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Travel delays

Nick Robinson | 10:49 UK time, Thursday, 13 December 2007

You're not going to believe this - and many in Lisbon certainly won't.

I'm told that the plane carrying the foreign secretary to that EU signing ceremony has been delayed by 2 hours. Officials say that they remain confident he'll get there in time. Reminds one of that old headline: "Fog over Channel. Continent isolated."

UPDATE 11:10: I've just heard that David Miliband has made it to Lisbon in time to sign the EU Treaty. What I'd love to know was whether he was telling the pilot and his driver to hurry up because, "I've got a treaty to sign" - or telling them, "don't worry, que sera sera".


Today a man who has not been elected to the position of Prime Minister will sign a Treaty that the people of Britain do not want. He will skulk away from the cameras, and in some shady Portuguese corner he will put his traitorous mark upon a document that will steal Britain's sovereignty.

There is only one reason that Gordon Brown does not want us to have a referendum:

WE WILL VOTE NO. When Gordon Brown signs that Treaty today, he will be pushing his pen through the heart of democracy.

  • 2.
  • At 11:29 AM on 13 Dec 2007,
  • John Constable wrote:

David Miliband does come across as somebody a bit out of his depth.

But maybe that does not really matter any more because he is papably representing a political entity 'the so-called UK' that can no longer pretend to even punch its weight, let alone above it.

It is ever so slightly pathetic and a bit embarassing for this Englishman.

Still, we English can continue to play those 'mind games' and pretend that what the politicians do has nothing whatsoever to do with us.

If only that were true in reality.

  • 3.
  • At 12:06 PM on 13 Dec 2007,
  • David Simmons wrote:

Nick - you need to watch it - you seem to be catching cynicism from your 'posters'....

  • 4.
  • At 12:19 PM on 13 Dec 2007,
  • Charles E Hardwidge wrote:

David Miliband may look out of his depth but he's a clever man and learning. To some degree, I think, the worst side of the British can come out with someone who is perceived as being "too clever" or "too weak". This is the natural politics of a dull and wet country like Britain that's isolated from Continental Europe by a passage of water but quite regressive.

This is the politics of failed states, like Idi Amin's Uganda. Matthew Collins comments on this dumbed down attitude in his response to critics of his television series, This Civilisation. A lot of the opposition to Prime Minister Gordon Brown is a similar kind of procrastination which makes his focus on quality, society, and the long-haul even more relevant, necessary, and timely.

The reality I see is that Britain is out of its depth and politicians like David Miliband are leading the way to a new and better reality. This is quite the reverse to what the scattergun critics and populists would have people believe. Indeed, it's their own lack of understanding and sensitivity showing, and by persevering David Miliband et al will shrug off this projected lie and succeed.

  • 5.
  • At 01:10 PM on 13 Dec 2007,
  • Romanus Renatus wrote:

Are you after a job in central office or have you got one already? I really can't see how anybody can have faith in something like David Miliband! He's a cipher!

  • 6.
  • At 01:14 PM on 13 Dec 2007,
  • SeánMacGC wrote:

Gordon Brown, in my view, is a very weak and visionless PM, as demonstrated by his shameful shenanigans around the "will-he?"/"won't-he?" election; he is forever tainted by that episode, but that in itself was no more or less than a perfect measure of an inadequate man. His witless utterings on Afghanistan are down to that mark too.

Doubtless, he will adduce the Lisbon signing in the not too distant future as an example of his 'strength' -- despite the overwhelming unpopularity of this treaty (constitution), he "stood firm, and acted by his principles". Hmmm...

I hope that we Irish have the courage of our convictions when the time comes, and ignore the catcalls from the euro-wings from long since forgotten domestic politicians about being the 'laughing-stock' should we vote no, and do the whole of Europe a favour (as only we now can) and reject this wholesale, and thus far voluntary, abdication of sovereignty.

  • 7.
  • At 01:19 PM on 13 Dec 2007,
  • Justin wrote:

So when Sky News launched a scathing attack on David Miliband, accusing him of being a "gap-year Foreign Secretary" and making out that Britain was left until last because everybody thinks we're muppets etc, it transpires that it wasn't his fault.

David Miliband is an extremley intelligent man and a breath of fresh air. Far from being the moany picker of small holes that usually traipse around Westminster, Miliband always appears to have a very positive attitude and is very well educated. One day he will make an excellent Prime Minister.

He is certainly not "out of his depth" having been an adviser to Tony Blair for many years.

The fact is Gordon Brown would have come under attack whatever he had done. It's completley unfair. The Tories are moaning that he wasn't there to sign the treaty in person yet they didn;t want to sign it at all - total political opportunism. Bah! Humbug!

  • 8.
  • At 02:23 PM on 13 Dec 2007,
  • Jeremy wrote:

Brown and Nu Labour…what a disaster. Scots deciding what happens in England, Brussels deciding what happens in the UK. Stealth taxed to the hilt, cheated over a referendum, lied to over Iraq, falling house prices, banking crisis, lost data, cheated policemen.
No courage, no scruples, no integrity, no skill, no wisdom…no hope.

  • 9.
  • At 03:41 PM on 13 Dec 2007,
  • John O'Brien wrote:

G. Brown is absolutely hopeless as PM.

He is causing gratuitous offence to our European allies; and marginalising the UK in Europe.

He displays neither manners nor judgement.

  • 10.
  • At 03:42 PM on 13 Dec 2007,
  • Romanus Renatus wrote:

Flippin'eck, now Justin's at it!

  • 11.
  • At 03:51 PM on 13 Dec 2007,
  • mog wrote:

Whether Brown is there or not, the constitution (lets call it what it is) is still being signed on Browns behalf. Pro or anti europe, the PM's McAvity behaviour on this, is nothing short of disgraceful. On a more positive note, New Labour must be well pleased that the likes of Charles Hardwick believe everything they say or print - astonishing given Labours untruths and record.

  • 12.
  • At 04:48 PM on 13 Dec 2007,
  • Malcolm wrote:

Can someone please supply me with some of the pills that Charles E Hardwidge is taking? His unfailing ability to see hope and merit in the darkest deeds and abilities of this government is an inspiration to us all, and so much nicer than dealing with reality.

  • 13.
  • At 08:20 PM on 13 Dec 2007,
  • Neil Small wrote:

At least Tony Blair looked and acted liked a PM, despite all the patronising spin. The tag given to Gordon Borwn of Mr Bean is an insult...... to Mr Bean!

The EU nonsense is going to come back and bite Labour on the backside. Maybe they are doing this since they realise they might be out of power for another 18 years. At least the EU might give them a job.

  • 14.
  • At 11:55 PM on 13 Dec 2007,
  • steve palmer wrote:

I can't remember the last time any one mentioned the EU treaty as being of importance to them. As an issue Europe is way down the list of people's concerns. And that is proobably as it should be; despite the rhetoric, the EU is little more than a trading block, and one that largely is of benefit to this Country. It is a good think that the EU has expanded to include most European Countries, but clearly rules that were designed for when the EU had 12 members need to be changed due to expansion.

  • 15.
  • At 12:25 AM on 14 Dec 2007,
  • ExPat wrote:

Miliband is a schoolboy.

He would sign up for anything he thought the big boys wanted.

Justin & Charles E Harwidge, you need to look closer.

Well, Gordon Brown certainly wasn't in a rush to get there but I suspect Miliband was a bit more worried about looking like a prat.

I find this whole issue about the signing of the treaty pathetic.

So, GB signs later than the others.


None of the other leaders will care a bit, and are far to grown up to be "insulted"

Ignore the comments of over paid spin doctors and their media friends.

There is a conspiracy between the BBC and Whining William Hague, I swear it!

  • 18.
  • At 12:24 PM on 14 Dec 2007,
  • Ufuoma wrote:

Charles E. Hardwidge and Justin, I totally agree with your comments. Finally people who are well discerning and able to read behind all the nonsense the jaundiced UK media spurt out about David Milliband.

  • 19.
  • At 03:25 PM on 14 Dec 2007,
  • Joss Sanglier wrote:

Daily Referendum wrote:

"Today a man who has not been elected to the position of Prime Minister will sign a Treaty that the people of Britain do not want."

Well, I am a person of Britain and I want the treaty. So you got that wrong.

In our system we do not elect Prime Ministers, we elect governing parties. So you got that wrong too. If, the Tories get in, David Cameron will be a Prime Minister that we did not elect. So you better object to him.

In response to Justin's comment above: Britain signed last as countries sign treaties in alphabetical order of country name in the original language. Miliband was signing for the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, and hence was the last to go forward - it's been like that for every other EU Treaty Britain has ever signed.

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