Blair’s last Hurrah
By Nigel Farage
As the end of Tony Blair’s ten year reign as prime minister draws to a close there is one last significant act that he will perform. On Friday, June 22nd in Brussels there is the concluding Euro summit of Angela Merkel’s presidency of the EU. Mr. Blair will sign up to a new draft European Treaty and then, within days, leave office.
For a prime minister who has been very powerful the one area of policy in which his will has never prevailed is that of our relations with the EU. If there is one thing that Mr. Blair really believes in it is the European Union, I saw this at first hand during his EU presidency in 2005. Yet he failed to take us into the Euro and cannot ratify the EU constitution because pressure, of which UKIP were part, forced him into offering a referendum. As he knew he would lose both of these, we were never asked and we still have our currency.
Despite these previous failures he took over the EU presidency in July 2005, brimful with optimism. He was going to save ‘Europe’ and modernise it. But many will remember that it ended in humiliation with a surrender of our rebate and a crowing President Chirac. At the last meeting I said to Blair that Chirac had ‘outclassed him and outplayed him at every turn’. He went crimson, waved his arms around and shouted at me. This time he will want a ‘success’ and will want to leave office being seen a ‘good European’.
But what of the content of this new Treaty? It is truly remarkable that, with just days to go, no one has seen any of the plans and there is no informed debate. All negotiations are in secret and the UK Parliament will have no opportunity to discuss content. This is being done because the last time there was public debate the French and Dutch voted NO! It is also extraordinary that our Foreign Secretary, Margaret Beckett, appears to hardly be involved at all. It is as if a retiring dictator intents to leave an indelible print on our future. Our views do not matter.
What we do know is that there will be agreement on a full time President of the EU Council. It will be someone with real power. Mr. Blair himself will be a prime candidate for this role, especially if he shows at the summit how compliant he is. There will also be a greatly enhanced role for Javier Solana as an EU Foreign Minister and yet more of what is left of our self-government will be transferred. Quite how much of our veto rights over Justice and Home Affairs will be relinquished we will find out on the day. In essence this EU Treaty will contain the provisions of the failed constitution but drop the C-word itself. It is all an exercise in deceit and, even by EU standards, contemptuous of democracy. This must be fought and UKIP will!
The UKIP MEPs and press officers will be at the summit in force and we have prepared a visual demonstration that explains our feelings on this process. Already we are contacting all of the media, both nationally and locally, so that we can present the real voice of opposition. Mr. Cameron may talk about a referendum, but we do not know which way he would vote! We will continue to press for a referendum on this Treaty, though we will not forget there are bigger issues at stake.
Even without this Treaty 75% of our laws are now made in Brussels and the whole process of EU integration moves forward every day. The referendum UKIP really want is a full, free and fair vote on whether we stay in a political union or regain our independence and pride. The EU question has been off the agenda for some time. Mr. Blair is about to change that. One day we may even thank him for that.
UKIP can let Mr Blair know how the public feel about him signing this secret treaty.
Write to the newspapers and contact the radio stations in your area.
Hopefully through the media our lame duck Prime Minister will get the message.