Euroskepticism c/o The Sun

♠ Posted by Emmanuel in at 10/20/2007 08:32:00 PM
Rest assured that I do not regularly feature articles from Rupert Murdoch's Sun tabloid, which is supposedly the widest circulation English language(-like?) newspaper in the world. However, its influence is sizable here in Britain despite (or more likely because of) its lowbrow fare. Many credit the success of New Labour's campaigns to winning over the Sun's endorsement in 1997, 2001, and 2005. However, things may be a-changing as the Sun's Euroskeptic tendencies have zeroed in on PM Gordon Brown recently assenting to the EU treaty. In the rather less hysterical Financial Times, it is noted that Mr Brown believes that the new treaty is so strewn with British opt-outs, protocols and declarations that it will have little impact on UK autonomy over labour law, criminal justice, social security or foreign policy.

However, the Sun sees things differently. You've probably heard the tirelessly repeated Euroskeptic line that all political and economic decision-making power will be ceded to Brussels and its various elaborations. Well, the Sun is at it again, as you will read below. With this POV relentlessly repeated, it is no surprise that an EU referendum would be doomed to failure. In any event, Murdoch's News Corporation may soon be backing David Cameron as the political winds shift. If nothing else, Murdoch is a canny operator. Meanwhile, New Labour stalwart Peter Mandelson has asked Brown to show some fight according to the FT: Mr Brown was urged by one of his predecessor’s closest advisers to stand up to the relentless and hostile pressure over a referendum from Rupert Murdoch’s media. Peter Mandelson, the European trade commissioner, said he would be surprised if the issue was a catalyst for the Murdoch titles to withdraw backing for Labour at the next election. Anyway, to the Sun for a sampling of tabloidal Euroskepticism with a dining motif. The schoolboy-style emphasis is the Sun's BTW:

Gordon Brown last night surrendered centuries of British power to Brussels in a “last supper” washed down with fine wine. The PM has refused to give the British people a say in a referendum on the EU Treaty even though it is 96 per cent the same as the dumped constitution. He casually tossed away our veto in 61 areas of law-making over a meal of grilled sole and chocolate cake accompanied by fine wines during historic talks in Lisbon, Portugal.

Mr Brown will sign the completed document in December before using his majority to force it through the Commons next Spring. There was a delay in the talks as Italy and Poland dug their heels in as they battled for more rights. But late last night the two nations were granted last-minute concessions.

EU leaders still had to clear one hurdle over appointing a new, more powerful European foreign policy chief. But the agreement was all but done.

Mr Brown insisted once more yesterday that there will be NO referendum over the Treaty for the British people. And he again insisted that the constitution — dumped two years ago by France and Holland — was NOT the same as the new Treaty. Yet a string of other EU leaders have confirmed it IS the same — and carries 96 per cent of the measures in the original constitution.

And today Mr Brown's own backbencher, Labour MP Kate Hoey, agreed that the treaty agreed by EU leaders at the Lisbon summit WAS virtually the same as the abandoned constitution which the Government had promised to put to the country in a referendum. She told BBC Radio 4's the World at one: “If he (Mr Brown) is so pleased with this agreement and if it is so wonderful, then the people of this country should have the right to decide because it is certainly 99% the same as what was agreed."

Mr Brown insisted he has won a string of ‘red lines’ guaranteeing Britain control over foreign and security matters, tax, and law and order. He said hours before agreeing to the Treaty: “The British national interest is protected. This issue should now go before Parliament for a very detailed debate. All the protections built in mean Britain still decides on major issues.”

Mr Brown joined the heads of 26 other EU states for yesterday’s talks. They dined on vegetable crêpes, grilled sole with saffron rice, chocolate cake and strawberries — all washed down with local Cartuxa wine. Nothing was signed or initialled by the leaders — that will happen at a formal ceremony in December. The Treaty will be the first concrete step towards a United States of Europe — complete with a permanent President. A new foreign minister will replace Britain’s elected Foreign Secretary at some key international summits.

And we will be FORCED to surrender our seat at the UN Security Council if the EU has an agreed position on a global issue. Our veto in 61 areas will go — making it impossible for us to block unwanted EU dictats. And Britain’s ability to make deals with other EU states to stop Commission laws will be massively watered down.

Mr Brown insisted Britain’s national interest will be protected because four red lines will guarantee sovereignty in key areas. They protect us from EU laws on crime-fighting, tax and social security rules, workplace legislation and union rights and foreign affairs.

But the PM bluntly ignored warnings from his own Labour MPs on a Commons committee which last week said the red lines are meaningless. They warned the Charter of Fundamental Rights opposed by Mr Brown will simply be imposed on us in future years by the European Court of Justice.

The opt-out from EU justice and home affairs laws is actually an opt-IN. And if we agree to a new power in this area we will be locked in for good — even if the details of the measures change in a way we don’t want. Shop-floor laws will also be forced on us after EU trade union leaders agreed to adopt a ‘social model’ giving workers more rights and saddling firms with costly red tape.

The treaty was drawn up to help the 27 European Union members work more efficiently. Other EU countries happily admit it means pooling some of their powers to get the organisation to agree new laws. But Mr Brown and his ministers have repeatedly claimed there are NO drawbacks to the deal — and they insist Britain is coming out of it well. The PM made it clear last night he now wants to take on his critics in the House when he tries to ram the Treaty through Parliament next Spring. It is due to become law in the UK on January 1, 2009. Mr Brown raised the prospect of bitter Maastricht-style Commons battles over the Treaty next year. The Maastricht agreement helped tear the Tories apart under John Major in 1992.

Conservative leader David Cameron has already promised a referendum on the Treaty if he wins power. Last night the Tories unveiled a new poster campaign saying: ‘Who has a say on the EU Treaty? Not you. Just Gordon’.

Shadow foreign secretary William Hague said: “Gordon Brown cannot walk away from his manifesto promise of a referendum. “He has absolutely no democratic mandate to agree to this Treaty. It is not just his decision — the final say must belong to the British people.” An astonishing total of 128,000 Sun readers have demanded a referendum on the rejigged EU Constitution...