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A referendum on the Lisbon treaty would be de facto a referendum on the EU. The rest of Europe has agreed to the treaty, and if we voted "no" to the treaty, we'd be kicked out. There isn't a green valley somewhere where we can stay in the EU without signing up to what the EU entails.

The other advantage of this would be that the Lisbon vote would appear the reasonable one. People could vote against Lisbon but for EU membership.

passing leftie is wrong.

Denmark, Ireland, France and Holland weren't kicked out when they voted 'no'. We'd stay in the EU but without the Lisbon changes. His comment is just old-fashioned scare politics.

I like the idea of a double vote but the danger for the Tories is that this issue could dominate politics for six months. Do we want that?

If Britain had a referendum on the Lisbon Treaty and voted no, we would be instructed by the EU to have another referedum and others until the country votes Yes. The EU will not take NO for an answer (as the No votes in Denmark and France proved) and that's why we are BETTER OFF OUT.

Should it really take a Pro-referendum Labour MP to get this back on the agenda?Q:why are we not shouting from the rooftops about this?
A:we still fear to talk about Europe.
all the talk of the party being stronger than ever is claptrap,just a few months of europe in the press would show that we are not so united and all old wounds would be opened,cameron should have made this his core issue when he first took over as now its to close to the next election,europe is a socialist experiment and as conservatives we should be ramming this home on a daily basis if the public like it or not,we have to get the europe issue sorted out because it will keep resurfacing like a nasty sore and before all you modernisers start attacking me ask yourself where those 15% of thatcherites who supported us have gone and what could get them back.

"A referendum on the Lisbon treaty would be de facto a referendum on the EU."

No it wouldn't, for the Lisbon treaty needs full ratification for it to pass, if one country votes it down then the Lisbon treaty falls.

All above, if Britain did for some reason (doesn't look very likely even with this) receive a referendum on the Lisbon Treaty and voted by a majority 'no' - then Britain would not be 'kicked out' of the European Union.

Merely what would happen is the Commission and the political leaders of Europe would go back to the drawing board and make a number of small and insignificant changes to the Lisbon Treaty until it can be passed by Westminster without a referendum. That is exactly what happened with the EU Constitution.

However, I don't really foresee Britain getting a referendum. The political leaders in this country and Europe have conspired against their electorates and ours to deny us one.

Now that the Tories are pretty much united over Europe, I don't think it would be a bad thing for it to be back in the news.

We shouldn't push it too much as people don't care about the EU as much as Tory members do, but if it's very much a current affair we'll be fine.

Don't know quite what this means for Ian Davidson's idea but The Speaker, always helpful, has ruled out Clegg's amendment on having an in-out referendum.

It pretty obvious that the so-called Liberal Democrats are only talking about a referendum on EU membership now to divert attention from the 2005 manifesto commitment to a referendum on the EU Constitution which they plan to renege on next week. While Ian Davidson MP makes an excellent point there is no reason whatsoever to believe that the Lib Dems are going to do anything except vote to ratify the Lisbon treaty. The real question then becomes What will the Conservatives do in the next parliament (assuming they are in office of course) to restore the powers that this treaty, and indeed its predecessors, have handed over to Brussels.

As an independent voter I cannot begin to describe how exasperated I am with the major British parties over Europe. Both Labour and Conservatives have now forced EU treaty changes through parliament that have transferred legislative power making authority to Brussels in the face of the obvious opposition of the British people. Now we are in a position where EU law can be imposed on us in almost all policy areas through majority votes in which our representatives have little more than 10% of the weight. And the superiority of this EU law means it replaces not just national law but also the ability of Westminster to legislate in that area again so long as we remain in the EU. We are already in a position whereby the EU legislative machinery will – over the course of a few decades at most – reduce the law-making powers of Westminster to insignificance. As this process proceeds we can expect Conservatives to run for office in the UK on slimmer and slimmer manifestos as the range of policies still open to national decision-making shrinks towards nothing. Nor can we expect there to be any corresponding increase of the influence of Conservatives in the European Parliament. The future of the Conservative party in Europe is akin to that of the CSU in Germany. You will forever be in the shade of the various Christian Democratic Parties that make up the EPP with no effective ability to alter their policies at all.

The Conservative Party must wake up and campaign wholeheartedly for British withdrawal from the EU. There is no future for democracy in this country or for the Conservatives holding real power in the future unless you see this clearly and act accordingly.

"We shouldn't push it too much as people don't care about the EU "

Only because there has been a cllective failure by Conservative leadership to make an under stable case. It was always the EUphile objective to confuse and bundle up many issues as possible, what was needed to counter this was for the Conservatives to unbundled it and point to specific issues and ask people if that's what they wanted. eg......

In the Lisbon treaty there new EU powers to harmonise civil and criminal laws and legal procedures,
New articles allow the EU to set common rules concerning legal procedures in
criminal cases. EU rules, decided by Qualified Majority Voting [QMV], could
determine the rights of criminal suspects and control the admissibility of evidence
in Court. There is also a provision for EU rules to cover “any other specific aspects”
of legal procedure if EU leaders so decide.

I bet if you asked people if they wanted that there would be a resounding No. Unfortunately the Conservative Leadership have been embarrassed into silence by the likes of Poly Toynbee and the BBC, for leading a party which dares to differ with the EUphiles, as a result they don't bother to make a case relevant and understandable to the general public lest the BBC gives them a hard time, which falls right into Brussels hands and strategy.

"It pretty obvious that the so-called Liberal Democrats are only talking about a referendum on EU membership now to divert attention from the 2005 manifesto "

Yes it is a stalling strategy, which they will renege on if ever called to fulfil their promise, just as they have reneged on their 2005 manifesto promise. Clegg should be reminded that he stood for Parliament on the promise to give us a referendum on the Lisbon Treaty/Constitution, and NOW is the time for him to fulfil that promise.

John and Iian you are quite right gentlemen but don't let the modernisers know as they will come around your house and tell you that you are very naughty boys for rocking the boat (or words to that effect)
Europe is a socialist experiment and the Conservatives should have been highlighting that for years even if it is unpaletable for many in the centre but it seems the only person who actually had brass knackers was lady thatcher and i don't have to explain the irony in that.

A referendum on continued membership would be a very bad idea with Labour still in power. We would have a plethora of untruths and scare stories as was the case in the 1975 referendum. It is doubtful that even the most swivel-eyed EUphile could argue that the Government's pro-membership leaflet was anything but nonsensical.

The real answer is for our party to have withdrawal as a manifesto commitment to be implemented by a parliamentary majority.

Here's another one, the Lisbon treaty gives the EU extensive new EU powers over asylum systems. The Treaty allows the EU to set up a Common European Asylum system.

Again I bet if you asked people if they want the EU to dictate asylum policy you would get another fat raspberry, again trouble is the Conservative leadership isn't making the case, in fact they aren't making any case, which I feel is either that they are befuddled by the number of targets being offered them so end up saying nothing , or else their heart isn’t in it .

"The real answer is for our party to have withdrawal as a manifesto commitment to be implemented by a parliamentary majority."

Surely as the Lisbon treaty has been voted in by Parliament, it can be voted out by Parliament?

There is nothing 'modern' about letting democracy trickle away. My question is why should I care enough to vote Conservative if you do not care enough to avoid a future in which you will at best command a meaningless majority in a Westminster Parliament that retains no effective ability to legislate and in which our national elections therefore decide nothing except which party sends ministers to Brussels to be outvoted on policies initiated by the Socialists and EPP?

"There is nothing 'modern' about letting democracy trickle away."

Agreed what we are being offered in a our elections is a Shamocracy, where we go through the motions of electing representatives who can't represent us as all the powers of Parliament have been hollowed out by Brussels. MP's should count themselves lucky that millions of us are still prepared to humour them, but much more of this collective suicide and they become more trouble than they are worth, with the result that we start handing them out their P45’s, that’s if they are lucky, though the way they are headed it will more likely be a rope and a lamp post.

Surely as the Lisbon treaty has been voted in by Parliament, it can be voted out by Parliament?

Sadly not. Each treaty we have implemented has amended the original text of the Treaty of Rome. They do not stand as discrete intergovernmental agreements which can be resiled from. When the Lisbon constitution is ratified by the member states (and it will be), the status quo ante will have ceased to exist and the only options will be to accept the new consitution or leave.

... We can however remain in the common market even outside the EU as we are signatories of the EEA treaty, which is seperate from the treaties on European Union. However, EFTA membership may be better and would certainly be lower cost.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/European_Economic_Area

"They do not stand as discrete intergovernmental agreements which can be resiled from."

Why not? I am of the opinion that you allow these bureaucrats to rule your lives they will to the point where you can't do anything with out their permission , but if you tear up their rule book, they'll kick up an almighty fuss but in the end they will accommodate your demands for they have to.


As I keep saying on this forum, We import twice as much from the rest of the EU as we export to it, and we're a major contributor to the EU budget. If we had a government which was serious about renegotiating the terms of our membership then Brussels would bend over backwards to keep us in

Michael Rutherford said:
Now that the Tories are pretty much united over Europe, I don't think it would be a bad thing for it to be back in the news.

We shouldn't push it too much as people don't care about the EU as much as Tory members do, but if it's very much a current affair we'll be fine.

You've only got to look at this thread to see how laughable this view is. I'm also amused that you think "Tory Members" aren't people.

Iain said:
No it wouldn't, for the Lisbon treaty needs full ratification for it to pass, if one country votes it down then the Lisbon treaty falls.

The treaty isn't like the constitution in terms of ratification. If neccessary, it will be tweaked then ratified by all of our European partners. If we say no, they'll go ahead without us. There is no "not in the treaty, still in Europe" option.

At least those people who want a referendum on the EU are being honest with themselves. But no major party is going to offer them a referendum, however much they whinge.

I see the Libdems have indulged in some posturing with Ed Davey getting thrown out of Parliament. Clearly the Libdems have seen that they are in a load of trouble playing the role of the sycophantic Government stooges in voting for everything the Government puts in front of them on the Lisbon treaty, so they've indulged in this posturing to try and show they aren't the Governments camp followers the rest of us believe they are.

We wont get a referendum on the COnstitution OR membership because the EUSSR wont let us, we will be signed away to ths foreign power to be ruled, England will be carved out of existence and into 9 pitiful weak scotland sized regions, nobody cares about what is happening, nobody will do anything about it, all people are concerend about is football, getting drunk, and Pop idol, we deserve all we get, we do not deserve to have a country.

I think the main reason that the average person in the street doesn't appear to care about a referendum or the Lisbon Treaty or the EU, is because they don't understand it, i.e. what it is all about and how it affects them. The only worry of Mr/Mrs/Ms Average is that a 'No' referendum, or leaving the EU, might affect their holidays in Europe!! And if you doubt that conclusion, just ask a sample of the two-and-three-times-a-year holiday people!

Gnosis.
I am not picking a fight with you just after we have made up, but 10 million people have died [and so left the electoral register] since 1992! Goodness knows how many from Maggie's time.
Perhaps we should concentrate on the 10 million that have come on at the other end since 1992.

After much careful thought and consideration of all the current political issues, I am of the opinion that Mr Clegg is starting to look a bit of a wally.

Patsy
You could ask the same questions of most MPs, how many of them have actually read and digested the contents of the Lisbon treaty. Is a copy, in English, available for their perusal?, can I get hold of a copy?
Would the average man in the street, given the chance, read the flaming thing?
We rely upon the honesty and integrity of our elected representatives, personally I wouldn't give twopence for the friggin'lot including the Cons.

The ejection of Ed Davey was a proportional response. I am glad it scuppered the cynical Lib Dem effort to turn the Lisbon Treaty referendum calls into a call for a referendum on EU membership per se.

The treaty ratification is the subject in the House and if the Lib Dems actually honoured their promise to support a referendum they might actually help to force one. But as they support ratification of Lisbon they are trying to muddy the waters.

If ratification of this horrible constitutional treaty can be blocked, only then would it be appropriate to start talking about a referendum on EU membership. The sooner this country withdraws from all political structures of the EU, the better.

" am glad it scuppered the cynical Lib Dem effort to turn the Lisbon Treaty referendum calls into a call for a referendum on EU membership per se."

Yes the first day the treaty was debated when the Government pushed through its guillotine bill was the time when the Libdems should have stood up to be counted, instead they trooped through the lobbies with the Government, and have spent the rest of the time attacking Conservative amendments rather than holding the Government to account. This little LibDem tantrum today was just the LiDems realising they are onto an electoral liability, and so trying to salvage some shred of integrity.

As to Patrick Harris’s question, Open Europe have a good synopsis of the Lisbon Treaty....

http://www.openeurope.org.uk/research/guide.pdf

Good to see that the 'modernisers' of "lets not talk about Europe because it will make us seem nasty!" fame have largely disappeared of these discussion threads - maybe they've gone to join one of the other two overtly socialist parties where they belong.

I am in favour of withdrawal or substantial re-negotiation of our relations with the EU so as to achieve the kind of set up Norway and Switzerland have (now the default position for anyone who calls themselves a "conservative" - well, all except the party leaders) but I do wonder just how willing those at the heart of the EU would be to let us escape so easily. You don't spend fifty-odd years toiling for the aggrandisement of your supranational institutions and the political unification of Europe, only to have your second largest economic component up-sticks and leave. Perhaps the Eurocrats just bank on the knowledge that the political class in this country - as in pretty much all EU member states - is so wedded to our perpetual membership that they will never have to confront this ugly scenario.

Peter, sadly I think you're right about Mr/Mrs/Ms Average. Recently I asked an English engineer working in Italy what he thought about European political integration, at the loss of UK sovereignty. After some reflection he said it was a good thing, because he'd have liked his no-claims discount to be recognised in Italy; the price of his country - a couple hundred Euros, tops.

Admittedly I don't know much about House of Commons rules, but perhaps Mr Speaker disallowed the amendment on a referendum on EU membership as this is not the subject of the legislation – rather the new EU Constitution, sorry Treaty, is. If so, might he rule out Mr Davidson’s idea too, even though one of the two questions would be about the Constitution, sorry Treaty?

As for the Lib-Dem walk-out, perhaps they needed to stage a stunt to make up for their lack of progress under Mr Clegg and his lack of impact. And of course their idea of having a referendum on EU membership is probably meant to obscure the fact they are obviously in favour of the Constitution, sorry Treaty, and of ever-increasing union against the wishes of the voters.

Patsy Sergeant wrote "The only worry of Mr/Mrs/Ms Average is that a 'No' referendum, or leaving the EU, might affect their holidays in Europe!!"

My family first holidayed in Spain in 1970 before Britain joined the EU. I am from a lower middle class family, i.e. average. Such patronising nonsense is typical of Dave's elitist cronies.

The Tories need to do much more than simply vote against this treacherous Lisbon Treaty. Their next election manifesto needs to acnowledge that many powers have wrongly been allowed to pass to Brussels, & that these will be recovered regardless!

The Tories should say that the recovery process will be backed by REFERENDUMS. And whenever Brussels (while we remain in the EU) proposes a regulation or directive, if either our Parliament does not accept it, or alternatively a citizens' petition calls for a referendum, it would be included in the year's annual referendums. I suggest these should be held along with the annual Council elections every May. If there are likely to be too many referendum topics needing to be put before the British people, then Brussels (who issues 1100 new regulations & directives on average a year, for God's sake!!!) would be told once the UK has got enough annual referendum topics accumulated, then Brussels would be FORBIDDEN from submitting any more new directives that year! Penalty? Yes - no more British money that year until Brussels backs down!

If the EU doesn't like it, who cares? Not Me! After all, what has Britain got that the EU needs? 1. A net 6 billion UK pound annual payment into the Europe's wasteful & corrupt coffers! 2. The 2nd equal biggest economy in Europe. 3. The World's 5th or 6th equal biggest economy. 4. Nukes! 5. A permanent seat at the lamentably corrupt & disorganized UN! 6. The English language - the currently dominant language in international commerce & communications! 7. G7 membership, & Commonwealth membership etc. 8. A genuine belief in honesty, democracy, courage etc - quite rare attributes in some parts of Europe, especially the EU! 9. Whatever else you like to suggest!

Is this a hard line? No, it's the only sensible one!

Is there any Constitutional precedent for 'the people' seeking a judicial review of legislation that has not followed proper constitutional process ?

It could be argued that the position of MP's who were elected on a Manifesto pledge and break that pledge are therefor not legitimate. It could be argued that the handling of the Debate and Timetable has been fatally flawed (e.g unsafe) and that the historic principle of 'no Parliament binding its successors' - has been breached.

Maybe this kind of legal challenge in the event of ratification is already being considered !!

"Is there any Constitutional precedent for 'the people' seeking a judicial review of legislation that has not followed proper constitutional process ?"

UKIP did try that but the Judge threw it out with Labour's lawyer making the case that.... "A manifesto promise is incapable of giving rise to a legally binding contract with the electorate. It is a point which is so obvious that I don't want to labour it."...which is a shame for while Judicial activism bends over backwards to entertain any claim from asylum seekers and such like, a core issue like the contract the Governing party strikes with the electorate can be reneged on, and doesn’t get to be scrutinised in court.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk_politics/7233175.stm

Ive brought this up before to cries that it was the tactics an insurance company would use to avoid coughing up the money but if the manifesto is to be treated as a binding document, then a referendum on the Treaty isnt backed by the manifesto and doesnt have to happen since it wasnt in the Manifesto. Also it would mean that manifestos would be far thinner than they are and their promises would become far more vague to avoid binding their own future actions.

The 2005 Labour Manifesto did not promise a referendum on the Lisbon Treaty. It promised a referendum on the European Constitution which is not the same document as the Lisbon Treaty. Yes, its very close to it, but it is not the same. Those who say it is are stretching the point.

The manifesto is just a set of ideas of what the Party would like to do. No Party has ever stuck purely to what the manifesto has said and the judge was right to throw it out.

The Conservatives are taking the wrong line. They should be calling for a referendum because of what this Treaty will do. The Treaty is objectionable in its own right without having to even refer to the European Constitution.

" It promised a referendum on the European Constitution which is not the same document as the Lisbon Treaty."

Well I can give you a list of EU leaders who say its one and the same, but on your line of argument I wonder how well the Judge would take the defence of a car thief if he said the car he was caught with wasn't the same as the one stolen because he had changed the fluffy dice? I don't think it would go down very well.

As for Labour's manifesto commitments, this is the quote from their 2005 manifesto...
"We will put it to the British people in a referendum". Note the word 'WILL' that isn't some air fairy laying out political ideas, it is the promise of an undertaking.

I am in favour of withdrawal or substantial re-negotiation of our relations with the EU so as to achieve the kind of set up Norway and Switzerland have (now the default position for anyone who calls themselves a "conservative"

Stoltenberg's "fax democracy"? 98% of the legislation, none of the say - what a great idea.

The Fallacy of False Analogy. Havent seen that one for a while... They are obviously completely different circumstances and you know it Iain. You cant compare them.

You have proved my point with your second paragraph. A referendum, on the European Constitution. The Lisbon Treaty wasnt in existence at the time of the 2005 manifestos.

The EU leaders are saying its 95% or 97% the same. The few % difference makes all the difference.

"They are obviously completely different circumstances and you know it Iain. You cant compare them."

Well as I said everybody other than you, Labour and the Libdems say otherwise....

Germany
“The substance of the Constitution is preserved. That is a fact.”(Angela Merkel, German Chancellor, Telegraph, 29 June 2007)

Spain
“We have not let a single substantial point of the Constitutional Treaty go… It is,without a doubt, much more than a treaty. This is a project of foundational character, a treaty for a new Europe.”(Jose Zapatero, Spanish Prime Minister, speech, 27 June 2007)

Ireland
“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 Taoiseach, Irish Independent, 24 June 2007)

Czech Republic
“Only cosmetic changes have been made and the basic document remains the
same.”(Vaclav Klaus, Czech President, Guardian, 13 June 2007)

Finland
“There’s nothing from the original institutional package that has been changed.” (Astrid Thors, Finnish Europe Minister, TV-Nytt, 23 June 2007)

Denmark
“The good thing is...that all the symbolic elements are gone, and that which really
matters – the core – is left.” (Anders Fogh Rasmussen, Danish Prime Minister, Jyllands-Posten, 25 June 2007)

Austria
“The original Treaty for a Constitution was maintained in substance.”(Austrian government website, 25 June 2007)

Belgium
The new treaty “takes up the most important elements of the Constitutional Treaty
project.”(Guy Verhofstadt, Belgian Prime Minister, Agence Europe, 24 June 2007)

Italy
“As for our conditions… I outlined four red lines with respect to the text of the Constitution: to keep a permanent president of the EU, to keep the single overseer for foreign policy and a common diplomatic service, to keep the extension of
majority voting, to keep the single legal personality of the Union. All of this has
stayed.” (Romano Prodi, Italian Prime Minister, La Repubblica, 24 June 2007)

Lithuania
Lithuania has “100 percent fulfilled the tasks set forth before the meeting, including the primary objective of preserving the substance of the Constitutional Treaty.”
(Office of the President of Lithuania, official press release)

Luxembourg
“The substance has been preserved from Luxembourg’s point of view.” (Jean-Claude Juncker, Luxembourg Prime Minister, Agence Europe, 24 June)

Slovenia
With the new treaty, the EU gets “content that is not essentially different from the Constitutional Treaty… All key institutional solutions remain… Some symbolic elements will be cleared up and some formulations toned down.” (Janez Jansa, Slovenian Prime Minister, Government Communication Office, 23 June 2007)

The author of the EU Constitution “This text is, in fact, a rerun of a great part of the substance of the Constitutional Treaty.” (Valery Giscard d’Estaing, Telegraph, 27 June 2007)

European Parliament
The European Parliament “welcomes the fact that the mandate safeguards the substance of the Constitutional Treaty.”(European Parliament resolution, 10 July 2007)

The European Commission
“It’s essentially the same proposal as the old Constitution.” (Margot Wallstrom, EU Commissioner, Svenska Dagbladet, 26 June 2007)

The UK Government
"The new reform treaty is fundamentally different from the Constitution, it's not a Constitution."
(David Miliband, UK Foreign Secretary,BBC Today programme, 16 October 2007)

Giscard d’Estaing
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.” (Le Monde, 14 June 2007 and Sunday Telegraph, 1 July 2007)

Former Italian Prime Minister Giuliano Amato
“They decided that the document should be unreadable. If it is unreadable, it is
not Constitutional, that was the sort of perception... 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.” (CER meeting, 12 July 2007)

Karel de Gucht, Belgian Foreign Minister
"The aim of the Constitutional Treaty was to be more readable; the aim of this treaty is to be unreadable… The Constitution aimed to be clear, whereas this treaty had to be unclear. It is a success.” (Flandreinfo, 23 June 2007)

Jean Claude Juncker, Prime Minister of Luxembourg
“Britain is different. Of course there will be transfers of sovereignty. But would I be intelligent to draw the attention of public opinion to this fact?” (Telegraph, 3 July 2007)

Ah, another fallacy. I have said I support the calls for a referendum but the case for it isnt in its closeness to the Constitution and the manifesto pledge. The case is based on what the Lisbon Treaty will do in its own right. The line of argument that a referendum must happen because of the manifesto pledge doesnt work as it is not the same as the Constitution. Yes, its very close but it is not exactly the same. The Interpretative approach to reading this Treaty isnt appropriate.

Wanna try again for the Fallacy Hat Trick?

Passing leftie should google 'UNECE' and read about what he comes up with. 'Fax democracy' my ****

The Lisbon Treaty for the first time includes an exit clause (Article 50) - an explicit method by which members can leave the EU, so perhaps you should consider it your first step for "better off out."

For a 'passing' leftie you certainly visit this site a lot! Only joking, you provide a good counter point and encourage argument/debate

For a 'passing' leftie you certainly visit this site a lot! Only joking, you provide a good counter point and encourage argument/debate

Well, thank you. Every horse needs a gadfly! I'm reluctant to change my moniker at this stage. This site is extremely well run, and I find it stimulating to debate with people whose views I oppose. Plus, I have at least one friend here.

James Maskell wrote: "The 2005 Labour Manifesto did not promise a referendum on the Lisbon Treaty. It promised a referendum on the European Constitution which is not the same document as the Lisbon Treaty. Yes, its very close to it, but it is not the same. Those who say it is are stretching the point."

No they are not (see constitreaty.com for word by word comparison). You argue like a used car salesman saying it's not the same car that was in an accident, because it has a new wheel. In politics, why isn't this behaviour regarded as fraudulent and punishable under the law?

If the world were to adopt your logic there would be widespread anarchy, as the slightest difference became a pretext for avoiding an obligation. Can you imagine? The promise to not close any more Post Offices could be avoided by changing their name to Poste Offices. A promised Inheritance Tax threshold of £1m could be ignored by changing its name to Inheriting Tax. Civilisation itself would collapse quickly, by the practice you are advocating as acceptable.

If you are so confident of your argument, please tell us what elements in the EU Constitution, according to Labour in 2005, deserved a referendum but which are no longer in the Lisbon Treaty.

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