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A massive suprize of a story. A very desperate move pre-Conference. Curious that it was one place higher on BBC than the story of Cameron going abroad again, this time in Berlin...


There's a run on the fifth largest bank in Britain, unprecedented scenes on the streets, scenes reminiscent of the Great Crash of 1929..........



Ming has got it right, let's have it out once and for all, in or out. Vaz has said the same. What are you all scared of?

Unfortunately UKIP has fallen straight into the trap.

It is vital we keep this debate focused on the narrow issue of the present Treaty and not allow Labour and the LibDems to try and turn the debate into one on the principle of membership of the EU.

see my take @ http://tinyurl.com/343crd

We do need a once and for all referendum on EU membership with honest recognition that membership means Britain as part of a federal European state.

Heard the sanctimonious fool on PM last night. He should call it a day....he has been over-exposed on Radio 4 and is simply rent-a-quote. He bores....they had an asset in Kennedy but Macbeth had to knife him and start the whole Scottish Play over....wait until Birnam Wood starts to move

Comparing this to 1929 might be putting too fine a point on it. The real economy hasnt been hit heavily yet. This is just a situation where Northern Bank is heavily tied into the problems in America and theyve been hit by a temporary problem. Its not a run and thats exactly the talk that lead to panicking.


That's a profound, if somewhat over-excited contribution TEHNC. Sadly, as the Newcastle-based Northern Rock has no branches in this area our streets have not witnessed these allegedly unprecedented scenes.

I do, however know quite a lot about the risky tactics which laid the NR wide open to the tertiary effects of the US sub-prime crisis. However, it's easy to be wise after the event

So how do you, TEHNC, believe that Mr Brown should have reacted to the situation?

Perhaps this is Ming's Death Ray to Gordon's 'Flash'...

Whilst on this thread, there was of course a Prince of the forest people who had strange tests for members of his group as they 'came of age' - if they couldn't navigate the tree stumps and got bit by the beastie, they copped it.

Of course, the happy ending to this story was that once Gordon had his glory, he quickly decided to go home and the forest Prince took over. Can't work out where the bird men come into it tho...

The calls for a referendum on EU membership are a ploy to head off calls for the ref on the con. It is a dangerous tactic for pro-EU players, and shows the level of their desperation facing 85% of voters thinking they want a ref on the con.

'The trouble is that the question Ming wants to pose - In or Out - is a complete irrelevance (except for Ukip voters)' - Matthew d'Ancona

Matthew needs to get out a bit more and meet some real people (I doubt he does as a journalist) - even the BBC are admitting that at least 1 in 5 people in this country support withdrawal from the EU. 20% is hardly just UKIP voters is it now?

Having said that, Huntsman is right. This is just a ploy to unite Lib Dem support, and should not be allowed to get in the way of arguing against the Constitution. It's just another pointless distraction from Ming the Meaningless.

I think this is quite shrewd, given his absolute zero room for maneouvre. As William Norton has written so clearly this week, all the Pro party in any referendum will do will be to try and move the grounds for debate away from the specific (Constitution, yes or no) and onto the general (EU, now or never). Given what we know about the propensity of the rightwing in the UK to remain intellectually focused on matters European, I think (from the Minger's perspective) this move is quite clever. He is saying: Yes we should have a referendum, but let's have one that will be as splitworthy as possible for my centre-right opponents.

The Tory bloggers are up in arms, I see. Because, of course, the Lib Dems would all campaign for a Yes vote if the question were staying in, or for a No vote if the question were withdrawal. The Tories, on the other and, would probably split organically, with Cameron's federalist zeal (as proclaimed on Newsnight not so long ago) exposed, and with mass defections to UKIP or to a new party.

Ming is right to call for a proper debate on our EU membership.

"Sir Menzies Campbell's call for a referendum on Britain's membership of the EU is a desperate bid to preserve party unity on the eve of what may be his last conference as Lib Dem leader..."

David Lindsay is absolutely right in what he says. Ming Campbell's move is "desperate" because it would result in Britain's exit from the EU super-state (if any such vote actually went ahead), and it would mean the Tories disintegrating.

It seems that the Editor is more concerned about the existence of the Tory party than he is about the existence of Britain as a free and sovereign nation.

Who cares whether his motive is honourable or dishonourable?

Only those who are not confident of success would reject this chance to set our path in terms of relations with the EU for a generation.

Let's face it, does anyone genuinely believe that a 'no' vote in an eu consistition vote would do anything but slightly delay the path the integrationist path?

So given the option, why not take the chance to fight for the big question?

This is quite clever of Ming because he knows than a referendum on continued membership would tear the Conservatives apart although if there was such a referendum I do not think the no vote would win.

Personally I would love Ming to be successful so that we could have a debate about our future relationship with the EU.Unless it could be proved to me that our economy would be very badly damaged I would vote to leave.
I suspect though, as with so much else Ming will be ignored.

New You Gov poll out: LAB 39%, CON 34%, LDEM 15%

This is a roll of the dice in the same way Brown did with Thatcher. Mings calculations is that the Tories will talk about Europe, whilst the Lib Dems dont have to do anything and might get some support that has leaked to the Tories (as we know the polls show a distinct link of support traffic between the Lib Dems and the Tories).

I think Mings miscalculated given hes struggling to hold the Lib Dems together. The Lib Dem conference is going to be like some of our more horrible Tory ones. Mings pledge to stay into the next Parliament is guff. He's out in 12 months tops. Either bring Charles Kennedy back (the public have pretty much forgotten about his drinking and I understand hes getting over it too) or move to the next generation. Vince Cable is tainted by the coup toppling Kennedy.

The europiles are trying to muddy Cameron's water.

He should respond in time by saying prior to the Constitution being ratified through Parliament, a referendum should be held, as clearly promised by Labour in their manifesto.

If the con is ratified through parliament by successful whipping of Labour rebels, then Cameron should move to back Ming's call for a referendum on the EU Total.

For now there is only one referendum to demand and that is the one promised by Gordon Brown. The question is for now only whether Brown will try to worm his way out of his promise.

Once this is established one way or the other, the next phase will become clear. If he holds a ref on the con, and the public reject the con, there will need to be a renegotiation.

If they are not offered a ref on the con, they will need a ref on the EU total as proposed by Ming. Camron can second this without seeming overly anti-Europe as it has been proosed first by a europile.

I favour the UK being withdrawn from the EU without there being a vote on it, it is simply the right thing to do and without such a move the prospects of properly dealing with crime and terrorism are severely restricted.

The fact is that there will be a general policy drift in the EU - the UK is one of the largest and wealthiest states in the EU, but it is still just one state, a state with about a seventh the total EU population. If the Council of Ministers and the EU Parliament are favourable towards a great deal of control on many issues then this is what will happen, Conservative leaders have been behaving as if they have some kind of magic wand they could wave that could deliver the deal they want as they fly back on a magic carpet.

The alternative is to negociate a mutually beneficial trade deal with the EU, this would mean setting up border controls with the Irish Republic - the Irish would be subject to the same rules with regard to coming to the UK as anyone else in the world. The UK would respect the right of the EU to handle it's own affairs in exchange for the UK being left free to decide it's own affairs. Relations with the Commonwealth could be strengthened and with other non-EU nations across the world.

Ming Campbell's move is "desperate" because it would result in Britain's exit from the EU super-state (if any such vote actually went ahead), and it would mean the Tories disintegrating.
Surely a referendum would decide the issue for all three parties depending on the majority one way or another - if there was a strong vote for leaving then people such as Kenneth Clarke and Michael Hestletine would be left marginalised if they sought to pursue the issue.

If however a vote went for remaining in the EU it would pose a severe difficulty for those seeking to crack down on Crime and Terrorism. It would be a victory for the Liberal elite making it virtually impossible to properly govern the UK, this is why the position should be that either you favour being in the EU or being against it. It's like being a bit pregnant - either someone is or they aren't.

Might Enoch Powell live again in the forms in Heffer, Hitchens, Daley, et al? This one could run and run, and really could kill off the Conservative Party at the next Election.

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