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Cameron keeps schtum on Lisbon

Nick Robinson | 12:23 UK time, Sunday, 4 October 2009

So what does the self-proclaimed "straight talking" guy say about one of the biggest foreign policy dilemma he's likely to face if he becomes prime minister?

Nothing. Nowt. Nix. Zippo. Zilch.

David Cameron's official explanation for not telling us what he'll do if the EU's Lisbon Treaty is law by the time he reaches office is that "you can only have one policy at a time". He adds that he doesn't want to do anything to "undermine or prejudice" the ratification proceedings in Poland and the Czech Republic.

The real explanation is that he is determined that his last conference before the election will not, to use his phrase, "obsess about Europe".

This is, however, a crucial test of how Cameron will weigh up principle and pragmatism.

A principled Euro-sceptic approach might argue that the British people deserve their say on Europe whatever has been decided elsewhere.

That is what Boris Johnson appeared to back yesterday before hastily getting his spokesman to brief that he was only calling for "an urgent opportunity for the British people to have a say on this treaty before it takes force".

A more pragmatic approach might reply that unpicking a law ratified by
27 nations would not only be nigh on impossible but also a serious distraction from what needs to be done to sort the economy out.

The signs are that Cameron is veering to the latter but would prefer to unveil what some in his party will see as a betrayal when they are not all gathered in one place.

Intriguingly, there are signs that some of the biggest Euro-sceptic cheerleaders in the Tory press may be coming round to this pragmatic position.

Yesterday, my colleagues at the BBC reported that Cameron's referendum pledge remained unchanged.

I joked with one senior Tory that the headline should have read "Betrayal postponed". He smiled before chastising me for my cynicism.

13:20GMT: Is the Czech in the post?

The Tory Chairman Eric Pickles has told the BBC that he is "confident" that the Czechs won't have ratified the Lisbon Treaty by the time of the next election and, therefore, that he's confident that his party will still be promising a referendum on the EU.

What does he know that we don't? Up until now it has been assumed that the Czechs will finish their ratification process in three to six months.

We do know that David Cameron has written a letter to his Euros-ceptic friend, the Czech President Vaclav Klaus, but we don't know what that letter said or what reply - formal or informal - he received. Perhaps Mr Pickles should tell us.


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  • Comment number 1.

    You don't honestly think he's going to give aid and comfort to the BBC and other lefties, do you?

  • Comment number 2.

    I've been spasmodically posting on this site for about 3 years, How long does it take to lose "new member" status?

  • Comment number 3.

    Thanks for letting us know, Nick.
    It's not just Gordon Brown hero-worship.
    But anti David Cameron as well.
    If I weren't too old I'd refuse to pay my licence fee.

  • Comment number 4.

    There are a number of issues coming to a head about the Tories - Europe, Hunting, Bullingdon Club, Latvians, and the Tories' Leader and Chairman being unable to give a straight answer to a simple question on the Andrew Marr and Politics show that I expect Osborne's mates in Sky news and the Sun would prefer were not issues around the party's conference. However, this is all shallow stuff - What will the Tories do to sort out the economy and unemployment ? - We are still lacking real policies. Unfortunately, Osborne prefers the shallow stuff in the news because it takes the pressure off his incompetence.

  • Comment number 5.

    There is no point being a good communicator if you do not communicate.

    If he is not unsure, muddled or plain dishonest then he should state his position. What is the point of voting for a person like this who demands answers from others but refuses to give them himself?

  • Comment number 6.

    Yes, but what can he say. He cannot pre-empt with a hypothetical answer to a hypothetical question. How does he know now the situation after an election next year which he might not even win. Andrew Marr, instead of pretending to not understand the answer, should have concentrated on Cameron's beliefs and where he stood on other issues, Afghanistan, education, health,green. He preferred, like with the PM last week and the "eyes" question, to ask trivia and irrelevancies like how much money he has: rather rich coming from an organisation which is spending my money to stop me knowing what you people earn.

  • Comment number 7.

    Ah, Nick, Nick, Nick.... you were doing sooooo well... This is one of the first blogs of yours I've read since the year dot where in my very humble opinion, you've called it exactly right and fair.

    And then you just had to throw this in... "I joked with one senior Tory that the headline should have read "Betrayal postponed". He smiled before chastising me for my cynicisim." Why did you think that was necessary? Correct me if I'm wrong, isnt the betrayal of an election pledge by New Labour on the EU Referendum a more significant betrayal compared to Cameron and his Eurosceptics, which (for as long as they are not in Government) has no impact on anyone? I'm happy to stand corrected if I'm wrong, but I dont recall you bloggin anything to that effect.

    Oh well. Small steps, eh?

  • Comment number 8.

    I don't see it as a big issue - having a retrospective vote that is. In one regard, having a vote after everything is sealed would be a waste of money and turnouts would be very low ('cos their vote will change nothing) and thus un-representative. However, there is so much anti feeling that it may help vent people's frustrations and would give the Conservatives a mandate for being tougher with the EU.

    However, were Blair to become EU president then I suspect the movement to pull out of the EU would gain massive momentum to the point of becoming a possibility.

  • Comment number 9.

    The real Cameron was clearly visible during the Andrew Marr interview.
    No straight answer to the biggest questions. He did not answer the key question concerning a referendum once the Lisbon Treaty has been ratified. No answer to the the other crucial question how he plans to make public spending cuts without increasing unemployment. The public relations man Cameron came clearly through, not a straight talking political leader. Spin and little substance was the overwhelming impression from Cameron, sadly. He could do better, but then would have to leave the ruthless side of Tory party behind, in which case he would face a serious challenge to his party leadership. Lord Ashcroft would make sure of that.

  • Comment number 10.

    I’ve just been reading about Dave’s plans for the Welfare State & think they are hilarious.

    Firstly, the unemployment rate is rising steadily & we don’t have the jobs for those who genuinely want them let alone those who don’t.

    The unemployment rate is a fiddle anyway since it doesn’t include those millions more who now make up the Incapacity benefit numbers.
    It also excludes all those young people who are now in full time education when, a few years ago they would have been in apprenticeships or other paid training schemes.
    There are also those who have savings who are not allowed to be counted as unemployed, but never the less have lost their jobs.
    Nearly forgot to mention about the many people who are classed as economically inactive IE they have given up looking for work at all.

    I hope that Dave has very deep pockets, because he will have to provide millions of places for training at this rate, & why bother to waste our cash if the work isn’t there to be had anyway.
    Ahh, but hang on a minute.

    This means that Dave will have to create (sic) thousands of jobs in private training & probably fiddle the unemployment figures by excluding those on training from the list.
    Maybe that will go a small way in replacing the many public service jobs that will go with cuts.

    Yes, I think Cameron will fill Brown’s shoes perfectly.

    Nice dodge over the personal wealth issue as well as the Lisbon Treaty issue on the Andrew Marr Show.
    Come to think of it; nice dodge over the extra unemployment due to cuts in services as well.

    If this is going to be the standard of reply we are going to get come the series of great debates, heaven help us.
    Now who’s dodging the issues?

  • Comment number 11.

    Cameron can never again accuse Brown of dithering, he himself is doing exactly the same on this issue.

    Forget your party Cameron, it's the British public that will decide your fate. If Cameron does not spell out referendum yes or no before the election then as a life long Tory voter my vote will go elsewhere, (UKIP).

  • Comment number 12.


    If the treaty is already law when they get in, what can they do about it under EU and UK law?

    Will our only option be to have a vote on staying in the EU or will we be able to opt out of the treaty or will we have to live with it?

  • Comment number 13.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 14.

    To quote Ed Balls "So What?"

    I challenge you Nick to stand on any street corner and ask every person that walks past, whether it be in Leicester square or a square in Leicester, "Could you give a damn about Europe?", and I can cast iron you will get the response to the tune of either no or whatever.

    Especially if you where to then ask if this is even in the top ten of their concerns or priorities for any government be it tory or Labour.

    Still, you sit there Nick in the Westminster Village bubble trying to drum up a more than quarter of a century old story of divisions within the tories on the eve of their conference, when nobody on earth outside westminster could give a stuff on this issue if you like, it is only our money you are being paid to do so hey, trebles all round.

  • Comment number 15.

    Agree up to a point Nick but I feel you are taking the New Labour line too close to heart, painting the Tories as a Party in disarray, divided once again on Europe.

    Sure, it's the first real test of the new PM-in waiting's leadership keeping a lid on a Eurosceptic backlash after the Irish were duped and blackmailed into a 'yes' vote . But it ain't over 'til the Czech Republic sings.

    Hague hasn't been exactly vague about his distaste for Blair as president of a new all powerful superstate.

    Cameron may be doing the referendum shuffle but at this stage he's not going to fall into the trap of lying and reneging over a referendum promise, like the other lot did.

    The sham of the 'politics of hope' evident in the Irish 'yes' vote, will take time to unravel into reality.

    Cameron has begun the process of telling voters what he stands for and where he stands. Hasn't he everything to gain by being realistic - and that includes Europe?

  • Comment number 16.

    Cameron knows he has to work with Europe, the treaty WILL be ratified and he won't try to change it ... in refusing to pretend he would, he's putting rationality and commonsense above playing to his soft head reactionary gallery, and that's fair enough

  • Comment number 17.

    Coming to something when our policies based on 'race against time' wether we are in Europe or not and the Conservatives get in we should have that referendum whether Brussels likes it or not and that we abide by our decision.

    If a no Vote were cast what exactly would Brussels do about it... and I can't understand why Blair for the presedency whays he been doing behind our backs?

  • Comment number 18.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 19.

    Now lets see now, for the reason I thought that we were am equal Member of the EEC was to allow everybody the same Rights across Europe to have a say, including Voting - Rights.

    But alas, we are forgetting here that we are British, and by being British we somehow always have to make up some excuses in Political circles as to just why it is that any Political Party either inside or outside Government again somehow always knows best what is good for its People without having to actually let the People decide for themselves in a Referendem.

    In this Case it is going to be the same Political-Fix Up as per-usual whereby the British People regardless of equality of Membership within an enlarged Europe will once again be denied any Rights to vote on the Lisbon Treaty.
    Or, put another way, the Rights of the British People too have a clear mandate to Vote one way or another on the Lisbon Treaty is NOT going to be given under any assurance by either the Labour, or Conservative Parties.

    We are therefore without question once again being treated as Second - Class Citizens, in a Second - Class Britain, at the hands of both the Labour and Conservative Parties.

  • Comment number 20.

    #16 - They haven't even published your comment yet but let me guess...

    "Toffs...Mortimax...Eton...only Brown can save the world...Tories eat babies...hidden evil plans to shut schools and make children build nuclear subs" etc etc etc

  • Comment number 21.

    So what does the self proclaimed "straight talking" guy say about one of the biggest foreign policy dilemma he's likely to face if he becomes prime minister?

    Nothing. Nowt. Nix. Zippo. Zilch.


    as the new Labour spin slogan goes 'DROOLING'

    The relish that you show here after being AWOL for the last week speaks volumes.

    You obviously feel that this should be his priority when he comes to power (or you are pushing the agenda drawn up by Mandy) to start unpicking the whole of the EU constitution.

    For me as a father of 3 I want him to do all he can to stop our economy following the path of Iceland and Ireland due to Browns destruction via lies an uncontrolled spending.

    It also appears that Brown fell out with most of the media last week due to their hard questioning of him.
    I note with some amusement that you were not one of them.

    Remember nick the Labour Party have after every term in power left the country with a cancerous rot in its economy we need the Tories to start and administer chemo so we can have some hope.

    If he gets the chance to give us the Labour and Lib Dem promised referendum he will. If it is ratified before he get the opportunity then he will cross that bridge when he comes to it.

    We had a PM telling us lies at the dispatch box of which there is now proof out in the public domain but you have been less strident on that than a hypothetical about what might happen if a treaty is ratified or not.

    Actually I find this quite encouraging if this is the only thing that you can come up with then there is very little to pick at.

  • Comment number 22.


    "So what does the self proclaimed "straight talking" guy say about one of the biggest foreign policy dilemma he's likely to face if he becomes prime minister?

    Nothing. Nowt. Nix. Zippo. Zilch."

    Well, when Brown became PM, (the guy who says he's always honest), and he decided to skulk off to sign up to the Lisbon Treaty after all the other leaders had left, he said "It's not the same document, so we didn't promise a referendum about it".

    Different name, for sure. 98% the same content according to many big-country EU leaders.

    So change the name of a body of law. Then say we didn't promise a referendum about something with a different name.

    I don't remember such a scathing posting from you at the time.

    (And, I'm sure we all remember that Brown "couldn't attend the Treaty signing ceremony because he agreed to meet a House of Commons Committee on the same day". Yeah. Did he ask whether the committee would have agreed to put back that session by 24 hours? Any proof? Don't think so. I bet he'd wished that nobody would have been allowed to film him signing the darned thing... And if the Commons is so important, why can't he honestly answer a question in the House at PMQs?)

    Not sure I much like young Dave. Just really fed up with the present incumbent and the legislating spouting consorts.

  • Comment number 23.

    Now who was it that promised a vote on the Constitution in his last manifesto? Your mate Gordon Brown.
    The Lisbon Treaty is the same thing in a different wrapper.

    Why is it that democracy is being denied in the United Kingdom and the rest of Europe and you seem in favour of it. Remember what happened to the last Union of European states the other side of the Iron Curtain.

  • Comment number 24.

    6. wadealong wrote:
    Yes, but what can he say. He cannot pre-empt with a hypothetical answer to a hypothetical question.


    He can answer it in a hypothetical way instead of dodging it.

    Cameron: Obviously I can’t guarantee I’ll be your next Prime Minister, but if I am, & the Czechs have not ratified the Treaty, then we will have a referendum in the UK.
    I’m sure you understand that my options are somewhat limited if the Czechs ratify the treaty while the incumbent UK Government are in power.

    As Bob Hoskins always used to say "It's good to talk".

  • Comment number 25.

    Having seen Cameron wriggle with Marr you can understand why Brown wants televised debates with him. Brown may often appear tongue-tied and the opposite of a smooth-talker, but he obviously thinks that a long debate would give him the chance to expose Cameron's lack of depth

  • Comment number 26.

    The country is GBP 200 billion in the red, there are 5 million unemployed and all the apparat can talk about is the Lisbon Treaty. Where are your priorities?

    The Tories can do absolutely nothing about the Lisbon Treaty as the Labour government under Gordon Brown has already ratified the treaty and Royal Consent as also been given. There is a faint possibility that the treaty might not be ratified by the EU until after the next election in the UK. In such an instance then the Tories have promised the British a referendum. Don't you think that between now and next summer the EU are going to be putting pressure on all governments to ratify before then? You are a political correspondent so be sensible, PERlease!

    The big issue in British politics is going to be the essential and necessary cuts in public expenditure: the first in sixty-two years. This is the story, this should be the focus as we are all going to have to live with the consequences of both the cuts if they happen or even the failure to cut and cut deep enough in a timely fashion.

    The need for these cuts is not because the Tories are mad axemen with an ideological wish to trample the poor, the halt and the lame under-foot, but a direct consequence of the complete and utter failure of New Labour as a rational and truthful political organisation.

    So kindly stop wittering about Europe, it is not the issue. The massive fiscal debt is the issue. We might even end up unable to afford the BBC, so focus please Nick.

  • Comment number 27.

    Am I the only person appalled at Andrew Marr's questioning of David Cameron on his show today.... I have always been a fan of this show but it looks increasingly as though AM is just trying to get 'soundbites' for the next news bulletin. He wouldn't give Cameron time to answer questions properly and as for asking him how much he's worth... what's that got to do with anything? What happened to having a mature debate, this was just aggressive and badgering. I'm disappointed at the way this show is now being handled and sadly won't bother watching again. I don't know if this is the right place for this comment but I can't find anywhere more suitable at the moment!

  • Comment number 28.

    Did Marr actually ask DC how much he is paid? Hmmm. Is Marr going to ask that twerp Blair if he becomes EU President? Is Marr going to ask the ghastly hypocrits the Lords Kinnock how much they earn?

    Marr is trying to redress the balance because of criticism thrown at him at his personal questioning of Brown about his health last week.

    Tit for tat, ping pong. Many a tear has to fall but it's all in the fame game.

    Good luck DC for the Conference. The country is routing for you.

  • Comment number 29.

    Surely it is not Cameron the media should be pursuing over a referendum on the Lisbon Treaty( EU constitution ), if the media had any modicum of impartiality and desire to further the cause of the democratic process they espouse,the question of referendum would be aimed at the Labour government of this country which is denying the people the right to a say on their future. Ireland, which has long portrayed itself as the great freedom fighters, and have throughout the twentieth century proclaimed their independence have now sold out for the promise of a few extra euros and accepted rule from Brussels and a British politician as possibly their overlord. Labour, meanwhile in it's pursuit of a European socialist super state promises a referendum, then tells blatant lies about the content of the treaty to deny the country any say in the process. Why does the media turn a blind eye to this? Is it because they fear the consequences of alienating Brown and his party of incompetence ?

  • Comment number 30.

    I have to say that were I Mr Cameron about to go to conference and singularly aware that the BBBC have an anti agenda ,I would tell the BBBC as little of my plans as possible.
    I cannot think of a good reason to trust the BBBC.

    I would be more than a little unwilling to display my hand to either Marr or Robinson and certainly distinctly unwilling to commit to any economic definites prior to seeing the state of UK PLCs books.

  • Comment number 31.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 32.

    If it's OK to ask Brown about his health then it's OK to ask Cameron about his wealth. Caledonian Comment

  • Comment number 33.

    Come on Cameron where are all the jobs these people are going to fill? I really will despair if this country votes in these morons. I am no means a Brown lover but, mark my words, the country will go down the tubes if this lot get in

  • Comment number 34.

    That was a devious and slippery performance by Cameron
    on the AM show.

    Answers to difficult questions were met with,
    "George will tell you on Tuesday"

    Bring back wee Willie Hague and Ken Clarke !!!

  • Comment number 35.


    "Having seen Cameron wriggle with Marr you can understand why Brown wants televised debates with him. Brown may often appear tongue-tied and the opposite of a smooth-talker, but he obviously thinks that a long debate would give him the chance to expose Cameron's lack of depth"

    And on this particular issue, perhaps Gordon Brown should show his "depth" by explaining why the Labour Party has failed to honour its election manifesto commitment on a referendum.

  • Comment number 36.

    The Sun have jumped ship too soon and have only contributed to heap the pressure onto David Cameron who can now only throw it away.

    Arguably Europe is the biggest political story our country faces over the next decade as the consequences of integration/isolation from the EU could be more catastrophic than any current economic crisis.

    Nick has obviously touched a nerve with the Conservatives on the blog and Labour should take note. The major weakness of the Tories is Europe and it is where they are most vulnerable.

    Any PM has to come up with the answers to solutions and the pressure is on our new "PM" to deliver the goods on the big issues. Thanks Nick for ensuring silence is not golden.

  • Comment number 37.

    28. At 3:16pm on 04 Oct 2009, flamepatricia wrote: "Good luck DC for the Conference. The country is routing for you."

    Objection; we're definitely not rooting for him up here.

  • Comment number 38.

    The Afghan war has taken a turn for the worse. Not only 8 US soldiers were killed by the Taleban, but a further two were killed and three injured when an Afghan policeman working with the soldiers turned round and statrted shooting.

    Yet, training up Afghans as soldiers and policemen is a major plank of the future as laid out by Brown and Obama. At the moment NATO troops view the Afghan forces with scepticism; after this I think it will be total distrust. The west of the country has been relatively peaceful, but Taleban infiltration has seen a surge in bombings and vioolence.

    If the west and NATO is to win there will have have to be a huge troop surge in numbers. That means Germany, France, Italy and the rest of the EU getting their collective finger out, and Canada to reverse its decision to pull their troops out.

    I see that General McChrystal is the first to articulate the fear of the Taleban acquiring some of Pakistan's nuclear arsenal. Previously these fears have been dampened down as scare stories. Perhaps NATO forces should move east to shore up Pakistan and give Afghanistan to the Talebs and Al Quaeda. I have no confidence in our political leaders in the US or the EU doing the right thing for our safety and or world peace.

  • Comment number 39.

    andy c555 @ 20

    They haven't even published your comment (@ 16) yet but let me guess ... Toffs ... Mortimax ... Eton ...

    feeling a bit silly now, are we Andrew?

  • Comment number 40.

    I am a floating voter and it really irritates me how 'point scoring' Nick Robinson, Jeremy Paxman and Andrew Marr's journalism has become.

    In the past, the BBC used to ask questions to politics that people wanted answers to and then let them provide answers so the public could actually hear them. Not any more:

    Take Andrew Marr this morning, he kept asking how many jobs would be lost by the Conservatives cutting front line services (fair question) but then when Cameron was responding, Andrew Marr kept jumping in and not letting him finish. It just gave me the impression that Andrew Marr is more bothered about being seen as a "hard" interviewer than actually assisting the public. He didn't allow him to respond properly as he kept butting in. (For what it's worth, the point I think Cameron was trying to make, and that Marr wouldn't let him make, was that if you don't cut the deficit you may save some jobs in the short run but the economy will be heading for implosion and you'll lose loads more in the long run so some short term pain is worth some long term gain. He didn't phrase it like that but that's what he was getting at. Terrible that Andrew Marr didn't let him.)

    Paxman has just turned into a caricature of himself. He pulls these ridiculous faces designed to put politicians off their answers and again, asks stupid questions that get off the point. I remember in the last election he harangued Charles Kenedy about the party's policy on goldfish not being sold at fairgrounds. Now anyone who follows politics realises that the Lib Dems used to vote on individual policies at conference and the Lib Dem leadership had a manifesto where the most important of these policies were included. Goldfish wasn't actually in their manifesto but Paxman saw a way to make himself look good scoring a point over a politician. How did that help the electorate. Of course it didn't. Utterly pathetic

    And now this article: Does Nick Robinson seriously think the Lisbon treaty is the most serious foreign policy Dilemma Cameron would face. We're fighting wars Nick!? Isn't that rather more important? Again, Nick tries to score a point as evidenced by the childish "Nothing. Nowt. Nix. Zippo. Zilch". Oh please. Are you a grown man? Is this an attempt to seem like a 'hard ocmmentator' Pathetic

    The BBC should try and hire people with smaller egos

  • Comment number 41.

    The questioning of politicians, notably the government has been robust to say the least; but that is the nature of things.

    Questioning of opposition parties near to a general election must be the same. People must know what they are voting for and not just what they are voting against. Cameron does not look so good when sincere answers are asked.

  • Comment number 42.

    Re:26 stanilic wrote;

    The country is GBP 200 billion in the red, there are 5 million unemployed and all the apparat can talk about is the Lisbon Treaty. Where are your priorities?

    Bread and Butter Issues !:- What, Bread and Butter Issues???

    Let remember that the "Only" thing that is really on the minds of all of those in both the Labour and Conservative Parties Camps in this now the Run-Up period to the next General Election in Priority Terms is: Whom has the overall ability to deliver the best Brain - Washing speeches, and the false charm to fool the British Public the best and most, too gain Political Power and Control over everybodies lifes in the First-Place which will be from now onwards right up to Polling - Day itself which is going to count first and foremost in how the timing and delivery of what appears to be any priorities unfolds.

    For look at the useless answers given by Eric Pickles on todays BBC's Politics Show where not only could he not answer any Questions relating to giving the British Public a Vote on the Lisbon Treaty, but neither did have any ideas as to what currently is Conservative Party Policy on this issue, other than suggesting that a Policy would be bought forward prior to the next General Election, or in other Words, we will think or have something to say about this issue once we can devise a Policy that no one can understand.

    Even, Call me "Dave" Cameron after all his running about doe's not have a clue in the World as to just how to reduce Unemployment, other than to suggest that they will Cut Public spending as well as State Benefits,[ Which is the easy option ], while at the same time "Privatising" Welfare to Work Programmes so as not to be responsible for the disaster that will follow in their wake, for lets face fact here because Politician simply won't admit it for just where on Earth doe's David Cameron or anybody else think for one moment that we will be able to find employment places either in the Public Sectors [ with their reduced Expenditures ], or the Private Sector with their Years of under investment, with Years of further Investment needed before they will be able to crank -up into full productivity, once they accustom themselves into knowing what Skills will be needed, and at what Industral level to produce Exports at a top level upon the World-Stage once again.

    This will take from now onwards Years and Years of Investment, and Training/Re-training before Britain as a Country will ever find itself in the Top-League of Nations once more with Incomes to match, for in the meantime, and for at lease the next 6 to 10 Years we simply don't have enought Employment places for everyone, and this can and will only get much more worse once we reduce Public Expenditure to pay off our National Debt's.

    Therefore, ordinary People today whom are just managing to get by, will find that if they pick either Labour or Conservatives at the next General Election, then they will be well and truly on the Road to Ruin, along with rising Unemployment, and any lack of REAL Job's for many in future Years to come.

  • Comment number 43.

    Cameron has to carry on riding two horses within the Conservative Party, i.e. the pro-EU (Ken Clark) wing and the anti-EU wing (the rest of them).

    So far, he is doing it very badly, as the Latvian SS episode gruesomely illustrates.

    Why associate the Euro MEP's of your party with the Euro equivalent of the BNP?

    That does not seem very sensible.

    Hopefully, another one of the biggest foreign policy dilemma's Cameron is likely to face if he becomes Prime Minister, will be the exit of Scotland from the so-called United Kingdom after November 2010.

    Which should really shake things up, such that we English hopefully end up with a majority political grouping in an English Government that has a rational and pragmatic relationship with our partners in the EU.

    IMHO, we English cannot continue to be semi-detached members of the EU and must participate fully or face a relatively unstable future.

  • Comment number 44.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 45.

    The real test will be whether the Press want to give him an easy ride or not.

    Our fickle, selfish press in this country are not about to treat each party equally if they can get away with being as one sided as possible.

    If they want to make his week difficult they will make sure Europe overshadows the conference.

    If they want him to have an easy week, they will leave it alone.

    The fact that this is REALLY important will have nothing to do with the decision making process.

  • Comment number 46.

    We do know that David Cameron has written a letter to his Eurosceptic friend the Czech President Vaclav Klaus but we don't know what that letter said or what reply - formal or informal - he received. Perhaps Mr Pickles should tell us.

    If that letter says "delay as long possible so we can trash this treaty," when all the other EU states have ratified and WANT this treaty, then that is pretty underhanded

    "Look at my face - I am as honest as you want
    Look behind my face - I am as devious as the rest"

  • Comment number 47.

    After the result of the Irish referendum, one in the UK is in some ways pointless. Except ....

    We have never been given the opportunity, because 'you know who' decided that it was a different issue than the one on which he had promised said referendum.

    OK - lets have a referendum. Simple question - do you/don't you agree with the federalist agenda that the EU is following (OK - you might have to put that in words of one syllable for the likes of some contributors to this site). Such a referendum would have no legal force, but at least it would show what people in the UK actually THINK about the issues.We have been denied a voice on that for too long.

  • Comment number 48.

    ***** So Nick Robinson why didn't you bother to ask Gordon Brown about HIS promise to hold a referendum then?******

    Please don't waffle that the Lisbon treaty isn't the same thing that a referendum was promised on, we're all far more intelligent than the BBC Newsroom or the Labour party fodder.

  • Comment number 49.

    Someone needs to tell the Labour lot that their conference ended last week. Seems they just can't keep off the telly shouting rubbish rubbish every time they can get near a Tory.

    It is such childish behaviour or desperation but we really aren't interested in what they have to say. We've already heard it.

    As far as the Lisbon Treaty is concerned it should be kicked into touch for the moment. I'm sure the Eurozone are having massive problems trying to keep the whole thing afloat anyway. Thank goodness we're still in control of our own currency.

    This country is priority and we would all like to hear what David Cameron and his team are thinking without the comic buttings in of the lost cause party.

  • Comment number 50.

    This Tory supporting reactionary whinger does agree that the Tories should expand upon their plans for the economy but I am not sure that the Andrew Marr show or the Politics Show are the proper platform for any announcements. The conference should look to provide the top down vision of a country under a Conservative government and the general election campaign (whenever the spineless incumbents of Government can find the bottle to call an election)is the time to expand upon the bottom up detail.

    By the way Mr Cameron did answer the question as to his wealth (with quite good grace I thought.) It is mainly his London home and I think that his salary is already in the public domain. So what.

    On Europe I think that he indicated that irrespective of the Lisbon Treaty ratification the Tories would work towards the EU that we did vote for back in 1976, which was pretty much a free trade area only.

  • Comment number 51.

    This getting 'Britain back to work' thing is just diverting public money into private hands in my view. A public sector organisation dealing with the unemployed you would expect to want to lose business, where as a private sector profit driven organisation wouldn't want to. Its just alleged 'small government' rhetoric. Where bits of the government are hacked off and privatised so there's a profit in it. In my view of course. Don't want to upset any tories. They seem to be a little sensitive today. Something to do with Europe I think and having to depend on 2 countries they didn't want in Europe because of the immigrants back in the bad old days.

  • Comment number 52.

    A bit of a non story really

    If the treaty is ratified by the time of the election, what can be done legally? That must be out there, and so many lawyers queueing up to soak up money from the BBC

    What I'd like to know is why Brown didn't give the referendum in the first place as his manifesto promised. Not many questions from the BBC about that. In fact, if Brown had done that you wouldn't be able to ask Cameron what he would do now

  • Comment number 53.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 54.

    All I want someone to do, is to carry through what they have been promising to do about our benefit culture. Tony Blair told Frank Field to think the unthinkable, when he did Tony got rid of him. Successive ministers and Gordon have been promising to do something about it now for nearly 13 years. Yet all they have done is to make things worse by giving even more away in state benefits so we now have a significant number of people whose main / sole income is derived from state benefits and who have never worked a day in their lives. If DC is actually going to do something about it then lets give him a chance. One things for certain is that we cannot carry on like this. Gordon won`t be saying too much about the subject between now and the general election, except to rubbish the Tories on the subject as he knows full well that turkeys ie his core labour voters don`t vote for xmas. I fully expect a budget full of clumsy bribes as a damage limitation exercise. Its easy to do that because you know that you are not going to be in power after the election. All I want are some fresh faces with new ideas in parliament instead of the same tired all has beens on the labour benches who have promised great things; but in actual fact have cocked things up big time and it is us the tax payer, not those on benefits, who are going to have to pick up the bill for their mistakes for years to come. The labour party say there are no jobs for these people on benefits - all councils will be cutting back left right and centre. Many council jobs, and in other parts of the public sector, pay less than that what you can get on benefits. So why not put these "claimants" to good use, working for our councils and public secotr bodies rather than having our services cut and continuing to allow these workshy individuals to remain at home sitting on their backsides all day long.

  • Comment number 55.

    34. At 3:44pm on 04 Oct 2009, spinspamspun wrote:
    That was a devious and slippery performance by Cameron
    on the AM show.

    Bring back wee Willie Hague and Ken Clarke !!!

    I can never get past Hague's attempt to connect with the people by wearing a baseball cap. The memory still makes me shudder. And a shared liking for real ale and Stan Tracey is not enough to tempt me to vote for Kenneth Clarke.
    I can't stand rude, aggressive BBC interviewers such as Andrew Marr and so, unfortunately, was obliged to miss the Cameron interview. Had he bothered to wear a tie for the occasion? It would make a change.

    What a third-rate shower they all are. Surely we don't deserve this.

  • Comment number 56.

    "The Tory Chairman Eric Pickles has told the BBC that he is "confident" that the Czechs won't have ratified the Lisbon Treaty by the time of the next election and, therefore, that he's confident that his party will still be promising a referendum on the EU.

    What does he know that we don't? Up until now it has been assumed that the Czechs will finish their ratification process in 3 to 6 months."


    17 Czech senators lodged a fresh appeal against the Lisbon Treaty with the country’s Constitutional Court last Tuesday. An appeal lodged last November, on a series of particular points, failed even though Mr Klaus himself vigorously supported it.

    This second legal suit is broader. The court has been asked to say exactly what powers can and cannot be transferred to Brussels. Logically, the court should need more time to give its ruling than last time, when it took five months.

    A similar appeal was lodged in January in Germany. Opponents of Lisbon there argued that the treaty undermined Germany’s self-government and democracy.

    The German Constitutional Court partly agreed, saying that Lisbon could be ratified only on condition that the German Parliament passed a special law reaffirming its rights to veto EU law. This has now happened and Germany finally ratified Lisbon last month.

    But Euro-sceptics in the Czech Republic hope that their Constitutional Court might do something similar and that a new law would have to be passed in Prague, too. All this will take time – which is exactly what Mr Klaus wants.

    For the Czech President is playing a political game while claiming that he is only following legal procedures. And the reason why he wants time lies in Britain.

    Last week, David Cameron wrote to Mr Klaus confirming his party’s promise to hold a referendum in Britain on Lisbon if the treaty is still unratified in at least one member state if – or most likely when – the Tories come to power.

    There was intense interest in this letter in the Czech Press, but Mr Klaus has refused to publish it. He hopes that he can spin out the legal and political review process until there is a change of government in Britain and a referendum here.

    He is supported in this by the Czech people, over 50 per cent of whom are also against Lisbon.

    Some people say the court could take six months to rule. Others point out that the judges will be lobbied hard to deliver a quick verdict to prevent Mr Klaus’s game from working.

  • Comment number 57.

    laughable BBC is this really the best you can do?

    how many times was miliband and/or brown quizzed on why they never gave us a referendum, even though they promised one in their last election manifesto and were elected to government on the back of that promise?

    nil, nowt, zilch, zero.

    how much money does gordon brown have? how much has mandy made whilst in office? does the BBC consider brown and his cronies as being "toffs"?
    what about all the labour lords who have profited from labour policies? the supermarket lord... hes done pretty well out of labour, wasnt this a conflict of interest? isnt a labour person with pots of money a bit hypocritical?
    was anything like this asked? not a chance

    the final joke, has been the constant reporting of a perceived "split" in the conservative party over "europe"
    what about the labour splits on europe? did they not have a view about the referendum that was promised then not delivered? i dont recall any questioning of this during last weeks labour conference interviews... why not?
    labour splits exist in all other policy areas, post office closures was a good one, labour MPs telling their constituants that they supported them in keeping open upto 5000 post office counters, appearing in local newspapers etc, "fighting for people" - then walking into westminster and voting for the motion to close post office counters!

    we dont hear a single word or question about the sheer hypocrisy of labour MPs and the prime minister, instead we get full aired coverage of them peddling lies and bias opinions of what "the tories will do..."

    does the BBC need ordinary people to comment and correct them, regarding what game labour are playing?
    it is obvious to every man and his dog, that labour's sole interest is to extract policy ideas and plans from the conservatives, so they themselves can offer a dumbed-down version of the same policy in their manifesto!

    please remember BBC, you do not represent the labour party, you are supposed to provide unbiased and professional reporting on events that happen, not engineer events to provide some material for your news bulletins to report on.
    the public pay your wages, dont you forget it!

  • Comment number 58.

    comment No 2 referred to the moderators.
    Guys, your a disgrace, simple as that, you should be working in Russia.

    Come on Cameron, can't wait for him to take No 10 and sort out the pro Labour BBC News team.

  • Comment number 59.

    Yes! That is a question that I have posed. My local M.P. stated that he was unequivocally Anti-E.U. and would oppose any attempt to ratify the Treaty. I have yet to get a reply to my question, posed on line 2 months ago from the Conservative Party. I am assuming that I was a little premature in asking about post-ratification U.K., with a Tory Administration.

    What is it about 'NO' to the E.U. question that is so difficult. I am not interested in the legal problems that removing G.B. from the E.U. would present. That is a political/legal situation for the Government to deal with.

    Unfortunately I am old enough to remember the post-W.W.II era. I still go cold when I hear the sirens; I recall the deprivation in England that war brings. I am not afaid to "talk about the Germans", twice in one centuary is a powerful reminder. Possibly most modern Germans are as anti-war as I am. Maye that is why they want a united Europe, to try to prevent another world war, I do not know.

    What I do know is that we have been denied a say on entering Europe by this Government and I do want another denial by the next.

  • Comment number 60.

    46 You accuse the Tories of being devious.

    How many counties other than Ireland have asked their electorates if they agree with the Lisbon Treaty, a document that will materially alter their sovereignty and written in a way that nobody understands except the EU mandarins. How many Governments have promised a referendum, but reneged on their promise. So who is being devious?

  • Comment number 61.

    So did NuLabour feel upset by Mr Marr asking if Mr Brown was on prescription drug's ?
    Did the BBC feel the need to throw the kitchen sink at Mr Cameron this morning to show their impartiality ?

    I thought Mr Cameron did rather well, considering.

    On the question of the Lisbon Treaty, it is still true that two nation states have not yet ratified it , so until that situation changes why should the Tory policy change ?

    As for the Tories conference in general, I am looking forward to hearing new ideas from them, one thing is blatantly obvious to me is that this country needs a change in direction before we have to call in the IMF again.

  • Comment number 62.

    After all this EU business is finally implemented, I have no doubt that Tony Blair and Peter Mandelson will all find highly paid positions in this new European super structure. Followed no doubt, by Gordon Brown when he is looking for a new job - he will have his fur-lined escape tunnel from the bunker already in place.

    No wonder they are so keen to wrap this treaty up so quickly.

  • Comment number 63.

    I think we need to start reading between the lines here.
    After finding the glaring holes in the LIB LAB conferences.

    The media had to turn to the Tories and agree what their angle would be to portray the Tories as divided and not ready for power.

    So then the Irish finally surrender and get the vote right after being forced to vote again.

    So this is the laziest way of doing it.
    You know that you will be able drag up some old Self destruct Tories like Tebbit but Cameron has a perfectly reasonable stance that if the treaty is still in play when he gets the chance he will then hold a referendum and ask the British people if they want to accept the EU constitution or renegotiate our relationship with the EU.

    So what angle can we use Ahh! the hypothetical. Yes that will do it.

    "What will you do if it is ratified?"

    "Ask me when it has been until then we are working on the basis that it won't be"

    AHH that’s it we have weakness.

    Meanwhile back on planet earth the credit rating agencies have said that if Brown does not come up with a clear plan of reducing the disastrous debt situation in the next PBR then they will reduce our credit rating.
    After that Iceland here we come.

    So what this show to me is the complete lack of substantive point to trip up the Tories.
    And the complete desperation of the Labour party to land a blow on Cameron. Any blow.


    How much are you worth?

    Are you embarrassed about this picture?

    And trying to play to peoples prejudice.

    It’s not been a great day for the journo's but you can only be relaxed if this is what they have to resort to.

  • Comment number 64.

    What will you be looking for from the Tories party conference?

    As we English appear, due to our rotten democracy, to be stuck with a Tory Government in about six months time, then it is a serious question.

    I would be looking for the one thing that you can almost guarantee will not be on show, namely - political honesty.

    You would think, especially after the expenses scandal, that these professional politicians would come out with some policies that are intrinsically honest rather than the usual deceptive plays-on-words.

    For example, the personal tax system is a mess that even accountants complain about, made worse by having another system, tax credits, layered on top.

    If the Tories stated that they were proposing to scrap NI contributions completely and merge those 'contributions' into Income Tax, then that would constitute a mighty leap forward in political honesty.

    But that is unlikely to happen because of 'presentational issues' i.e. the eye-watering rates of personal taxation would be bought into stark relief.

    No, I am not expecting much political honesty to emanate from the Tory Party Conference as isn't has not been much in evidence from (nearly dead) Labour or the Lib-Dems conferences either.

  • Comment number 65.


    I can't help but have noticed todays story about you political favourite Harriet Harman - Deputy Labour Leader, Equalities Minister and neice of Countess Longford.

    Given that the police are investigating a number of alleged incidents, including using a mobile phone whilst driving then hitting another car. Apparently this incident took place on 3 July, which is 3 months ago now. I'd be interested to know if this 3 month delay in the police questioning of the person allegedly responsible is normal procedure. Perhaps the police didn't know where to find her after all !!!!!

    Perhaps, the equalities minister could investigate the apparent inequalities in this incident, as she clearly seems to think that the law does not apply to her like it does to everyone else.

  • Comment number 66.

    Nice to see Andrew Marr finally putting Cameron on the spot and not just listening to him criticise the government.

    Poor "Dave" he really did look pathetic.....obviously had it too easy too long.

  • Comment number 67.

    I am afraid that David Cameron's interview this morning was truly dreadful.

    Firstly Europe. Yes state the current policy but also tell us what you are going to do about us being sucked into a political union we don't want! Even if it takes a few years to do let's try to renegotiate our terms with the continent and then put the new terms to a vote!

    Secondly jobs and debt. Good ideas explained through a fog of wool! Tell it like it is please! We are in debt up to our eye-watering eyeballs and cannot borrow any more money to prop up the nanny state! It will be slashed and burned until it's affordable once again! And where was the policy for free enterpise? Without people to take risks there will be no new businesses nor any growth to get the people off Labour dole queue! Maggie would have championed the self-employed and entrepreneurs! Get with the programme Dave!

    Thirdly. After last weeks nauseating painkiller question Marr was always going to hit you with a personal question. What your asset worth is nothing to do with whether you have the right policies. I would have told him to get stuffed on national TV.

    Dave, drop the softly softly approach to policy. Now is the time for hard conviction.

    This country is crying out for a LEADER!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Pull you socks up mate!

  • Comment number 68.

    Cameron says he doesn't want to do anything to "undermine or prejudice" the ratification proceedings in Poland and the Czech Republic, yet he has written to the Czech president and Tory chair man Pickles is confident they will not ratify it. Something smells of some sort of underhand dealing. On the Marr show he could not or would not give a straight answer to a straight question.
    As to people keeping on about a referendum none was held under Thatcher or Major.

  • Comment number 69.

    I do not understand this is a lie by all three parties the treated has been ratified by the united kingdom it was given royal assent 19th june 2008 it is uk law we signed up a refferendum after the fact will not change what our government have already signed us up to.

  • Comment number 70.

    Today for the Tories has been a taste of what its like to be in Government. Proper scrutiny of "policy" (if you can call it that) detailed and repeated questions as to intentions and demands for straight answers.

    Who feels they passed this tiny test???

    I am biassed on this issue I must admit but the Tories exceeded my expectations of just how evasive and frankly downright duplicitous they can be.... Cameron, Osborne and "whispering" Eric Pickles...all equally dodging the questions.

    What really amuses but scares in equal measure is the Tory play on unemployment!!! talk about echoes of 1979 with the "Labour isn't working" scam and we all know what happened after that.

    Prepare for history repeating itself (but with added fox hunting, tax relief for inherited millionaires and not forgetting the really big idea of increased prices in the House of Commons Bar!!)

    It could be worse I least Daniel Hannan has no position of power (yet) now that really would scare me.

  • Comment number 71.


    Perfectly normal for a minister of the crown.

    There'll probably be a bigger police prescence from the SPG kicking in the door of who ever leaked it to give them a thorough going over.

    Laws are only for little people, not Government ministers.

  • Comment number 72.

    #7 Fubar

    Yes, Labour reneged on an election pledge, however, we're talking about the Conservatives, probably our future rulers, NOT about Labour.

    Yes, I too would love certain people to face the consequences of actions they've taken in ruling our country but the fact is there aren't any consequences.... that's the whole point of most 'democratic' political systems in the English speaking world, they're loaded to suit those who run them and the large vested interests that support them, not voters.

    Now we've cleared that up, are you interested in the future? If so, stop harking back to irretrievable pasts and take a look at what the British public have got to look forward to.

    Why not try asking a few questions or scratching the surface?

  • Comment number 73.

    Nick, why arent the media outraged that Cameron made a statement on the Andrew Marr show saying he would not disclose his European policy because it may prejudice the outcomes of the Polish and Czech ratification of the Lisbon Treaty; when we now know he has written to these Member States trying to do just that. The media have to press for answers not just wait and see.

    Don't we get to see these 'letters' so we can determine for ourselves what their policy is. Afterall, the Poles and Czech's know the Conservative policy; but we have to wait and find out.

  • Comment number 74.

    #43 JohnConstable

    It's not just Europe, too many in the Conservative party seem to prefer their ties with far right-wing death belt Republicans in the US and totally ignore the moderate Democratic Party.

    Why, why, why will they not be honest and say that they haven't become progressive or compassionate but probably just embittered from being so far from government for twelve years?

  • Comment number 75.

    I feel I should enlighten a few people as to why "Call me Dave" wouldn't answer the question on Tory Policy in a "post ratification" scenario and that is because he hasn't got a clue.

    As a reasonably intelligent bloke as I firmly believe he is, he knows it would be crass stupidity to try to unpick the treaty and almost certainly put us on a path to exit the EU, after all if you were one of the other 26 countries would you put up with 1 country undermining the whole parliamentary democratic processes of the whole of Europe just to panda to the domestic whims of Tory Europhobes in the UK. I doubt it.

    However Dave was largely put in power by Ashcroft's scheming and is in hock to the very Europhobes he will have to betray in this scenario if he uses both his brain cells at the same time and accepts the Lisbon Treaty as ratified.

    Dave if you sell your soul for power then sooner or later you heave to pay back those who pay the piper and call the tune.

  • Comment number 76.

    #16 sagamix wrote:
    "Cameron knows he has to work with Europe, the treaty WILL be ratified and he won't try to change it ... in refusing to pretend he would, he's putting rationality and commonsense above playing to his soft head reactionary gallery, and that's fair enough"

    For once, I agree with your comment.

    Once Lisbon is ratified it is logically impossible to have a referendum on Lisbon. We could have referendum that said: "if you had been given a vote on the Lisbon Treaty before it was ratified what would your vote have been?" but this is clearly nonsense. We could have a referendum on EU membership, but that is another question.

    Possibly referenda for constitutional change could become mandatory under a written constitution, but that again is a post-Lisbon debate.

  • Comment number 77.

    Interesting that today, no doubt because of media coverage of the Tories, there's a few more than usual bloggers that are a little more "anti" Tory.

    So watch out for someone pedaling the usual "Labour Troll" accusation... it must happen sooner or later.

  • Comment number 78.

    For goodness sake can we leave Europe alone ...we are in the EU and we will stay there all this rubbish about will we renegotiate is only diminishing our influence in the organisation and in the end no one will take any heed of us...our trade will suffer and we will just become a country compatible with our geograhic size eg a small addition to europe...let us get stuck in take the lead and show leadership ...keep the tories out or they will mess up the whole thing...they try to pretend that the majority do not like europe nonsense ...we the less well off know that much of the wealth of the country comes through europe the rich may think differently

  • Comment number 79.


    Why keep on about the past?

    Pardon me for using your post Eaton, but if I may:

    "talk about echoes of 1979 with the "Labour isn't working" scam and we all know what happened after that."

    The spectre of Thatcher, big bang, the miners, destruction of industry, high interest rates, black wednesday, Cameron being a SpAd to Lamont, the past is invoked all the time to induce a climate of fear.

    You cant have it both ways and Lisbon being signed despite there being an election pledge by the PM who had an elected mandate is a lot closer in recent memory than the 1980's.

    Forget what we've done wrong and screwed up, but we wont forget yours and reserve the right to use it against you whenever we please? Do me a favour.

    You equally lament that the current political system allows those who have made these decisions to walk away scot free saying "oh well, thats the way it is". So, why dont we change it? Why dont we demand change?

    Am I interested in the future? Only that of my wife and I. Ask a few questions? Who of? In my constituency the tories are utterly safe. They wont go out doorstepping. Labour wont bother for the same reason, its a guaranteed lost deposit. The only candidate I can ask questions of is the UKIP one and for that reason, he will probably get my vote, if I'm in the country to vote, that is.

    I'm on record as saying we need an inspirational leader and that none of the three main parties are providing one. Thats one of the reasons for my emigration, that I would rather not be around when whoever comes in to pick up the pieces of Brown's legacy has to get down to business. Or, God help you all if he gets a proper mandate this time.

    If the tories dont outline their plans when the election comes along, they're sunk and they deserve to be. In the meantime, with an election still at least six months away, I dont think it really matters. And, as I referred to above, if you choose to remember, Blair kept his powder dry until a shorter time than six months before the 97 election.

  • Comment number 80.

    Nick, I am getting worried that the media in general will spend the next week chasing this non-story over David Cameron and his stance on what is still a hypothetical future situation on Europe. If so, I do hope this will not be at the expense of giving proper and thorough examination of the Conservative party's proposed policies in important areas such as the economy, employment, social care, defence, law and order, etc.

    I have no doubt that David Cameron will be able to skip away from these rather heavy-handed attempts to expose an imagined crisis/split within his party over European policy. If, by the end of the week, this turns out to be the main issue you have focused on, I will feel very badly served by the BBC's political Editor and will conclude that a major and important opportunity will have been lost to let the public see a proper examination of the full range of policies of the party that, at present, looks most likely to form the next Government.

  • Comment number 81.

    46. At 4:53pm on 04 Oct 2009, Gurubear wrote:
    We do know that David Cameron has written a letter to his Eurosceptic friend the Czech President Vaclav Klaus but we don't know what that letter said or what reply - formal or informal - he received. Perhaps Mr Pickles should tell us.

    If that letter says "delay as long possible so we can trash this treaty," when all the other EU states have ratified and WANT this treaty, then that is pretty underhanded
    If Gordon Brown hadn't been underhanded and dishonest by breaking the promise to give us a referendum on the Constitution (let's call it what it really is), this wouldn't even be an issue. The referendum would have been held, we'd have voted NO and the treaty would now be a dead duck.

  • Comment number 82.

    #74 #75 extremesense / eatonrifle / and others

    Is it true that Conservative supporters suffer from the various phobias you identified?

    Many Conservatives supported Obama in the last Presidential election (I could have nothing to do with Republican religious and cultural attitudes, though I do think Democrats tend to flirt with protectionism).

    Many Conservatives do not wish to leave the EU (the phobic types join UKIP). There are quite sensible concerns about both subsidiarity and democratic legitimacy in the EU, and by no means is this confined to voters in the UK. The latter has not been addressed by the Lib/Lab refusal to grant a referendum despite their manifesto commitments (what was the point of the manifesto by the way?).

    The Conservative Party has changed, but alas the insults are enduring.

  • Comment number 83.

    #75 Eatonrifle

    Dave if you sell your soul for power then sooner or later you heave to pay back those who pay the piper and call the tune.

    You meant much like NuLabour and their trade union paymasters.

    It would be great if we could actually get a figure on the amount of dosh laundered through these trade unions under the guise of modernising them.

    By the way did the TUC not tell you that Brendan Barber will be attending the Tory conference this week?
    Apparently some unions are hacked of with this NuLabour government.

    Bit of a bummer that one e10.

    Roll On 2010

  • Comment number 84.

    Nick, It is obvious that the story you are trying to create is one about the Tories being split over Europe. If that's the way you want to play it fine. But please be honest with us, your readers and listeners, and state your vested interest is in being a generator of news, not a reporter of it.

  • Comment number 85.

    #82 johnharris

    I know there are moderates in the Conservative party - Ken Clarke, for example.

    However, I believe that several things make a political party and one are the people who are behind the party - the vested interests, the people whose money is invested either directly or otherwise.

    With the Conservatives, I think of Michael Ashcroft and now Rupert Murdoch of course.

    What's more, if the Conservative party has really changed then why can't we here about it? Why are the most prominent in the party either those who are flimsy on detail (its leaders) or those who just love to talk the Hannans, the Carswells, Hammersmith Council, Barnet Council, local Conservatives where I live, Boris Johnson, etc, etc, etc?

    I want to here all about the change not just nicely presented public events.

  • Comment number 86.

    47. At 4:55pm on 04 Oct 2009, Andy-in-France wrote:

    .....OK - lets have a referendum. Simple question - do you/don't you agree with the federalist agenda that the EU is following (OK - you might have to put that in words of one syllable for the likes of some contributors to this site). Such a referendum would have no legal force, but at least it would show what people in the UK actually THINK about the issues.We have been denied a voice on that for too long.
    I believe that given the opportunity several other Countries would also have given a resounding NO to this Treaty.

    BTW, somewhere among the various articles/blogs/reports on this site I am sure I noticed an item that says any further Treaties introduced by the EU will no longer need to be ratified, but would be introduced under the majority voting rule.
    Has anyone else seen this and can they point me to it if so?

  • Comment number 87.

    Eatonrifle wrote:
    "he knows it would be crass stupidity to try to unpick the treaty and almost certainly put us on a path to exit the EU, after all if you were one of the other 26 countries would you put up with 1 country undermining the whole parliamentary democratic processes of the whole of Europe just to panda to the domestic whims of Tory Europhobes in the UK. I doubt it."

    This analysis is wrong. Many of other EU countries have populations that have a large proportion (possibly a majority) who are strongly anti the increasing centralization and continuing dilution of national political accountability (for want of a better phrase). The populations of 26 of these countries have not been allowed any say on the matter.

    The people of Holland and France voted against the Constitution. The Constitution was re-arranged and re-named and then unilaterally ratified by their political elite, without further referenda (why not?).

    I can imagine that large swathes of Europe are hoping that the UK will do just what you say they won't do.

  • Comment number 88.

    "delay as long possible so we can trash this treaty,"

    Has the letter been published? Nick; do you have a copy of the letter?

  • Comment number 89.

    roll on 83

    "You meant much like NuLabour and their trade union paymasters."

    Actually no Roll On. no comparison because all the Union payments to Labour comes from PAYE employees paying UK income tax.

    Whereas Ashcroft??......... Well I think we all know.

    But if you think that's ok that's your choice.

  • Comment number 90.

    Why should the Tories reveal their policies at this time. There is no election under way and Gordon still has several months to do lots more damage, so there are going to be crises that will need to be dealt with that we aren't even aware of yet.

    Be fair. The Labour Party has run out of ideas, they've even nicked BNP policies for Gods sake! So why should the Tories give them ideas for their manifesto. Let them make their own one up. If it's anything like the last one it will only be good for lining the cat litter tray anyway.

  • Comment number 91.

    54. briangare

    A man after my own heart I’ll be bound.

    The trouble is that all these job dodgers seem to have a vote as well you see.
    With our glorious first past the post system, it is very easy for a relatively small number of people to tip the scales & evict a Government.

    Over the next few years, there are going to be an increasing number of unemployed people (in addition to the millions I have previously mentioned about that don’t appear on the official unemployment statistics).
    Cameron knows this & if he upsets things too quickly, he may find his passage to number 10 a little more difficult than he first thought.

    Not sure I can buy into your idea of effectively laying public sector workers off & then taking them back on again on lower wages though.

    Important point to remember – You don’t need to be a Labour voter to be out of work & unemployed.

    Now, what ever happened to the Tory idea of employing private agencies to find people work?
    So far Cameron's Welfare ideas appear to be a bit of a joke.

  • Comment number 92.

    87 Fat cat.

    I said:
    "undermining the whole parliamentary democratic processes of the whole of Europe"

    emphasis on the "parliamentary democratic processes"

    Are you saying their parliaments aren't democratic or haven't ratified?

  • Comment number 93.

    My my Nick, this time you don't even try to hide your labour bias and dislike of the tories! If I were a tory I would be offended. truth is Nick, I am an undecided voter. You choose to attack the Tories, yet my great fear is just exactly what terrors a Europena superstate is going to bring to these shores. You would be seen as more of a political commentator and less of a labour voice if you addressed what matters instead of just alternating between tory bashing and labour worship.

    Now, what of the EU Nick, do you actually approve of this unconstitutional adventure, this very treaty which has been given birth by totally ignoring democracy, do you think its a GOOD thing Nick?

    Because its potential power really worries me Nick, it worries me deeply, it also worries me that people such as yourself don't see the dangers.

  • Comment number 94.

    Nick, you forgot to mention that the results are now tied at one all.
    No extra time, no penalties but whoever scores the last goal wins?
    Where's the tie breaker and if there isn't one, will Ireland be allowed another vote in a years time?
    I don't remember you haranguing our un-elected Prime Minister so much when he canceled our referendum - Cameron is not running the country.

  • Comment number 95.


    There wont be any trolls Eaton, they only work a 5 day week. The party cant afford to give them overtime.

    No, in fairness, Cameron today had a chance to nail it and show his leadeship credentials, which he spectacularly failed to do. The man is a manager, not a leader, I'm afraid.

    Its a bit rich for some of the other posters to be sneering as much as they are doing, but... there you go I guess, such is the nature of the beast these days. Such is life.

  • Comment number 96.

    What electors want to know is if the treaty is ratified what options do we have for opting out?

    David Cameron is naturally being reluctant because if the treaty is ratified it may well be that there is no opt-out option.It may well be that a promised referendum would actually be pointless because the outcome could not be implemented.

    New Labour have committed the UK undemocratically to EU membership without having the guts to ask the electorate because they know that the people's decision would be a massive "NO".

    Cameron has offered a referendum if the Czechs and the Poles delay the ratification process and give the UK time to have one after the Conservatives are elected.We can only hope that will be the case.

  • Comment number 97.

    Nick, above you say

    A more pragmatic approach might reply that unpicking "a law ratified by
    27 nations"

    And that sir, is a straight, unblemished, calculated and blatant lie.

    Many Nations "parliaments" may have ratified it, but in the case of France and Denmark for example, this was clearly against the wishes of their own people. The Irish, may I remind you, voted no, in an unheard of and unprecedented twist in the rules, they were made to vote again. At the last Irish vote, you remember Nick, the "NO" one, the Lisbon treaty should have been dead, and you jolly well know it. So, attack the tories if you must (I am no tory)but at least base your attack on the truth.

  • Comment number 98.


    Careful Eaton before you start banging that Ashcroft drum too loud. Labour have non-domiciled donators too and fine well you know it too.

  • Comment number 99.

    75. At 6:46pm on 04 Oct 2009, Eatonrifle wrote:

    ...Dave if you sell your soul for power then sooner or later you heave to pay back those who pay the piper and call the tune.


    As indeed Gordon Brown has been finding out these last few months.

  • Comment number 100.

    In order that we keep the reporting on EU balanced, can one of the BBC reporters please nip round to No10 and ask Gordon what Labour policy is if Poland and the Czech Republic don't ratify the Treaty.
    While seekling this information can Andrew Marr take a couple of minutes to ask Gordon about his wealth too.


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