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Tuesday, April 12, 2005

International rally against EU Constitution

As I was not in London on Saturday, Graham Wood has generously agreed to share his thoughts on the Conference that took place. Guest Article By Graham Wood It was well attended with numbers growing through the day peaking at about 200/250. Although mainly comprising older generation of memberships of the anti EU groups, there was also a good sprinkling of younger people, mainly Scandinavians associated with TEAM I think. Speakers were on the whole very good, one or two outstanding. Benn brought home the simple message that the basis of political power is that the electorate only lend power to governments, and that accountability is vital in any democratic system by 'voting the rascals out' as in all democracies -hence the patently undemocratic and unacceptable face of the EU and its 'constitution'. Vintage Benn- though I would have liked to hear him say the word OUT more clearly! Outstanding was Anthony Coughlan of the Irish National Platform, with a robust tour de force of the implications of signing up to the EUCon. An extremely penetrating and powerful address appreciated by all present - (see his Analysis & Summary of the EuCon on the net which is second to none!) Trade Unions Against the EU Constitution was also well represented with the good news that steadily opposition to it is growing within the major unions. The TUAEUC had on its bookstall their well produced booklet 'Trade Unionists Say NO to the Constitution', but its concluding sentence reads "Opposing the Constitution does not mean leaving the EU. Now is the time to defend democracy across Europe and say no". My reading of this document is that the logic of its arguments can only lead to an OUT policy, but perhaps at this stage they don't want to frighten the trade union horses too much! Speakers from the Green Party tended to deviate rather from direct discussion of the Constitution itself, but nevertheless some interesting points made. Bill Cash, as usual a good speaker with clear understanding of the constitution and its threat to Westminster/ Parliamentary and our own Constitution, but when it came to application of the logic of his own arguments, I'm sorry to say he stopped short and attempted vainly to promote the now familiar "we will re-negotiate" theme. He sounded extremely muddled and confused about British Parliamentary sovereignty being exercised over the 1972 ECA, and in response to several shouted complaints from the audience about 'repeal it', (and mine), he could not bring himself to say it. His view appeared to be that a Tory administration could withdraw from the Treaties in a last resort but it was a strangely convoluted argument. The result in my view was an incoherent overall message to the conference confirming that Tory policy is still shrouded in mystery and is largely a deception to maintain the now familiar Quisling Right position they have adopted. The debate with Bill Cash could have been one of the most challenging of the conference if time had been allowed from the Chairman to press him to explain and clarify his points more fully, but unfortunately questions were cut short and the opportunity missed, and with it the chance to expose and challenge Tory policy at this point. In all a very good Conference, refreshingly free from entrenched party political positions, and with a commendable eclectic flavour. DM had organised well. There was a good spread of excellent literature, June Press amongst others. Good to see details of Rodney Atkinson's BDI (British Declaration of Independence) Also featured on CREC's stall was the newly available 'A Plain Man's Guide' to the EUCon -designed to reach those without much, or any, background knowledge of the issues Graham Wood represents the Campaign to Reject the European Constitution.

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