This blog is a political blog from a left-of-centre perspective. This is not specifically a party political blog, but does have a Lib Dem orientation. Constructive enagement with radical liberals, social democrats / democratic socialists and greens is particularly welcomed.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Herald Express Letter 031107 - Tories and Europe [Again] !

Whatever the merits or otherwise prove to be with a finalised EU Reform Treaty the position taken by Marcus Wood and the Tories is one of political chutzpah of the highest order.

Labour's stance, that of parliament deciding, is a coherent one, albeit potentially politically unwise. They take the view that in a representative democracy elected parliamentarians vote on the issues of the day.Further, those adopting this approach would say we have little tradition of voting by referenda.

The EU we have today was, of course, shaped principally by the Single European Act and the Maastricht Treaty, both signed by Tories when in office and without recourse to a public vote. Was the Tory approach at the time misguided then Marcus?

Now out of office the Conservatives demand a European referendum. Consistent the Tories are not in demanding from others what they didn't offer themselves.

Like most of his contributions to these pages Marcus Wood's letter of October 31 contains another dig at the Lib Dems.

He entirely overlooks the fact that Sir Menzies Campbell put forward the most radical proposal of all for a Euro referendum, namely that of our very membership of the EU itself. Does he support the current Liberal Democrat position? If not, why not? Surely the voters of Bay have a right to know.

He is also quiet on another inconsistent Tory European policy. David Cameron promised upon assuming the leadership of his party to withdraw them from the European People's Party, the dominant and hugely influential EU group of moderate continental Conservatives and Christian Democrats.

A majority of Tory MEPs were aghast at the idea of being on the fringes of European debate and having little influence. Now it is said they'll withdraw from the EPP in 2009. How principled is that u-turn?

Being at the periphery of the EU, influencing no one and with Cameron at odds with his European colleagues and demanding a referendum from the government, having not offered such when in power themselves, leaves the Tories looking opportunist, erratic and ill-serves the British electorate.

I look forward to an explanation from Marcus.



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