Sunday, March 23, 2003
Political responses to the Convention - 23rd March 2003, 20.17

There were some old responses to the Convention recently. Gisela Stuart, Labour's German born appointee to the Convention must have held her nose when she gave an interview to The Sun and stood for the rights of Britons not to be brainwashed by the EU. However, the interview continued,

She dismissed claims that Britain is winning the battle to limit Brussels’ powers. She said “real proposals” to halt the drive towards a United States of Europe were blocked.

So, here's the Labour representative, in primetime tabloid, stating that Britain has lost any influence in the Convention. That was surprising. The Independent provided more detail and demonstrated that Stuart made her statement as a representative of Parliament rather than as a member of New Labour, ie, it was unspun.

"I am by birth Bavarian, I know what it is like to be Bavarian," she said. "I am by choice British, I know what it is like to be British. The argument is that, if you strip out my birth and my Britishness I will become a true European. I think this is opening a Pandora's Box."

The Tories are as disappointing as ever, concentrating on repatriation of powers rather than withdrawal. This is clear from the letter written by Lord Stockton and Edward Heathcote-Amory to Giscard D'Estaing, that I am sure was binned. It sent a clear message such as: -

When the working group on Complementary Competences was established, some contributors indicated that they wanted a general discussion on the attribution of competences as a whole. Some called for more integration; others, a restoration of national powers. Understandably, the Chair determined that such discussions lay rather in the remit of the plenary as a whole: such is their importance. But those discussions have yet to take place.

On the new harmonisation of asylum and internal security there is a weak call for harmonisaton from the dreadful Timothy Kirkhope, who then called for democratisation in the EU by giving more power to the European Parliament.

God, Thatcher must despair when you can see that Gisela Stuart has more balls than the Tories. Perhaps they ought to recruit her. She sounds a damn sight more patriotic.


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