Tuesday, May 27, 2003
More arrogance - 27th May 2003, 23.30

Hain showed more contempt for the democratic process today by arguing that the European elections in 2004 could act as an alternative to a referendum. One suspects that his uncompromising and antagonistic line will lead to a lower profile in teh near future and that Denis McShane may take a more prominent role.

Mr Hain, the Welsh secretary and minister heading the UK delegation to the convention on the future of Europe, said this morning: "In the end, if people don't like what they get, they can vote against the government in the European elections next year. They will more or less coincide with the end of this constitution."

The second part of the constitutional draft was published today giving sweeping new powers to the Union.

Majority voting will become the rule while the number of areas where the European Parliament can co-legislate with member states has almost doubled to 70. Qualified majority voting and co-decision with the European Parliament have been introduced to areas such as control of borders, and asylum and immigration, judicial co-operation, and the prevention of crime. Issues concerning intellectual property, energy and social security will also be subject to co-decision with the European Parliament, according to the draft Constitution.

The Charter of Fundamental Rights, including a right to strike, is also binding. Expect plenty of fireworks and a realisation by Labour that they are now stuck between a eurosceptic populace and their wish to be at the heart of Europe. (If they really want this, they could always sod off to Belarus, where the centre of Europe actually is).

Update: Peter Hain was summoned by Blair after making his comments on the European elections. Ancram noted,

"Tony Blair has summoned Hain to Chequers. It seems that Big Brother has called him into the diary room and given him a strong rebuke. Hain should watch out or next time he will be evicted."

Will Peter Hain follow other contestants evicted over the years: Mo, Mandy, Robin and Clare?


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