Wednesday, March 31, 2004
Labour's Referendum

It is hard to guage the strength of the dissidents within the Labour Parliamentary Party who would rebel over the issue of the European Constitution. It is an issue supported by both Europhiles and Eurorealists within Labour and two MPs from Stoke-on-Trent have already spoken up in favour.

After months of deserved silence, Giscard D'Estaing has raised his head above the parapet in order to bask in anticipated success. Zapatero, the new Spanish Prime Minister, met the author of Britain's suicide note, and accepted the new structure in its entirety, despite his residual concern over the voting system. D'Estaing, in that Alician world of Eurologic, had an answer for those anxieties concerning the double majority voting system:

"Spain expressed its concern, but I told Mr Zapatero that reflections currently exist which could presage a mutually acceptable solution," Giscard said.

Giscard added the issue was about more than simple voting percentages "because we actually vote, and will vote, very little in reality.

"If we do vote there are winners and losers and if we do it too often then we will divide up Europe into winners and losers.

"When a country has been among the minority three times it will start to ask questions. So a European system will work better through seeking consensus than seeking a vote.

To avoid the competitive dangers of voting, it is better to seek consensus that hold votes. Voila! Problem solved! Will this distrust of voting, with its unfortunate consequences of creating winners and losers, be focused on those unpredictable and uncontrollable events, elections. After all, they result in division and dissension, rather than a cosy consensus.

(22.50, 31st March 2004)


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