Thursday, April 06, 2006

No means No Peter

Peter Mandelson has called for the EU Constitution to be revised and a fresh attempt to impose it on the EU's citizens. This is despite the constitution being widely rejected by the public and the French burying the idea last year.

What part of NO doesn't Mandelson understand?

By the way since Tony Blair once famously declared, "My project will be complete when the Labour Party learns to love Peter Mandelson," can any of the Labour members reading this blog say they do so we can hurry up and end the farce.


Manchester University Labour Club said...

If it is revised then it may b more acceptable 2 Europe's citizens.

Tim Roll-Pickering said...

Given that most of the opposition to the EU constitution is fundamental opposition to greater powers for Brussels and a step towards an EU superstate (and before anyone tries to shoot this down, remember that even the advocates of the constitution are far from unanimous about it) I seriously doubt there's going to be a massive sea change in opinion to accept this.

By the way as a member of the Labour Party can you tell us if you've learnt to love Peter Mandelson yet?

Manchester University Labour Club said...

No, I think the man is a complete head case. I don't think I will ever love him.

I think Tony's project will end sadly incomplete!!

Anonymous said...

Oh come on Tim. Stop being William Hague-ish. Substance, not sound bites, please.

The French didn't say "non!" to the consituttion. They just used it as an excuse to stick two fingers up at their unpopular government.

The Constitution has its flaws but is a good working basis. It invovles repatriation of some powers (where appropriate) to member states, sets up a (mechanism for the first time) whereby states can leave, gurantees the subsidiarity principle. Most importantly it adopts working practices that will make the Union manageable in it's enlarged context.

Conservative opposition to the constitution seems to be more based on dogma about the whole idea of having a constitution rather than any practical issue of substance.

Sir-C4' said...

The European Union is an evil parasite feeding off the British people.

Tim Roll-Pickering said...

Adele: Do you ever wonder that if Labour members did show signs of loving Peter Mandelson then it might hasten Tony Blair's departure? Are you willing to give it a try to see if it works?

Tim Roll-Pickering said...

Mustafa: Since this is about foreign policy, this is one of the few times when "William Hague-ish" is almost a compliment.

The French weren't the only ones to reject the constitution - the Dutch public also gave it the thumbs down. And if a referendum had been held in the UK then it would have not only sunk the constitution, it would have ripped it to shreds. Why else did Tony Blair resist a referendum for so long?

If the UK is to stay in the EU then it should be a union the UK is happy with. The EU Constitution continues to process of centralisation with further extensions of majority voting, entrenches the supremacy of EU Law (which although already de facto is something that needs serious review) and it allows the EU to operate as a single entity in international law. With regards the withdrawal process it really only just sets down what happened when Greenland left the EU anyway.

I also reject the arguments made by some that this is just a tidy up exercise - indeed the framers have now admitted that it was probably a mistake to combine the consolidation of existing treaties with the constitution, rather than having separate shorter documents. This constitution is a step towards closer integration and does nothing to solve the problems of the EU. Blair's comment about the way the constitution has failed to reconnect the EU with its peoples is very telling:

...we locked ourselves in a room at the top of the tower and debated things no ordinary citizen could understand. And yet I remind you the Constitution was launched under the title of "Bringing Europe closer to its citizens"... The evening of the French result, I remember being in Italy with friends, and someone saying, in despair at the vote: "what's wrong with them?" meaning those who voted 'no'. I said "I'm afraid the question is: "what's wrong with us?" meaning "us" the collective political leadership of Europe.

Anonymous said...

Increased majority voting is necessary for the Union to function efficiently now that it has 25 members. On matters important to national soverignty, yes we should have a veto. But for most routine decisions, not having majority voting, is a recipie for 'death by committee'.

As far as Britain is concerned we have not (yet) had a chance to have an informed public debate about the issues rather than the hype.

I'm not saying it isn't perfect. I'm not saying I wouldn't have voted "no" myself - in fact I would probably have campaigned for a "no" vote in the the hope of getting a better one.

But the draft constitution is a reasonable basis to work on. And I completely reject the Tory view that the "principle" of a constitution is bad.


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