The EU and Mr Miliband

Yesterday I spoke to the Bruges Group meeting in King’s College Hall, London about the need for a referendum on the Constitutional treaty. I proposed that all should write to and lobby MPs who promised a referendum on the Constitution before the 2005 election, and who now say they will not vote for one on the result. The bets chance we have of stopping this undesirable further major transfer of power is to force a referendum. This has been made more difficult by the apostasy of the Lib Dems, joining forces with the government to stop one after promising one. We need more popular presure on both Lib Dems and possible rebel Labour MPs to have a chance of success.

Meanwhile, Mr Miliband was surveying the damage to his career that had had been done by failure to clear a speech on European integration with the PM before briefing the press. Hearing Mr Miliband on the radio today he is a very worried man, hastening to say he is fully behind the PM, and keen to do his bidding. Miliband joins Alan West, the wayward former Admiral, in having to do some more revision before opening his mouth in public about government policy.

Clearly Mr Miliband mistook the PM’s enthusiasm to ram the EU Constitutional treaty down our throats for genuine pro EU enthusiasm. Miliband wanted to wax lyrical about more defence integration, at a time when the PM was aware of the danger to his position of going ahead with the Treaty without a referendum. Brown used to brief in a Eurosceptic direction before he became PM, and must know he has moved such a long way from those briefings in his recent stance pro more EU integration through the Treaty. He has lost support in the Sun and the Times, and jeopardised what relationship he has with the Telegraph, as a result of his pro EU stance on the Treaty. To be seen to be advocating a European army before the Treaty is through would be unfortunate timing from the PM’s point of view. That can come later, once the dirty deed of ratification is done amidst protests that nothing important is happening!

It is interesting to see how lacking in political skill and understanding Mr Miliband is. This government is more treacherous than Blair’s or Major’s when it comes to Ministers making speeches or statements that say something new. It is important to nail down the PM’s view, and to understand whether the PM really means the view he expresses, if you are to have a quiet political life and a long one!

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2 Comments

  1. Stuart Mark Turner
    Posted November 18, 2007 at 4:55 pm | Permalink

    Dear Mr Redwood,

    Would you agree that the creation of an EU army is primarily based upon european anti-American reactionary rhetoric and therefore by ratifying this treaty Gordon Brown is undermining his own statement, made recently that the relationship with America was of great importance to Britain?

    Yours Faithfully

    Stuart Turner

    reply: yes, I think these moves to further EU integration will create more tensions for us with the USA

  2. Tony Makara
    Posted November 18, 2007 at 5:34 pm | Permalink

    "the apostasy of the Lib dems"

    Apostasy is the only thing the Liberals are consistant about!

    On the subject of Milliband, never has a minister looked more out-of-depth. Gordon Brown has a paradoxical relationship with Europe. There is no way he would ever want the Euro because his entire economic policy is based on a strong pound. Brown is hardly likely to find concord with the likes of Mr Sarkozy who don't favour overvalued currencies. The question we need to ask about Milliband is whether he has a free hand to formulate British EU policy or whether he is just there to rubber stamp Gordon Brown's directives? Milliband's recent comments about expanding the EU to the far corners of the globe were naive to say the least.

  • About John Redwood


    John Redwood won a free place at Kent College, Canterbury, and graduated from Magdalen College Oxford. He is a Distinguished fellow of All Souls, Oxford. A businessman by background, he has set up an investment management business, was both executive and non executive chairman of a quoted industrial PLC, and chaired a manufacturing company with factories in Birmingham, Chicago, India and China. He is the MP for Wokingham, first elected in 1987.

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