Saturday, 15 December 2007

European Reform Treaty

I'm pleased that the European Reform Treaty has been signed. It should allow an enlarged Europe to work better together.

Last week, in Council, the Tories proposed that the District Council should urge the Government to hold a referendum on the treaty (aka the Lisbon Treaty). We urged a referendum on membership of the EU: the point being that this is the real agenda of those wanting any kind of a treaty.

The debate was interesting. Some of the Tories made it plain that they do, indeed, want out of the EU. Others that they're committed Europeans, but that the treaty is in fact a constitution for Europe. If that were true, then they ought to be arguing for a Europe-wide referendum, because a constitution would be a pact between the people and the government. This is a principle that comes directly from local hero Thomas Paine. On the other hand, if it's a treaty between nations, then there might be an argument for a national referendum.

Bizarrely, the Tories tried to hold us to our general election manifesto commitment to a referendum on the treaty! I had to remind them that neither of our parties had won the general election. We've changed our policy since then.
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