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Anyone who underestimates the influence of The Sun is a fool. To have The Sun onside over the EU treaty is great news for anyone who believes in democracy and believes a government should be made to keep a promise on which it was elected. If Gordon Brown were to cave in and 'grant us' a refrerendum he could be portrayed as weak. So either way Brown can't win on this one.

It is a good point but are the Sun (and others) willing to interpret anything from Brown that is not Yes, as a rejection of a referendum? Up until now journalists like the Sun's political editor Pascoe-watson have given Brown a very easy ride on this.

Also where is the voice of our shadow foreign secy William Hague?

At this stage in the game, I'll take anything we can get to help us out, given our appalling figures in the pools at the moment. We need something, anything to ensure that there is not an early election until the party can get its act together. There simply is not enough positive media coverage of the front bench team at the moment and that is particularly worrying in the run-up to a possible election.

Having said all that, if Brown were to turn around today and announce a referendum, I'm not sure we'd be too thrilled either given the 17% lead Labour would have over us according to the MORI poll. I'm not sure I'd entirely agree with that statistic as a u-turn would surely bring considerable embarrassment for Brown but it is still a shocking indication of just how far behind we have slipped since the beginning of the summer and the slippery slope since Grammargate.

Unfortunately they want a referendum and Brown. Its unlikely they will settle for Cameron no matter what he says.

The party has a weeks to put together a new vision of the country's future. To do that it must reject nulab root and branch. Its better to go down with policies that offer long term solutions than compromise with what we have had for the last ten years.

Despite the billions spent on health and the massive increase in staff, Brown tells us his priority is clean hospitals.He has micro managed everything and the public services are a joke. Now he says he only wants to get on with the job. More taxes, more pointless spending and an even bigger banking crisis!

I saw the front page of the Sun this morning. Not the best reading for Brown on his big day. He has to do something on this. What are the odds on a fudge in a few weeks when they meet again? I'm sure Brown will find some way to make it look like he's defended our interests, then the Sun can carp about how great he is.

Perhaps the Sun have got fed with being taken for fools by Blair and now Brown. My worry is that Brown will now accede to this stand by the Sun and then we have the entire News International stable cheering him to the rafters. The next few days will be interesting!

Looks like the Sun has found the ace that will trump the 3-card trickster---- we're all Sun readers now.

Shades of save the pound in 2001. Brown appears to listen to the clamour of the electorate and gives in at the start of the campaign. Whoops !

Hello HF

'Also where is the voice of our shadow foreign secy William Hague?'



He may want to say it again in the light of The Sun's 'Greatest threat since WW2' campaign.

This is great news.

There are two possible outcomes we should pray do not happen.

1. Brown grants a referendum to be held on the same day as the general election in November.

2. He announces that he has decided not to ratify the treaty as it breaches the red lines, (more likely) and then calls an October election. This will attract substantial popular support because it will be seen as pushing back against the EU, and "obviously" a referendum will not be an issue if there is to be no treaty.

An election victory would then be followed by a swift explanation that the red lines have been clarified, and the treaty will be ratified within weeks of Brown returning to number 10.

The Sun/Murdoch will side with whom they perceive to be the winner. I forsee Cameron's head in a lightbulb......

Peculiar. Gordon Brown and NuLabour pushed through a devolutionary settlement in the United Kingdom on the basis of national identity and the right to self-determination. Because this was such a significant change to the constitutional status of the UK he offered referenda because the people had the right to be consulted.

So. National identity, constitutional change = Public vote.

Now we have a far more significant constitutional change with EC treaty and Brown is busy telling us how British we are and how we should rally to the flag and celebrate our national identity.

So. National identity, constitutional change = NO Public vote.

And while we are at it:

English national identity, constitutional change via devolution and EC diktat = NO Public vote.

Come on guys, ATTACK!

I confess to being cynical so my prediction is that Brown will agree to a referendum today. Ms Wade will get the headline she wants - "It was the Sun that Won It". Brown would then enjoy the double digit poll lead that the polls predict would result from the referendum concession.

Brown would call a general election at the end of the Labour conference and release the date and details of the referendum during the Conservative conference in Blackpool.

My post at 11:05.

....And we should consider the possibility that the Sun's campaign, and Brown's shortly to be announced referendum/refusal to ratify the treaty, are all actions which were agreed weeks ago as part of a master strategy....

Excellent news. Is The Sun now the official opposition?

These are worrying times for Conservatives and I fear you are clutching at straws a little with your graphic. The Tory party has the best part of a fortnight to get itself in fighting trim, regardless of the The Sun's position. Much as I would like to see the EU treaty as a major issue, I don't perceive that the average man in the street is too interested.Real issues such as taxation, public spending and borrowing, house prices, crime, law and order, defence, and immigration, are what people are talking about.

Cameron needs to take at least one foot away from the centre ground to offer a real alternative and reduce his association with the "heir to Blair" tag.
There is a traditional vote that needs to be held and we won't find it by aping New Labour.


No it is vital we go into this election with the "modernising" agenda intact so that it can be tried and tested properly. The last thing we want is for the "modernisers" to say we weren't "modern" enough to justify flogging their dead horse. When they go down, they go down.

By wasting time on all the esoteric 'green stuff, Cameron & Osborne have missed golden opportunities to show up Brown as Blair's accomplice, and now the Poodle of Europe.

In spite of the Sun editorial about Brown standing up to Europe, he told the BBC in 2003 he'd be happy to be a leading pro-Euro figure in a referendum on scrapping the Pound.

Brown also joined forces with Socialist finance ministers in 1998 to bring our taxes up towards European levels.

He caved in on both VAT on church repairs and increased EU budget contributions that will cost us over £20 billion.

Portray him as Blair Mark Two, and his rating will plummet.

englandism thanks for the link but that is a press release of a speech from 5 days ago.

Is William Hague featured extensively in the Sun's 7 pages?

Is William Hague on our tv screeens in the past 3 days?

Brown would call a general election at the end of the Labour conference and release the date and details of the referendum during the Conservative conference in Blackpool.

Brown has been very definite that there will not be a referendum. To make a U-turn at this stage would give the lie to him being a “conviction” politician. He’s been likening himself to Margaret Thatcher, and we all know that lady’s not for turning.

As Tim said yesterday, Brown’s refusal to end the election speculation is making it increasingly hard for him not to call an early election. The Sun’s threat of damaging headlines over the next 3 months (as the EU Treaty goes through Parliament) is just making it all the more certain.

I agree that he’ll use an election announcement to sabotage our conference, but he’ll wait for Cameron to play his cards first. A week on Wednesday is when it will all come clear.

The suspicion is that the Sun and Brown have stitched this up. But if he announces a referendum his colleagues who have argued so virilently against one will be damaged. On one channel Labour's head MEP in Europe was arguing with pascoe-watson on this.

We shall see.

If the Sun really want to keep up the attack why not have a 2 page spread tomorrow with the views of William Hague?

Likewise the Telegraph and Mail?

The Sun have done the people of this country a great service today by starting their campaign for a referendum on the EU Treaty. The Sun's timing is perfect, given that Uncle Joe Brown will stand up in front of the Labour party faithful this morning and tell them bare faced lies. He will repeat the lies he told us in his last speech:

"Many will recall that when taking office I emphasised that the government must listen and learn. Now I say we must do more. We must engage and involve with people on the issues they face in their everyday lives. I believe that Britain needs a new type of politics which embraces everyone in this nation, not just a select few. A politics built on consensus, not division. A politics built on engaging with people, not excluding them. A politics that draws on the widest range of talents and expertise, not the narrow circles of power."

How can anyone justify the actions of Uncle Joe when 96 of the 120 motions submitted to the Labour party conference by constituency parties and unions have been ruled out of order? These include motions on Iraq and the Trident nuclear weapons system. Gordon will only allow motions that will not cause him any embarrassment, even if they come from the party faithful.

Does anyone, including Labour supporters, believe a word of what Uncle Joe Brown said? He is refusing to allow us our say in a referendum on the EU Treaty. He won't give us permission to have a referendum for one reason only: we will vote NO. And Uncle Joe will not have the little people question his authority, he's waited too long to seize power to share it with the workers. And he certainly will not allow party members to ask awkward questions at the conference while he's in charge.

Now forgive me if I'm wrong, but aren't the government supposed work for us in this so called democracy? Let me tell you how politics in this country really works: you vote someone into power, and if they have a big enough majority they can pass any laws they care to and they can totally ignore the wishes of those that voted them in. The only time you have any control over how this country is run is at the precise moment you put an X next to someones name.

Don't waste that vote.

A passionate post there by Steve Green. One thing though - how many critical 'motions' of any sort has Dave accepted for 'debate' at our own conference? I'll give y0u a clue - the answer is circular, and sounds like Hero.

Meanwhile, I'll willingly vote for *any* party leader who stands up and tells Rupert Murdoch to **** off.

Murdoch takes the anti-EU stance because it sells in this country. I am thankful he is in on the right side here, but I still think the man is a menace.

You've got to think that Brown has a plan on this.

Perhaps Brown will 'cave in' and agree thus guaranteeing him a huge majority and killing off the Tories for the foreseeable future, and the Sun will be able to repeat their 'it was the Sun what won it' line too.

That would work out very well for Brown and the Sun.

Chad: Watlington at the SAU has already speculated about such a possibility - although not in the context of The Sun's campaign.

Thanks Tim.

I previously tended to think if he felt confident of success, Brown would just not include the referendum in his own mandate manifesto (thus no broken promise etc), but perhaps he wants to be really sure and walk the ball into the goal.

Then again, perhaps Team Brown has just realised that they can secure not just this election, but the next one too.

I've a sneaking suspicion Watlington is right. Labour MPs could have scuppered Brown's refusal to include a referendum even before the blast from the Sun.Now I'm sure they will.
Brown can do the parliamentary arithmetic better than any of us.If he refuses to sign the treaty he will be a hero to News International and probably the country. Perhaps he will do the right thing for the wrong reasons.

Everything Brown has said or promised since his elevation is to UNDO all the things he DID or agreed to when Chancellor. And he he doesn't even bother to say ""Sorry" first.

If the British people can vote for a man who built the financial system which gave us Northern Rock, the man who denied money to Pirbright laboratories and gave us Foot & Mouth, the man who cut the funds for flood defences, the man who has consistently underfunded our troops and left them ill-equipped to fight a war and the man who promised a referendum on the EU constitution and now refuses it - if the people can vote for him they must have lost all judgment. I despair.

The fact that Cameron doesn't seem to have noticed is utterly depressing but at least he's not utterly tainted.

Murdoch takes the anti-EU stance because it sells in this country.
I don't get the impression with Rupert Murdoch that he has any loyalty to any country really, not even Australia, he's been given a fairly free hand in terms of media ownership and a very generous position on tax and beyond that he is going to oppose anything which threatens that position and otherwise he will print mainly what he thinks will sell most newspapers - he doesn't really care about overall levels of tax or spending, or crime, or National Security policy in the UK, or how fair the government is beyond how it affects him and his family.

Ultimately, all politicians from all sides of the spectrum are two faced liars.

None of main parties will come out and say what the majority of the people want, and that is out of the EU.

Show me one politician that has had a real job, or lived in the real world.

Why wont the Tories state whether they will take the UK out of the EU, no, its a case of we can reform it. Yet 50 years of trying to reform it haven't worked, so get us out, and then negotiate what we signed up to a Common Market!

Tony Makara | September 24, 09:12
"If Gordon Brown were to cave in and 'grant us' a referendum he could be portrayed as weak. So either way Brown can't win on this one."
But, in the euphoria of having achieved something so fundamental as a referendum, who would do the portraying as weak? Certainly not the Tories, otherwise it would look as though we were against this popular move, whilst the press would be too busy claiming success for their campaigns.

So said Gordon Brown today.

Is'nt keeping a promise a key British Value?
How can Gordon Brown, who has not stood for election under his own manifesto, but merely taken over from Tony Blair, possibly deny us an EU referendum without deserving the name of a cheat?
Is it Cameron or his so-called advisers who fail to see that the EU issue is one of the few issues on which the Conservatives could focus successfully at the forthcoming election? If they can't see this clearly then they need replacing!

"Show me one politician that has had a real job, or lived in the real world."

What's a "real job"? Soames, Mercer, Robathan, etc, all served in the army. Alan Johnson was a postman. Menzies Campbell was a lawyer. Certainly a number of the older ones have had proper jobs. A lot of the newer breed haven't, but if you have the opportunity to vote for a decent MP...the candidate where I live has only turned to politics in his 50s or so; some politicians still are decent people.

"Ultimately, all politicians from all sides of the spectrum are two faced liars."

And this is a stupid statement. If you can actually list a significant lie told by each and every MP in the commons, please do so. Opposing leaving the EU does not of itself make someone a two-faced liar.

As a matter of fact, I agree that we should leave the EU and that it can't be reformed, but I think that there are Tory MPs who think the same, and only keep quiet for fear of yet another Tory civil war (leading to indefinite europhile Labour rule). The Tories surely know by now that the public will not tolerate another bout of Tory europhilia.

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