The pundits are all hard at work this morning. What does The Sun’s switch of support from Labour to Conservative mean, coming at this moment? The Editor says the orders for the change come right from the top, in other words from Rupert Murdoch himself. Why now?
That is really a change. Murdoch has supported Labour since 1995 without a hiccup, while Labour have signed Britain into every Treaty, crushing any Conservative leader who gave a whiff of euroscepticism, almost in alliance with the BBC.
The deal was about money, Murdoch being allowed to keep his lucrative football TV monopoly, free of bother from the EU’s Competition Commissioner, as long as he supported Blair through thick and thin, which he has done.
But now the paper says they are sick of the government’s lack of support for the troops in Afghanistan (an old Murdoch ploy to swing political support based on the fortunes of war, starting with his father Keith’s writings in Australia on Gallipoli in 1916).
They also say, interestingly and more significantly, that the readers of The Sun are sick of Labour’s ignoring their wishes for a referendum on The Lisbon Treaty.
This must be a shocking development for those trying to shore up the collapsing Lisbon Treaty, just as the German government has at last ratified, leaving only Ireland, The Czech Republic and Poland to tidy up.
During a moment of disloyalty to the EU two years ago, young James Murdoch openly campaigned against the EU Constitutional Treaty in The Sun. As an immediate effect, Murdoch lost his controlling share of ITV, as his punishment and warning. Murdoch was brought to heel, and he seemed to quickly abandon open rebellion. Gordon Brown was backed and Lisbon was signed.
But this time it seems there will be full-on rebellion, no going back and bugger the consequences.
In other words, Murdoch sees the power of the Blairs, of Brussels and the EU as crumbling, and he can now profitably change sides and back Cameron, with his stated wish to have a referendum in Britain, and a rebalancing of power with the EU.
It seems almost inevitable that the Irish referendum is already certain to be a second NO, for this to be happening now.
Murdoch and Cameron have done a deal, whereby Murdoch will keep all his media privileges, and Cameron, in return, wants his help in securing power in Britain. But the crucial factor is that they see they can (this time) successfully rebel against the EU, and win. Otherwise this would not be happening.
With Britain’s General Election now only just over 7 months away, Cameron’s moment to step up a gear on the Lisbon Treaty and promise a referendum on Britain’s relationship with the EU is surely here.
INTERESTING TO NOTE – Andrew Neil writes ‘Mr Cameron has kept his distance from Sun proprietor Rupert Murdoch, though he gets on well with his son, James.
UPDATE – Vaclav Klaus and the Czech resistance brings an appeal against Lisbon on the next day – See Irish Times HERE.
Extract – A GROUP of Czech senators has lodged a new constitutional court challenge against the Lisbon Treaty, alleging that it turns the EU into a “super state”.
Part of the appeal rests on a claim that the guarantees on the treaty given to Ireland by EU leaders should have been ratified by the Czech parliament. The senators hope the appeal will delay ratification until a Conservative government can win power in Britain and kill the treaty.
Senator Jiri Oberfalzer, a close ally of Eurosceptic Czech president Vaclav Klaus who helped prepare the court challenge, said that the constitutional court should state whether the EU would still be an international organisation or if Lisbon creates a new EU “super state”.
The appeal asks the court to examine whether the treaty as a whole is compatible with the Czech constitution. It also challenges the legality of the guarantees provided by EU leaders to Ireland.
“The senators claim the Irish guarantees are an international treaty which would need the consent of both chambers of the Czech parliament,” Tomas Langasek, general secretary of the court, told The Irish Times yesterday.