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Ming Ming Ming. What a uselsss old bluffer.

Join the centre ground!Gordon, Ming and no doubt the Welsh and Scottish Nats if Gordon needs them.

Ming wants a real job and will do anything to achieve it. If there is a referendum the centre left will all line up in favour of the treaty.

Everyone must know by now that the government is hopeless. Even Wanless realises his mistakes, but how many wasted billions later?

But what is the alternative.

A referendum and vote for a new version of the treaty?

Surrender on the war on terror? The Jihadists are still out there!

Carry on buying into a centrally planned NHS and Education service?

Instead we have people worrying about plasma screens and tesco car parks. It the country shut down completely it wouldn't make a significant difference on world production of carbon dioxide.

DC should do the party a favour and go now. His pals are making the party look ridiculous

So this is the issue where the LibDems can isolate Ming Campbell and leave him bereft in a Commons vote ?

I would not have thought he would make this EU Constitution his personal Vote of Confidence.....he is asking for trouble.

Ming to the rescue, that cosy relationship with Brown is paying off for the Labour party again rather than than the Libdem members. Brown the back room man stitches up democracy in his usual style!

So he is not harmless then.

The LibDem 2005 manifesto says "We are therefore clear in our support for the constitution, which we believe is in Britain’s interest – but ratification must be subject to a referendum of the British people".

The Lib Dems under Ming are swiftly becoming more Socialist. True Liberals wouldnt go near the policies that Ming has.

With Mings leadership of the Liberal Democrats and the incredible amount of support he has, he has my support as LD leader!

What is clear is that Nulab promised a referendum on the draft treaty, if it were a constitution.
Brown and now Ming say it is not a constitution, therefore no referendum is necessary.
The tories say the opposite but have not produced any proof; David Cameron quotes various EU prime ministers who, he claims, state that it is anything from 93% to 98% the same as the referendum.
This is typical of the tories; we need Jeff Randall to fight our corner with pithy assertions backed up by facts and figures.
Does the new treaty "constitute" a state of Europe or not (quote chapter and verse)? What further powers would be taken away from the UK etc?
The same needs to be done with crime; on Newsnight when DC was interviewed, he politely disagreed with Crick's assertion that violent crime against the person was about the same under the tories as it is now.
Why did not DC quote Home Office stats and say that, on the contrary, it had quadrupled?
Why don't the tories point out what Dan Byles told me that there is currently 1 civil servant in the MoD for every 2 fighting men and women?
As he added: "what the hell are they all doing?"
Let us confuse the issue with a few hard hitting facts!

Brilliant news, more lost votes for the Lib Dems. A totally contradictory position as John above points out and very likely to split the Lib Dems into electoral oblivion come the next election.

The Chelmsford voters in yesterday's byelection showed the Conservative position on a referendum reflects their own view of it's importance and Ming has got it totally wrong .
The result errrmmm - a landslide win and gain for the LibDems with a near 30% swing from the Conservatives .

Mike Thomas is correct.

I am just surprised that when the F.T put the referendum question to Sir Ming, he did not ask for a couple of days to think about it.

Great in the Newsnight studio, loved by the Jon Snow classes, can bore us to death on Iraq, but like so many of his type, has the clunking common touch.

Ming's hapless tenure and increasingly flawed judgement is great news for us.
The Lib Dems have MPs like David Laws and David Heath who totally, publicly oppose this position, yet we will re-take Yeovil and Somerton and Frome based on this gaffe, and many others Lib Dem seats.

Lets just hope the Libs keep him !

The Lib Dems have never believed in the UK (or England for that matter- only Wales and Scotland )- they can't wait for a foreign power to take over and give them the little quisling jobs they think they deserve.

What a surprise - Ming shows his true colours. Far from sticking up for the people, the Lib Dems are waving the white flag of surrender on the issue of a referendum on the EU Treaty that is the constitution in all but name.

Given that so many of our European allies have been helpful in telling us that percentage of the document that remains the same, all of which are 90% and above, how Ming can try to justify his comments. Has he actually read this awful thing?

I wonder has there ever been a better demonstration of the fact that if you vote Lib Dem you get Labour.

Its time for a change, its time to listen to the people of our Country and its time for a Conservative Government.

Just remind me of the Libdems net gains at council level this year, that includes the May elections?
Definitely not winning here, but I suppose with the overall performance of the Libdems and their poor poll ratings you might want to clutch at individual results for comfort.
Poor Ming does seems to be trying to hang on to Brown's coat tail more and more these days.

How nice, Gordo between a rock and a hard place.
Ironic isn't it, that the cry for a referendum should arise for disparate reasons.
The Tories would like to capitalise on anti-EU feeling in the country generally.
The Unions and some Labourites want the full weight of the social legislation enshrined in the Constitution (Sorry Treaty) to act in their favour.
In the meantime Ming aint so sure why we should have a referendum, but, perhaps, we might, if the question is suitable rephrased and esoteric enough to match his ethereal being.
In the meantime the people of this country would like a say how they are ruled, how they are taxed, how laws are promulgated, as to whom may enter the country and why. But more basically would like the right to make a decision, as to whether we dispose of our constitutional monarchy and become a mini-Euro-Satrap-Republic, ruled by people we have no control over, and a tiny voice in a largely undemocratic Euro-Parliament.
What is wrong with Ming? is he losing his marbles? why cannot he, and others, see the reasons for democracy in action, or is it a fag to let the electorate choose thus demeaning their roles.?

Don't forget- Ming and the 'Scottish Cabal' of LibDem/Labour MP's have done EXACTLY the same thing before. We should be eternally grateful to Paddy Ashdown for 'lifting the lid' on the shenanigans after Bliar was elected Labour Leader ( ie)proposed merger, PR, devolution whatever). LibDem MP's and members know the score with Ming- 'a vote for yellow, is a vote for red.' If anything, the LibDem membership ( MP's, Cllr's, etc.) must be the most gormless bunch around. If they profess to be an 'independent party' etc, surely Ming and the 'Scottish Cabal' of LibDem MP's should be given the 'order of the boot' by English LibDem MP's?

Mark Senior, that was a Borough Council by-election, fought over "Tory housing plans" (handed down by the very government that Ming is now propping up).

Even I, a Europhile, would not attempt to call it a verdict on Ming or the EU treaty.

Old fool! This is Hughne's chance.
He is absolutely disloyal, ambitious and desperate to keep hold of his Eastleigh seat. Watch to see if he says he will vote for the government holding a referendum and try to isolate the old duffer from the rest of the parliamentary LibDems

Mark, over the past three months, the average Lib Dem vote share in local by-elections has been unchanged since May, when they finished rather a long way behind the Conservatives.

So, Ming has nailed his colours to the mast on this one. I don't know why he doesn't just offer to merge his party with Labour. He obviously doesn't consider himself to be an opposition leader.

David Belchamber - You make good points that should be made - but not yet!

What Cameron is talking about is making Brown and the Labour government honour the promise they made to hold as referendum - And that now applies to Ming C: too.

All the points you make on the subject are relevant to WINNING the referendum - not to getting it - where we can make common cause with those who want a referendum in order to legitimise the Constitution. Two different issues.

So the future of our nation lies in the hands of Ming and he is too stupid to cause his political opponents stress. God help us all.

Sorry Mark, I forgot that a landslide victory for the Lib Dems in a single ward in a local by-election in the Chelmsford constituency implies that nobody wants an EU referendum and that the Lib Dems are going to sweep the board nationwide despite falling to 16% in the opinion polls.

How silly of me.

Yes the majority of voters are in favour of a referendum ( I am myself ) but to the vast majority it is not actually a matter of vast importance whether one is held or not . It comes way down the list of issues voters consider the most important admittedly above the WLQ and an English Parliament which barely registers at all .
The point I am trying to make is that the voters in Chelmsford behaved like all other voters and ignored the EU referendum as an issue . Although I personally disagree with him , Ming has probably assessed the electorates mood on this rather better thanthose who have made some of the hysterical comments on here .

The Lib Dems have MPs like David Laws and David Heath who totally, publicly oppose this position, yet we will re-take Yeovil and Somerton and Frome based on this gaffe, and many others Lib Dem seats.

I wouldn't count on it.

The great British public may be broadly anti-EU but the chances of them getting off their backside to do anything about it are minimal.

They're far more concerned about their booze and lottery tickets.

Looks like Ming does want to enter Gordon Brown's trapdoor after all. This shows how fickle the Liberals are, they simply cannot be trusted. Charles Kennedy ruled out suppoting a Labour government and Ming has already made it known that he would work with Labour in the event of a hung parliament. So what we have in effect is an anti-Conservative block led by Brown and Campbell. At least it shows wavering voters that if they vote Liberal they will be voting Labour.

Campbell, Cable, Hughes, Clegg, Teather (although not for much longer)- they are virtually indistinguishable from Brownite Labour and are just about the most disingenuous and sanctimonious bunch in British politics. They run to the Left of Labour In Brent, and to the right of the Tories in Taunton. They trumpet individual liberty- yet deny the people a voice when taking those liberties away.

One of the delights of the next Election will be watching the Iraquette-wing of the Left peel off from the Lib Dems to Brown, and the Green/pro-civil libs Centre come over from Old Ming to us.

The Lib Dems will be able to hold their post Election leadership contest in a telephone box.

Lovely! The Lib Dem conference is going to be so much fun!

Ming wants a real job and will do anything to achieve it.
I am sure that if he had wanted one he probably could have had one in Gordon Brown's reshuffle and I'm sure he knows he could have had one. His whole strategy has been to reject merely being an addon to either Labour or the Conservatives, if there are to be be Liberal Democrat ministers he will accept nothing less than a full coalition.

I think he is making a strategic mistake and missing an opportunity to go into the next General Election having delivered greater involvement in government than the Liberal Party had had since 1923.

Paddy Ashdown was offered the position of Northern Ireland Secretary and Menzies Campbell perhaps could have got Gordon Brown to broaden the offer out a bit and perhaps have been something like Secretary of State for Overseas Development.

In the 1970s there was a car sticker with the slogan "The Liberal Party is a Labour-Saving Device". It ought to be re-printed.

You make a very valid point, Christina at 11.33 about the suggested referendum on the constitution:

"All the points you make on the subject are relevant to WINNING the referendum - not to getting it".

The problem currently is getting Brown to agree to holding one in the first place and I think that, to do that, our arguments must highlight the main changes from the existing situation.

This has become a question of the Labour government honouring one of the pledges on which it was elected. People will have read the pledge to have a referendum and voted on that pledge. Now Labour must keep their word. Otherwise public trust in politics will be undermined even further.

NIce story in The Times picked up from the German media about the breaking story in bunte tomorrow about Deputy EU Commission President Verheugen and his divorce.

His wife has filed for divorce over his affair with a woman he promoted to Chief of Staff - in violation of EU Commission rules - Barroso and Merkel have protected him even having the EU Commission serve injunctions on the media.

This could well bring down Barroso and split Merkel's coalition

With so much support from his 'core vote', including the demand of the TUC, for an EU Referendum, surely even the Prime Minister must abandon his Stalinist position and agree to an EU Referendum? I think not! The Fib Dems will go along with anything that emasculates the UK and this is Labour's only support.

Ming notwithstanding, I believe that the pressure for a referendum is getting to be unstoppable. I feel more optimistic today on the European question than I have done in my whole political career. We have a chance of progress.


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