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June 15, 2008



"Readers who wonder which of us is right on this have an easy answer to hand:"

Indeed-Mr Pollard.

David Duff

"The Lisbon treaty is not a constitution but an amending treaty"

Or in other words, if it swims like a duck, waddles like a duck and quacks like a duck - it's a three-horned unicorn.

As 'Paxpants' might put it, "Yeeeeees, I see".


In all fairness, it should be noted that Neil Clark was a mere child during the 1970s and wasn't yet out of his teens in 1983.

And if you combine this nostalgia with a proven inability to think critically (or even so much as acknowledge the rather considerable downsides to his various fantasies), you end up with a blog very much like Clark's, which fuses jaw-droppingly naïve "if only" fantasy with paeans of praise to 1970s sitcoms, which he seems to regard as the highest peak of civilisation's creative achievement.

Essentially, he's trying to relive his childhood in public, and I have to say I find this essentially harmless practice rather endearing.

Nick Good

Surely it would be easy to bullet point the substantive points in the European Constitution rejected by the French and Danes and the document rejected by the Irish?

David Boothroyd

To Nick and David, the overriding reason why the Lisbon Treaty is not a constitution is because of its form rather than its content.

The Constitutional Treaty, which would have created a constitution had it been ratified and not dropped, proposed to scrap all existing European Union treaties including the Treaty of Rome, Maastricht, Amsterdam, Nice, Single European Act etc., and substitute its text in their place. This text consisted of basically the same system with a few minor changes to make things work better.

When the Constitutional Treaty was abandoned, those minor changes (which every member state had agreed) were taken and put into the Lisbon Treaty, with additional minor changes. However, instead of scrapping everything and starting again, the Lisbon Treaty simply puts them in appropriate places by amending the existing texts.

Hence the Lisbon Treaty is known as an amending treaty. It does not have the significance of a constitution, and its provisions are so minor and technical that it is no wonder so many people find it difficult to understand it. If it comes into force, it could easily be amended in the next Intergovernmental Conference.

To argue that the Lisbon Treaty, which is approved by all 27 member state governments, should be entirely abandoned because of a 53-47 vote on a 40% turnout in one of them, seems a particularly extreme case of the tail wagging the dog.


David Boothroyd, your comment I have copied and pasted below from the Vote UK Discussion Forum is one of the best arguments I have seen against a referendum:

"The reason the Constitutional Treaty was to have a referendum was never these changes, but the fact that it was to be the fundamental founding document of the European Union. That's why the oft-quoted percentages of the Lisbon Treaty that were in the Constitution is irrelevant; the relevant percentage is the percentage of the Constitutional Treaty which is in the Lisbon Treaty. When you assert that the Lisbon Treaty is in effect the Constitutional Treaty, you have to assert that it includes the substance of everything the Constitutional Treaty did. You have not done so and indeed it would be a practical impossibility to do so."


Who care's what label is pinned on this piece of toilet paper, If its just a minor cleaning up here and there of no real consequence why have referendums about it?.

The truth is nobody needs the EU for anything, It is a project driven entirely by the political class for their benefit alone.

The question i would like answered is whats in it for me?, Whats in it for the ordinary person?, I can see whats in it for the political/media elite, But where do i fit in?.


That's right, PhilR, apart from 6 decades of unprecedented peace and prosperity, what has the European integration process given us, eh? It's disgusting and I'm disgusted!

Nick Good

It does rather seem as if there is considerable overlap in the specific points of the European Constitution - rejected by the Danes and the French and the Lisbon treaty, subsequently rejected by the Irish.

It also seems, as if there are many in Brussels - and beyond - that really, really really.... really don't want to take 'no' for an answer.

Specifically the European president, European foreign minister, and the end of various national vetos.

The rest comes over - to this admitted non- expert, on the enigma within a mystery that is Brussels - as mere semantics and weasel words.

It does rather seem like there is a move towards a United States of Europe by many. If that's what the advocates want; they should fess up, argue the toss in-clear on such merits as it has. Not pretend that that's NOT what the goal is. It's coming over as really sneaky shiite...and I think the fellow on the proverbial Clapham omnibus, has rather rumbled this.

Adam McNestrie

The politics surrounding the European in Britain is different in kind from every other aspect of UK politics. Instead of a bored, disengaged electorate, somewhat suspicious of politicians, but broadly willing to trust them to get on with the business of politics we have a rabid media clamouring on behalf of the people for a referendum and screaming ‘Betrayal!’. Politicians can’t be trusted on this issue; elites are corrupt and power-hungry and they don’t see the world the same way as decent, ordinary people. Or so says The Sun and the Daily Mail. Politicians can’t be trusted and they aren’t up to the job; instead ordinary people on the basis of a simple majority vote should be the ones to decide whether this fiendishly complicated, legalese-soaked document should be approved. When it comes to one of the most complicated, technical decisions that needs to be made in politics they want to have the professional law-makers stand aside and surrender themselves to the amateurs.

Europe is the only issue in British politics where this sort of direct democracy, anti-elite populism has any real influence. And it’s because we’re suspicious of people we don’t know, people who aren’t like us. British politicians can be trusted with authority because shared experiences, values and traditions mean that we can rely on them to see things our way. Politicians from other countries and particularly EU officials in “Brussels” (a sort of hellmouth to the Eurosceptics) can’t be trusted with power because we don’t have that same guarantee that they will share our perspective. The great heat that one sees displayed on this issue and the nauseatingly insistent appeals for a referendum are an outgrowth of a very understandable, but lamentable, chauvinism. We like what and who we are familiar with; everything else we are suspicious of.

To read more on the European constitution link to my blog, just who the hell are we?, at:


"The Lisbon treaty is not a constitution but an amending treaty"

A rose by any other name...

Concentrating on the form rather than the content does not imply that there is a strong case for the content.

But don't worry. Democracy is a weakness that the EU has long since learnt to work around. This time only one vote was needed. Next time, none will.



Clearly you know more about the relationship between the treaty and the constitution than, for instance, Giscard d'Estaing so how come that, in effect, the Irish Supreme Court - let alone Pollard - disagrees with you?

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