Monday, January 21, 2008

Changing Prospects for the Treaty of Lisbon in the UK?

The Ummah Jack

Ever since Gordon Brown reiterated his predecessor’s refusal to hold a referendum, it seemed as though the British were ready to bend over and let the EU have its way with them.

But the latest news from Albion indicates that the Lisbon Treaty may not face the smooth sailing that Mr. Brown and the rest of the Euro-enthusiasts had hoped for.

From today’s EU Observer:

Brown faces backbench revolt over EU treaty

UK Prime Minister Gordon Brown is facing a significant backbench revolt as the bill ratifying the EU’s Lisbon Treaty begins its House of Commons second reading today (21 January).

At this legislative stage — the first parliamentary vote on the treaty — it is unlikely that the bill will be voted down.

While most Conservatives are set to vote with the Labour rebels, the leader of the centrist Liberal Democrats, although supporting a referendum on the treaty, has said his party will abstain.

Nonetheless, the leader of the Labour rebels, Ian Davidson, warned that opposition is expected to grow as the bill progresses through parliament.


The eurosceptic Mr Davidson said that frustration has grown within the governing Labour Party since it became clear that former Prime Minister Tony Blair, who negotiated the treaty shortly before leaving office, has ambitions to be appointed EU president, a new post created by the treaty.

The vote may also feature an amendment, backed by 18 of the rebels, calling for a referendum.

An interesting aspect to this story is that an official organ of the government has recognized what everybody already knows: the “treaty” is the just the same old EU Constitution tied up in a new pink bow:
- - - - - - - - -
The development comes a day after the Commons Foreign Affairs Committee issued its opinion on the matter, concluding that the was “no material difference” between the EU treaty and foreign policy elements of the original EU constitution.

The EU constitution was rejected by French and Dutch voters in 2005 prompting a rethink by the European Union eventually resulting in the Lisbon Treaty, which contains most of the constitution’s elements.

The Labour government under Mr Blair had indicated it would have a referendum on constitution but Mr Brown has said there is no need for public poll on the new treaty as Britain’s ‘red lines’ have been defended.

I’m not sure what “red lines” are left to defend. Britain’s national sovereignty seems to have all but vanished, and the relentless erosion caused by PC and Multiculturalism has reduced traditional British institutions to a haunted ruin.

Despite everything, the fight hasn’t gone out of all Britain’s subjects. The prime minister has denied them a full referendum, but the treaty’s opponents are working on a scheme to stage the vote piecemeal:

Meanwhile, the UK government’s Europe minister, Jim Murphy, is facing an extra-parliamentary ‘mini-referendum’ in his own East Renfrewshire constituency organised by the cross-party eurosceptic group I Want A Referendum (IWR).

The group is set to hold the poll, which will cost IWR £30,000 (c. €40,000) to stage, some time in February.

It has commissioned Electoral Reform Services to run referenda in East Renfrewshire and nine other UK marginal constituencies as part of a rolling campaign aiming to embarrass the government into holding a full nationwide referendum on the treaty.

Labour MP Gisela Stuart said: “We made a very clear promise of a referendum at the last election. No one really believes for a second that this is a ‘fundamentally different document’. We must keep our promise.

“These referenda will give people the chance to have the vote that the Government is trying to take away from them. Gordon Brown must listen.”

Mind you: this is the Labour Party that is defying its own leaders and staging a revolt.

These are significant events. Stay tuned.

Hat tip: Henrik of Europe News.


Profitsbeard said...

How dare the peasants doubt the good intentions of their betters!

And you, Mr. Twist, you say you want "More"!

The nerve!

Suck down the multiculti socialist gruel and smile!

Anonymous said...

"Mind you: this is the Labour Party that is defying its own leaders and staging a revolt."

The funny part is that Labour were traditionally the anti-EU party because they knew that an influx of unskilled immigrants from Europe would rapidly push down wages for their supporters among the unskilled labourers in Britain. It's only in the last decade or so that they've abandoned their traditional hostility in favor of supporting the Sovietisation of Europe.

Of course there's also a more fundamental issue here: the MPs know that the people of Britain will never vote for increased EU power, were lied to about what they were getting into with the EU vote in the 70s, and are likely to turn against them if they support the 'EU Constitution' by the back door in this way. They don't want to lose those cushy jobs and expense accounts with 10% pay rises (while the voters are getting 3-4% if they're lucky).

thll said...

Labour MP's are acting like there's no link between them and the Labour government. If they don't like government legislation then why do they keep voting for it? It reminds me of the situation between electorate and politicians. Everybody moans about the state of the nation, but come election time they troop off and support the people that are responsible.

Zenster said...

One quote says it all:

The revived EU constitution has deliberately been made "unreadable" to help fend off demands for a referendum, according to the former Italian prime minister, Giuliano Amato.

Mr Amato, who is now interior minister in Italy, has been a central figure in all stages of the year-long process of reviving the constitution, heading the 16-strong group of politicians that helped prepare the new EU treaty.

In comments posted on YouTube yesterday he said "EU leaders had decided that the document to be drawn up by an intergovernmental conference should be 'unreadable'.

[Emphasis Added]

Intentionally unreadable? What are they talking about, the writings of da Vinci, the Necronomicon, some arcane and cryptic alchemical tome? This is the sort of concept that only a lawyer or bureaucrat could love. The incredible level of smarmy elitist scorn that such a sentiment carries for the common man should set off warning klaxons in all corners of Europe.

Out of fairness, here are Amato's and some other quotes in context. None of them are reassuring:

"They decided that the document should be unreadable. If it is unreadable, it is not constitutional, that was the sort of perception. Where they got this perception from is a mystery to me. In order to make our citizens happy, to produce a document that they will never understand! But, there is some truth [in it]. Because if this is the kind of document that the IGC will produce, any Prime Minister - imagine the UK Prime Minister - can go to the Commons and say 'Look, you see, it's absolutely unreadable, it's the typical Brussels treaty, nothing new, no need for a referendum.' Should you succeed in understanding it at first sight there might be some reason for a referendum, because it would mean that there is something new."

Giuliano Amato, Former Italian Prime Minister and Vice-Chairman of the Convention which drew up the EU Constitution over two years ago - recorded by Open Europe, The Centre for European Reform, London, 12 July 2007

"Public opinion will be led to adopt, without knowing it, the proposals that we dare not present to them directly" ... "All the earlier proposals will be in the new text, but will be hidden and disguised in some way."

V.Giscard D'Estaing Chairman of the Convention which drew up the EU Constitution - Le Monde, 14 June 2007, and Sunday Telegraph, 1 July 2007

"90 per cent of it is still there...These changes haven't made any dramatic change to the substance of what was agreed back in 2004."

Bertie Ahern Irish Prime Minister(Taoiseach) - Irish Independent, 24 June 2007

Ronbo said...

Revolution brewing in Britain, I see.

About bloody time!

I just hope the Brits overthrow the entire filthy, corrupt, degenerate and ancient regime and line up the worst offenders and shoot them at dawn starting with Prince Charles.

How about, "The Federal Republic of Britain?"

"Paging Oliver Cromwell..."

Ed Mahmoud said...

A family of four will pay £465 a year more for energy by 2020, on top of any hike caused by oil prices, as a result of proposals announced by the EU.