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The report centres on foreign policy. Lets not get ahead of ourselves with the headline, Editor.

Again the Tories are potentially confusing people with the terminology. Its the Reform Treaty, not the Constitutional Treaty. The term the Conservatives are using is going to confuse the public as they wont be sure if its the former Constitution of the Lisbon Treaty.

There may be a few differences between the two but it really matters that they exist. Attack the Treaty for what it proposes rather than whether its the same of not to the Constitution.

Sorry that should read "Constitution or the Lisbon Treaty"

No attack both. The treaty will not bring any benefits at all to the people of Britain and will make it far easier for the Commission to steam roller its wishes onto us but equally important is the fact that both the Labour Party and the Liberals have reneged on the promises they made in 2005. We should batter Clegg about this just as much as we batter Brown.

Whats the point of attacking the Constitution, which isnt directly going to come into effect? Of course we should point out the loopholes which can lead to further integration to which we did not specifically agree, but lets not go round misleading the public by saying the Consitution is to come into effect when it plainly is not. Attack the Lisbon treaty for what it is, instead of comparing it to the Constitution. Theres plenty in the Lisbon Treaty to justify a referendum on its own terms without needing reference to the Constitution.

The danger with these constituency referenda is that few people will vote in them and voter disinterest in an issue that obsesses the Tory party will be exposed for all to see.

The Constitution is directly going to come into effect James. It's just called a treaty now.

There are more differences than that Malcolm, and I think you know that. Using the interpretative approach to reading it, yes its similar. But literally taken its not the same. The Constitution isnt directly coming into effect. Its coming in indirectly through its similarities, but its not the same and continuing the ridiculous line that because its very much like the Constitution (and that Labour promised a referendum on the Eu Constitution) it justifies a referendum is pointless.

Strictly speaking the Labour pledge was on the EU Constitution. That exact text isnt being proposed is it? Therefore the pledge is worthless.

At yesterday's MEP selection meeting Dan Hannan announced there was to be a referendum in Eastleigh.

Whether there may be certain minor differences between the Treaty and the old Constitution is really not the point. There has certainly been a breach of faith upon the part of the Government. However, the point which the Conservatives need to make is that, not only does the Con/Treaty involve a considerable immediate transfer of power to the EU, but, under the "self amending treaty" clauses, it specifically provides for almost unlimited future transfers of power, without even the consent of national governments, let alone the necessity for referendums.
This alone is sufficient reason for demanding a referendum, even if it were not a manifesto promise.

Given the appalling record of the EU, both in terms of its policies over agriculture, fisheries, foreign aid, Galileo, and poor economic growth, not to mention waste, fraud and lack of democratic accountability, it will be far easier for the Conservatives to challenge and demolish the Government's claims that the Treaty would be good for Britain than for the Government to support those claims.

This is the biggest political opportunity since Cameron became Tory leader for him to demonstrate not only a fundamental difference between the Conservatives and all other parties, but also that he has the guts and leadership qualities to put principles above personal or party popularity.

"Strictly speaking the Labour pledge was on the EU Constitution. That exact text isnt being proposed is it? Therefore the pledge is worthless"

Oh please, that's the defence some disreputable insurance company might use to get out of its obligations. The fact is most of the other countries have said the two treaties are essentially the same..90%..95%...97% and the two MP's on the constitutional negotiations in Brussels, Heathcoat-Amory and Stuart have said its the same, the Parliamentary Committee reviewing the treaty have said its the same, and now the Foreign Affairs committee have said its the same. As such its time the MP's in Westminster, who stood for Parliament on a manifesto to give us a referendum to honour the promise they made!

That defence is used all the time when it suits the Conservatives. Dont get all holier than thou when it applies to Labour.

At yesterday's Fabian conference,James Purnell MP ,having said how great the new treaty was for the UK was aked by UKIP leader Nigel Farage what the differences between this and the rejected Constitution were----he did not answer.
Earlier ,David Miliband, responding to a question how Labour could avoid being wiped out at the 2009 EU elections said that must show people we are "BETTER OFF in".

Great idea, referendums in marginal constituencies, keep the pressure up on backsliding labour and Lib Dem weasels.

Perhaps this site should start a fundraising link so we can donate to doing as many as possible? Perhaps if possible the whole UK - the vote we were cheated out of?

These referendums are an intriguing development.

Turn out will be a challenge. If under 30% then the impact of a No vote could be undermined.

I have signed two lists demanding a referendum on the EU Treaty (Constitution), one run by the Daily Telegraph which had over 100,000 names and the other by the iwantareferendum group. These have made no impression on this arrogant government.
I would like to see a referendum because it would open up the whole question of our EU membership and hopefully expose the 35 years of lies told to the British people by successive governments. This is precisely the reason that Gordon Brown won't allow it and it would also jeopardize his future sinecure of a highly paid position as an EU Commissioner. If you could only prize the English away from their football, soaps and Big Brother they might realize just how badly they have been cheated and lied to.
I see the EU as a club of 27 with only 5 paying members, the rest are freeloaders. The club is run by a corrupt committee which has produced no annual accounts for 13 years but which is unanswerable to its members.
Bernard Maddox

James - If we do not get the referendum (and win it) then the unelected commisars in Brussels will tighten their grip on the UK's governance. Brussels will control foreign policy and defence. Brussles has also made it clear they wish to run both social and taxation policies.

If we do not fight and win now our country will simply be an historic relic and the election of MPs to Westminster will cease to have meaning or relevance.

The big question to answer and which Dan Hannan keeps asking is why do our elected leaders wish to sell out our country?

I will be publishing a list of all those MPs voting in favour of the Treaty tomorrow, and I encourage other bloggers to do the same. I will also be encouraging readers to email the list to everyone on their contact list. The ratification of this Treaty is going to be pushed through against the wishes of a vast majority of the voting population. Any MP facilitating this undemocratic betrayal should lose their seat in the next election.

Since the Government is not going to give us our promised vote, this will be the only public consultation. If, like me, you oppose further (and never-ending) European integration, please join the “No” campaign in whichever of the ten constituencies is nearest. I shall be campaigning alongside our PPC, Maria Hutchings, and Dan Hannan in Eastleigh to deliver a significant No-vote. Let’s see if Chris Huhne, who at the general election was in favour of a referendum, will step up and defend the Constitutional / Reform / Lisbon Treaty.

This referendum may not be perfect but it is the only one on offer. The cynicism with which the Constitution’s supporters have re-packed it to avoid their commitment to a public vote defies belief.

"The big question to answer and which Dan Hannan keeps asking is why do our elected leaders wish to sell out our country?"

Anthony Coughlin explains it perfectly:

"At a national level when a minister wants to get something done, he or she must have the backing of the prime minister, must have the agreement of the minister for finance if it means spending money, and above all must have majority support in the national parliament, and implicitly amongst voters in the country. Shift the policy area in question to the supranational level of Brussels however, where laws are made primarily by the 27-member Council of Ministers, and the minister in question becomes a member of an oligarchy, a committee of lawmakers, the most powerful in history, making laws for 500 million Europeans, and irremovable as a group regardless of what it does. National parliaments and citizens lose power with every EU treaty, for they no longer have the final say in the policy areas concerned. Individual ministers on the other hand obtain an intoxicating increase in personal power, as they are transformed from members of the executive arm of government at national level, subordinate to a national legislature, into EU-wide legislators at the supranational".

What a waste of time and effort, much better if the same people would get out and actually work for the candidates in these seats

"This referendum may not be perfect but it is the only one on offer." - Richard Robinson @ 16:14.

Her-hum may I remind you (gently) that some of us have been organising parish polls (which are still going on) as a local referendum.

What a waste of time and effort, much better if the same people would get out and actually work for the candidates in these seats

Posted by: Dick Wishart

You arrogantly assume that ALL those working for/paying for local referendum(s)/(a) are all Conservative voters.

Don [email protected]

You are quite right Don and I wasn't trying to belittle them.

I agree with Felicity about the weakness of the mini-referendum strategy, if not the importance of the EU issue. My hunch is that these mini-referendums will backfire due to low participation. They do not represent a very intelligent or realistic approach.

Nicholas Keen

What then are your proposed actions to keep us out of government by the unelected commisars in Brussels?

Putting pressure on NuLab marginals sounds good to me; as part of an overall strategy,

Bernard Maddox | January 20, 2008 at 14:18, the reality is that the electoral system is so rigged in the nulab consipiricies favour that they dont care what we think.

The only thing that will move them is a collapse in the economy that makes it difficult to continue to pay their cronies in all the quangos and "charities" that rely on them for money. Then the worm will turn, but by then Westminster will have become so irrelevent in terms of the actual power it has, that a general election will have become a side show.

troubling times indeed

"If we do not get the referendum (and win it) then the unelected commisars in Brussels will tighten their grip on the UK's governance"

I wasnt questioning the need for a erefrendum, I was simply commenting on the manner in which the Conservatives are campaigning for one.

Regarding the quote above, the EU will tighten its grip under the referendum proposal since the Conservatives have not pledged that the proposed referendum would be binding. At present, the proposed referendum would be only an opinion, nothing more. The EU can continue irrelevant of the Tories campaigns.

Nicholas Keene wrote
"Putting pressure on NuLab marginals sounds good to me; as part of an overall strategy,"

The Democracy Movement have been running just such a campaign for months now. See http://www.referendumlist.com

Global Vision have just released this report into the significance of the treaty, by Lord Blackwell.

Having signed 2 referenda requests in the last 6 months what on earth makes anyone think that Gordo the Ineffectual is going to pay any attention to demands this time round.
As for the mooted backbench rebellion by NuLab that is never going to happen in a million years. Whilst I do not want to take anything away from these chaps and lasses they will be ruthlessly whipped into line. Indeed, they will no doubt also find the constituency office on the blower reminding them where their loyalty should lie and that re-selection is by no means a done deal.
As most MP's owe allegiance to the party, the leader and the whips, this proposed backlash to the Lisbon Treaty is simply posturing. No doubt Gordo the Ineffectual will cut a deal with the rebels over pay and benefits and expenses in exchange for an aye.
As usual the people of this country will once again be short changed.

After 3 months of ant-European rhetoric in parliament during the passage of the treaty the Conservative lead in the polls will be wiped out. Lib Dem inclined Tories will return to Nick Clegg and all the work of modernising the Conservative Party and making it relevant to people will be wasted. People get put off.

Cleo, don't project your opinions onto the public at large.

I posted on my blog this morning about an alternative route to taking down the Lisbon Treaty if Parliament fails to do its job, but I have to admit that I'm not feeling optimistic on this one.

I really hate the EU.

With a few exceptions, the only people who want a referendum are people who want to vote "no" in a referendum. Your tedious obssession with this topic puts you in a tiny majority amongst European parties, and they are not good company.

There won't be a referendum, and we will sign up to the Treaty. The treaty REDUCES the power of the Commission and INCREASES the power of national governments, and you don't want it. Silly.

The treaty REDUCES the power of the Commission and INCREASES the power of national governments, "

Now, you don't actually believe that, do you?

"The treaty REDUCES the power of the Commission and INCREASES the power of national governments, "

I had not seen passing leftie as totally gullible before.

The treaty gives national parliaments increased powers to ensure subsidiarity. It also increase the power of the European Parliament, again at the expense of the Commission.

"Any initiative taken by the European Council on the basis of the first or the second subparagraph shall be notified to the national Parliaments. If a national Parliament makes known its opposition within six months of the date of such notification, the decision referred to in the first or the second subparagraph shall not be adopted. In the absence of opposition, the European Council may adopt the decision."

The treaty is a rather dull document, but perhaps you could take a look at the articles giving new powers to national governments, rather than just assuming it's all bad:


passing leftie

It is all well and good quoting the words but in Brussels the words mean what the commissars choose them to mean. The constitution/treaty gives the commissars absolute power.

If I'm wrong I'll gladly eat my hat (or similar) but the proof will be several years in the making.

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