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!