Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Cameron on Europe

David Cameron responded well to Tony Blair's European swansong in the House of Commons yesterday. The issue was the outcome of the recent European summit and, in particular, if that outcome should be endorsed by a referendum. Tony Blair's position was an unequivocal 'No'. David Cameron was equally unequivocal:
All three main parties in the House signed up to a referendum at the last election. The Prime Minister has broken that promise, but within two days he will be gone. We will have a new Prime Minister, one who has promised, unlike his predecessor, to be humble, to be a servant of the people and to listen. If that new Prime Minister, like us, really believes in power to the people, he must hold a referendum and let the people decide.
This is not Tony Blair's issue any more, but it is very much Gordon Brown's, and the scenario that played out in the House yesterday had already caused some unease in the Brown camp, hence the pre-summit manoeuvring. Now the issue is upon them and Brown appears to be ruling out a referendum. With the Conservatives in favour, and with the bulk of the popular press supporting them in this, he has an issue where he in on the wrong side of the public and the media and which will run and run, especially as other countries hold their own referendums. His best bet is to do what he threatened and call a British referendum. Otherwise, look forward to many instances of a Gordon Brown government trying to claim the treaty is inconsequential, when many members of foreign governments are already on record as saying exactly the opposite.

This is not good politics, except for the Conservatives that is.

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