters do not care what he says about europe.cameron's problem is that he needs to go into the election with a clear anti-european pledge of some sort, but one that he won't come to regret once he gets into power. the referendum on lisbon suited this purpose very well at a time when it looked like ireland would veto the treaty anyway. now he is stuck in a position where he needs to produce a new anti-europe pledge that will entice over ukip voters, but that won't destroy the uk's relations with europe. cameron said previously that if the treaty is ratified, he "will not let matters rest" but without defining what that means. now he has to define it. Wed 07 Oct 2009 10:03:55 GMT+1 Freak on the guitar Assuming that Lisbon will be done and dusted by the time the Tories will form the government, the only sensible choice in a referendum is to either go ahead whole-heartedly with the EU, or bail out of it completely.Much of the criticism towards the EU is justified, but the main reason for all the bureaucracy is that it is currently a union of 27 nations, all trying to have influence whilst maintaining full sovereignty. A union with extensive powers, but with poor democratic controls.Lisbon goes a long way to address those issues, but it does necessarily reduce the sovereignty of each member state. The choice for Britain is to accept that in order to keep a say in the EU, or to choose full sovereignty but little influence on global affairs. I don't think there is a middle ground.That is the only sensible choice in a referendum, and I would support David Cameron (or indeed Gordon Brown) asking that question to the people of Britain. Wed 07 Oct 2009 09:59:41 GMT+1 bena gyerek jukka @ 86i agree, but don't underestimate the pressure that cameron could come under from his own right wing to do something drastic in order to negotiate a new settlement for the uk in europe.i also think that if it did come to the uk blocking croatia, or other similar intransigence, then sarkozy et al would simply show him the door. the treaty has conveniently created a formal mechanism for countries to exit the eu. Wed 07 Oct 2009 09:53:04 GMT+1 Seraphim "So if these position would be true, why don't David come out of the shadows or the party take an EU -neutral view to things."He fears to lose the election coming next year Jukka ;-) Wed 07 Oct 2009 09:24:38 GMT+1 EuroSider David Cameron's promise to have a referendum on the Lisbon Treaty is only 'hot air' for the party faithful. I don't believe him; the rest of the country don't believe him. There are a number of factors here that you have to take into account.Firstly, the Lisbon Treay will be ratified by the Poles and the Czechs. Why? Because they have only recently joined the European Union after a history under the Soviet regime. They are not going to upset the European Union by voting "No". Also most new members from the Eastern block are strongly pro-Europe.Secondly, referenda in the U.K. are expensive and difficult to organise. Even if there was a referendum how would people know which way to vote?Thirdly, referenda in the U.K. are not legally binding on the government of the day. They are little more than an opion poll. Parliament can choose to ignore them. So why the debate?Because David Cameron is making promises to the Conservative Party because he knows when he finally comes to power the Treaty will have been ratified by all member states and that it wil be a 'done deal'.It is pure politics from his point of view to ensure that there are no divisions within the party! Wed 07 Oct 2009 09:19:59 GMT+1 Mathiasen #85, Seraphim85I suppose that we are (finally) at the end of the ratification of the LT.It is quite likely that the general consent in the Czech republic has been noticed around in Europe, and it should not be overshadowed by the stubborn president. However, the question is not uninteresting if Klaus still thinks he as a president represents anything else but his own private viewpoints. And if the Czechs do!His case might cause the Czechs to consider changes of their constitution.Mathiasen, Berlin Wed 07 Oct 2009 09:18:43 GMT+1 Jukka Rohila To threnodio (87):The problem is in the lack of leadership. The responsibility of those who are in leading or trusted position is to guide and to educate the rest of the people. People may not like on what they are told to, but that doesn't mean that they wouldn't understand or accept or do so as so on what is best for them if they truest or respect the source.Now the question is, why is there a lack of leadership? Why don't the best and brightest of the country come out and tell on what they think is right. To this day there have been only few voices here and there, but no real taking of a position has happened. Why is that?Actually, I read from todays Helsingin Sanomat, a leading Finnish newspaper, about the Lisbon Treaty and the Tories, and they held a position that David Cameron is one of those of the most pro-EU at the Tory party. They also held the position that anti-EU and pro-EU people at the Tory party only form minorities where as most of the people are between these positions. So if these position would be true, why don't David come out of the shadows or the party take an EU -neutral view to things. Wed 07 Oct 2009 08:52:41 GMT+1 threnodio #81 - JorgeG1I agree with almost all of that. I am slightly worried that the business community that you want consulted is almost entirely made up of those who would instinctively favour the Union since such a high percentage of their cashflow is derived from it. I don't argue with that because I am on that side of the argument but I do wonder whether the deep-seated prejudice that underlines the sceptic side of the debate may not be firmly rooted in shop floors, offices and work places up and down the country. The possibility that large numbers of people might be prepared to support a course of action which would eventually cost them their jobs is disturbing. It might therefore be informative to also canvas trade union opinion - not necessarily at national executive level where European employment law and human rights legislation has been embraced enthusiatically - but at shop steward and activist levels. Wed 07 Oct 2009 07:50:22 GMT+1 Jukka Rohila Just a note to the general conversation...It has been noted that David Cameron could stop the ratification of the Accession Treaty of Croatia and use that as an leverage to negotiate on British position in the union.The things however are that stopping the Croatian Accession Treaty....wouldn't affect the Lisbon Treaty. When the Lisbon Treaty is signed and ratified by all member countries it goes in effect. After the Lisbon Treaty is in effect, many or most of the competencies that the Union has, can't be hold back by a single member country, thus there is very little room for direct blackmail...would be an act against Ireland as the Irish in their referendum voted for the Lisbon Treaty after they had gotten promises from the EU Commission and 26 other EU countries, including Britain, to get these concessions. The 26 -other EU countries are in moral debt to Ireland to fulfill their promises, now if Tory lead Britain would blackmail on not accepting the Croatian Accession Treaty, it would then brake its own promise. Now I don't know on how angry folk Irish can be, but a brake up in relationship with Dublin and London could have serious ramification, Ireland could for example brake up CTA and make things hard in Northern Ireland...would be an act against Croatians. Now as Croatia is a small country and not member of the EU, there would be hardly direct consequences, but then again it could and probably would alienate people especially that come from either small countries or from Central or Eastern Europe from Britain. To this day it has been a right of every European country to apply for the union membership and get it after fulfilling requirements, blackmailing with this or stopping the accession would be a serious violation to this tradition.All in all, I don't believe that using the Croatian Accession Treaty as an leverage there is any possibility as the ramifications of doing that would be too hard to swallow and they wouldn't make a dent to the current functioning of the EU and would not be against the continental members of the EU. In essence I would rule this tool out from the toolbox that David Cameron has. Wed 07 Oct 2009 07:49:45 GMT+1 Seraphim '17. SuffolkBoy2"Klaus should demand a referendum in the Czech Republic"Recent polls suggest that the majority of the Czechs are in favour of the of the LT (though the link for that won't help you as it is in 'foreign' language)It appears that is only one stubborn man in his remote castle and a few of far right senators delaying the treaty. There even seems to be the discussion if the signature of Klaus is really that important as both chambers of te parliament already have signed it. Wed 07 Oct 2009 06:48:22 GMT+1 kalicokat ref: #2 oldnatBeing a Scot currently living in North Carolina I believe, how do you feel about Scotland having a referendum on devolving from Britain? Wed 07 Oct 2009 02:20:47 GMT+1 bena gyerek @ 64 ravenseft:"By contrast, the Tories talk about a "transfer of power" which has potentially a far wider scope."yes, but it's hardly a legally binding commitment. Tue 06 Oct 2009 21:38:55 GMT+1 EUprisoner209456731 19. At 00:40am on 06 Oct 2009, oldnat wrote:'17. SuffolkBoy2"Klaus should demand a referendum in the Czech Republic"I presume you see the irony in you telling a sovereign European nation what they should do.On second thoughts - no, you probably don't.'SB2: No! I don't and I believe that you are not as clever as you think you are.1) When we have left the "EU" and it has stopped bossing us about , then I shall be less inclined to comment on other countries.2) I shall still feel entitled to comment. I believe that everybody in the "EU" will continue to have the right to comment on the UK.3) I have no institutionalis4ed, "legal" right to interfere in the Czech Republic as the odious "EU" thinks it has to interfere in the UK and in the Czech republic.4) I don't give a damn anyway. Arrogant megalomaniacs have forced a lousy dictatorship upon us and I don't care about much else apart from getting rid of it. I now feel entitled to swear an oath of allegiance to the "EU" in the morning and wipe a certain part of my anatomy with the "EU" treaties in the afternoon. Tue 06 Oct 2009 21:34:45 GMT+1 JorgeG @ threnodioThank you for your admonition and I will try hard not to 'lose it'.About what I mean by 'business'? I mean for example:- Any British businesses competing or wishing to compete in the single market- Any foreign businesses that are investing or considering to invest in Britain (Japanese car makers for example?) - Any businesses, British or foreign, based in the UK that are affected a) by the banks ripping them off on euro/pound exchange commissions, b) by endless queues at Dover or other border controls and/or being bullied by HMG into falling into line with their border control policies of outsourcing the dirty work to private operators (in this respect there are interesting insights to be had reading this, if you can get over the depressing feeling c) by visa red tape (see here )- Tourism industry, see here VisitBritain demanding the government to introduce a 'Schengen "bolt on" visa' (fat chance, he-he!) a long etc. It is not so difficult, is it? What is necessary is the political will to understand (without preexisting dogmas) whether the UK is winning or losing economically by being outside the Euro and Schengen. If it came out that the UK is winning as a result, then I will shut up. Unfortunately, nobody, let alone the BBC it seems, will bother to investigate.Which leads me to your final point about the four nations and their destiny. Unfortunately, in the UK all the talk in defence of the EU or rather European integration is mainly about trade and the economy. To be honest, whether the four nations, or just one of them, decide to segregate themselves from the EU is something that doesn't worry me from a philosophical point of view. What concerns me is the unwillingness to grow up and make a decision, but rather keep whining from the sidelines, never deciding whether to be fully in, or fully out the whole thing. For that reason, it annoys me a lot more hearing NuLab politicians pretending that they, unlike the Tories, want to be at the heart of Europe, and yet reject Schengen and the Eurozone, the two key pillars of the EU, than hearing UKIP saying they want to get out altogether. Of course it also annoys me hearing the Tories, who not really know what they want, with this nonsense about 'repatriating powers from Brussels' What da ya mean? You are either in the EU or not. They think the EU is a menu in a posh restaurant, like the ones they visited when they were in the Bullingdon Club. Sorry chaps, you got the wrong end of the stick. The EU is not a menu. If you don't like it – and cannot democratically change the will of the majority of EU nations, who have ratified the LT and have also joined the Euro and Schengen, two pillars that make the LT look like child's play – show some courage, get out of the EU, repatriate as much as you want and then negotiate an agreement ala Switzerland. And sorry for the cheap point about the Bullingdon Club. I know you don't approve of loose talk! :) Tue 06 Oct 2009 21:19:46 GMT+1 Jukka Rohila To hhracc (75):Russians, Israelis, Iranians... Whatever... Don't you see that we have urgently important intra-European matters to discuss and don't have time to intervene to non important petty dealing of the extra-European folk. Tue 06 Oct 2009 20:41:10 GMT+1 threnodio Why mess around hjacking a ship when, with a bit more effort, you can hjack a whole blog? Tue 06 Oct 2009 19:38:46 GMT+1 Mike Dixon Londoner in Spain To Marcus Aurelius IIYes, I have read the BBC country profile on the United States.Brings tears to you eyes does it not. Tue 06 Oct 2009 19:26:11 GMT+1 Mike Dixon Londoner in Spain If the Tory Party win the next General Election and David Cameron becomes Prime Minister, in my opinion, he will find himself between a rock and a hard place.Only by accepting Lisbon will have the means to take the U.K. out of the European Union. However, he calls such a referendum, which is a two edged sword. One edge is that withdrawal is rejected and he will look a bit silly to say the least. But a vote for withdrawal will has much more serious results. Service industries can relocate in the E.U. and will do so. What remains of British car manufacturing will likewise be re-located out of the U.K. by its European, Far Eastern and North American owners as British manufacture will no longer be Community manufacture and so on and so forth.As the U.K. cannot feed itself and depends on exports to survive. As others have said, the already weak British economy could in a relatively short period of time, collapse forcing a new British Government to seek urgent re-admission.I do not believe re-admission will be either quick or painless for a number of good reasons. Firstly the loss of the British net contribution of 3 to 4 billion a year will be rapidly replaced from the manufacture and service transferred.Secondly, the loyal Europeans in Western Europe who have welcomed the service industries and the loyal Europeans of Eastern Europe who have get must of the relocated manufacturing will not be in the least enamoured with the thought of its return. And why should the owners pay the cost involved.Thirdly, the European Union is increasingly looking away from the Anglo-Saxon world towards the North, the Mediterranean an Latin America, China, etc. And -Thirdly, and because revenge is sweet and we are all human ..... Gordon Brown in Lisbon, red lines, that sort of thing.For the reasons above, I doubt if renegotiating terms has a snowballs chance in that hot place. The European leaders would refer him to Barasco who will tell him, in the most polite and diplomatic language, -Do not mess with me sonny.-I could be wrong - but I doubt it. Tue 06 Oct 2009 19:22:13 GMT+1 oldnat 75. hhracc"I believe that Iran is desperate to avoid attack from the West"I'd certainly agree with that part of your post. A reasonable fear don't you think? Tue 06 Oct 2009 18:51:34 GMT+1 hhracc Sorry to be off this topic, but I thought that general European News was the central issue on this Blog, not just 1 very specific slice of European news such as the Lisbon Treaty! My comment relates to the Arctic Sea hijacking, and the suggestion by BBC correspondent Sarah Rainsford today, that the ship carried Russian S300 missile systems destined for Iran.My comment is that I suspect that the top Russian government offered nonesuch to Iran. I believe that a "loose cannon" element of the Russian military was bribed by Iran to send such missiles. The plan almost worked!However Israeli spies found out and tipped Israel. Israel then discretely informed the Russian government that they must intervene and recover or dump the missiles, otherwise Israel would close the Tipline. The Tipline is a pipeline through Israel that circumvents the Suez canal. Russia moves 1 million barrels of oil daily through the Tipline to the Far East, and, it has been a major source of Russian foreign exchange since 2002.I believe that the Russian government, of necessity, then boarded the ship and made it look like piracy. They took the ship off the world's radar screen for days while they either recovered the cargo or dumped it. Recovery is much more likely, considering the long delay before the issue resolved itself. The most important piece of evidence to support this conjecture is that genuine piracy in the Baltic sea would have given several nations "fits" had it been genuine. Russia, Sweden, Finland, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland and Germany would have all instantly collaborated to hunt down any real pirates there! A very obvious major force would have been assembled, resembling the one off Somalia in the Indian ocean.I believe that Iran is desperate to avoid attack from the West and has attempted this! Tue 06 Oct 2009 18:36:33 GMT+1 threnodio #69 - JorgeG1You very rarely post anything with which I would disagree but you are either in a belligerent frame of mind or you are losing it. For every Oxbridge graduate who scrambles up the greasy pole to high office, there are thousands of others who go on to perfectly normal careers and responsible positions. Whatever this debate is about, it is not about class, priviledge and status. You then go on to say that the BBC 'has not bothered to ask business' about Lisbon. Would you care to define business? Are we talking about CBI members, directors of public companies nominated by institutional shareholders, managers working at the coal face? Are we talking about exporters of high technology goods to Europe or fast food restaurant owners who don't give a flying fig about Europe so long as they meet their quota of burger sales? Massive generalisations like this are not helpful (likewise the 'business community' Gavin - what exactly is that?). Even the 'Little England' references are unhelpful because they give the impression of intellectual superiority over those who disagree with us.We all know perfectly well that if you tell someone he/she cannot have a job despite the fact that there are dozens of Eastern Europeans gainfully employed in the next premises, he or she will be anti-Europe. We also know that, if you tell someone his/her job depends on exports to Europe and, without them/he'she is going to be out of work, they will be pro-Europe. Consider the numbers of people who believe that the British system will not let them down then, when they belive it has, scramble on board the European human rights train in search of redress. This bebate is getting laden down with layer upon layer of hypocricy and it is far too important to be reduced to this.It is the future of four nations and their position within a community of close on 700 million people that we are talking about. With the largest collective GDP of any economic bloc in the world, it is no exaggeration to say that we are talking about the future direction of the western world. Isn't it about time someone started taking this seriously? Tue 06 Oct 2009 18:24:01 GMT+1 Start spreading the news,He's playing today,I want to see him score today, Sammy Clingan ™ (1987) @ #71>>We should have a general election now!What for, it will be rigged anyway! Tue 06 Oct 2009 18:19:10 GMT+1 hhracc Tue 06 Oct 2009 18:11:59 GMT+1 Justdonotbelieveit Vote rigging happens all over -- even America.Nothing to do with the EU is democratic. Nothing to do with this government is democratic. We should have a general election now! Tue 06 Oct 2009 18:11:34 GMT+1 threnodio #61 JustdonotbelieveitOh please! It was not a level playing field, guv. Someone messed with the votes, guv. It is becoming the new fashion all over the place. Don't like the outcome of an election, go on the streets and claim it was rigged. Georgia, Moldova, various places in Africa and South America - it happens all the time. But Ireland? Is this not taking clutching at straws a bit too far? Tue 06 Oct 2009 17:46:32 GMT+1 JorgeG @ Markasol"Joining Schengen would make sense too - holidaymakers and other travellers are put to just so much unbelievable hassle when travelling to and from the UK, while you can travel between Spain and Germany like you can between Texas and New York - the border controls haven't stopped the floods of illegal immigrants either, but of course they do provide jobs for a bunch of bureaucrats!"Spot on. Of course illegal immigrants are not bothered by border controls. While Little England obsesses about border controls and has perennial nightmares about a mythical country that has 'open borders', nightmares that are regularly fed by the unelected tabloid bureaucrats, illegal immigrants enter the country through the front door and then overstay their visas or, alternatively, enter under false identities. Ironically, joining Schengen would help to control irregular immigration as the UK would have full access to SIS and full participation in Frontex, as opposed to the limited access that it has been granted by the 25 Schengen countries.And of course, Little England's admiration / adulation of all things American hasn't helped them cotton up to the fact that the US is a superstate where all states use the same currency and none of them have barbed wired picket fences between each other.But let's not digress and back to the Tories and business. The Tories claim to be the natural party of business. Since the BBC has not bothered to ask businesses what they think of the LT, have the Tories asked them, or anybody else, for that matter? And have they also asked businesses, particularly goods exporters / importers to and from (the rest of) Europe whether they would prefer to have a single currency or if they would prefer to go back to 27 different currencies, and if they are happy with the banks making a killing out of their pound/euro currency transactions. Have they also asked them if they are happy with the delays and other hassles that HMG imposes on their HGV's crossing the border between the UK and the rest of Europe, or if they would prefer to cross it in the same way the cross the England-Scotland border? Have they also asked them if they would prefer that the 25 EU countries that are in Schengen rebuilt barbed wire picket fences between each other so that the deliveries to the UK would take even longer as HGV's would then have to queue at several borders rather than just one, the UK/EU border?Have they? Have they?No. Little England's Book of Revelation says: "Do not ask, just believe." Tue 06 Oct 2009 17:38:39 GMT+1 threnodio 62 - benagyerek I believe the Irish constitution sets out that any proposal which affects the constitution requires a referendum. The Belfast Agreement of 1998 and the Divorce Law of 1995, neither of which related to the EU required referenda. On the other hand, enlargement of the Union does not require a constitutional amendment, hence no need for referenda. Tue 06 Oct 2009 17:38:25 GMT+1 Justdonotbelieveit Re: Irish Referendum:Returning Officers apparently objected to other breaches of procedure; instead of security delivering the ballot boxes to polling stations at 7:00 am on the day of the election, they were delivered to Returning Officers homes, 48hrs prior to the Referendum.Notice how the Irish were being browbeaten in the run-up to the event.Take hard look at the beast we are dealing with. They WILL NOT take no for an answer! Tue 06 Oct 2009 17:37:45 GMT+1 U14163761 Being German I always wondered why so many British dont want to accept an obvious geographical reality: Though being an island, Britain is by all means still a part of Europe. But British, when talking about EUROPE do mean the continental European countries, not the UK. The Uk is the UK but its not EUROPE.And of course I never understood what should be wrong with the EURO or with SCHENGEN. For my business as well for my travels that euro is the most wonderful thing. And as for Schengen, what a relief those border posts are finally gone and hopefully for good.But it seems as if introducing the euro and schengen to Britain to many Tory members is like re-instating the Roman Pope as head of the Anglican Church.From a continental point of view, it looks as if many, if not the majority of Britains are deeply unhappy about their EU membership and have only accepted it for some material gains, but never by heart and by really wanting it. For that reason they seem to block constantly any changes, whatever their nature.Now it is true that the UK is the European country where freemdon and democracy have ruled longest and best, even when looking at Switzerland for that purpose. Such Britain could inject into the EU its formidable experience and traditions. But unfortuntely it does not so, but just seems to be happy to say "NO". And now with a new Tory government may be ahead, with the Tories happy to sit together in Strasbourg not with German or french Conservatives but with neo faschists and worse like minority parties it looks as if they finally need to come up with a simple choice:Do you want Britain to stay in the EU: Yes or No.Indeed the ratified Lisbon treaty for the first time has provisions of how a member country can leave the EU.I dont think the world will stop if the UK becomes something like what is Switzerland or Norway now to the EU. But the UK would be left out in a very discomforting way of many matters European.And it would be a great loss for democracy in the EU. A EU democracy which is still very much structured much upon the "State rules all" principle of the French revolution and would direly need much more DIRECT active and passionate involvment of citizens in what they want or do not want. We certainly need much mor of Swiss direct democracy in most continental countries. Tue 06 Oct 2009 17:03:35 GMT+1 Benefactor #61 Justdonotbelieveit wrote:"It seems there were anomalies with how ballot boxes were treated in the Irish referendum (on top of all the other propaganda and liberty taking)."What on earth is a grainy video of people entering and leaving a building with ballot boxes supposed to prove? If the guy had run away with a ballot box uncontested that would be proof of shoddy security. But that's still not any proof of vote rigging.The fact of the matter is that he doesn't know, the area could have been crawling with Police, round the corner, in plain clothes, upstairs. You may not have noticed but Ireland is a first world democracy, I'm not saying that it's impossible votes where rigged, but every opinion poll leading up to the election as well? Just incredibly unlikely then. Tue 06 Oct 2009 17:03:14 GMT+1 buckeridge @ 62. benagyerekThe Irish referendum rule comes from the Crotty v An Taoiseach decision in 1987 which ruled that any EU Treaty that substantially alters the character of the Union must be approved by a constitutional amendment. By contrast, the Tories talk about a "transfer of power" which has potentially a far wider scope.@ 49. gavin_humph"The reality is that the EU need us much more than we need them and think of the money saved by non contribution to the EU coffers."The reality is that both the UK and the EU would survive without one another, but both do better working together. The EU without the UK would regroup and continue as before, with the UK's place as one of the "four big states" being (eventually) taken by Turkey. The UK would save £6bn membership fees (enough for about 60 odd miles of motorway), but its £140bn worth of exports would be hit by the EU's external tariff. Tue 06 Oct 2009 17:02:13 GMT+1 Markasol It is amazing that the current financial crisis has not seen a clamour for the UK to enter the Euro, given that the pound is sinking like a stone as the markets coldly assess the disastrous economic handling of the country by Labour. The pound could easily sink below parity, particularly when the Euroland recovers led by Germany, much stronger than any likely recovery in the UK hampered by the debt racked up by government overspending. Joining Schengen would make sense too - holidaymakers and other travellers are put to just so much unbelievable hassle when travelling to and from the UK, while you can travel between Spain and Germany like you can between Texas and New York - the border controls haven't stopped the floods of illegal immigrants either, but of course they do provide jobs for a bunch of bureaucrats!The Tories should go for the big one - the debate on being in or out of the EU - because that's what all these niggles about minor matters like Lisbon are all about - these people want out of the EU and will act as a cloying limpet ensuring the UK punches below its weight until the issue is addressed. Then the government should come out strongly with the real facts of the matter and not the tabloid nonsense people have been fed for years.As to Obama calling the French the USA's oldest allies - that was a simple statement of fact. The USA would not be independent had it not been for the French navy momentarily depriving the British of control of the seas and the pressure their forces put on us in other areas (Gibraltar, India) that the UK government saw as more vital than those troublesome colonies. Britain and the USA were still seen as more likely to fight than be allies until the second half of the nineteenth century, the USA had a real fear they would invade the north from Canada during the Civil War. That Britain is the USA's oldest ally is just one more of the many lies the unthinking have been fed by the media over the years, many more concern the EU! Tue 06 Oct 2009 15:43:10 GMT+1 bena gyerek @ 47. ravenseftis it right that ireland would need a referendum on croatian accession? wikipedia tells me that ireland's vote on lisbon was necessitated by a 1987 supreme court decision covering all european treaties that amend the irish constitution. since then, we have had new members join the eu in 1990, 1995, 2004 and 2007. but i cannot find any reference to a constitutional amendment or referendum in ireland related to these expansions. Tue 06 Oct 2009 15:35:24 GMT+1 Justdonotbelieveit It seems there were anomalies with how ballot boxes were treated in the Irish referendum (on top of all the other propaganda and liberty taking). Tue 06 Oct 2009 15:09:06 GMT+1 buckeridge @ 47. benagyerek,Croatia's accession looks in any event likely to be delayed according to the Tories' manifesto promises: as is the case in Ireland, they want a referendum on every agreement which 'transfers more power' to the EU. This would catch every new treaty, including accession and association agreements. Tue 06 Oct 2009 14:51:17 GMT+1 bena gyerek justdonotbelieveit @ 31: "You witness an individual's sovereignty when he claims it back again -- refusing consent to be governed by the traitors, and entering into lawful rebellion."this reminds me of the constitution of poland during the 18th century, which actually enshrined the legal right of polish citizens (aka the nobility) to rebel against the king if they disagreed with his election. rather predictably, it led to continual civil war, with different factions supporting different candidates for king. this was then exploited by foreign powers (russia, prussia and austria) who eventually carved up the whole of poland between them, such that by 1795 poland ceased to exist. so much for polish sovereignty!so what is your view on eta and the ira? Tue 06 Oct 2009 14:25:47 GMT+1 Isenhorn Marcus,How kind of you to compare the 'eurosceptics' to the loonies from the Japanese Imperial Army who thought they can still fight 'the yankee devils', long after they have been defeated morally and military! But I have a sneaking suspicion that this is not what you intended when you started your post ;-) Tue 06 Oct 2009 14:15:41 GMT+1 JorgeG "Then there is the role of the business community and the City. I have no idea which side they would back in a referendum."Well, I would say two things Mr Hewitt: 1. If you have *no idea* you should start working hard pronto to find out and report back on this blog. I would say this would be a fair use of our BBC tax.2. In a way, the fact that Mr Hewitt – or anybody else in the media- has no idea of whether the business community favours the Lisbon Treaty or not or of whether they favour the Euro and Schengen or not - and not in an anecdotal way but in a statistically robust way - speaks volumes about the little interest of the media in the real issues surrounding the UK's relationship with the EU. After all, the media is constantly splitting hairs about voting intention opinion polls (here or in the US) but do not bother to measure the (real) opinion of business about important issues such as the LT and the opt-outs from the Euro and Schengen.Well, at least the fact that the BBC has an Euroblog is a start. Tue 06 Oct 2009 14:10:36 GMT+1 Justdonotbelieveit For nearly 1000 years we successfully fought for the right to govern ourselves. We are going to let a small bunch of thieves and traitors sell us out?The divine right of kings was an intolerable doctrine. Who accepts the divine right of Parliament? It doesn't exist! Tue 06 Oct 2009 13:47:10 GMT+1 MarcusAureliusII All this talk about how the so called "euroskeptics" will somehow reverse the tide of history that has swept over Btitain reminds me of the fact that long after the leaders of imperial Japan signed the instrument of surrender, individual holdouts in remote islands would occasionally be found out in their caves, their rusty old weapons of no value in their determination to still defeat the Yankee devils. The world and Japan had moved on. As the years roll by and a new generation grows up with the Imperial European Government as the only reality it knows and readily accepts, those who remember when Britain was once an independnt country will age, lose both numbers and the sharpness to their resistance, and will come to accept the new reality as a fact of life that cannot be changed. For better or worse, Britain has cast its lot with the EU superstate. Now all that's left for individuals is to decide is to adapt to it or leave. Tue 06 Oct 2009 13:15:38 GMT+1 Chris My take on this would be that they should say that they will have a referendum if it isn't ratified (as they have done) and say that they will be forced to accept it if it is. That puts the blame squarely at Labour's door if they fail to hold a referendum.They could go further and say, as you suggested, that they will open the door to a "redefinition" and that could include the option to leave the EU in whole or in part. Another possibility to explore there is to become part of a trading group including the US and Japan, although that would make us small fry in that pond.Leaving the question hanging is not a good strategy in my view, they should up the pressure on Labour not to allow it to be ratified without the peopel having their say. If labour acquiesce, it was the Tories taht forced it for the people, if tehy don't... it's Labour's fault that alowed it to be ratified and denied the Tories the chance to allow the people to have their say. Win-win. Tue 06 Oct 2009 12:36:37 GMT+1 Isenhorn #49Gavin,If the Lisbon treaty is a done deal by the time the Tories take office, then a referendum will not be easier. Forget about the 'in or out of EU' question. This is just wishful thinking, put forward by the Sun, Daily Mail and the likes, which the Tories have so far tolerated as it suited their agenda. You will see that as the pressure rises to come out clean, David Cameron would say the the Conservatives never meant a referendum on the membership of Britain in the EU, but merely a vote on the Lisbon treaty. The Tories will not be that stupid to call a referendum on whether Britain should stay or leave the EU, knowing full well what the result will be. The point is, the Tories do not want to leave the EU. They do not want to leave the union and loose any chance of participating in the decision making processes of a major world player. Especially at a time, when there is a new US president, whose new policies do not exactly safeguard the 'special relationship' between the USA and Britain. Just remember who President Obama called 'our oldest ally' some weeks ago and you will understand why Britain will never leave the EU. Especially during David Cameron's turn in office. There will be the usual frothing at the mouth for a few months, then as the general elections draw near and the prospect of winning them becomes clearer, Mr Cameron will gradually start clarifying what he actually means by a referendum, and why Britain should stay in, istead of out. Tue 06 Oct 2009 12:27:19 GMT+1 JorgeG @ 45 Jukka_Rohila "Of course, this maybe too little inventive for David, but then again, Amsterdam is only an hour away from London so maybe he and the Tory leadership should make an innovation tour to Netherlands."Well, more like two hours if you add the queues at passport controls due to the fact that the UK is the only EU country that has refused to join Schengen. I wonder if this is what is meant by a two-speed Europe. Do they mean one speed for 26 EU countries and another one for Little England?In any case, I don't think any number of trips to Amsterdam will make the current Tory leadership to change their position on the Euro and Schengen. Those positions are dogmatic, almost fundamentalist, and are based on two dogmas: 1. A quasi fundamentalist concept of British sovereignty (yes, the one that they now leave in the hands of a loose cannon in Eastern Europe) which means that if they (the Tories) and the rest of Little England think that they are now part of a superstate, how on earth would they even contemplate joining the Euro and Schengen, the two quasi-federalist pillars of the EU par excellence.2. An obsessive compulsive paranoia about frontiers, in turn fed by an obsessive anti-immigration paranoia. This was summed pretty well by one Tory ex MEP, supposedly a dissident: "It is high time this British paranoia about frontiers had a common-sense revolution and we worked with our neighbours towards a large secure area of freedom rather than a big brother-controlled internment island." mention the benefits for business of joining the Euro and SchengenIt is most interesting that HMG was defeated when they were hell-bent on demolishing the CTA between Britain and Ireland. It seems that all opposition parties, including the Tories, highlighted that this would be bad for business. And this is an extract from the document "STRENGTHENING THE COMMON TRAVEL AREA. GOVERNMENT RESPONSE TO THE PUBLIC CONSULTATION, 15 January 2009""How do you think the introduction of border controls [between the UK and Ireland] would impact on the tourism industry?""The responses were mixed to this question but a greater number believed the impact would be negative rather than neutral. (… ) In addition to inconvenience caused by potential delays, the quality of the welcome visitors would receive was also raised: the greater the burden of checks and delays, the less friendly the UK appeared and the less attractive a location it would be to visit would be negative rather than neutral. (…) Another further cost highlighted was the potential reputational damage caused to the UK's image as an attractive destination if long queues and disruption to services occurred."So, in short, border controls between the UK and a neighbouring country of 4m people would be bad for business, but border controls between the UK and 25+ neighbouring countries of an aggregate population of 500m (which have no border controls between themselves and form, together with the UK, the single market) are fine. This is the view of the world from the high tower of Little England. An interesting reading from a (assumedly) citizen of England who seems not to participate in the revelation of the 'dogma':'Making Britain more like North Korea' Tue 06 Oct 2009 12:11:05 GMT+1 ATNotts The position of Cameron and his cronies on the EU is the chief reason why I am very hesitant about voting tory next year. They simply don't realise how being a full member of the EU is to Britain and British industry. Behind the rhetoric of a Lisbon referendum is the real story, many tories, both in and out of westminster want out of the EU.If they want to create unemployment, let them go ahead and do so, but I for one won't be party to such reckless vandalism.Jukka Rohilla (comment 45) is absolutely right regarding the effect on the UK of being outside Schengen and the Euro. With sterling so low against the euro the UK should be swarming with european tourists. It isn't, and thats because there are two big barriers that making coming to UK difficult. One, changing money, which costs the visitor, just as it does UK tourists travelling the other way, and UK immigration which with all the passport checks, queues and the like is becoming a bigger pain in the rectum every time I arrive back in UK.The other, probably more important effect of being outside the eurozone is that most of what we consume is imported, largely because a previous PM (Thatcher if I recall correctly) couldn't see the point of manufacturing industry and thought the UK could survive on financial services and retail. The result is that the cost of all goods purchased in the eurozome is now 15% higher than 12 months ago is sterling terms, that is stoking inflation, whilst the UK isn't gaining from the low pound from an export perspective as we don't make anything anymore!My fear is that a full blown financial crisis, a la the 1960 or 1970s could find the UK bounced into the euro at a very low rate (say 1:1) which would be really bad in the short term. Tue 06 Oct 2009 12:07:57 GMT+1 Benefactor #46 Jaws"Whatever happens the tories will start taking powers back from the EU so thats a good start which is better in there hands are our nations hands.Whats LABOUR done signed away more powers and to make things worse President Blair of Europe he could not run the UK but then again the EU is currrently run by a bunch or muppets he would fit in. What the tories should do is call a referendrum on letting the EU Predident having no influence over the UK in any way."The President of the EU Council doesn't have any influence over the UK, It's a figurehead position, he will basically function as a Chairman. Organizing meetings, handing out memo's. Pretty trivial stuff. When he does come out and announce policy it will be because the elected heads of state have agreed on something together.... and Tony Blair is NOT guaranteed to get the job, he hasn't even said he wants it. "I wonder if the founding farthers of the EU were ex members of the nazi party and knew they could not control it by force but could do it over a few generations by slowly pooling control from the goverments.hmmmmmThey are bent as a 10 bob note"That's stupid, really really stupid. But you know what, you can find out yourself you know. You blatently have access to the Internet, why not use it to find out the history of the EU's founding fathers. Tue 06 Oct 2009 12:07:27 GMT+1 GavinH Cameron's current strategy on Europe is the right one.If the Poles and Czech's have not ratified the treaty by the time he get into Downing Street then he has an immediate referendum-that my intuition says he would win hansomely.If it's all done and dusted and President Blair is in place a referendum in many ways is easier as the question will be "in" or "out" of the EU.Mark my words,as soon as this referendum was declared,concessions by the bucket load would flow across from Brussel to persuade the British people to vote to stay in.The reality is that the EU need us much more than we need them and think of the money saved by non contribution to the EU coffers. Tue 06 Oct 2009 11:47:58 GMT+1 Prof John Locke I am not sure what the problem is...surely the EU will ask the Irish to "vote again" as they did last time, and the Irish will see the error of their ways and vote no..end of lisbon treaty......! Tue 06 Oct 2009 11:24:01 GMT+1 bena gyerek i think cameron has two options:1) cautious option: negotiate with the eu for certain uk opt outs (social / employment policy) that can be appended to the next treaty (presumably croatian accession). i think our eu partners will be happy to give opt outs (as they keep the uk marginalised in europe), though they will definitely come at a price (higher uk net contribution to eu budget, limits on uk govt access to eu-wide schemes (such as currently is the case with the schengen info system) and/or limits on uk citizens' rights in the rest of the eu). a referendum could be held either (i) opinion poll style to get a mandate prior to negotiation, and/or (ii) referendum-style on the opt-outs after they have been negotiated. i think it very likely cameron will choose this option. however, it does have negatives, namely: (a) as negotiations drag on and the costs to the uk become clearer, the public could lose patience, and (b) it leads to further long-term marginalisation of the uk in europe, which is not something any uk govt would much like.2) ballsy option: cameron could come out with explicit specific criticisms of the eu and lisbon treaty (more explicit limits on eu's competences, direct democratic accountability of the eu executive) and launch a campaign with other eurosceptic govts / parties in the eu for a new treaty. this would enable him to take on the role of "champion of democracy in europe" but without necessarily incurring much practical cost. the line would be: "lisbon is a fait accompli, a referendum is therefore redundant, but we still hate lisbon because of xyz and will not rest until these issues are addressed." barking a lot would make for good front page news on the sun and mail, but without necessarily upsetting other eu govts. if he correctly catches the mood of the wider european public, this strategy could pay huge dividends, as other eu govts are forced to concede the strength of cameron's argument. however, if his appeal is ignored by voters (and therefore govts) across the channel, then he runs the risk that he may be forced by his party to bite as well as bark - i.e. by blocking eu initiatives (croatian accession, new financial regulations, etc). at this point the practical costs obviously become much more painful, as per gavin's thing i really don't see as a realistic option is holding a referendum on leaving the eu altogether. that really would tear up the tories' recently discovered unity on europe. it is also not something any sensible government would actually want to risk happening (no matter what the polls may say). in this respect, marcus' comments about business uncertainty are absolutely spot on. Tue 06 Oct 2009 10:53:45 GMT+1 chris smith Whatever happens the tories will start taking powers back from the EU so thats a good start which is better in there hands are our nations hands.Whats LABOUR done signed away more powers and to make things worse President Blair of Europe he could not run the UK but then again the EU is currrently run by a bunch or muppets he would fit in. What the tories should do is call a referendrum on letting the EU Predident having no influence over the UK in any way. I wonder if the founding farthers of the EU were ex members of the nazi party and knew they could not control it by force but could do it over a few generations by slowly pooling control from the goverments.hmmmmm They are bent as a 10 bob note Tue 06 Oct 2009 10:51:57 GMT+1 Jukka Rohila To JorgeG1 (42)::DNecessity is the mother of all inventions. If British industries and the financial sector see and agree that being outside the Euro and being outside the Schengen actually hurts them, and hurts them enough, then there is need to make joining to Euro and Schengen happen. There have already been many voices from both the heads of industrial companies, Rolls-Royce (not the car company) for example, and from the City, to join the Eurozone, I would speculate that this is just an tip of an iceberg.The problem to this day has been that the parliament and ruling cabinets have been too afraid to make a decision, because the British public has largely been swayed by the tabloid press to see anything European as bad. However as both the EU and especially Euro have fared so well in the financial and economic crisis, even the yellow press can't turn that fact into something else. In essence the time is right, the facts behind the pro-side, by having a referendum now, and having a media blitz financed and organized by British businesses, I would say that it is possible to convince the British public, in a year or max two, that for Britain joining the Euro and Schengen are beneficial or at least only possibilities.Of course my view is little bit muddled as I come from a small country where everybody knows everybody. For example in 1991, it would have been unheard of us joining the EC, but thanks for complete media storm organized by leading industries, leading press houses, leading academics and leading politicians the country in 1994 voted Yes to join EU. I should also note that the coalition government ruling center-party became split by the issue, where its senior leadership was for the membership and most of its ordinary members and voters against it. Now is Britain enough small to make this happen is another question.Besides David Cameron actually doesn't loose anything by having a referendum and then going onto lead the pro-Euro camp: he would have fulfilled his campaign promise on having a referendum, and if he plays it right, the actual result of the vote doesn't concern him or his cabinet at all. I would say that at least in here, fulfilling a campaign promise and then going to say that necessity demands turning the boat would only bring more political points and capital to him.Of course, this maybe too little inventive for David, but then again, Amsterdam is only an hour away from London so maybe he and the Tory leadership should make an innovation tour to Netherlands.To Mathiasen (43):Short of yes, short of no. Both Schengen and Euro in their nature are static, there is nothing to negotiate about them, a country is either in or out. In case of Euro, all member states except Denmark and UK have an obligatory to join the Euro including Sweden, in essence I wouldn't count Euro as an example of two speed EU as the all except opt-out countries are going to join it either sooner or later.In my opinion, a two speed Europe would mean having two dynamic structures that are changing constantly their rules and regulations, that we do not have at least in bi-directional matter: the EEA and Swiss arrangement are little more than modern versions of an arrangement of an protectorate.However, as you say it, two speed or tempo Europe is the headache of those who want it. Tue 06 Oct 2009 10:18:26 GMT+1 Carnavas99 All this debate about Lisbon is daft. It's just cheap populism with no regard for the facts. Lisbon has just become a totem for the Little Englander faction. If you look at the facts, Lisbon is better for democracy and national parliaments than the current Treaty. The Tories must be mad tearing themselves apart over this... Tue 06 Oct 2009 09:53:22 GMT+1 Mathiasen #39, Jukka_RohilaWell, based on subjects like the Schengen agreement and the Euro in the first place it is my understanding that we already have a union in different tempos.In the second place I can add that after the Irish referendum, which most probably will lead to the implementation of the Lisbon treaty, the Danes are now facing new referendums in their country in order to remove reservations they have for instance on the military field. Moreover, neither Denmark nor Sweden are using the Euro as you will know.To sum it up the many reservations, rebates, and rebates on rebates are the structure of a union in different tempos, and I personally hold an enlargement of this structure for more likely than a British exit, if a Tory government turns up in Bruxelles with a new list of wishes. But actually: It is not on the European agenda, and I think we can leave the headache to the Tories. Tue 06 Oct 2009 09:41:02 GMT+1 JorgeG @ 7. Jukka_Rohila "For example the Tories could set up a referendum on where there would be three choices 1) total withdrawal from the EU, 2) staying inside the EU as it is, and 3) staying inside the EU and joining the Euro and Schengen."You are absolutely right, but unfortunately Finnish common sense is not that common here or anywhere else for that matter.Why the UK public school clique who populates the three major parties is so scared of calling such a referendum speaks volumes about how little British sovereignty – the one that is being obliterated by the 'EUSSR' after 1000 years of history of Britain as a proud and independent nation - means in practice. The Oxbridge clique is scared to bits to call upon or exercise that sovereignty.On the other hand, while it is obvious that Option 2) would prevail, this wouldn't so much settle the issue once and for all, it would just delay the day of reckoning. For in ten or fifteen years time, virtually the whole of the EU will actually be in the Eurozone and Schengen. Britain, de facto, will become a marginal associate member, with little involvement or influence in the key EU policy areas, i.e. the ones related to economic and monetary affairs and borders, asylum and immigration."I would also add that by having a referendum, the Tories could use it to manage to convince British public to join the Euro and Schengen."Now Jukka, tell us what you are you smoking because it must be blooming good! How on earth would the Tories want or manage to convince British public to join the Euro and Schengen. That would be like the pope trying to convert his cardinals to Protestantism. Tue 06 Oct 2009 09:36:59 GMT+1 britishandeuropean What an exaggerated debate! Sovereignty, Oath of Allegiance, Magna Carta, identity, independence apparently all at stake.... from a treaty that 27 sovereign nation states, who want to keep their identities, have signed. A treaty which ... (wow!)changes the term of office of the President of the meetings of 27 Prime Ministers from 6 months to 30 months, gives extra powers to elected parliamentarians (both MPs and MEPs) to vet and block EU decisions, requires the EU to repect fundamental rights, merges the two (confusing and overlapping) existing external representation posts into one, and guarantees that the Union will never be a centralised super-state, because it lays down in law:(1) the obligation on the Union to "respect the equality of member states before the treaties as well as their national identities inherent in their fundamental structures, political and constitutional";(2) the principle of conferred powers (whereby the Union has only those competencies bestowed on it by the member states);(3)the principle of subsidiarity and proportionality, limiting EU action to the minimum necessary to achieve the objectives agreed by member states;(4) the participation of member states themselves in the decision taking system of the Union, as all legislation requires the approval of national ministers in the Council;(5) that there can be no increase or change to the competences and powers of the Union without the agreement of every member state;Some threat!! Tue 06 Oct 2009 09:34:01 GMT+1 JohaMe The Tories moved themselves in an extremely difficult position in their hunt for the populist vote, but as Labour moved themselves in an almost impossible position, they'll probably get away with it. Tue 06 Oct 2009 08:56:03 GMT+1 Jukka Rohila To Mathiasen (33):I don't think that there is any room now to start new negotiations on having a two speed Europe. As Lisbon Treaty has been accepted, the will of the member states mostly now is to get on with it. If Britain would want out of it, or would want to re-negotiate its membership terms, I don't think that other member countries would give it any other chance than stay in or go out.Anyway, even if UK would go out, there is still the EEA where Britain could take part to the single market, but wouldn't have any say to the inner workings of the EU. The other option would be the cut-throat agreement that the Swiss negotiated. In any sense, if UK wouldn't stay in, I don't see any possibility it to cherry pick parts it like and parts it don't like. In all relations there is a price to be for gains. Seraphim85 (35):You would of course count all who favor staying inside the EU, be their vote either on just staying as it is, or staying and joining to Euro as one vote for being inside the EU. Of course the vote could of A or B and if B then do you vote for C, but anyways you get the point.To threnodio (34):My understanding is that Britain would more or less automatically get the EEA deal by joining the EFTA. I really don't think that making this would cause any anger in Europe, it is a fair deal, EFTA countries can participate to single market without any say on the legislation and they pay a price for doing this. For example Norway now pays about 1100 million euros in 5 year term for its membership in the EEA, for Britain that with simple math would mean 10 billion euros in 5 year term, a reduction of approx. 40 billion to what is it now.Of course I should make a note that the British EU finances comes from Open Europe and this figures, like I have in past said, don't tell the actual truth of the matter. In essence, the EU contributions are likely smaller than they in these figures are for various reasons. actually bring another point, the Tory government would have to publicize a real and valid estimate, and calculations behind them, to the people if they would want to make a honest referendum with all the facts. For example, 10 billions vs 50 billions could make one vote for leaving, but 10 billion vs 30 billion could make one say that having a voice in the EU is worth it.To jaws1912 (8):Are you really really sure that the Tories are anti-EU and not pro-EU? They have always been quite much on reforming the EU and less about getting out. I would also add that it doesn't anything than a coup d'etat for them going 180 degrees. That is politics you know. Tue 06 Oct 2009 08:36:21 GMT+1 RCalvo threnodio@37:All right... all right... but apart from better sanitation and medicine and education and irrigation and public health and roads and a freshwater system and baths and public order... what have the Romans done for us? (with my respects to Monty Python) Tue 06 Oct 2009 08:22:40 GMT+1 threnodio #36 - IsenhornYes but isn't it interesting how far back in history the gainsayers will go in search of their 'sceptred isle'? Personally, I blame the Romans. Britain must have been great before all those nasty Italians turned up with their roads, central heating, chiani and pasta. Tue 06 Oct 2009 07:58:15 GMT+1 Isenhorn 29. At 03:40am on 06 Oct 2009, Justdonotbelieveit wrote:'there is precedent in 1366 when Edward III refused to honour an agreement made by King John to the Pope.'*****************************************************Great! That is exactly what we need now- shaping British politics towards the EU against the example set by Edward III. Would you care to explain how exactly he helped Britain, apart from starting what is now called the Hundred Years War, one of the most destructive wars in history? A great example for all of us, indeed!PS. Your next sentence is also very enlightening. '...I guess it would vex the Europeans somewhat -- well the arrogant elitists with their empire building programme at any rate; that wouldn't trouble me!'First bring in Edward III and then complain about empire-building?! Marvellous! Tue 06 Oct 2009 07:40:01 GMT+1 Seraphim Jukka:"For example the Tories could set up a referendum on where there would be three choices 1) total withdrawal from the EU, 2) staying inside the EU as it is, and 3) staying inside the EU and joining the Euro and Schengen. This would be taking a calculated risk, but then again, when people are catered two extremes and a one middle way that retain the status-quo, they take the middle option."I think you need to bare in mind that in such a poll all those in favour of the EU will effectively split up and those in favour of withdrawal have higher chances to be the majority as they don't.Chrisarta:"So what cultural entity will absurb Britain and which part of the UK are you worried most about?"He is not worried he is ranting ;-)Marcus:"I would not be surprised if it was not English but some variant of Esperanto which it will try to make a world language in hopes of becoming the seed of a world government. Adopting English would offend too many non English speaking people, at least that is what Brussels will say."Thank you for proving again how very limited your knowledge about the EU is. In many countries learning English starting in the first few years of elementary school is not optional but inevitable. So if any language ever becomes "the" language of Europe it'll probably be English. The only scenario in which I can see another language taking that spot is the total downfall of the US and thus English becoming far less important as it is today. Tue 06 Oct 2009 07:33:46 GMT+1 threnodio #22 - JustdonotbelieveitI do not understand whay you cannot accept the constitutional realities. 'The Queen in Parliament' means just that - the right to exercise her powers, which are theoretically extensive, are gifted in perpetuity to Parliament. Ergo Parliament, not the people, are sovereign. You write 'on the condition that she governs according to our laws and customs'. The sovereignty is one such 'law and custom' and by giving that undertaking in the coronation oath, she reinforces it. I tried to explain this in a previous thread and I see OldNat is meeting with the same brick wall here as I did then I am afraid you are just plain wrong.On the subject of what Cameron does next, I guess that it depends which he cares about most - the future prospects of Britain or those of the Tory party - but given that the Poles are almost certain to ratify during the coming weeks and the Czechs will most likely not play the delaying card, the only trick up Cameron's sleeve will be to block Croation accession which would be hugely devisive and cause great resentment. If Lisbon is in force come the election, there will be in place a mechanism for complete withdrawl. This may ultimately be the only question he can reasonably put and, whatever the outcome, the ongoing debate would be put to bed once and for all.What would, I think, be totally unacceptable is to take a wait and see approach. It may well be that Europe languishes way back at number ten on the electorate's list of priorities but this does not reflect it's true importance to the nation. The Tories have a clear duty to either to formulate and present a clear position before the election or concede a referendum not on Lisbon but on the whole question of continued membership. A word of warning on this though. It has been relatively simple for countries such as Norway, Switzerland and Iceland to negotiate their special arrangements from outside the EU. I seriously doubt that the Union would be so accomodating to a nation that withdrew then attempted to negotiate back in for just the bits that suited them. Tue 06 Oct 2009 07:23:03 GMT+1 Mathiasen To a certain extent one can understand why this blog is taking a one-eyed British look at the world. But only to a certain extent.I shall let the British conservative make up their mind as they wish to, and if the UK once in the future wants to debate its fundamental relation with the European Union, we shall say what our interests are at that moment.There are strong forces behind the maintaining of the cooperation, but it might be necessary to spread out the principle of a union in different tempos, that is the position between full membership and no membership.J. Mathiasen, Berlin Tue 06 Oct 2009 06:36:27 GMT+1 Reaper_of_Souls The talk of the "constitution" is an interesting one and may offer an option in relation to preventing the erosion of our national sovereignty.The question then is surely, what takes precedent, a constitution or a treaty with foreign powers.Common sense would suggest that, within the sovereign power its constitution would hold sway.Therefore even if Lisbon is imposed on us, it would seem that amendments to our constitution could dilute the EU's power over Britain.Perhaps a referendum to achieve this would be desirable.#23Interesting quotes in those oaths; I wonder of it can be shown that they have been breached by certain decisions, those decisions would be considered invalid.Unfortunately all such manoeuvrings would be dependent upon complex legal arguments and eventually come down to judges with their own opinions and loyalties.Most of us know we've been betrayed and ignored, but with our current political system, the question is what can we do about it.Its no wonder that Cameron is looking for options to untangle the mess if labour have succeeded in forcing us down this unpopular path; the problem is finding viable approaches without resorting to withdrawal.In many ways pushing Lisbon through and holding on to power as long as possible to try to make it a done deal, seems like another poisoned pill that labour are intending to leave along with the massive systematic deficit as part of the whole economic mess., Tue 06 Oct 2009 04:22:12 GMT+1 Justdonotbelieveit #30 oldnatThis ties in with MarcusAureliusII's comment made @ #24.You witness an individual's sovereignty when he claims it back again -- refusing consent to be governed by the traitors, and entering into lawful rebellion.To see information from people doing just that: visit 'The People's United Community' at Tue 06 Oct 2009 03:37:57 GMT+1