The Liberal Democrats have long been the most Euro fanatical of the main parties, even more so than the New Labour project people who seem almost as determined to create a Thatcherite free market across Europe.
The Lib Dem Manifesto, whilst making twittering noises about ‘decentralisation’ and ‘more democracy’ came out firmly in favour of the EU constitution:
“…... With enlargement to twenty-five member states the EU needs reform to become more efficient and more accountable. The new constitution helps to achieve this by improving EU coherence, strengthening the powers of the elected European Parliament compared with the Council of Ministers, allowing proper oversight of the unelected commission and enhancing the role of national parliaments. It also more clearly defines and limits the powers of the EU, reflecting diversity and preventing over centralisation. We are therefore clear in our support for the constitution, which we believe is in Britain’s best interests.” (The REAL Alternative 2005)
Yes, there it is. The Lib Dem argument for a yes vote in a referendum on the EU constitution. Clear, unequivocal, no room for doubt in anyone’s mind there then.
So, a few days after the French voted to reject the Constitution, and the Dutch kicked it into touch… what do we find? Regular readers of the always interesting John Hemming weblog will have seen a splendid example of political gymnastics, even by his standards. So quick out of the blocks was JH that at 6.00pm on Sunday night, with opinion polls across France declaring a victory for the 'no' campaign, Hemming already had one foot on the bandwagon. Now he writes... "There is an opportunity of changing the direction of the European Union away from "ever closer union". I've searched his site for the words... clear in our support for the constitution, to no avail. Ah well, that's one pledge ditched... just three weeks after the election!