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some politics stuff - The Villages

Date: 2007-12-14 00:14
Subject: some politics stuff
Security: Public
Location:the utility room in the sky
Mood:awake - but only justawake - but only just
Music:porcupine tree
Today I felt rather embarrassed by our Prime Minister. While other political leaders of the European Union were in Lisbon signing the EU Reform Treaty, Gordon was still here, pleading a prior engagement before a Commons select committee. It was left to The Boy Milliband (who has started to remind me of Tim Henman, but not in a good way) to attend the glitzy ceremony, and Gordon turned up later to sign his John Hancock in a rather more austere ceremony.
Now, you can parse this a couple of different ways. The EU Reform Treaty is somewhat contentious. Its opponents say it's actually an EU constituion by the back door, and Gordon doesn't like to be associated with unpopular causes. So he claims he's being a good Parliamentarian, misses the party and all the embarrassing EU superstate photographs, and pops in later. Maybe he's hoping that if the Treaty goes tits-up he can claim his late attendance was because he knew it was a bad idea and he was signing it unwillingly.
Another way you can parse it is Gordon striding into the spotlight rather than signing the Treaty with the common herd. He's like the diva arriving at a party long after all the other guests have got there, and hoping everyone will spot him.
Now, I listened to The World At One on Radio 4 this lunchtime and they had a couple of members of the Select Committee on. One member said it was Gordon Brown being a good Parliamentarian, the other said there had been a couple of dates available for his appearance before them, the implication being that if he'd wanted to Gordon could have gone to Lisbon and signed the Treaty with everyone else.
Myself, I think this is Gordon once again distancing himself from what might be an unpopular thing, and as I said at the beginning I'm rather embarrassed by it.

Finally, before I drag myself to bed, I want to put in a word for Vince Cable, who will be reaching the end of his stint as stand-in leader of the Lib-Dems soon and who had his final performance at Prime Minister's Questions this week, and he stuck it to Gordon again. Whether the Lib-Dems eventually choose Huhne Major or Clegg Minor as their leader, he will have a hard act to follow, and I think party members may one day wonder whether Vince Cable was the best leader they never had.
Is it too late to start a write-in campaign?

Edit - sorry, I forgot to post a link to stuff by real journalists about Gordon and the Treaty. Here it is.
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User: (Anonymous)
Date: 2007-12-14 04:57 (UTC)
Subject: Cable
Vince was foolishly tarred with the Ming brush. The notion that older politicians are unelectable. But it wasn't Ming's age per se that did him in. It was that he SEEMED and ACTED so old and doddering. Vince is a live wire. And shows up Cameron as being immature. And Brown as befuddled. Alas we are stuck with Nick or Chris. Actually there is still a chance to get Vince - if Huhne is elected. He may lose his seat at the next election. (His majority is only 500 or so). And there are rumours about his family life that are circulating as well. So maybe we'll get Vince when Huhne is bounced out the way of Charles and Ming!
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User: hutch0
Date: 2007-12-15 21:01 (UTC)
Subject: Re: Cable
I think there is a bit of a cult of youth going on. The Tories looked at Blair and decided they needed a Blair of their own, and I think the Lib Dems have done the same.
I'm not an avid viewer of PMQs, but I found myself tuning into the webcasts recently, just to see what Vince would do, and he never disappointed me. Huhne and Clegg, in contrast, are largely unknown quantities at PMQs. Unless they're at least as good as Vince, they'll suffer in comparison.
I'm probably being a bit naive, but it does seem a little perverse to be running a leadership candidate with such a slim majority; you'd think that someone in the party would have spotted that as a catastrophe waiting to happen. What if Huhne does lose his seat at the next election? I suppose we get another Lib Dem leadership contest, and the party
Huhne's family life is his own business, as far as I'm concerned. But if there is something going on, someone ought to tell Central Office or whatever the Lib Dems call it, before it's too late. If he had to withdraw from the contest it might be embarrassing, but it would be a mere zephyr compared to what might happen if he did win the leadership and a couple of weeks later some depth-charge was broken by the News Of The World.
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User: calcinations
Date: 2007-12-14 16:55 (UTC)
Subject: this treaty worries me
the problem is that it seems very like the constitution, or at least that is what i have heard through the media, yet the pro-europeans seem to have no answer to the accusations.
I'd go and read it, but I have no idea where to find it.
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User: hutch0
Date: 2007-12-15 21:33 (UTC)
Subject: Re: this treaty worries me
There are several .pdfs of it floating about, but every time I try to download one Internet Explorer locks up, so I can't read it. It seems I have a eurosceptic laptop.
The BBC has a q&a about the Treaty here, with links to the Treaty text, if you're feeling lucky. Apparently it's not a constitution because all it's doing is amending the Maastricht and Rome Treaties, rather than replacing them altogether. Which sounds suspiciously like sophistry.
My suspicion, for a very long time, has been that we would be over the moon to have a European superstate, so long as we were running it. I think a lot of our opposition to it stems from the fact that we don't like the people who are running it.
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User: calcinations
Date: 2007-12-16 10:58 (UTC)
Subject: Re: this treaty worries me
My opinion of the EU is that it has done some good and some bad, and the major problem is that it is not democratically accountable (Whent he accountants won't sign off on the accounts for years in a row, something isn't right), for example the heads of state get altogether too much say in things, yet the task of getting agreement over all tehse countries is thankless and possibly insane.

Basically, I think the past 20 years or so of EU xpansion have happened too fast too soon. Economic pressures would force everyone together anyway, but th e EU seems to be forcing the issue.

It also seems to be riven by power stufggles between people who we might call progressives, who will introduce maximum hours legislation etc, and bureacrats, who create laws and confusion. Not to mention the big businesses who benefit most from all of this, because they ahve the size to deal wtih the new laws. Small businesses don't have a chance. Also they have managed to get "free" trade stuff into a lot of treaties, such that we're buggered if we try and do anything ourselves, we have to open it up to other countries companies.
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User: hutch0
Date: 2007-12-16 22:43 (UTC)
Subject: Re: this treaty worries me
I think that's a fair enough summing-up of the EU. I should nail my colours to the mast and declare that I'm a Euro-enthusiast, but even I have to agree with you that the organisation is too flabby, unaccountable and factionalised to operate efficiently. And it was like that back when it was the Common Market and just an excuse for junketing on a massive scale.
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