Labour’s Election Collapse Exposes Lib Dem Euro Policy

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Labour’s collapsing campaign is epitomised by today’s Elvis fiasco. It’s like they’ve given up and are walking away. You find yourself wondering how many more surprises this election campaign might hold. Nick Clegg. Elvis Presley. How about another possibility?

I checked back on Letters From A Tory blog (LFAT) and found this post in March, in which the blogger asks if the EU might yet become an election issue. The Greek crisis is forcing the EU to contemplate interventionist measures which are not sanctioned by the Lisbon Treaty. Unbelievably a new Treaty might be needed much sooner than anticipated.

Lisbon was intended to be the last Treaty, but with the ruling of the German Constitutional Court, the primacy of national government, and the requirement for their consent to the transfer of any powers to the EU, combined with the Euro crisis, has opened up an opportunity for David Cameron to state clearly that in Britain such powers will not be granted without a referendum.

In fact he has already done so.

On 3rd November 2009, the day after the Lisbon Treaty was ratified: he said “If we win the next election, we will amend the European Communities Act 1972 to prohibit, by law, the transfer of power to the EU without a referendum. And that will cover not just any future treaties like Lisbon, but any future attempt to take Britain into the euro.” The move would hand the British people a “referendum lock to which only they should hold the key”, Cameron said.

It was not about Westminster striking down individual items of EU legislation but an assurance that the final word on laws belonged to Britain. …He added: “These changes: the referendum lock, the sovereignty bill, stopping the use of ratchet clauses, all these changes can be put in place by our own parliament. They do not require the approval of our European partners – merely the sanction of the British people at the ballot box, which we will seek at the forthcoming general election.

They will put in place real protection for our democracy – protections other countries have but which are missing here in Britain. They would increase accountability, and they would ensure that the breach of trust committed by this Labour government could never happen again.”

If the Greek crisis were to blow up in the next two weeks, so that the EU is forced to break cover, and demand urgent support for a rescue package, Cameron might get a second chance to explain his proposals for stopping the erosion of Britain’s national decision-making.

Letters From A Tory, also explains the internal problems facing the EU, as follows –

26th March 2010: Germany and France have tabled controversial plans to create an “economic government of the European Union” to police financial policy across the continent. They have put Herman Van Rompuy, the EU President, in charge of a special task force to examine “all options possible” to prevent another crisis like the one caused by the Greek meltdown. His mission will be to draw up a master-plan for the best way to oversee and enforce economic targets set in Brussels as a key part of a bail-out package for Greece. The options he will consider include the creation of an “economic government” by the end of the year.

“We commit to promote a strong co-ordination of economic policies in Europe,” said a draft text expected to be agreed by EU leaders last night. “We consider that the European Council should become the economic government of the EU and we propose to increase its role in economic surveillance and the definition of the EU’s growth strategy.” …The contentious language was contained in a Franco-German document prepared for an emergency meeting of the 16 “eurozone” countries, in the wings of a summit in Brussels. The talks, over a pre-dinner aperitif, decided on an EU-led “mechanism” for bailing out the crisis-hit Greek economy with the help of the IMF if necessary. Combined with the aid is a German plan for tougher sanctions for countries, such as Greece, that run up massive public debts while failing to reform uncompetitive economies. Mr Van Rompuy is an enthusiastic supporter of “la gouvernement économique” and last month upset many national capitals by trying impose “top down” economic targets.

Angela Merkel, the German Chancellor, has called for the Lisbon Treaty to be amended in order to prevent any repetition of the current Greek crisis, which has threatened to tear apart the euro. “I will push for necessary treaty changes so that we can act sooner and more effectively when things go wrong, including with targeted sanctions,” she said. If Merkel’s idea gains momentum, Croatia’s likely EU membership next year would need an “amending Treaty” providing an easy opportunity to lever in proposals for economic government. When the Lisbon Treaty was agreed, European leaders, including Mr Brown, said that it would be the last attempt to change the EU’s basic rules until least 2020.

Sensing that the crisis could help Cameron, LFAT continues –

I wonder, I wonder. Could it be that the EU still has a headline or two up its sleeve that might cause Labour an enormous headache and in doing so hand the initiative back to David Cameron? He was unable to stop the Lisbon Treaty being ratified, but that doesn’t mean Europe can’t become an election issue given his unequivocal stance on more power being handed to the EU in future. Ironically, the EU has given Cameron a lot of problems in the last few years, yet now it is on the verge of playing right into his hands….

LFAT wrote this a month ago, when it was not foreseeable that Labour would collapse and the LIb Dems surge to replace them as Cameron’s primary opponents. Labour’s EU policies were cryptic to say the least. The Lib Dems on the other hand are entirely open about supporting the Euro and the EU. It would be manna from heaven if the Euro crisis were to break before polling day. It would chrystalize in British voters’ minds that we should be very wary of joining the Euro, first of all. And Cameron could highlight that we will be asked to stump up tens of billions to rescue the Euro. He could demand that a referendum be held immediately after the election, once the EU’s proposals are known. Clegg would be stranded.

The Tap Blog is a collective of like-minded researchers and writers who’ve joined forces to distribute information and voice opinions avoided by the world’s media.

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