Praguetory has been having a little go at me about not giving my arguments why a referendum on the EU treaty is not necessary. So here they are just for you praguetory!
First of all let me set out what some Tories have said. Here is Billy Hague;
“If we did not succeed in forcing a referendum in this House, if we failed to win in another place, if all other EU member states implemented the treaty and if an election were held later in this Parliament—that is a lot of ifs—we would have a new treaty in force that lacked democratic legitimacy in this country and in our view gave the EU too much power over our national policies. That would not be acceptable to a Conservative Government and we would not let matters rest there; the right hon. Gentleman can be assured of that.”
and Ken Clarke;
“Now I have a lot of intelligent, well educated, professional businessmen type constituents and they would think I was dotty if I went along and said, Parliament cannot decide this, this is the kind of thing beyond your MPs who can have no view on this, this is a very, very important matter where an opinion poll held throughout my constituency has got to decide all these issues. If Parliament can’t decide this kind of thing, Parliament’s worthless, and I want to see the House of Commons made stronger.”
and Michael Heseltine;
”We didn’t have one on the Single European Act which is incomparably the biggest transfer of sovereignty in this country’s history.”Clearly the Tories are displaying signs of fatigue. The only European policy they can effectively conjure up is one of political opportunism and hostility. They have two allies – just two – for their new Movement for European Reform, the Czech ODS and Bulgarian UDF (yes, I’ve never heard of them either). So the Tories actively want to move Britain out of the centre of European negotiations and to the outskirts – can we really be asked to accept their judgement on European issues anymore?
There are some very crucial myths about the European Reform Treaty, echoed by the Tories;
The Reform Treaty is the same as the Constitutional Treaty
The EU’s 27 leaders have agreed that the constitutional approach has been abandoned. The Constitutional Treaty would have replaced all the existing Treaties and effectively re-founded the EU. The Reform Treaty takes the same approach as all previous amending Treaties. It amends the existing Treaties which Parliament has ratified and will not have constitutional characteristics.The Government will not agree to anything that transfers power away from the UK on issues of fundamental importance to our sovereignty.
The Treaty will reduce national parliaments to the level of regional assemblies.
On the contrary, an express purpose of the Reform Treaty is to increase the role and powers of national parliaments. National parliaments will have a direct role – for the first time – in deciding whether EU legislation is necessary.
and finally, The UK is surrendering vital powers over fundamental issues of sovereignty to Brussels
No it’s not. The UK has maintained national control over our key national policy areas including justice and home affairs, social security, tax, foreign policy, and defence. The Reform Treaty will not transfer power away from the UK on issues of fundamental importance to our sovereignty.
Anyway, I think that is probably enough for now, I don’t really see what all the fuss is about. This is a treaty that is going to help move the EU into the future by making it more responsive to the needs of its member-states as well as it’s citizens.