Democrat - July 2007 (Number 103)
Demand a referendum!
Growing resistance in the labour movement to a
report by Brian Denny
revived EU Constitution
General union GMB is the latest union to come out for referendum on the revived EU Constitution and make clear that it is substantially the same as the European Constitutional Treaty which was rejected by the Dutch and French in 2005.
The GMB has 590,000 members and is affiliated to the Labour Party and general secretary Paul Kenny said Labour's promise at the last election to hold a vote should not be abandoned. "The pledge was right at the time of the general election and it is right now," he said.
Trade unionists demonstrating in Belgium against the EU Services Directive. The labour and trade union movements in France and the Netherlands played a key role in bringing about the No! vote against the EU Constituiton in 2005. Trade unions in Britain are now realising the full implications of the EU Constitution, opposition is growing and will paly a key role in the campaign for a referendum and No! vote. [picture Spectrezine]
Public sector union Unison has declared that it will campaign for a "no" vote if a referendum is held and transport union RMT made the referendum call at its recent annual general meeting in Edinburgh.
The Irish Congress of Trade Unions has said it will campaign for a No! vote in the Irish referendum on the new EU treaty. Opposition to the treaty from the heart of the labour movement means prime minister Gordon Brown now faces demands from both the Left and Right for a referendum.
Benn on Brown
Tony Benn, looking at Gordon Brown's plans for constitutional reform, noted in The Guardian that "There is also the issue of the new European treaty, which some want to slip through without a public vote - which would be an outrage, since MPs have no moral right to give away the powers they only borrow from their constituents in an election".
A poll published in Le Parisien newspaper also revealed growing French resistance with 57% of French people for a referendum on the new EU treaty, rather than leaving it for the parliament to ratify.
The French architect of the Constitution Valery Giscard d'Estaing has also admitted in the press that the new EU treaty would be "very, very near to the original" EU Constitution. He also said that "although the British, Dutch and French have insisted we eliminate all reference to the word 'constitution'", the new treaty "still contains all the key elements" of the text. He insisted that "all the earlier proposals will be in the new text, but will be hidden and disguised in some way".
German Chancellor Angela Merkel told El Pais newspaper (24 June 2007) "The fundamentals of the Constitution have been maintained in large part… We have renounced everything that makes people think of a state, like the flag and the national anthem".
This of course ignores that fact that minor issues like the EU flag and the 'national' anthem already exist and do not need to be written into any new Treaty anyway.
Prime Minister of Luxembourg Jean-Claude Juncker made the most illuminating statement on the EU's 'big lie' strategy when he told the Daily Telegraph (3 July 2007) "Of course there will be transfers of sovereignty. But would I be intelligent to draw the attention of public opinion to this fact?"
However, this well-tested strategy of 'lying for Europe' is being increasingly recognised for what it is.