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Thursday, April 22, 2004

EU REFERENDUM SENSE AND NON-SENSE Well I suppose this was to be expected:

Tony Blair yesterday hinted that if Britain votes No in the promised referendum on the EU's new constitution he may seek amendments to its powers - and then ask voters to think again in a second referendum, as the Danes and Irish have done in the past.

I take it that is to mean we had better vote the right way first time round? Some democracy. On the other hand the Danes stayed resolute in the end and were spared the euro, so maybe we could pull off such a stunt too. Would it cause us great troubles?

Mr Howard has forced Downing Street to confirm that Britain could not be expelled from the EU if it voted No. The existing structure would continue, though officials say it would be an uphill battle to renegotiate better terms.

That would depend on how willing the other EU countries would be. Currently there's not much to show here, but we should not forget Germany's troubles (April 8) which might well chip away at the viability of the current EU. When push comes to shove there will be a lot of room for manoeuvre and it would be silly of us, after we spent more than three decades of trying to slow integration down to reverse our policy when it finally looks as though there's opportunity it will bear fruit.
Though he's a little over the top, Andrew Roberts has the only fun thing to read about the whole affair:

In my nightmare vision in The Aachen Memorandum, the government ran a referendum that was hopelessly one-sided. Every organ of the state was prevailed upon to do its bit to procure a Yes vote. Pro-Brussels front organisations massively outspent the No campaign, using taxpayers’ money to produce ceaseless Yes propaganda. Markets were manipulated, polls were spun. The BBC, all the time professing objectivity, actively campaigned for a Yes vote in the way it selected and interviewed protagonists, as well as through the news it headlined and the news it sidelined. Can anyone really doubt that all this will take place in the next 18 months? When it does, remember I told you so.

Not so sure about that press thing though because it looks as though the Daily Express at least will return to its pro-Tory stance:

Richard Desmond, the proprietor, yesterday approved a decision by his flagship title to throw its weight behind Michael Howard in the run-up to the general election.
The move comes weeks after Rupert Murdoch hinted that he was flirting with the idea of endorsing the Conservatives.

So goes it. Here's hoping for a No.

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