Monday, June 25, 2007

Back to Europe

The Labour line is that Tony Blair held on to all of the key British interests as the recent EU summit, therefore the new treaty is harmless and should be signed without delay, and without a referendum. Not every country agrees though. The Irish will probably have a referendum, as may the Danes. Both are right to; as the small print of the treaty is analysed in becomes apparent that not only would a great deal more power flow to the EU, but also that the process of centralisation in the future would be greatly facilitated. Now, Brown's calculation is probably that leading the Conservatives into their comfort zone of Euroscepticism works for him, and that it allows him to paint Cameron and his team as unreconstructed Tories and shoo them off the much-prized centre ground. On the other hand, he does risk being on the wrong side of the argument if the other countries do vote against the treaty, and if the Conservatives can pull of the trick of opposing it while not appearing as foam-flecked weirdoes. Most interestingly, it is a clear point of division between the parties and it will mean that politics will start to adopt a different tone in the coming months. It will be more difficult to claim that these days all parties are the same.

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