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In fact, after hearing the predominance of Labour membership of this committee, we must fiercely and mercilessly attack Gordon Brown and his government for being utterly unprincipled in not acceding to demands for a referendum.

Gordon does not have a leg to stand on!

Mr Bone will have cogent arguments for leaving the EU. It is a fallacy that we need imported low-cost labour to maintain our economy, when clearly the downsides in the form of strain on our infrastructure, security threat of open borders and destabilisation of social harmony far exceed the perceived benefits.

Teck, Gordon Brown does not believe in democracy and only has a vote when he thinks he can win. Brown could end this debate with one referendum, but he won't because he knows what the outcome will be. Defeat! As you say the pressure must be heaped on Brown from all sides, not just Conservatives.

I seem to recall some EU chappie called Kinnock calling for the Conservative party to be ground into the dust the other day.

The absolute right to an EU referendum provides an absolute opportunity for a similar pulverising of Brown in the face of his BBC styled 'fight back'.

Tally ho?

This report from the European Scrutiny Committee is extremely welcome for several reasons, not least because it is based on a close examination of real facts. In our spin obsessed age, that is refreshing.
I hope that when DC or Hague lays into Brown on this he will quote Labour's manifesto commitment verbatim. Conclusion: we must have a referendum
The report is very timely, it was compiled by a committee consisting of Labour MPs and it is what the majority of us want to hear.
I think Peter Bone should perhaps rein back until Brown responds. A lot of us sympathise with Bone's view but we would have more credibility, I believe, if we try - with the backing of the people - to improve the EU first.
Then, if/when that fails, we opt out.
That should be made quite clear in our manifesto; Sun readers will love it.

I shall read this report with great interest. I know Open Europe basically proved the same but this is a Parliamentary report so has far greater authority.

I must say Im a little concerned about the importance we are placing on the EU as an issue we campaign on. We must be careful not to become typecast. I fear the Tories will be known for two policies. This and cutting inheritance tax. They mkust start giving greater importance to other issues as well. If the family is one of the key parts of a policy platform, then there needs to be a substantial amount of policy announced fairly soon in order to back it up. At the moment it looks like the Conservatives are a two trick pony and that cannot possibly do.

Tony Makara @0943 "Brown could end this debate with one referendum".

The man is devious enough also to avoid a defeat by walking away from the whole treaty saying "our red-line" issues have been breached. There would then be turmoil, the treaty would be revamped again and THEN he would agree to it and deny a referendum.

Nothing is straightforward with Brown

David [Belchamber Oct 09, 2007 at 10:41], I couldn’t agree more. Responding on Peter Bone’s thread, I believe David Cameron does not at present need to concern himself with these arguments. I am sure when the time is right, he would ultimately support cogent reasons for exiting the EU. For the moment, as a potential future leader, he is prudently assessing the depth of public feeling and parliamentary trends.

James [Maskell Oct 09, 2007 at 10:45], it would be unfair to criticise the Conservatives as looking "at the moment a two trick pony" - policies have been outlined and are at various stages of development.

The challenge here is how we nurture our media relations on this with the Sun, Times, Mail and Telegraph.

We have a chance of breaking their links with Brown, but can we pull it off?

christina @ 10.55 - I think you are absolutely right - that particular tortuous wheeze that you outline, hadn't occurred to me, and nor, I suspect to many other people, but it sounds an absolute Brownian manoeuvre! I have heard Brown talk about his 'red line issues', but I am sure that most people are like me completely unaware of exactly which/what the 'red line' issues are, and what criteria Brown would use to operate them.

I suspect that the 'red-line' is a RED HERRING!!!

Brown is in lose-lose mode on this. If he continues to refuse a referendum then he is intransigent and anti-democratic. If he caves in he is weak and on the defensive and when the referendum is kicked into touch by the voters he will be a confirmed vote loser. Bring it on!

Maybe we can get all our anti-EU fervour out on this thread, and then shut up a about it for a few weeks? Another thread about immigration might be useful, too, for the same purpose.

Offering the referendum is no-brainer. We need to let the other EU powers know that we will offer a referendum on the treaty regardless of its state of ratification.

"We need to let the other EU powers know that we will offer a referendum," True Blue, [Oct 09, 2007 at 11:47] but we can't, because Gordon says "no" - period!

That's Brownian democracy.

Doesn't take a rocket scientist to work that one out.

What are they going to do about it? How much inflence and power do they have over Gordo?

That's that, then: Brown should reject it at the IGC, or, if he doesn't, then Parliament should throw it out (as it is clear from this that it wants to).

Who needs a referendum for the BBC to spend a month parading that clever Dr MacShane or that engaging Mr Clarke (not to say that nice Mr Cameron, who has never promised to campaign for a No vote) against Tony Benn once every three or four programmes and people who want to abolish the NHS the rest of the time? By the end of that month, there'd be a massive Yes vote.

So instead, let the Prime Minister and Parliament do their jobs properly. The latter, at least, clearly wants to. What's stopping it? And what's stopping Gordon Brown at the IGC?

I can't see Brown backing down on this one - he'd be out of a job for good as soon as he did and he'd never get an EU post! Brown is going to hang onto power for as long as he can and, knowing that he is by nature cautious (or a coward, as some would have it!), he'll judge the U-turn to be too great a risk to take again. And let's not forget, he doesn't trust the British people anyway so why would he stoop so low as to ask them for their consent?

Teck | October 09, 09:39
"..It is a fallacy that we need imported low-cost labour to maintain our economy.."

..And why do people mean only low-level jobs when talking about low-cost labour? Would they similarly advocate importing half-price accountants, doctors, lawyers - yes and even politicians! - so as to run the economy more cheaply? No, thought not.

Native labour is more expensive because of the cost of decent housing, etc. Personally I would surcharge the employer of anyone qualifying for income support whilst in fulltime employment to the value of those payments. Otherwise the taxpayer is effectively subsidising that employer.

No, I'm not a socialist but I do believe people are entitled to a living wage.

Like many other people on this thread, I would like to move on from the EU and deal with other issues but it is important at this moment (i) because Labour made a manifesto commitment to put any move towards a constitution to the people by way of a referendum and Gordon Brown is now saying it isn't necessary and (ii) because the EU is a very important subject which any new government has to have a very clear policy on.
Apart from which, a referendum will find favour with Sun readers!!!

Hi Ken [Stevens, Oct 09, 2007 at 17:49], no apology needed as I share your view. However, my point is a macro-economic consideration that importation of low-cost labour distorts provision and economic planning, and there is risk of outflow of funds in what then effectively becomes an extended economy with the wealthier country supporting to the poorer.

There are other ways of assistance.

Of course we would all like to move on from the EU debate but everything we consider worthy of discussion is inextricably linked to the EU vis: rubbish collection, immigration, Human Rights Act, border control, agriculture, HIPs, tax on mobility scooters, compulsory water metering, removal of th Crown symbol on our pint glasses, CAP, fisheries, food additives for our children and the list goes on.

The reason that we are winning the debate on the EU Treaty and a referendum is that the argument is being debated in the national media and we are following that line, not because the media are setting the debate but because our party believes in this.

We set the debate on Inheritance tax, with the media supporting us. Stamp Duty ditto.

The Sun got more hits on the EU referendum in a matter of days than the Telegraph got in months - it gets the popular vote, sad but true.

So, those that are committed to devolved democracy, we have to highlight the EU's failure in Direct Democracy. Therefore, hold EU referendum days in your constituencies. Believe me they work. If you want to really get involved come down to Sittingbourne & Sheppey on Saturday, 13th October and join Gordon Henderson and The Sun's campaign for a referendum on the EU constitution. You know how to get in touch.

This is NOT just another issue to prioritise according to our personal boredom thresholds. I can't bear the thought of going to the Isle of Sheppey but if there is a demo in Central or West London coming up, count me IN.

Henry,There's a cross party rally on 27th October in Westminster.

Buried inside the Mail today apparantly the Government admitted that the Treaty was substantially the same as the Constitution. They however suggested that because of our 'red lines' this only applied in Europe. So what they are suggesting is that in Europe the document is substantially the same but in the UK it is substantially different. What an absolutely miserable excuse that is.

Teck, I understand that policy is at yet at outline stage, but there is a risk of this happening. After two years thats basically what has come. Yes we have the National Duke of Edinburgh, but its hardly been given as great a stage as the referendum campaign, which has gone right in the heart of our policy and the IHT policy which has pretty much over-shadowed the other announcements.

There is a serious risk of becoming typecast with giving tax breaks to families with big houses and an implied policy of quitting the EU, veiled by the referendum campaign. Its not that far a leap of imagination to get there and Im pretty sure Labour know that. The Lib Dems almost made it with their proposal of a referendum on membership of the EU. Greater prominence must be given to other pledges, such as radical reform of welfare and health, where policy is still pretty lukewarm and not exactly headline grabbing.

David Cameron's article in today's Sunday Telegraph on matters EU was excellent - statesmanlike with no impression of the pen being jabbed furiously into the paper! But now the argument needs to be widened. Labour commentators, the BBC and not least Peter Mandelson will make much of how the Conservative position is 'xenophobic' and 'isolationist'. We need to emphasise the arguments about an open Europe and a global Britain (sorry to plagiarise!) - that for good or ill the UK is engaged globally, is dependent on world trade and on that trade being conducted as freely as possible, that its capital is the most international city on Earth, and above all that it doesn't need constitutional structures which deprive it of the right to conduct its own defence and foreign policies and manage its own system of justice in order to co-operate effectively with that growing spectrum of countries who share common interests with it - including certainly its EU partners but also India, Australia, the USA and many others. Worth also mentioning that the current government is the one which has in effect withdrawn any thing but a rudimentary diplomatic presence from the Pacific and the Caribbean - it simply isn't interested.

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