Sunday, 7 June 2009

Brown must act on 'less EU' election verdict

Updated Monday 8 June: 13:06

The European Parliament election has been won overwhelmingly by the 'less EU' parties of varying degrees.

The Conservatives, UKIP, Greens, Libertas, the trade union-backed No2EU and many other smaller parties who took over 63% of the vote all think, at least, that the transfer of decision-making to the EU has gone too far and that radical restructuring of the EU and our relationship with it is needed.

They all oppose the Lisbon Treaty and support a referendum. They all want to see decision-making returned from the EU to the more responsive national, or more local, level.

Votes for these parties outnumbered considerably those cast for the duplicitous New Labour and Lib Dems, who have shown themselves happy to surrender ever more decision-making to EU institutions and to deny us a say over that process - breaking clear election promises in the process.

These are the parties who have shown in their behaviour over the Lisbon Treaty that they don't want to govern. And people have taken this first chance since those events to fulfil their wish.

All-important response

The implications of how the votes have been shared out between the parties - if any of substance - can be debated later. What matters is how Gordon Brown and the government will respond.

It matters to us, but most of all it matters for Brown himself.

Because at this highly sensitive time for faith our political system, people are desperate for evidence that our leaders are listening. And in just 10 days time Gordon Brown will have a clear opportunity on a grand stage to show that he has heard us speak.

Following today's result, Brown has a choice of whether to go to the next meeting of the European Council on 18-19 June and conspicuously represent the people's verdict. Less integration, not more.

Or, despite the clear message of this election, indulge with his fellow members of Europe's political elite in another EU bout of 'carry on regardless'.

Carry on conspiring to bully the Irish people into voting twice on exactly the same rejected treaty - the document that, according to the respected House of Commons European Scrutiny Committee, is "substantially equivalent" to the EU Constitution that was also rejected by the French and Dutch peoples.

Carry on overlooking EU waste, fraud and pre-recession levels of lavish living while the rest of us tighten our belts.

Carry on believing that Britain's ratification of the Lisbon Treaty, marred by broken manifesto promises, holds any real democratic legitimacy.

Gordon faces two paths, with two very different destinations.

At the end of one stands a chance of rebuilding public faith in our political system and, alongside, bringing himself personally back from the political brink.

At the end of the other lies a further degradation in his already low levels of support, bringing on the leadership challenge that would surely end his stint as Prime Minister.

Rescind Lisbon - get powers back

For Brown to see today's result and, mere days later, be complicit in moves pushing political integration still further - such as trying to manoeuvre Ireland into voting twice on the Lisbon Treaty - would be an extraordinary two-fingered salute to voters just at a time when faith in our political system is at an all time low.

If Brown chooses to show he is listening - and there can be no doubt that his own personal future as Prime Minister now depends absolutely on him doing so - he must rescind our ratification of the Lisbon Treaty while he still can, and start the process of getting powers back. He must go to that 18 June summit and be bold in demanding radical change.

In doing so he would start the process of making our Parliament matter again.

Our political system simply will not stand another incidence of a clear public verdict being ignored. It's clear that people are sick of politicians who think they know best. Brown has a chance to act, to act decisively, and on the side of the majority expressed opinion in these elections.

The summit will be Gordon Brown's last chance. Whether he chooses a response that brings him back from the brink, or one that seals his political fate, is in his hands alone over the next few days.

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