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Eveverbody who's ever seen "Yes Minister" would have realised that Tony Blair had sold Britain out the moment Jacques Chirac described him as "courageous".

As Sir Humphrey used to say, "if you want to be really sure that the Minister doesn't accept it you must say the decision is courageous... Controversial only means this will lose you votes, courageous means this will lose you the election."


Any link to a video of the debate?

Cameron was quite good, but the Prime Minister simply refused to answer *any* questions. He just repeated, again and again and again, the trite formula that 'if you are for enlargement you must be for this deal'. He had nothing else to say, it was rather pathetic.

Although DC was effective, I'm afraid I didn't find the conservative backbenches very helpful in firing on Blair. Both Howard and Duncan Smith asked questions (IDS being the stronger of the two), but they should have slapped him around with some more facts & figures.

What Blair has done is really incredibly incompetent and I think the Tories weren't fierce enough. They should have destroyed Blair on this, but he got away, limping.

I've just watched a desperate situation in a tv program called 'demolition' about an elderly lady in Gosport, who encouraged by the 'right to buy' did so and is now living in a slum. The despair and lack of anywhere to go with her problem, a flat worth £22,000 that she paid £27,000 for in the 80's left me feeling sick to the stomach.

That we can gift away such an amount of money when we can't help good, hard working (her husband was still working even though over retirement age) people in the UK makes me angry.

I agree Goldie - the Prime Minister (as usual) refused to answer any of the questions or assure people of the deal. All he did was repeat his tired old mantra that EU enlargement must be paid for. Perhaps he should have told us that during the election campaign, when he said the rebate was non-negotiable?

It worries me that we're giving so much money away to prop up public works in Estonia when this country needs sorting out first. It wouldn't be too bad if we at least saw an end to the bloated old dinosaur that is the CAP. Then I would be happy to see some investment in Eastern Europe.

But WHY have we given so much up for so few
concessions? I thought Cameron did a really good job of destroying the effectiveness of the French guarantee of a review by mentioning that France would have the Presidency in 2008. We have sold ourselves to Europe with very little to show for it in return. How embarrasing.

It really is a testament to Blair's skills that he has managed to survive this fiasco in one piece. While he has undoubtably been damaged he really should have been destroyed, especially after Brown had stuck the knife in.

I watched the statement and answers and Blair did not answer one single question. He simply went off on a tangent.

Cameron has also hired The Sun's executive editor, Chris Roycroft-Davis as his speechwriter. "I believe David Cameron has many vital messages to communicate to voters. He has a bold vision for a modern Conservative party which will strike a chord with millions of people who, like me, have been bitterly disappointed by the failings and fumblings of Labour," he said.

"Mr Blair defended the deal by saying that Britain had invested in the future prosperity of Eastern Europe."

Yes, but David Cameron pointed out that Ireland, which is richer per capita than the UK, will actually be getting more than the likes of Lithuania, Poland and Slovakia. As usual, Blair is talking poppycock. Britain has actually invested in propping up inefficient, wasteful French farmers and the cowardly, selfish French president.

I thought Blair was really manic. His arms were waving everywhere, and he was overly high-pitched. His tangents were also rather bizarre -- going on about the Tories withdrawal from the EPP etc (including the obligatory Kilroy-Silk joke, an ex-Labour colleague, remember) -- and it all looked so desperate.

I also didn't understand why Blair considers it an insult to say, "I see euroscepticism is alive and well in the Tory Party". Doesn't he realise that this country is overwhelmingly eurosceptic? Once again it is an illustration that what Westminster judges to be acceptable, or good, is very far apart from the judgements of the country (and Blair was the man who took consolation from the fact that the people agreed with him over 90 days).

As an aside, Charles Kennedy was so terrible it was embarassing (not for the first time).

For video of the debate go to www.parliamentlive.tv and look in the archive for the relevant day. The whole day's business is a single streaming video, so you'll need to know roughly how far into the day the debate was.

Hope this helps.

You can find that out by looking at the archive further information which shows the times. Blair started his speech just after 3:30 so its about an eigth through the video.

I'm glad I wasn't the only one who thought Blair looked manic, John. For the first five minutes I was trying to work out whether it was deliberate or he really had lost it this time. All in all, I thought he sounded quite petulant (wouldn't be the first time, of course).

Its difficult to see how anyone will forget the Hague quote.

Our Dear Leader has put his foot in it. As James rightly points out, Jacques Chirac's description was spot on.

He is stuck in the rut of calling Eurosceptics cranks. Lets hope he continues to dig this hole for himself, whilst DC paints himself as a pragmatic Eurosceptic.

It won't be long before everyone is perfectly aware of who the cranks and loonies are.

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