Monday, 3 September 2007

Referendum News

How nice for The Town Ratcatcher and his Hun chum to idle away an evening watching soccer. One hopes they enjoyed the spectacle.

Earlier Labour continued to stonewall demands for a Referendum with the Town Rat Catcher reiterating his refusal to have one again last night, notwithstanding the presence by his side of German Chancellor Frau Angela Merkel who has already boasted of how close the Constitution Mark II Treaty is to Mark I. To dishonour, deceit, deviousness and breach of promise Gordon Brown has added shamelessness as well.

Meanwhile over on Newsnight Kirsty Wark held court with an assortment of folk for and against the referendum. Bob Crow of the RMT Union hrmphed about the militarisation of the EU, its breaking of the 'Workers' on the wheels of capitalism, the evils of privatisation and other assorted fantasies with which Old Labour lefties are clearly still absorbed. What a breath of fresh air! One had forgotten what a real dinosaur looked like and here was one live on TV, not so much Tyrannosaurus Rex as Bovine Iguanodon. They used to be so much part of our lives - indeed once they were the Government before Mrs. T came along and unmanned them - and now they are the thing of fairy tales or so we thought.

Next up was one Katynka Barysch. I assume, without more, that Mrs. Barysch holds a UK passport entitling her to vote in the UK since I detected just a teensy-weensy bit of a non-British accent there: if she is not British, then it speaks volumes if even the BBC cannot find enough Brits to speak up for this wretched treaty. She advanced the interesting canard that as we are a Parliamentary democracy, we do not need a referendum. Odd then that Ireland, a Parliamentary democracy the last time I looked, is having a referendum. The Netherlands and France had referenda on the Mark I Treaty but both are vigourous Parliamentary democracies. Of the latter two countries she was most dismissive, however, denouncing their votes as having been about immigration or dislike of the government or anything but the Treaty itself. As I recall it the arguments in both countries were surprisingly mature and to the point, with the Dutch, in particular, focusing on the loss of power to the EU involved in the Treaty.

Her second offering was risible and even more off the wall: despite Vanity Blair's promise that we could have a referendum on the Mark I Treaty, Mrs. Barysch's view is that he was quite wrong to have offered one at all and a referendum was quite out of the question on this or the earlier Treaty. It will come as no surprise to anyone that Goggling her name will reveal a plethora of pro-EU quotes that suggests she has a very advanced case of the EuroPox.

And then there was Gary Titley ("Titley by name and Titley by nature!'). MEP for the North West in the Labour interest who was once a considerable advocate of a referendum on Regional Government for the North Wast (which involves devolving more power to a regional assembly) but is now unwilling to let the UK as a whole have a Referendum on the wholesale transfer of powers involved in Constitution Mark II. His take was that all 27 members of the EU signed separate treaties and that ours is different from all the others, in that it has all these wonderful 'opt-outs' and so when Frau Merkel says that the Mark II treaty is the pretty much the same as Mark I, she is talking about the Mark II Treaty which Germany signed and not the Mark II Treaty signed by Britain.

Oh, please......

Neil O' Brien of OpenEurope stood his ground well and did not make a slip, reminding us of Titley's enthusiasm for referenda unless it involves the EU. A solid effort.

Kirsty Wark asked the 'have you stopped beating your wife question' of Titters: If there is a referendum, would you win it? Answer : 'Yes'. So, says Wark, what are you frightened of? Splutters all round.

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