Mr Bean’s sign language

“We need Gordon”, said Sarko.

Yes, the EU needs Brown, for if he doesn’t hold firm on ratifying the consti-treaty without a referendum… It’s not enough to plunge the European Union into a fatal spasm, but it’d derail the process of forming a European state, just like the French and Dutch “no”s did two years ago.

Anyhoo, here’s what the Morning Star said:

Act of gross dishonesty
(Thursday 13 December 2007)
IT won’t come as a shock to many people that Prime Minister Gordon Brown wangled his way out of being present at a ceremony in which the political bigshots of Europe queued up to sign away huge chunks of their respective countries’ sovereignty to Brussels.

In fact, the only real surprise is that he had any idea that being seen in what the capitalist press tags the “family portrait” would tarnish his image for decades to come.

But not being present for the group signing in no way excuses Mr Brown from committing the grossest act of political dishonesty so far this century.

He insists that Labour’s manifesto promise of a referendum on the rejected constitution can’t apply to the current treaty, as it doesn’t involve fundamental constitutional change.

But what else would you call establishing a permanent president with a two-and-a-half year term, a high representative for foreign affairs, a reduction in the number of commissioners and a new legal authority for the EU, allowing it to sign international treaties, except fundamental constitutional changes?

But Mr Brown is insisting loudly that the treaty does not have the fundamental characteristics of a constitution. One could be forgiven for wondering just what our Prime Minister would consider to be fundamental.

MPs in his own party and in virtually all the opposition parties have warned him that denying the voters a referendum on that sort of slippery basis is unethical and problematic.

In any survey or opinion poll that you care to look at, the public consensus is for a referendum, by a huge majority.

Foreign Secretary David Miliband may have told Labour members of Parliament’s foreign affairs committee that “no objective observer can look at the changes and say this is a fundamental, constitutional change.”

The truth, as is usual with new Labour, is somewhat different. In fact, almost every constitutional expert who has looked at this so-called treaty has concurred that it is merely the same old sauce in a different bottle.

And it is difficult to disagree with that opinion, since it comes from left, right and centre, from the opponents of the EU to the failed constitution’s authors themselves and, tellingly, from many of the politicians who signed the stitch-up on Thursday.

Mr Brown’s is reluctant to face a referendum because he knows that he could not win such a ballot and is desperately avoiding one.

But there is no retreat from the EU for him.

His commitment to globalised capitalism and transnational exploitation has been clear ever since his days as Chancellor.

Mr Brown’s record of signing away anything that the EU says that he should dates from his very first act, when he gave away the right to set interest rates.

His record of appalling decisions on rail privatisation can also be traced back to EU directives, as can all the other privatisations and arm’s-length measures that he has implemented across the public sector.

And his war on public servants’ pay is likewise based on his desperation to conform to EU-set expenditure limits.

All honest Labour Party members know, although they may not admit it in public, that the EU as now constituted is a capitalist club. It is time that they got rid of the political clowns who insist on continuing our membership, hold a referendum and dump the rotten club itself. After all, who would want to join a club that would have Gordon Brown as a member?