Saturday, September 29, 2007

Something kind of EU jumping in my tutu

We've hit F5 and washed out our eyes with Optrex, but it still really does appear that today's Sun carries an article signed by ("written by") Nicola Roberts calling for a referendum on the European Reform Treaty.

Actually, let's really hope that someone else wrote it for her, as that way she can distance herself from the problems with it:

BEFORE the Government came into power they said everyone would have a say on whether we sign up to the EU Constitution or not.

But now they are saying it’s going to be the MPs who decide our future.

This was one of the main points Labour campaigned on during the last election.

When things like this happen, you wonder why you vote for anybody — as they don’t stick to their promises.

The only thing is, Nicola, the didn't actually promise any such thing.

The 2005 manifesto promised a referendum of the British people (not quite sure why the Northern Irish wouldn't get a say) if the government was going to join the Euro; if there was going to be a major change to Westminster government (effectively referring to the introduction of proportional representation) and on the acceptance or otherwise of the Constitutional Treaty. But the Constitutional Treaty is a dead letter - abandoned after being voted down by enough of the people of Europe (like in a democracy, oddly enough) to make it unworkable.

Now, it's easy enough to pretend that the Reform Treaty is the same thing as the Constitution, but it isn't. You only have to read the disappointed reaction of those who believe in a single-state EU to see that it falls short of being identical.

Equally, you could argue that if the Labour Party conceded the principle of a vote on the Constitution and that there's no reason why that principle shouldn't be applied to the Reform Treaty as well.

But Roberts doesn't - she just conflates the Constitutional and Reform Treaties as the same thing, and calls the government on breaking promises they hadn't made.
Young people — especially school-age teenagers — need to be educated about political issues and how they could affect their lives.

Roberts writes this in The Sun. You might ask what contribution the Sun makes to educating young people about politics on a daily basis.
Our democracy will be eroded if Gordon Brown goes back on his promise and fails to deliver a referendum.

Eroded? Really, Nicola? What of the plausible anti-referendum argument that passing this sort of fine-detail choice direct to the people is a rather large constitutional change in its own right?

Roberts - unsurprisingly - turns out to be one of those dour Little Englanders who is vaguely against a Europe she clearly doesn't understand:
Personally I’m against us signing up under the terms being suggested because it means we will be handing over so many powers to unelected representatives in Europe.

It will mean they could bring in new laws and dictate the way we lead our lives in Britain. That’s why I think that, if we do get a referendum, we should vote No.

Of course, Roberts is entitled to her ghostwritten point of view, but if she really believes that what is crucial is that the right of the British People To Decide Its Destiny, then should she really suddenly change tack and start campaigning for people to vote one way or another? It's like a campaign for electoral reform running adverts going "Single Transferable Vote Now, and uses yours for the Green Party", and makes "Roberts" insistence on a referendum look a lot less like someone trying to ensure that the people are heard, and more like somebody trying to get their way through any means necessary.

Roberts clearly hasn't read the Reform Treaty which has abandoned the Constitution's provision of the primacy of EC Law and replaced it with a system of watered-down directives and regulations instead of legislation. In addition, of course, the voting system under the Reform Treaty is much more strident than that proposed under the abandoned Constitution.

Or maybe she has read it, and is just happily ignoring the facts to bolster her case.
Do we really want to end up living in a country where we can’t make our own decisions based on what is best for Britain?

That's a fascinating question, especially in the context of the Sun using Churchill as an icon for its campaign. After all, if making decisions based on "what is best for Britain" should be considered the prime motivation, then Churchill surely let us all down a stinker by continuing the war against Hitler - better for Britain, surely, to have not bothered about the French and Belgians and Czechs and Poles, and settled for a prosperous peace that accepted the economic benefits of a friendly Nazi Europe. I'm quite proud that my grandparents' generation made a decision not based on what was "best for Britain", but best for the people of Europe as a whole.

Still, it was nice to see the server sending adverts to this page on the Sun website had a sense of humour about it all.


Anonymous said...

Don't miss tomorrow's News of the World, in which James Naughtie explains why Ziggy is just using Chanelle.

Anonymous said...

Roberts isn't a Little Englander in the true sense of the word: she is, like the vast majority of British pop stars, something worse, a *selective xenophobe* who doesn't hate our fellow Europeans just because they're "foreigners" (which would at least be a consistent position) but because they're *the wrong kind of foreigners*. She is perfectly happy for the right kind of foreigners to dictate every aspect of British life, especially foreign policy, and to erode the cultural fabric of her country. Her whole career is based on ripping off the right kind of foreigners, for fuck's sake.

Fuck pop stars. Fuck pop music.

Anonymous said...

Amaze Gordon and the Camelot: vote already now about the future of the EU.

Vote YES to Free Europe Constitution at!

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