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Yes, and? The Treaty was still signed. There was some grand-standing and point-making, but the UK is still a signatory.

How hard would it have been for a vehemently sceptical and hostile UK government to organise a referendum in the UK? What do you think the result would have been?

New Labour, like Thatcher's Tories, has always taken an aggressive and not very helpful negotiating position. But that's very different to planning full secession - and there has never been any interest in that.

In fact the resistance has always been against left-leaning legislation, not against the EU as a whole. The business benefits of the EU are obvious, and I'm not convinced that the Tories are going to go against that, even if voters want them to.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Mon Jun 8th, 2009 at 10:02:31 AM EST
[ Parent ]
ThatBritGuy:
New Labour, like Thatcher's Tories, has always taken an aggressive and not very helpful negotiating position. But that's very different to planning full secession - and there has never been any interest in that.
But they also have done nothing to check eurosceptic sentiment, and they have a much easier time at it than "Brussels". It is their failure - especially Labour's - if the UKIP has come 2nd this time.

The brainless should not be in banking. — Willem Buitler
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Jun 8th, 2009 at 10:07:22 AM EST
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Cameron says he will scrap Lisbon Treaty if he is elected - The Irish Times - Wed, Jan 14, 2009
THE BRITISH Conservative Party leader David Cameron has threatened, should Gordon Brown call an early general election, that if he wins he would scrap the Lisbon Treaty

...

In an interview with the Financial Times yesterday Mr Cameron said there was now a 50/50 chance of an early election. If the Conservatives won an election, Mr Cameron said the party "could have a referendum [on Lisbon] in October" and lead the campaign for a no vote.

...

Most political analysts predict a No campaign led by the Conservatives in a referendum on Lisbon would doom the treaty to defeat and prompt a major crisis within the Union.

And if this is not hostile action from the Tories, I don't know what is.

And, note, UKIP voters (17%!) are those who think the Tories are not Eurosceptic enough.

The brainless should not be in banking. — Willem Buitler

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Jun 8th, 2009 at 10:12:03 AM EST
[ Parent ]
No, because Europe has always been peripheral to Labour. But Europe has never been peripheral to Europe, obviously.

So if there's an enlargement strategy, and a consolidation strategy - both of which exist - it makes no sense to leave enlargement and consolidation entirely to national governments without making any democratic effort at all to persuade national populations.

You don't even do this in business. You don't throw random people together, tell them they're a team now - yay - and then act surprised when fights break out and some people wander off and find something else to do.

You're effectively arguing for a completely hands-off disinterested Europe. And that can't possibly work - for common sense reasons, never mind strategic ones.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Mon Jun 8th, 2009 at 11:11:02 AM EST
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ThatBritGuy:
You don't throw random people together, tell them they're a team now - yay - and then act surprised when fights break out and some people wander off and find something else to do.
People weren't randomly thrown together. The UK applied for EU membership, held a hotly contested referendum (which fractured the Labour Party - what was that thing about UK opposition being to left-wing legislation, again?) for membership.

The UK wanted in, they got in. Now they want out. They should get out. The UKIP election result is actually more meaningful than the Irisn no referendum in respect to EU membership.

The brainless should not be in banking. — Willem Buitler

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Jun 8th, 2009 at 11:21:06 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The UKIP election result is actually more meaningful than the Irisn no referendum in respect to EU membership.

Why do you say that?  UKIP took a large share of the vote, but we're still talking about less than 17% in an election with very low turnout.

Be nice to America. Or we'll bring democracy to your country.

by Drew J Jones (pedobear@pennstatefootball.com) on Mon Jun 8th, 2009 at 06:44:49 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Because referenda on the Lisbon Treaty are not referenda on EU membership despite everyone and their mother wanting to interpret them that way, whereas the 25% combined vote total by the UKIP and BNP is an explicit vote against EU membership since that's what those parties campaigned on. And the other 25% of Tory vote is also against the EU though as TBG reminds us, if push came to shove the Tory party probably wouldn't advocate withdrawal outright.

Granted, turnout was low, but so it was in every other EU member state. And when people tout the 70% majority for Lisbon in the Spanish referendum, they forget to mention only 40-45% voted, too...

The brainless should not be in banking. — Willem Buiter

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Jun 9th, 2009 at 03:55:58 AM EST
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Cameron sleepwalks towards Europe's exit

The timing of the government's demise could mark the difference between a serious argument about Britain's relationship with Brussels and a rupture that would set in train its eventual departure.

It is clear to all that Mr Cameron wants to derail the process of European integration. His decision to withdraw from the European People's party, the European parliament's mainstream centre-right group, is a step in that direction. By aligning with a hotchpotch of small far-right parties, Mr Cameron has downgraded his party's relationship with its French and German cousins.

To move Britain to the sidelines of influence is one thing. To threaten to blow up the Lisbon accord is another. This is what Mr Cameron proposes by pledging to campaign for its rejection in a British referendum. And this is where the timing of the general election really matters.

(...)

the consequences would be monumental. Mr Cameron might argue that earlier versions of the treaty were rejected in referendums in France, the Netherlands and Ireland. But these were not conscious acts of government.

Withdrawal from the EPP is a Tory shot across the bows of European integrationists. Wrecking the Lisbon treaty would be a declaration of war. Such would be the crisis in Britain's relationship with its partners that it would precipitate compelling calls for a re-evaluation of its membership of the EU. Many Conservatives, one suspects, would cheer.

The Serious People are not Amused.


In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes

by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Tue Jun 9th, 2009 at 11:35:19 AM EST
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The national governments are the EU. That's who's running the place, despite what they'd like you to believe: that's where all the power is in the end. They appoint the Commission. They approve and negotiate all the rules.
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Mon Jun 8th, 2009 at 11:23:28 AM EST
[ Parent ]
ThatBritGuy:
You're effectively arguing for a completely hands-off disinterested Europe. And that can't possibly work - for common sense reasons, never mind strategic ones.
But a meddlesome EU would quickly alienate the Eurosceptic states. The backlash in the UK would eject it from the EU quicker than you can say "European superstate".

The brainless should not be in banking. — Willem Buiter
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Jun 9th, 2009 at 04:10:37 AM EST
[ Parent ]
If the Eurosceptic states are alienated and trying to leave anyway and/or sabotage what's already there, what difference would it make?

But it depends on what 'meddlesome' means in practice.

Media and cultural positivity is not the same as political pressure. This isn't about speechifying and posterating, it's about creating a positive image of the EU which voters can personally identify with.

That process shouldn't mention politics at all. If it's cultural and apolitical it's not meddling. (Well, it is, but it doesn't look like it which makes it much harder to challenge.)

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Tue Jun 9th, 2009 at 04:34:27 AM EST
[ Parent ]
ThatBritGuy:
But it depends on what 'meddlesome' means in practice.
Oh, nothing dramatic. But we're talking media narratives, right?
If the Eurosceptic states are alienated and trying to leave anyway and/or sabotage what's already there, what difference would it make?
Not a whole lot, except whether the narrative is that the Eurosceptic states left on their own or were pushed out.

I think they'll leave eventually.

The brainless should not be in banking. — Willem Buiter

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Jun 9th, 2009 at 04:44:09 AM EST
[ Parent ]
We're talking media, certainly.

One of the most depressing things in the UK is the way in which culture has been completely colonised by the US. It's so pervasive it's part of the background noise, and no one notices.

A trivial example - at a local open microphone night, with exactly one exception, all of the singers sang with a fake US accent.

One even sang a song he'd written about Vietnam, even though I'm pretty sure the closest he'd ever been to Vietnam was his DVD copy of Apocalypse Now.

30-40 years a folk night would have British folk songs - some of which are aggressively socialist and populist - and people would have dared to sing them with a British accent.

Now we have an endless wave of poor Bob Dylan clones.

That's what I mean by meddling. Of course, there's no Central Secratariat of Cultural Propaganda in the US which has made this happen. (Or maybe there is - I don't know.)

But if it's subtle enough, it happens by osmosis. And it has a huge effect on what people who absorb culture and media are able to imagine about the world.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Tue Jun 9th, 2009 at 08:38:53 AM EST
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