Friday, January 18, 2008

Great fun to come - the EU Treaty debates

Polly Toynbee makes some interesting observations on the forthcoming EU Treaty debates in parliament. She describes how Labour think the public has become tangibly disinterested in the Treaty process:

Labour reckons this scrupulously thorough debate will expose the Tories as friendless cranks, unfit to govern. Cameron will be embarrassed by the Cash brigade's 1,000 amendments, ranting away to an empty chamber. In all 26 member states, the Tories' only allies are Greek communists, Dutch animal rights and Sinn Féin. MPs are getting few letters on the referendum, pollsters find the public never mention it spontaneously and the Sun and the Telegraph are embarrassed by how few bothered to sign their referendum petitions. That's the way Labour whistles bravely in the dark...

Then she sees it from the Tory side:

On the other side, Tories think their party's hour has come: the public wants a referendum, believes it was promised one and knows the government only refuses for fear of losing. But the Tories' real strength is in their press. Rupert Murdoch, Paul Dacre and the Barclay brothers have not gone away, though their recent silence before the storm is eerie. Remember the first day of Labour's party conference, when the Sun ran seven pages of referendum rant. Even if it bores readers into plummeting sales, these press barons are crazed enough not to care, so expect a daily bombardment of Euro lies. Big lies will say the creation of an EU foreign affairs minister means Britain will lose its UN seat. Other lies say we will be forced to give criminals the vote, 21-gun salutes will be muffled, children's swings, walnuts and wood-burning stoves will be banned, yoghurt will be relabelled Fermented Milk Pudding, and UK places will be renamed. All these are already in print.

I'll be glad when it's all over.

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