Tuesday, April 27, 2004

Treaty to test the strongest constitution

Buried in the Times business section today (page 28) is a long article on the constitution by Rosemary Righter. It is a compulsive read and deserves careful study.

In the article, she conceded that Blair “is never on better form than when he is asking voters to believe six impossible things before breakfast”. “But”, she writes, “he cannot simultaneously say this treaty will have little bearing on what is left of parliamentary sovereignty, and that the vote will be as momentous as he now paints it… On Europe he is not trusted”.

“His bluff having been called, Mr Blair’s new strategy is to put the frighteners on the electorate by presenting the referendum as a vote for, or against, EU membership. This treaty is not an add-on to other treaties; it supersedes them. Since other countries could conceivably, if meretriciously, argue that the British had, by rejecting it, effectively voted themselves out of the Union, this line of argument could make influential converts, not least in the City”.

Business leaders, she warns, “could be tempted to stay aloof from the constitutional battle, thinking that, unlike the single currency, this is not their fight”. “It is very much their fight”, she declares. This treaty, the Treasury opined last June, “could have far-reaching consequences for the future performance of EU economies”. Most of them will be malign…”.

To see the full article, click here.