Marching Orders from Berlin

I have written previously (Aug 22nd) about the rotund German Christian Democrat MEP Elmar Brok.  He is practically a caricature German, who somehow seems to be in leder-hosen even when wearing a suit.  And he has strong views about Europe, and about Germany’s place in it.  He was complaining last month that talk of a referendum in Britain was “unfair”, since, he asked, had we not achieved all our “Red Lines”?  I replied that Gordon Brown’s government might have agreed its red lines, but the people had not.
 
Now Brok returns to the attack, but this time he is no longer asking questions.  This time he is doing what he does best.  Laying down the law.  Supporting Commissioner Peter Mandelson’s insistence that we need no referendum, Brok crows: “We will have a treaty.  The UK will have no referendum”.  (Daily Telegraph, Sept 8th).   So now we know, straight from the horse’s mouth.  And the scary thing is, he could be right.  The campaign for a referendum is gaining momentum, but this is one battle we have to win, or there will be no stopping the juggernaut of integration, not least because this treaty provides for future centralising moves to be agreed by the European Council, without even parliamentary ratification, never mind a public vote.  They have learned their lesson.  They know that getting the voters to agree to further integration will be difficult or impossible, so they are providing the tools to do the whole thing behind closed doors.  If we don’t win this battle for a referendum, we will never have another chance.
 
Constituents repeatedly ask me: “What can we do?”.   The answer: give full support to the range of campaigns that have sprung up.  And don’t ask why we can’t have a single unified campaign: that would take to long and inevitably be difficult to agree.  Let’s just be glad that enough groups are prepared to put the time and the money and the effort and commitment into the campaign, and give them our support.  Sign up to the Daily Telegraph petition on www.telegraph.co.uk/eu (around 86,000 strong as I write).  Write to your local paper.  Write to your MP (nearly all of them were elected on manifesto commitments to a referendum on the Constitution).  Or send The Freedom Association’s “Where’s Our Referendum?” postcard to your MP (available on the TFA site below).  If you have time or money to commit to the campaign, try one of the following:
 
www.iwantareferendum.com
www.democracymovement.org.uk
www.openeurope.org.uk
www.tfa.net
www.betteroffout.co.uk
www.proreferendumrally.co.uk
www.speakout.co.uk
www.brugesgroup.com
www.global-vision.net
http://www.bullen.demon.co.uk/indexd.htm (Campaign for an Independent Britain)
 
Now is no time to be down-hearted.  We forced a Labour government to promise us a referendum on the euro, and we saved our currency.  We forced them to promise a referendum on the Constitution, and, but for the French and Dutch referenda (God bless ’em!), we should have had to rely on that referendum to stop ratification.  Now it’s third time lucky.  If we fail this time, the only debate will be whether we’re to be governed from Brussels or Berlin.  It’ll be one or the other, thanks to Brok and his colleagues.

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